These new cruise ships will splash into ocean waters in 2017, with huge outdoor movie screens, sauna-equipped balconies, death-wish water park slides and heart-stopping zip lines. The cruise industry has outdone itself with creative new ways to attract passengers, and these ships have some fun features designed to make your cruise exciting, interesting or just luxurious. Here is a preview of five fun features on new cruise ships for 2017.
#1 Seabourn Encore
This amazing yacht was launched in December 2016 in Athens, then cruised from Dubai to Singapore, the Great Barrier Reef, the Queensland coast and New Zealand. After its initial voyages in the Far East, it is scheduled to sail back to Dubai for Mediterranean deployment throughout 2017.
This is advertised as the most luxurious cruise ship in the world. It is Seabourn’s largest ship, carrying 600 passengers in 300 balcony suites. The interior is soft and sexy, with curved features of gleaming mahogany reminiscent of a luxury yacht. All the suites have walk-in closets and marble bathrooms.
Fun feature: In the Wintergarden suites, you can enter the solarium, slip into a bubble bath and enjoy panoramic ocean views from the tub. (Don’t do this while in port.)
#2 MSC Meraviglia (May-rah-VEE-lee-ah)
Due to launch in June, this impressive new vessel from MSC is 19 decks high with room for 5,700 passengers. For the summer of 2017, the ship will be cruising around the Mediterranean with stops in Italy, Malta, Spain and France. The Meraviglia has so many fun features, we don’t know where to begin.
An enormous indoor promenade – a shopping mall at sea – features a huge LED-screen “digital sky” that shows sunrises, sunsets, starry skies, auroras and fireworks. The stern pool becomes a dance floor at night, and there is an aft lounge with soaring floor to ceiling windows for amazing ocean views.
The Aqua Park features three twisting water slides, a splash pool and an adventurous “Himalayan Bridge” that allows passengers to cross the ship on ladders and swinging vines nearly 200 feet above the water.
Fun Feature: The amusement park area has a 4D cinema, full-sized bowling alley and a flight simulator. But the fun feature we like best is the Formula 1 virtual reality race car simulators, where you and a friend can sit in full-sized F1 cars and compete in a heart-thumping race around virtual speedways. Buckle up!
#3 Norwegian Joy
Norwegian Cruise Line is introducing a sister ship to the Norwegian Escape in the Breakaway Plus class. Don’t get excited; this is not a North American launch. The Joy is being built strictly for the Chinese market with Mandarin as its official language, and will sail from Shanghai and Beijing.
Although there are serene spaces on the ship, including a new Concierge class level with a private lounge and bar, there is a lot of action. A laser tag course on the top deck and the popular bumper cars in the Galaxy Pavilion will attract younger cruisers, along with virtual-reality roller coasters in the dark.
Fun Feature: The Norwegian Joy has a first-at-sea competitive race track where ten cruisers can compete in super fun electric go karts over a 6-minute double-decker track. At the end, you’ll get a photo of your triumphant finish. The always-thrilling Aqua Racer slide is another fun feature, though not unique to the Joy. The 360-foot water slide allows two passengers to race down the steep waterway side-by-side on inner tubes. Screaming is required.
#4 National Geographic Quest
The newest National Geographic-Lindblad exploration vessel is set to start Alaska coastal expeditions on May 14 with 100 passengers, naturalists, and other scientists in small-ship comfort. In the winter, the Quest will head to central America for cruises around Panama and the Sea of Cortez.
The small ship style of cruising allows for lots of social interaction between passengers and scientists, and the educational lectures are half the fun. Because of its size, the Quest can enter smaller waterways and inlets, and with onboard zodiacs and kayaks, passengers can get up close and personal with aquatic wildlife.
Fun Feature: Well, you’d have to consider education and exploration fun, but for adventurous travelers who like this sort of cruise, the Quest has spacious viewing decks and innovative exploration tools, including a SplashCam and a hydrophone that lets passengers look and listen beneath the waves.
#5 Viking Sky & Viking Sun
Yes, Viking Cruises has been busy this year sailing into ocean waters in addition to its original offerings of river cruises. In 2017, two new ocean-going vessels will be launched, the Sky and the Sun. These ships are luxurious, with all-balcony rooms to house 900 passengers in all-inclusive comfort.
Specialty dining onboard means that you can go to any onboard restaurant without additional cost, and the food is really spectacular. For foodies, Viking is the way to cruise. The Sky will be based in the Mediterranean, while the Sun has a more exotic itinerary.
Fun Feature: Cultural enrichment. Viking’s Culture Curriculum is an exclusive onboard program that highlights local history with fascinating lectures on history and art; wine tastings from your destination; restaurant menus inspired by local cuisine; folkloric shows and musicians playing regional music; and an onboard cooking school allowing guests to learn how to prepare local specialties.
Really Fun Feature: The Viking Sun has a World Cruise coming up in December, 2017. It sails from Miami to London, the long way – through the Caribbean, the Panama Canal, the South Pacific, Asia, the Mediterranean and the North Atlantic. Save your dollars for this budget-busting 141-day life-changing voyage. It will cost you.
Ready to have some fun at sea? You can wait for these ships to launch or you can start planning your dream cruise now. Visit Dunhill Travel Deals and find the best deal based on your destination, departure port, or favorite cruise line. You can even snag a deal on cheap last minute cruises!