What were the best new cruise ships to launch in 2017?

We take a look at the innovative vessels that hit the waves for the first time this year
What were the best new cruise ships to launch in 2017?
World Dream was one of many newbuilds to launch in 2017 (Image: Dream Cruises)

By Rebecca Gibson |

Seabourn Encore
International recording artist and best-selling soprano Sarah Brightman officially named Seabourn Cruise Line’s Seabourn Encore in Singapore on 7 January. Modelled on Seabourn’s Odyssey-class ships, the 600-guest Seabourn Encore is the line’s fourth all-suite vessel and features an additional deck, expanded public areas, suites with private verandas, a rooftop sanctuary with private cabanas for spa treatments, and new restaurants Sushi and The Grill by Thomas Keller. All interiors were created by hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany.

Silver Muse
Silversea Cruises officially welcomed its new flagship Silver Muse with the help of His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco and godmother Constanza Lefebvre (daughter of Silversea chairman Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio) at Monaco’s Port Hercule in April. Built by Fincantieri, Silver Muse accommodates 596 passengers and features a swimming pool, an exclusive Zàgara Beauty Spa, a casino, a gym, a 327-seat theatre, eight dining venues and more large suites than any other Silversea ship.

MSC Meraviglia
The 5,714-guest MSC Meraviglia is the largest ever cruise vessel to be built by a European shipowner (STX France), and the biggest to enter service in 2017. Christened in Le Havre in early June, MSC Meraviglia has features including modular cabins, 12 dining venues, a Mediterranean-style indoor promenade, a three-deck MSC Cruises Yacht Club, an aqua park, a Himalayan bride where guests attach themselves to a rope a cross the ship, and a Carousel Lounge for hosting exclusive Cirque du Soleil shows.

Mein Schiff 6
Germany’s Port of Hamburg hosted the christening ceremony for TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 6 this June. Mein Schiff 6 is the fourth in a series of ships Meyer Turku has built for TUI, and accommodates 2,794 passengers in 1,267 cabins, 82% of which have balconies. The vessel also offers 13 restaurants, 13 bars and lounges, and much more.

Norwegian Joy
Boasting the industry’s first full-scale shipboard race track, 28 food and beverage outlets, an open-air laser tag course, immersive virtual reality experiences, two multi-storey waterslides and much more, Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Joy debuted in Shanghai, China this June. Built by Meyer Werft, the 3,883-guest Norwegian Joy is the line's first ship to be purpose-built for the Chinese market and its second Breakaway Plus vessel.

Built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries at its shipyard in Japan, AIDA Cruises’ AIDAperla was named by German model and presenter Lena Gercke in Spain in June. Designed as a sister to AIDAprima, the ship has 12 restaurants, 14 bars, the Body & Soul Organic Spa, the Four Elements park, and the Beach Club with a weather-resistant, UV-permeable foil dome. Another highlight is the Lanai Deck, which has infinity pools, glass elevators, two skywalks, LED technology, airframes and an interactive, floating globe for the entertainment programme.

Viking Sky and Viking Sun
Christened under the ‘midnight sun’ in Tromsø, Norway, Viking Sky joined the Viking Ocean Cruises fleet in June. London-based SMC Design and Los Angeles-based Rottet Studios created the ship’s interiors, including the all-veranda staterooms, suites, two pools and a traditional Scandinavian-style spa with a sauna and a snow grotto. Viking Sky also has energy-efficient engines and other advanced energy-saving technologies and a scrubber. Sister Viking Sun debuted in October 2017.

National Geographic Quest
Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic launched its first newbuild ship, the 100-guest National Geographic Quest, in June 2017. The new ship is designed for adventure, with onboard gear like sea kayaks, paddle boards, snorkelling equipment, and Zodiacs that are all available for exploring and fun.

Majestic Princess
Princess Cruises welcomed its first China-bound ship, Majestic Princess, to its fleet in Shanghai this July with the help of godparents and basketball stars Yao Ming and his wife Ye Li. Majestic Princess is the third ship in the line’s Royal-class ships and offers multiple new innovations for Asian travellers, such as speciality restaurants, karaoke suites and almost 1,100 square metres of luxury boutiques.

World Dream
This November, Dream Cruises named its second cruise ship, World Dream, at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal in Hong Kong. The 3,376-guest newbuild features 35 restaurants and bars, theatres, a climbing park, outdoor activities, virtual reality applications, Western and Asian spas, outer cabins with private balconies and Dream Palace. The ship is also equipped with a small deep-sea submarine and a motorboat for excursions.

MSC Seaside
MSC Cruises’ 4,140-guest MSC Seaside made history when she became the first of the line’s ships to be christened in the US on 21 December. Joining MSC Divina to sail year-round from Miami, MSC Seaside has two glass-floored catwalks, a 40m high ‘Bridge of Sighs’ waterfront boardwalk and the MSC for Me digital innovation programme. Guest can also enjoy a full-sized bowling alley, XD cinema, the longest zip line at sea, an aqua park with five water attractions, 11 dining venues and an extensive choice of indoor and outdoor dining venues.

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