Cruise ship order book: showcasing innovation

The first half of 2023 will see new cruise ships debut with innovative designs, spaces and technologies

Cruise ship order book: showcasing innovation
China Merchants Heavy Industries is currently completing the construction of Ocean Albatros at its shipyard in China

By Alex Smith |

Entering 2023, cruise shipbuilders are set for a busy period of deliveries. A total of 12 new vessels are expected to join the worldwide cruise fleet in the first half of this year, ranging from large oceangoing vessels such as MSC Cruises’ 4,888-passenger MSC Euribia to Amadeus River Cruises’ 158-guest river cruise ship Amadeus Riva. A host of new innovations will be appearing onboard these vessels, providing passengers with unique experiences and enhancing operational efficiency. 

Among the most significant new additions will be Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Viva, the second of its six planned Prima-class ships. Like its sister ship Norwegian Prima, the vessel is being built by Fincantieri in Marghera, Italy, and will be able to accommodate up to 3,219 guests. Norwegian Viva will feature Ocean Boulevard, the 44,000-square-foot outdoor walkway, which wraps around the entire ship; the Indulge Food Hall, featuring 11 dining venues; the Infinity Beach pool area; and Oceanwalk, where glass bridges will span the water below.  

“Norwegian Viva sets the standard in the premium segment, illustrating our commitment to pushing boundaries in four main areas: wide open space, service that puts guests first, thoughtful design and experiences beyond expectation,” said Harry Sommer, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line. “We have taken everything our guests love to the next level with this brand-new class of ships designed with them in mind.” 

Also making its debut will be Seabourn’s second expedition ship, Seabourn Pursuit, which will begin sailing in April after delivery from T. Mariotti. Like its sister ship Seabourn Venture, Seabourn Pursuit has been designed and built to Polar Class 6 standards and will be able to travel to destinations in different environments across the world. Guests will be able to explore these destinations using two custom-built submarines, a complement of double sea kayaks, or the 24 Zodiac rigid inflatable boats kept onboard.  

SunStone Ships will be taking delivery of its sixth Infinity-class vessel, Ocean Albatros, from China Merchants Heavy Industries in the spring. The ship will be chartered to Albatros Expedition in May, joining sister ship Ocean Victory. Like its predecessor, the newbuild will include a total of 95 staterooms and suites, all of which will offer an unobstructed sea view, as well as two restaurants, a wellness area, an Albatros Nordic Bar and a modern lecture lounge. However, unlike Ocean Victory, Ocean Albatros will also introduce a new panorama sauna and 12 dedicated solo travel cabins. 

In the river cruise sector, German operator Amadeus River Cruises will be welcoming Amadeus Riva to its fleet in spring after taking delivery from TeamCo Shipyard in Heusden, the Netherlands. The ship will accommodate up to 158 passengers in a total of 12 suites and 67 exterior cabins across four decks. Onboard spaces will include a dining lounge, The Panorama Restaurant, along with the open-air River Terrace bar on the ship’s bow, a wellness area with massage, hairdressing and fitness rooms, and a sun deck featuring a lounge and outdoor restaurant. Amadeus Riva will also incorporate an updated engine design that will reduce its carbon dioxide emissions, as well as a newly developed air filtration system with two-stage purification. 

Swan Hellenic’s third and largest ship, SH Diana, is scheduled to be delivered by Helsinki Shipyard in early 2023. To be operated by a crew of 140, SH Diana will accommodate up to 192 guests in 96 staterooms and suites. Building on the design of its predecessors SH Minerva and SH Vega, the ship will feature a new multifunctional room next to the Observation Lounge, a private dining room for special occasions and two tenders as an alternative to Zodiacs for expedition landings. Like its sister ships, SH Diana will use a diesel-electric hybrid-ready propulsion system with selective catalytic reduction and will feature a Polar Class 6 ice-strengthened hull. 

Oceania Cruises’ Vista will be a significant new addition to the cruise line’s fleet when it begins sailing in May, introducing a range of new onboard spaces for the brand. For example, the Grand Staircase will feature a floor-to-ceiling pillar of crystal at its centre, while the reimagined Martinis bar will offer gathering spaces surrounded by walls of glass and custom sculptural lighting. The Grand Lounge will allow guests to enjoy dinner inside alcoves decorated with a gold-infused colour palette and sculptural lighting, whereas the Horizons lounge will feature floor-to-ceiling windows that provide 180-degree views of the ocean. The ship will also have four new restaurants, along with a Library and Owner’s Suites styled in furnishings from Ralph Lauren Home.  

“Ten years have passed since we delivered Riviera to our friends at Oceania Cruises, from the same Sestri shipyard,” said Luigi Matarazzo, general manager of the merchant ships division at Fincantieri, which is building the vessel. “I am sure that Vista will give life to a new class of ships that will stand out for its refinement and technological advances.” 

MSC Group’s cruise division will welcome a new ship to its MSC Cruises brand in June 2023, MSC Euribia. The ship is currently under construction at Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, and will be the brand’s second LNG-powered vessel. Using this fuel will reduce the ship’s greenhouse gas emissions by up to 20 per cent. MSC Euribia will offer 10 dining venues, including the new Indochine restaurant, and 21 bars, as well as an enhanced MSC Yacht Club with a panoramic lounge, gourmet restaurant and private pool. It will also feature hull artwork created by German artist Alex Flaemig, who won an international competition with a design representing the underwater ecosystem. 

“Just as the ancient goddess harnessed the winds, weather and constellations to master the seas, our vision is for MSC Euribia to master the deployment of sustainable technologies to protect and preserve our precious marine ecosystem,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Group’s cruise division. 

Readers can see the full table of notable orders up to 2025 on page 115.

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. Subscribe to Cruise & Ferry Review for FREE here to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox or your door.

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