What’s New in Cruising: New Cruise Ships

Quite simply, there’s never been a better time to book a cruise on the high seas or on a river. With new cruise ships, enhanced onboard amenities and dining, far-reaching itineraries and more, cruise travel in 2017 and beyond looks to provide plenty of reasons to say “Bon voyage.”

Crystal Esprit luxury yacht

Photo: Courtesy of Crystal Cruises

Perhaps no other cruise line has more news—or more reasons to book—than Crystal Cruises®. In the past year, Crystal launched Crystal River Cruises in Europe, welcomed the luxury super yacht Crystal Esprit to its fleet, added a long-range private aircraft with Crystal Luxury Air, and debuted its new All Exclusive™ all-inclusive brand campaign. In 2017, Crystal plans to launch two new luxury river yachts, 14- and 28-day around-the-world itineraries with Crystal AirCruises, and a new World Cruise itinerary. In 2018, the line will launch Crystal Endeavor, the world’s first purpose-built polar-class megayacht, and four more around-the-world cruises.

Luxury river cruises on Uniworld liners continue to grow in popularity thanks to a variety of additions and innovations. For 2017, the possibilities include two new itineraries, “Rhine-Main Discovery & Munich” and “Paris & Impressions of the Seine”; the christening of the new cruise ship, Joie de Vivre, which will sail the Seine starting in March; 24-hour room service and in-suite butler service; and the inclusion of all port fees in the total charge of an all-inclusive cruise.

Cruising the Seine in Paris

Photo: iStock

River-centric AmaWaterways will launch its new cruise ship AmaKristina in late March, and the innovative ship is designed to cater to multigenerational groups with its connecting cabins and unique twin-balcony offerings. The line is also expanding its lineup of active river cruise departures in partnership with Backroads Active Travel, which specializes in biking, walking and hiking tours; adding more wine-cruise itineraries; and introducing a new tasting menu to the Chef’s Table restaurants in its European fleet. As seasoned river cruise travelers will tell you, the all-inclusive experience focused on the journey—not just the destination—is one of the top benefits of river cruising.

Tauck will relaunch five of its Jewel Class riverboats into Europe’s waterways in 2017 and 2018. The new cruise ships will have larger cabins, a reduction in overall capacity, a second onboard dining venue and more. In addition, Tauck is doubling the number of its Tauck Bridges family departures from 10 to 20, and adding a fourth family itinerary on a fourth river.

Munich, Germany

Photo: iStock

Ships in the Cunard® Line—the long world cruise lineage of which dates back to 1922—will travel 207,000 nautical miles and visit 93 destinations in 32 different countries in 2017. This will include many transatlantic crossings and themed cruises on the recently renovated Queen Mary 2, and a variety of unique world cruises in 2017 and beyond.

Disney Cruise Line continues to enhance its offerings for families and multigenerational cruisers. The line’s 2017 sailings provide a perfect example: They boast new itineraries and new ports for Alaska and Europe; two stops at Disney’s popular private island, Castaway Cay, on certain Bahamian sailings; twice as many sailings for Disney’s Star Wars Day at Sea celebration; and the continuation of two new offerings introduced on the Disney Wonder in late 2016—“Frozen, A Musical Spectacular” and Marvel Super Hero Academy.

Seabourn will inaugurate its new cruise ship, the Seabourn Encore, in Singapore in January 2017; the 600-passenger ship is destined to carry forward the luxury line’s lineage. (As will the Seabourn Ovation, due to arrive in 2018.) Seabourn is also returning to Alaska for the first time in 15 years come summer 2017.

The fun never seems to stop on Carnival Cruise Lines®, and that’s certainly true in 2017 and beyond. The highly successful Carnival LIVE concert series is better than ever in 2017, with country music all-stars such as Tim McGraw and Little Big Town and comedians such as Jay Leno and Jeff Foxworthy providing the entertainment. Carnival is also launching a unique two-week Alaska itinerary in September 2017, and will launch Carnival Horizon, the sister ship to 2016’s Carnival Vista, in 2018.

Following in the wake of its newest cruise ship—ms Koningsdam, in 2016—Holland America Line continues with varied innovations. In 2017, Holland America Line will celebrate 70 years of exploring Alaska; the line’s original land tours have evolved into the popular Land+Sea Journeys. New itineraries to Alaska and points around the world will continue in 2017 and beyond. The popular BBC Earth programming will be on all Holland America Line ships and the line will also be adding programming from Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum to the fleet.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises® introduced its newest luxury cruise ship, the Seven Seas Explorer®, in the summer of 2016, and it will continue to enhance its upscale reputation by completing a $125 million renovation program of the line’s other three ships in 2017. The renovated Seven Seas Navigator® will depart on a 128-night world cruise on Jan. 5. Regent’s unique, food-focused sister line, Oceania Cruises®, will embark on a 34-day circumnavigation of Australia on its newest ship, Sirena®, in early March 2017.

Royal Caribbean International®’s new, 5,479-passenger Harmony of the Seas® will reposition to North America in late 2016, alternating between western and eastern Caribbean itineraries. The line also has many new itineraries and ship deployments scheduled for 2017, as well as a new cruise ship scheduled for 2018 and several more in following years.

Over at sister line Celebrity Cruises®, 2017 cruise news includes year-round Caribbean sailings on Celebrity EquinoxSM (including a new Summer Camp at Sea program); an uptick in the number of cruises that visit the Galapagos, thanks to the addition of Celebrity Xploration and Celebrity Xperience voyages aboard Celebrity Xpedition®; new “Best of the Western Mediterranean” sailings on Celebrity Reflection®, the line’s newest cruise ship; and the addition of multi-day excursions and port stays.

In addition, the company’s boutique, destination-focused Azamara Club Cruises line and its recently renovated ships will sail to new ports in Grand Cayman, New Zealand, Seychelles and Mexico in 2017, upping its offerings to 65 voyages to 200 ports in 68 countries.

Given all of this, it’s easy to see why the cruise news for 2017 and beyond is better than ever.

AAA Travel Counselors are experts in all things cruising. Call 877-396-7159 or click the button at right to find out about the options and exclusive special offers available to AAA Members.

Get in Touch

Rose Stadt, AAA Travel Counselor, Vallejo, Calif.

More and more people want to customize their escorted trips with longer stays in certain cities or visits to specific sites. I make sure the independent pieces fit seamlessly with the tour.

© 1996–2018, AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah. All rights reserved  |  Terms & Conditions  |  Privacy Policy