Cruises In 2016: A Year Of Bigger, More Innovative Launches
Last year ended with the launch of the third-largest cruise ship in the world, Norwegian Escape. It was a year in which six new ships, including the biggest for the UK, Britannia, set sail, increasing cruise passenger capacity by a total of 15,700.
This year, the cruise ship boom is almost doubling. Eleven new-build ships, adding 30,700 berths, will be leaving their shipyards. Ovation of the Seas and Genting World are bound for the Far East, while AidaPrima, AidaTui and Mein Schiff 5 are destined for the German-speaking market.
The ship making the biggest splash in 2016 is Harmony of the Seas, for 5,497 passengers, making its maiden voyage in May. A cruise ship of superlatives, it will be the world's largest, with the tallest water slide, the Ultimate Abyss, plunging passengers down 10 decks.
Another resort-ship, Carnival Vista for 4,000 passengers, marks the return of Carnival 'fun ships' to Europe in May. It promises the first Imax Cinema and the first SkyRide (pedalos on rails) at sea.
At the other end of the scale, Regent Seven Seas Explorer, launching in July, and Seabourn Encore, in December, will carry 750 and 600 passengers respectively. All-inclusive Explorer backs up its claim to be 'the most luxurious ship ever built' with a high space/passenger ratio.
Seabourn Encore, with a private yacht feel, has an emphasis on attentive service. Its maiden voyage is from Athens to Dubai, departing on December 4.
Also on the small side by today's standards, Viking Sea (925 passengers) joins Viking Star, launched last year, both ocean ships from the river cruise company, with sleek decor, free Wi-Fi and excursions and balconies for all.
Koningsdam (2,650 passengers), the new flagship for Holland America Line, will offer classical music recitals in partnership with New York's Lincoln Centre, when it launches in April.
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This article was written by Caroline Hendrie from The Independent and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.