10 New Cruise Ships and Amenities to Check Out

See how cruise lines are raising the bar with tech-savvy touches and improved luxury experiences.

By Gwen Pratesi, ContributorNov. 13, 2018
By Gwen Pratesi, ContributorNov. 13, 2018, at 12:01 a.m.
U.S. News & World Report

10 New Cruise Ships and Amenities to Check Out

View all in one page
1 of 11
New cruise ships
Credit

(Courtesy of ©PONANT)

You'll encounter high-tech design features, unique amenities and exciting itineraries on these intriguing new ships.

From the largest cruise ship in the world, Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas, to more intimate ships like the 18-suite Avalon Saigon, today's cruising options are all about customizing the experience. Celebrity Edge employs cutting-edge onboard technology while Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Bliss will appeal to kids of all ages. In the ultra-luxury market, Seabourn Ovation features world-class dining and a top-notch spa and wellness center, while French line Ponant debuted two new expedition ships in 2018. So, before booking your next vacation, explore the newest ships cruising has to offer.
New cruise ships
Credit

(Courtesy of Viking Ocean Cruises)

Viking Orion

The luxury 930-passenger Viking Orion, with staterooms that all have verandas, is named for its unique connection to space and exploration. The Explorers' Dome, located on the upper level of the Explorers' Lounge, is the first planetarium-like theater at sea and screens films such as "Journey to Space" and "Life Under the Arctic Sky." Cruisers can also enjoy lectures and stargazing sessions with the Viking Resident Astronomer. During your sailing, don't miss the one-of-a-kind Explorations in Space Collection, a tribute to the Apollo and Gemini astronauts. Curated by NASA, it highlights images captured by National Geographic photographers.
Next:

You'll encounter high-tech design features, unique amenities and exciting itineraries on these intriguing new ships.

From the largest cruise ship in the world, Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas, to more intimate ships like the 18-suite Avalon Saigon, today's cruising options are all about customizing the experience. Celebrity Edge employs cutting-edge onboard technology while Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Bliss will appeal to kids of all ages. In the ultra-luxury market, Seabourn Ovation features world-class dining and a top-notch spa and wellness center, while French line Ponant debuted two new expedition ships in 2018. So, before booking your next vacation, explore the newest ships cruising has to offer.

Viking Orion

The luxury 930-passenger Viking Orion, with staterooms that all have verandas, is named for its unique connection to space and exploration. The Explorers' Dome, located on the upper level of the Explorers' Lounge, is the first planetarium-like theater at sea and screens films such as "Journey to Space" and "Life Under the Arctic Sky." Cruisers can also enjoy lectures and stargazing sessions with the Viking Resident Astronomer. During your sailing, don't miss the one-of-a-kind Explorations in Space Collection, a tribute to the Apollo and Gemini astronauts. Curated by NASA, it highlights images captured by National Geographic photographers.

Symphony of the Seas

Royal Caribbean's newest ship, Symphony of the Seas, is the world's largest, boasting more than 2,800 rooms. Innovative high-tech entertainment abounds, including Flight: Dare to Dream, a show with 3D flying technology; Battle for Planet Z, a laser tag battle with glow-in-the-dark action; and robotic bartenders at the Bionic Bar. For an unforgettable family vacation, book the 1,346-square-foot Ultimate Family Suite. This two-level suite can accommodate eight guests and features a floor-to-ceiling LEGO wall, an in-suite slide, a private cinema and a personal Royal Genie to make every cruising wish come true.

Avalon Saigon

Avalon Waterways' newest ship, Avalon Saigon, cruises the Mekong River to and from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Equipped with just 18 suites, Avalon Saigon and its sister ship, Avalon Siem Reap, are the only two ships able to sail this itinerary. It's also one of just three ships capable of sailing directly into Siem Reap, Cambodia. Experience close-up views of daily life in the Mekong Delta from your suite, complete with 14-foot panoramic sliding glass doors, or on the ship's open-air deck. The cruise ship also offers immersive excursions in Vietnam and Cambodia. After hours or a full day of exploring, enjoy authentic regional cuisine paired with complimentary wines back on the ship.

Celebrity Edge

Celebrity Cruises' latest fleet addition is the first in a series of new Edge Class ships. Celebrity Edge aims to redefine the line's modern luxury brand by incorporating impressive technological elements throughout. For example, guests can use a touch screen to control in-room lighting and temperature as well as order services. You'll also find plenty of fun onboard experiences, including live performances at The Theater. What's more, Celebrity Edge boasts The Magic Carpet, the world's first cantilevered platform (complete with seating, a bar and performance space) that travels up and down the side of the ship, affording spectacular views of the ocean.

Norwegian Bliss

Norwegian Cruise Line's latest addition stands out for being able to successfully cater to both adults and kids. The 4,004-passenger Norwegian Bliss features 16 cocktail lounges, breweries and wine bars, as well as nightly musicals, themed shows and parties. The ship is also home to the Mandara Spa and the Observation Lounge, which offers 180-degree panoramic views that are spectacular at sunset. Activities for kids are abundant as well – Norwegian Bliss offers the largest racetrack at sea, an aqua park with a tandem slide that hangs over the ocean and an intergalactic-themed laser tag arena.

ms Nieuw Statendam

Holland America's newest vessel, the 2,666-passenger ms Nieuw Statendam, is the second of three Pinnacle Class ships. The interior is inspired by the curves of musical instruments and houses an impressive collection of art from more than 150 acclaimed international artists. The ship offers numerous not-to-be-missed experiences: These include educational programming by BBC Earth Experiences, the Rolling Stone Rock Room (a live music venue), and BLEND by Chateau Ste. Michelle, where you can learn to blend your own wine.

Seabourn Ovation

The elegant 600-passenger Seabourn Ovation is the latest addition to Seabourn's fleet and the sister ship to Seabourn Encore. The line's commitment to an ultra-luxurious cruising experience results in sweet perks aboard the ship: The all-suite accommodations feature fresh fruit, chilled Champagne (available throughout the cruise) and a fridge stocked with your choice of beverages. The ship's five dining venues provide tasty cuisine and unique experiences – from tableside Caesar salad preparations to complement steak and seafood to international selections served under the stars. Plus, cruisers can take time to recharge at the Spa and Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil enrichment program, the only holistic and wellness curriculum like it at sea.

AmaLea

AmaWaterways' newest ship, the 156-passenger AmaLea, cruises the Danube River, passing picturesque vineyards, lush hillsides and ancient castles. The ship sails the Iconic Christmas Markets itinerary in November and December, a popular journey that stops in European cities known for their festive displays. In addition to unique itineraries, the AmaLea offers distinct features, such as dual panoramic balconies (available in most staterooms and suites), a sundeck with a walking track and a heated pool complete with a swim-up bar. Travelers can also enjoy a mix of evening entertainment in the ship's bright and spacious public spaces and lounge.

MSC Seaview

MSC Cruises' newest ship was designed explicitly for Mediterranean and South America itineraries. The ship combines more indoor and outdoor areas than other vessels in the fleet, giving guests additional opportunities to view the region's scenic seas and ports of call from the ship. These venues include the Waterfront Boardwalk; the Forest Aquaventure and Adventure Park, featuring a 367-foot waterslide; and, at 16 stories above the sea, a glass Bridge of Sighs with sweeping views of the ocean. MSC Seaview also incorporates innovative technology with the MSC for Me app. With the app, guests can interact with the crew or book dinner reservations via phone, tablet or bracelet.

Le Lapérouse

French cruise line Ponant launched two new luxury expedition ships in 2018, Le Lapérouse and Le Champlain. Both are part of the expanding Explorers series and offer just 92 staterooms and suites, all with balconies overlooking the sea. Outside the cabins, cruisers on Le Lapérouse can check out Blue Eye, a high-tech multisensory underwater lounge where guests can view marine life while relaxing and listening to aquatic acoustics. Resembling a private luxury yacht rather than an ocean liner, this ship sails to destinations where larger ships can't go, including Antarctica, Papua New Guinea and the North Pole. To read more about cruises and find the best cruise for you, check out the 2019 Best Cruise Lines rankings from U.S. News »
1 of 11

Gwen Pratesi, Contributor

Gwen Pratesi is a James Beard Finalist in Journalism, award-winning food and travel writer, ...  Read more

Recommended

The 16 Best San Diego Tours

Take advantage of the adventures this coastal city has to offer with a guided trip.

Lyn MettlerJune 24, 2019

12 Top Napa Valley Wineries to Visit

Set your sights on these can't-miss wineries during your next visit to California's wine country.

June 24, 2019

The 6 Best Denver Brewery Tours

Discover the buzz about Denver's craft beer scene with these tours.

Holly JohnsonJune 21, 2019

The 10 Best Charleston Walking Tours

Experience true southern hospitality as you explore Charleston on one of these strolls.

Claire LawtonJune 20, 2019

The 15 Best Charleston Tours

See everything this historic South Carolina city has to offer on one of these guided excursions.

John RodwanJune 19, 2019

The 5 Best Kauai Helicopter Tours

See the Garden Island's far-reaching beauty from the air.

Holly JohnsonJune 14, 2019

The 6 Best Las Vegas Helicopter Tours

Get a thrilling look at the lights and sights of Sin City and its surroundings with one of these tours.

Holly JohnsonJune 13, 2019

20 Road Trip Essentials for Your Vacation

These road trip must-haves can help you save money, travel more comfortably and ensure you stay safe on the open road.

Holly JohnsonJune 13, 2019

13 Top Charlottesville Wineries to Visit

Sip a glass of Virginia's signature viognier as the sun sets over the Blue Ridge Mountains.

June 12, 2019

The 16 Best Seattle Tours

Explore the Emerald City's natural beauty and urban offerings with these guided excursions.

Lyn MettlerJune 12, 2019