Whether you fancy gliding silently through icebergs off western Greenland, viewing vineyards in Northern Portugal or getting up close to the animals in the Galápagos, you can on a new ocean or river ship this year. Incredibly, more than 40 new vessels are launching this year, between them offering some of the most breathtaking holidays ever. It’s been a tough choice but here are some of my 2020 favourites.
I want to… cruise the Mississippi
New Orleans is all about jazz – so how fitting that American Cruise Lines’ next new river boat will be called American Jazz and sail the Mississippi between New Orleans and Memphis. It’s a brilliant itinerary that dips into history, culture and music, with two nights in New Orleans at the start and two in Memphis, the home of Elvis, at the end.
I want to… go to the moon
No problem – as long as we are talking about Silver Moon. Another luxurious new ship from the Silversea stable, this time launching in August. She features all-suite accommodation, butlers for all and Silversea’s exciting new Sea and Land Taste (SALT) Programme that uses trips ashore and cooking demos on board to give you a taste – literally – of the food and culture of the countries you visit. Silver Moon will spend summer in the Mediterranean then follow the sun to the Caribbean and South America.
I want to… get away for Christmas
Saga read your mind. Their Canary Island Christmas voyage not only serves up sun over the festive period but you’ll be sailing on Spirit of Adventure, a new ship exclusively for the over-50s that launches in August and does boutique better than anyone. There are loads of single cabins, Italian and Nepalese restaurants and no extra charges for food or tips. The itinerary includes an open-air evening concert in Tenerife on Christmas Day and fireworks in Funchal on New Year’s Eve.
I want to… see Siem Reap
Can’t argue with that. The Khmer temples there are breathtaking – which is why APT includes several nights in the city, as well as tours to Angkor Wat and its sister sites, at the start or end of its Mekong River cruises. Go at the end of the year and you’ll cruise on the new AmaMekong, dine in its Indochine restaurant, which serves a delicious menu created by Australian Vietnamese chef Luke Nguyen, and be treated to an evening at Vietnam House, his excellent restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City.
I want to… go all inclusive
It has to be Regent Seven Seas Cruises, which not only covers everything you could ever want in the price (flights, transfers, excursions, meals, drinks, tips, Wi-Fi), but also has a new ship, Seven Seas Splendor™, debuting in February. Regent calls her ‘luxury perfected’ and she will be dazzling passengers with new cooking classes, unique excursions (underground flamenco anyone?) and lavish theatre shows. She’s sailing a great variety of cruises in Europe this summer, including a round-Britain voyage from Southampton in August.
I want to… stay in shape
Cue Uniworld’s Douro River cruise, which has walking tours around Porto and Salamanca, through vineyards in Foz Coa archaeological park so you can exercise off all the port wine you’ll be tasting for free. The cruises are on Sao Gabriel, a new ship launching in April with Uniworld’s unique maximalist look and suites with butlers. The cruise is a week sailing round-trip from Porto.
I want to… go exploring
Look no further than Hurtigruten’s new Fridtjof Nansen, which launches in April, spends summer in Iceland, Greenland and Norway, then heads to Antarctica for the winter. This is one eco-friendly ship thanks to a duel-fuel system that allows the main engines to be switched off now and then, leaving her to glide silently past icebergs or through fjords on electric power. An expedition team and science centre allow you to learn as you marvel at the majestic scenery.
I want to… taste wine with Olly Smith
Make a date with 5th September as that’s when P&O Cruises’ wine guru Olly Smith will be on new ship Iona as she sails from Southampton to the Norwegian fjords. When you’re not swirling, sniffing and sipping with Olly, there are fjords to admire, hikes to enjoy and a chance to learn about the Vikings in Stavanger’s Museum of Archaeology (spoiler alert: they were pretty brutal). Iona launches in May and will spend summer 2020 cruising to the Norwegian fjords.
I want to… go wild
That’s certainly on the cards on Silver Origin, Silversea’s new expedition ship in the Galápagos Islands, where you are guaranteed to get up close to wildlife. Marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, giant tortoises, sea lions; you’ll see them all – and more – at close quarters as the animals aren’t fazed by human visitors. Silver Origin arrives in the islands in August and will sail two different island-hopping itineraries from Baltra to San Cristóbal and vice-versa.