Cruise order book: Building new experiences

Alex Smith reports on a busy second half of 2022 for cruise shipbuilding

Cruise order book: Building new experiences
P&O Cruises’ Arvia is under construction at German shipyard Meyer Werft ahead of its delivery in December

By Alex Smith |

Shipbuilders are continuing to ramp up their operations as cruise lines introduce a flurry of new vessels in the second half of 2022. Both new entries into existing series of ships and vessels with entirely original designs make up the order book, providing a glimpse into the future ocean and river cruise experiences guests can expect to enjoy. 

Viking Group is one of the main drivers during this busy period, with three ships still scheduled to join its fleet this year following Viking Mars’ delivery in May. A second expedition ship, Viking Polaris, will enter service in August after delivery by VARD and will be identical to its sister ship Viking Octantis (which began sailing in January 2022), while Viking Neptune will be the eighth to join Viking’s series of identical ocean ships following completion of work at Fincantieri’s Ancona shipyard.  

However, the cruise line will be introducing a new design with river cruise ship Viking Mississippi, currently undergoing final construction at Edison Chouest Offshore’s LaShip shipyard in Houma, Louisiana. While inspired by Viking’s river and ocean ships, the five-deck ship has been designed specifically for the Mississippi River, with expansive windows, private verandas or French balconies for all staterooms, and an Explorer’s Lounge, which previously only featured onboard Viking’s ocean fleet. 

Also making her debut on the Mississippi will be American Cruise Lines’ American Symphony, the fifth in the river cruise line’s modern riverboat series to be constructed by Chesapeake Shipbuilding. Like its sister American Melody, the ship will feature interiors designed by Studio DADO. A four-storey glass atrium will provide panoramic views of the river, as will the 91 staterooms, all of which will include a balcony. A sixth and final modern riverboat, American Serenade, will also be joining the fleet at the start of 2023. 

P&O Cruises will introduce the second of its Excel-class ships, Arvia, in December 2022 after delivery from Meyer Werft. The 16-deck ship will have capacity for 5,200 passengers and feature a new design for the Grand Atrium created by Jennifer de Vere-Hopkins of Jestico + Whiles design studio. The ship will also feature the first-ever rum distillery at sea, which will produce a unique blend developed by partners Tidal Rum. Another first will be the ship’s escape room experience, Mission Control, developed by German-based technology company Tennagels. Like its sister ship Iona, Arvia will be powered by LNG fuel. 

“Arvia will be our second ship to be powered by LNG as part of P&O Cruises ongoing commitment to sustainable travel,” said Paul Ludlow, president of P&O Cruises. “Other world-class environmentally friendly innovations include shore power connectivity and the latest technology for its four main engines. Our guests will enjoy holidays on Arvia, as they have done and continue to do on Iona and on the other ships in the P&O Cruises fleet.” 

Carnival Cruise Line will also take delivery of the second of its series of LNG-powered cruise ships, Carnival Celebration, from Meyer Turku in November. Like her sister ship Mardi Gras, the vessel will feature six distinct zones, each of which will offer a selection of dining venues, bars and lounges. These will include The Gateway, a new area over two decks celebrating the excitement of travel, and Miami-themed zone 820 Biscayne. Staterooms have also been updated with a new look, while the ship’s three-deck-high atrium will feature a ceiling that appears as a burst of confetti made of around 1,400 colour-changing light fixtures.  

“From a design perspective, we are incorporating elements from our former ships, paying homage to the history of Carnival, and also showcasing Carnival Celebration as a modern, innovative and forward-looking vessel,” said Ben Clement, senior vice president of newbuilds, refurbishment and product innovation at Carnival. “While similar to Mardi Gras with a plethora of options for dining, entertainment and relaxation, Celebration will have her own personality, one that celebrates all things Carnival, intertwining where we have been with where we are going.” 

Looking forward to the start of next year, Seabourn’s Seabourn Pursuit will be the second of two new ships to join the luxury cruise line’s fleet when she enters operation in April 2023, following the delivery of Seabourn Venture in June 2022. Designed to Polar Class 6 standards and constructed by T. Mariotti, the two ships will be capable of travelling to a range of diverse environments, which guests can explore using two custom-built submarines, a complement of double sea kayaks, or one of the 24 Zodiacs kept onboard. Among the spaces featured onboard will be The Discovery Center, where natural history and cultural programming will be presented by a 26-person expedition team, and the Expedition Lounge, where guests can relax with a cocktail or glass of wine.  

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