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The new cruise ships of 2018

Looking back at the new ships of 2018

Published on 02 Apr 2019


Every year, we eagerly await the launch of our cruise line partner’s brand-new cruise ships. With so many advancements in technology and the wide variety of options and fantastic cruise deals available, it feels like every new ship brings something new and original to the cruise scene. In 2018, we saw the unveiling of five new ships, all with their own unique properties and voyages. In this article, we look at these new ships and their specifications in detail, discussing some of the incredible destinations in their travel itineraries and speaking to bloggers who have been lucky enough to be some of the first passengers aboard these magnificent vessels. 

The new cruise ships of 2018

Azamara Pursuit, Azamara

Azamara Pursuitwhich was launched in August by Azamara, is opening new doors to maiden ports, late nights and amazing experiences. With an occupancy of 694 people, you’ll be able to enjoy a quieter cruise experience that still has all of the perks of a larger vessel. 

Does Azamara Pursuit look familiar? Well, you’d be right! Before her refurbishment, she was Adonia, which was part of the P&O Cruises fleet. She completed her farewell voyage in 2017 and then was handed over to Azamara who gave her a substantial refit. 

Azamara Pursuit exudes exploration, just like the rest of the Azamara fleet. With the addition of this stunning new ship, Azamara is able to expand its range by 73 destinations, including 63 new overnight stays and 19 maiden ports. For the first time, Azamara will be pulling into Antofagasta in Chile, Lima in Peru and the Beagle Channel. Known for its stay-late cruises, Azamara is a fantastic choice for those of us who appreciate having as much time in port as possible. 

We chatted with Rene from Planet Traveller, “My trip was a short two nights from Southampton to Cherbourg, France and back. Having sailed on this class of ship before, Azamara Pursuit stood out by its contemporary yet cosy design and decor. My favourite spot is the newly created lounge on Deck 5 where the casino used to be. This space has become the heart of the ship to mix and mingle with fellow guests. I loved it and will be back for a longer sailing adventure soon.” 

We also chatted with Heather on Her Travels, “I’d previously enjoyed a week’s Mediterranean cruise with Azamara, but this was my first chance to see Azamara Pursuit and the new style decor that had already been introduced on the sister ships. I love the luxurious small ship cruising that you find on Azamara Pursuit, with a sophisticated but relaxed ambience.” 

Heather was also on the launch celebration cruise from Southampton, where guests were treated to a luxury evening, “I travelled aboard Azamara Pursuit with my husband on a short cruise as part of the launch celebrations. We stopped in Cherbourg, where we were treated to one of Azamara’s Az-Amazing Evenings. A French market had been set up for us with local cheeses, flowers and delicious patisserie to try and a Moulin Rouge style concert for an authentically French flavour.”

Finally, Heather explained what type of travellers should experience Azamara Pursuit, Azamara Pursuit is the ideal cruise ship for couples who want a luxurious experience onboard, while also getting to experience the destinations to the full through the Destination Immersion excursions. With around 700 guests onboard, the service is personal and the ship never feels crowded.” 

Gary from Tips for Travellers shared his experience, “I had a great time! Personally, I like smaller ships over larger cruise ships as I don’t always need all the facilities and features. The cruise went to small, unusual ports, although we also called in at some must-see, iconic ports as part of the mix. 

“We cruised in October between Venice and Athens, calling into a number of famous Greek islands like Santorini, Crete and Mykonos, as well as some less-visited places like Patmos and Gythion. This was the advantage of cruising on Azamara Pursuit, as it is a small ship it can go to more out-of-the-way places, away from all the crowds and the large cruise ships.” 

Finally, Gary told us what type of cruiser he would recommend Azamara Pursuit to, “Azamara Pursuit is best suited for travellers more interested in the destinations than a ship as a destination in its own right. Azamara Pursuit is not a resort ship with lots of features and a wide range of facilities. Its real focus is going to interesting places that larger ships cannot. There is a decent range of lounges and bars and the entertainment is by a small song and dance troupe rather than glitzy production shows. I would not recommend it for families as it doesn’t have a lot of facilities for children and teens. It is a more adult experience. 

Lastly, we spoke to award-winning cruise journalist Shipmonk, “I joined Azamara Pursuit for its christening in August 2018, sailing a two-day return voyage from Southampton to Cherbourg. 

“The ship is like a country house, with ornate vases on the staircases and lounge spaces named the Dining Room and Living Room. I enjoyed the cosiness and homeliness of the dark wood, thick carpets and leather armchairs. A voyage on Azamara Pursuit would best suit travellers who enjoy an authentic visit to their destinations. Those who like to get closer, stay longer and learn more, while spending their time onboard in old-wold comfort. 

Where you can travel on Azamara Pursuit

Chile

Spanning the length of South America, Chile’s offerings depend greatly on which part you visit. Santiago is Chile’s bustling capital city with excellent cuisine and a worldly culture located in the middle of the country. Move further north and you’ll encounter beautiful desert terrains, but move further south and you’ll be faced with stunning snow-capped regions of Andes and Patagonia.

Steph from Worldly Adventurer told us, “I spent over 2.5 years exploring the length and breadth of Chile and was struck by its epic diversity of landscapes and cultures at every turn. Patagonia has become an incredibly popular destination among travellers and it really does live up to the hype; those seeking more remote, lesser-travelled areas can still find them along the stunning national parks of the Carretera Austral and in Tierra del Fuego.

“Everyone should visit Chile because of these striking landscapes, many of which are a real treat for hikers or those who enjoy kayaking, rafting or other adventures. The vineyards are also a personal favourite (the Casablanca Valley for white and the Colchagua Valley for red), while Santiago is a surprising city; European in many aspects and packed with plenty of museums, parks and restaurants to keep you occupied for days.” 

Spain

A Mediterranean gem, Spain is a fantastic location for those who are looking to experience warmer climates and an amazing atmosphere. There is a reason Spain is such a popular destination for all travellers, so whether it’s amazing historic architecture or indulgent food you’re looking for, Spain can deliver. 

We spoke to Kim from Travelling Around Spain who told us about her experience, “I came to Spain years ago as a bit of an adventure and fell in love with the culture, the diversity and most of all, the open personality of the people. Each region of Spain is unique and offers a totally different experience from the next - from Celtic and Basque in the North to Roman and Visigoth throughout the centre and Arabic in the south. Quite often, each town has its own speciality craft or local dish that has been passed on through the generations and is still only known to that village, which makes exploring the country and its heritage an exciting adventure.” 

Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Cruises

Launched in December, Celebrity Edge from Celebrity Cruises is a large cruise ship with a difference. A brand-new addition to the fleet, Celebrity Edge doesn’t compromise on design. In fact, Celebrity Cruises teamed up with one of the world’s best designers to create this considered and well-designed ship. 

And it’s not just Celebrity Edge that’s new for Celebrity Cruises. Last year, Celebrity Cruises announced that they would be investing more than $500 million in a fleetwide refurbishment, starting with Celebrity Millennium. These refurbishments are currently underway and inspired by Celebrity Edge. This update will give the Celebrity Cruises fleet a facelift, with the updated design expected to appeal to a much more modern audience. 

As well as Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Cruises is also in the process of constructing Celebrity Flora, the first-ever cruise ship specifically designed for the Galapagos Islands, set to launch in May 2019. 

We chatted with Alicia Tenise who was lucky enough to be one of the first to step aboard Celebrity Edge, “We were on a preview trip, so we spent 48 hours on the ship. We technically sailed to Nassau but did not disembark.”

We asked Alicia what she thought of the trip, “It was amazing! The ship was very sleek and sophisticated and perfect for all generations of cruisers. I think the ship is best for couples and luxury cruisers. While there’s a minimal amount of activities for kids, I think families with children might be better suited on likes like Royal Caribbean International.” 

Where you can travel on Celebrity Edge

Greece

With thousands of islands to explore as well as the large mainland, it’s hard to argue that there is a better way to explore Greece than by sea. With amazing sunsets, excellent cuisine and rich in historical architecture, every island of Greece has a different story to tell and it’s up to you to find it. Whether you explore the mainland or go island-hopping, you’ll experience the warm, welcoming nature of the locals which will make you fall more in love with this idyllic country. 

Jennifer from World on a Whim told us about her experience in Greece, “On my first trip to Greece, I visited what I commonly refer to as the big three; Athens, Santorini and Mykonos. I was awed by the Acropolis, mesmerised by the sunset in Oia and pumped up from the adrenaline rush I felt driving a quad bike around the beaches of Mykonos. I thought that I had a decent understanding of what was on offer on a trip to Greece. However, this past trip, I attended a traditional Greek wedding on Karpathos, an island I had not heard of prior. I also got to explore the islands of Rhodes, Crete and Symi, each of which had entirely different landscapes. This experience not only helped me to appreciate just how diverse the islands of Greece are, but also left me with the utmost admiration for the strong cultural identity Greeks have toward their country as well as the centuries-old traditions that they continue to uphold.” 

Italy

Italy is incredibly popular for not only its simplistic, fresh and expertly crafted cuisine but also its fierce history. When you cruise to this indulgent country, you can explore some of the country’s most amazing cities, experience history that is thousands of years old and sample some of the best cuisines in the world. 

MS Roald Amundsen, Hurtigruten Expeditions

Over its 120 years of operation, Hurtigruten Expeditions has continued to expand its fleet with its token white, red and black ships. MS Roald Amundsen is the newest of the bunch and promises to be the most modern too. This new, state-of-the-art vessel is the first hybrid ship in the fleet and will use electrical propulsion to cut emissions. 

The low occupancy levels (only 530 passengers maximum) and state-of-the-art design mean you’ll never feel overlooked on this ship. All of the staff are incredibly attentive and knowledgeable. If you aren’t learning from them, you will be soaking up the Norwegian culture around the ship, as it is laced with artefacts and works of art pertaining to the Scandinavian country’s rich history. 

When you can travel on MS Roald Amundsen

Alaska

Home to impressive national parks, untouched wilderness and grand mountains, it’s fair to say there is no other state in the US like Alaska. Explore vast crystal glaciers weaving through icebergs on a paddleboard or channel your inner explorer on a wildlife excursion, marvelling at brown bears in Alaska’s hidden forests. 

Antarctica

Antarctica has a stunning untouched beauty like nothing else on the planet. An icy wilderness of grandeur, Antarctica offers rugged, snow-capped mountains and glass-like glaciers that span the continent. Nature doesn’t get any more remote and raw than this. 

Kach and Jonathan from Mr & Mrs Howe told us all about their experience cruising to this extraordinary destination, “Our Antarctica expedition cruise with Hurtigruten Expeditions onboard MS Midnatsol was much more than just a cruise; every day involved landing on and exploring new locations with expedition guides, polar researchers and wildlife photographers. The adventure started from the Chilean Fjords and over the course of 16 days navigated narrow channels all the way to Cape Horn before crossing the infamous Drake Passage to reach the Antarctic Peninsula. Every day saw a new alien landscape, that seemed totally isolated, yet home to massive populations of penguins, sea lions and many other amazing species.” 

Scenic Eclipse, Scenic Ocean Cruises

If you’re looking for luxury beyond your wildest expectations, Scenic Eclipse promises to deliver. This discovery yacht from Scenic Ocean Cruises has an almost 1:1 staff-to-guest ratio, amenities like no other and opulent experiences. The ship has been specially designed to withstand nature. With state-of-the-art fins, large stabilisers and ice-strengthened hull and more, Scenic Ocean Cruises put their guests’ safety above all else. 

However, this does not mean the ship’s features have been compromised. Onboard, as well as a range of food and drink establishments, Scenic Eclipse has a spa, multiple swimming pools, observation deck, terrace, helipad and onboard helicopter and even a submarine. 

Where you can travel on Scenic Eclipse

The Baltics

The Baltic States are a fairy-tale land where wishes do come true. Comprised of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, these magical countries each offer something unique and enchanting for the keen adventurer. Uncover spellbinding forests, charming medieval architecture, diverse cultures and age-old traditions in a land where time stands still.

Iceland

Iceland is an increasingly popular travel destination and it’s easy to see why. Escape to Iceland and marvel at its unruly volcanoes, take a load off at its world-famous spa resort and navigate its wild and remote landscapes, which are covered in snow during the winter. 

Becky from Global Grasshopper told us, “We explored the region for a week, starting with its quirky capital Reykjavik which is a great place to discover the region’s Viking past as well as some lively bars. We travelled to the Golden Circle, which is a famous part of Iceland known for its awe-inspiring natural attractions such as Pingvellir National Park in the geothermal area, which is also home to several lively geysers and Gullfoss, Iceland’s undisputed queen of waterfalls. 

“Our final stop was the Blue Lagoon, which draws curious spa-trippers from far and wide. Iceland possesses an almost unearthly beauty and makes a fantastic travel destination, especially during the winter when the snowy landscapes and northern lights are a photographer's dream.” 

Seabourn Ovation, Seabourn

Seabourn is well-versed in small-ship cruising and the new Seabourn Ovation is no exception to that. With 12 decks of refined luxury, Seabourn Ovation makes sure all of its 600 passengers are well catered to. With world-class dining venues and classic cruise ship facilities like a casino, spa and pool, you’ll have plenty to do between ports onboard.

Whilst you’re unwinding onboard, you’ll be able to experience guest classes with Dr Andrew Weil on mindful living, enjoy a pamper in the spa and take part in daily yoga and meditation sessions. As well as a great emphasis on mindfulness, Seabourn Ovation is great for those who like to focus on fitness whilst on holiday, with personal training and great equipment. Whilst in port, you can also take advantage of the onboard sports marina including kayaks, pedal boats and windsurfers. 

Where you can travel on Seabourn Ovation

Arabia

The Arabian Peninsula is a compelling region of the world full of unexpected treasures. From Sudan to Iran and everything in between, this eclectic mix of countries all bring something special to the table. Explore the futuristic architecture of the United Arab Emirates, lose yourself in the desert scape of Egypt or immerse yourself in Saudi Arabia’s spiritual riches. 

The Mediterranean

The Mediterranean offers a mixed bag of sights and experiences for the keen explorer. From discovering ancient ruins in Greece to admiring the charming architecture of Italy’s cities, you won’t find two destinations the same. 

Tom from Traveltomtom told us, “Cruising the Mediterranean for me was an eye opener as waking up in a different country every day was the best thing ever. It just felt like my hotel room was travelling for me while I was asleep! Having all the amazing dining options and entertainment within a minute's walk was super nice, but one of the best things about cruising was the sunsets and sunrises onboard. I never closed the curtains of my balcony room and waking up from the sunrise out on the open ocean was the best feeling to start my day.

“In just one week, I saw four different countries and five great tourist destinations in Europe. One day I was taking pictures with the leaning tower of Pisa, the other day I was on a wine-tasting tour in the French Riviera or hiking to the top of the Gibraltar Rock. The diversity that cruising has to offer was one of the best things I have experienced and I would do it again in a heartbeat.” 

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