View the 19 incredible new cruise ships and 6-star brands to hit the water in 2023
Nineteen new ocean-going cruise ships are set to make their debut in 2023, to add 38,000 new berths, according to the Cruise Ship Orderbook by Cruise Industry News.
It is rare indeed that a new brand is launched. Last year, just to recap, we saw two, the first new 6-star brands in 20 years.
New in 2022
Atlas World Voyages
200 pax. 130 Crew
World Navigator & Traveler
Atlas World Voyages currently have a two ship expedition fleet that are simply stunning. They will eventually grow to have 5 ships. They have struggled as a new brand after the restart of the industry and cancelations have been high which has deterred some potential customers. Once they get their sea legs they will definitely be worth considering for expedition regions at prices well below the established players.
300 pax - 200 crew
Two sister ships are due in 2024 and 2025.
Explora - MSC Corp
1400 Passengers - 650 Crew
In addition to Ritz Calton and Atlas, this year will see yet another new 6-star brand - Explora 1 is the first in a series of four MSC EXPLORA-class expedition ships, with sisters Explora 2 (2024), Explora 3 (2025) and Explora 4 (2026).
MSC has been experimenting with the luxury end of the market with their ship within a ship concept called the Yacht Club.
This has been very successful but the ultra-wealthy simply won't be tempted onto 5000 pax ships, even if there is a high-security barrier between the general population. So it will be interesting to see if they can get their teeth into the high dollars at the top end on purpose-built ships.
The problem for them is that although they have some incredible new and innovative mega-ships in their fleet. They also have incredibly bad pre and post-customer service. Something wealthy customers simply will not put up with. I have heard they are setting up dedicated res teams. But if the other back office departments stay the same as their existing brands they will struggle.
Additionally, the pax capacity is almost 3 times that of the other high-end brands, and the crew compliment is about 1/3 instead of almost one-to-one on the ultra-premium lines. This suggests that unless they come in at significantly lower price points, they will have problems offering the level of service people expect at this level.
Watch this space.
264 passengers. 120 crew.
Sister ship to Venture
New to the fleet in 2023
Resilient Lady and Brilliant Lady
Virgin Voyages will add two more ships this year. Bringing them to four in total. Which gives them a critical scale. Their first two ships are having a refresh of cabins that I think might see them rectify some of the initial feedback for things like the lack of drawers and the sofa-by-day, the bed-by-night concept which was a rather odd move, driven largely by employing designers without any nautical experience. The ridiculously small pool is something they won't easily be able to fix how ever. What were they thinking?
Resilient Lady is due to launch in May and I have booked a big group of 100 to sail from Athens to Dubai in October. Get in touch if you'd like to join us. I am pleased to see that the decor of public areas and cabins has been toned down and is more conservative. Virgin, although marketed at a younger demographic, have finally realized that the people who have the time and money to book longer voyages, which is where the money is, are 50+ year-olds, not the 20-somethings they thought would be new converts to cruising. regardless the new interiors are a welcome change.
5400 passengers - crew 1735
Enough said. There is a place and time for mega-ships, but to our mind, we think your money is better spent with Royal Caribbean.
728 passengers and 556 crew
Enter a new world of cruising aboard Silver Nova. Her revolutionary asymmetrical design, vast open areas, and more space than ever before is just the beginning. Her pioneering structural innovations, make sure that every outdoor area aboard Silver Nova brings sweeping, unobstructed views, so you can enjoy that wow moment time after time.
7600 passenger. Crew 2350.
The king of the mega ships. Much better service and entertainment than NCL and Carnival. Not for everyone. But insanely good for families ex Florida and not unlike a trip to vegas, great for a week.
3200 pasengers and crew 1388 crew
Viva - the second Prima-class vessel, the Norwegian Cruiseline Line Group
NCL has been building bigger and bigger, more garish ships over the last decade. The Prima class is reset for the brand to smaller mid-size and truly revolutionary ships with a much more modern, contemporary, and dare I say sophisticated decor than the old loud and brash vibe. They have even toned down their hideous hull art to something almost stylish.
Like MSC Shoreside, they too are one of the first to return to the water's edge. Not since the mega ships did away with the long wide promenades of the old ocean lines have passengers been able to enjoy being so close to the ocean waves, which I'm sure we will see introduced across many new builds in the coming years.
This is one brand I have avoided for a long but I must admit that their interiors are simply stunning and I want to cruise with them to see if the service and food have also become as refined as the decor.
Sadly these two new Prima class ships are assigned to the northern hemisphere at this stage, predominately in USA waters. And for the moment Australian cruisers have to put up with their older and dated ships which we do not recommend.
Regent Seven Seas
700 passengers and 542 crew
Sister ship to Splender that was launched in 2020, their advertising claims to be the most luxurious ship in the world. That is one bold claim when you are up against the new builds of Silversea and Ritz Carlton. I've been on most of them and each has signatures that will appeal to different demographics.
Like Splender, Grandeur will also boast a Regent Suite, which sleeps six and costs on average $US12,000 (approx. $A16,000) a night. It's kitted out with ornate artifacts, bespoke furniture, a grand piano, a glass-enclosed solarium, a personal sauna, a steam room, and spa treatment area, plus a giant wraparound balcony with a whirlpool. Regent Suite guests have a dedicated butler, access to the ship's "secret" dining room, and a personal car with a driver and guide in every port.
Up until Splendor Regent had a staid country club, an old-world vibe that appealed to an older clientele. Like almost all brands, even the budget ones like MSC and NCL above, there appears to be a race to transition to clean and sharp lines and sophisticated decor. This is really going to change the Regent brand significantly and attract a younger passenger mix.
If you are keen to sail on one of these incredible new builds, the biggest sale season in the industry is usually February. But we expect to have new discounts dropping almost weekly over the first weeks of the new year.
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Visit www.fablastminutecrusies.com for the latest discounts on all of these brands.