Thursday 7 July 2016
What’s new on the big blue!
What’s new on the big blue!
Cruise lines battle to rule the waves with incredible new ships, sights, delights and destinations
From sky-diving simulators and top deck picnic lawns to planetariums and vertical-drop water slides, cruise ship design has reached a whole new level as shipping companies go to extremes to attract passengers. Now the cruise giants are battling to offer the best incentives to book early for 2017 with ‘free flights, buy one cruise fare get one half price, free upgrades, free drinks packages and lots more. Cruising is becoming increasingly popular with Irish holidaymakers with over 35,000 people expected to hit the high seas by the end of 2016. According to top Irish cruise agency e-travel, it is the fastest-growing sector of the holiday market and with some clever planning, there are now some great bargains on the big blue!
2016 has been a good year so far for Irish travel bookings and sales are up as much as 46% for some agents with many holidaymakers cruising the luxury end of the market. Cruise ships are often referred to as floating hotels and in some cases they are more like floating cities. You can choose the massive ships like Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas, the $1Billion largest ship in the world, or smaller intimate river cruises which carry less than one hundred passengers. Some of the new ships and destinations on offer for 2017 from Irish leading cruise agency e-Travel include:
1. In May 2017 MSC will launch MSC Meraviglia which will become the largest ship in the world (beating Oasis, Allure and Harmony of the Seas), holding a maximum capacity of 5,700 passengers and 1,536 crew members. The ship will feature Cirque de Soleil at sea, The Carousel Lounge - a circular performance space with a 180° circular glass wall and a Mediterranean-style indoor promenade, which will feature an 80-meter LED "sky" that changes throughout the day. It will be the social centre of the ship, featuring shops, restaurants and bars. It will also be home to the nightly parades with the ship's onboard performers. The ship will also have a double-deck indoor amusement park and a double-deck aft lounge and entertainment space.
2. Modern luxury cruise brand Celebrity Cruises will have five award-winning ships in Europe for 2017-2018 – Celebrity Reflection, Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Eclipse and Celebrity Silhouette. The premium line’s richest season yet offers 86 overnights in 24 vibrant cities and four double overnight stays in Europe. New for Celebrity Cruises, Celebrity Eclipse will take guests to one of the premier sporting events of the year: The French Open. This holiday includes VIP tickets to the men’s and women’s final matches.
3. Popular Cruise Line Royal Caribbean International will be bringing their Freedom of the Seas Ship to Europe for the 1st time sailing from Barcelona for Summer 2107. Freedom of the Seas is one of the most popular ships with Irish People cruising in the Caribbean because it has incredible features such as a Rock Climbing Wall with eleven routes up; a spectacular FlowRider, a waterpark, cantilevered stretching out over the ocean and the magical DreamWorks experience for families.
4. Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has announced its ground-breaking summer 2017 deployment for Europe that, for the first time in company history, features five ships sailing in European waters in the summer season. Highlights of the new itineraries include cruises to the Baltic Capitals on Norwegian Getaway from Copenhagen and a first ever complete season from Hamburg on Norwegian Jade, with embarkation for those cruises also available in the UK and Amsterdam. In addition to the European sailings, Norwegian also revealed details on Norwegian Escape’s 2017 summer cruises to the Caribbean from Miami.
5. The 40,000-ton Silver Muse arriving in Spring 2017 will be the largest ship in the Silversea fleet and the first vessel in a new three-ship class. Silversea describes the intimate 596-passenger ship as a step toward "ultra-luxury ocean cruising." It will feature all-suite accommodations and a supper club-style specialty restaurant.