More significantly for us and our loyal clients, those orders are not just the new megaships for such lines as MSC, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, NCL and more, with capacities up to 5,000, but also a huge range of smaller ships including luxury, expedition, and a new type of hybrid of the two.
With Seabourn's recent announcement, the ultra luxury purpose-built expedition vessel becomes an even more competitive category. Initial details of the vessels, due to launch in June 2021 and May 2022 respectively, indicate a design vision consistent with the existing classic fleet (under the auspices of Adam Tihany), combined with a PC6 ice-strengthened hull, advanced manoeuvering technology, a professional expedition team permanently on board, and two custom-built 6-guest submarines. Zodiacs, mountain and e-bikes, scuba diving, snorkelling and kayaks will all enhance the active nature of a trip on one of these lovely ships, the first of which will be named Seabourn Venture.
With a capacity of 264, the Seabourn vessels will be a little larger than Crystal's offering - Crystal Endeavor will launch in August 2020, with a capacity of 200, whilst the first of Hapag-Lloyd's new expedition ships will carry 230.
In all of these cases we can expect the space and hospitality of the very best in luxury cruise, combined with the technology and expertise of the ultimate in expedition.
Also claiming that it will be in this category is the long-delayed Scenic Eclipse, although the cost of the build (at $622,807 per berth, against Crystal's $1,000,000 for example) suggests otherwise, whilst the SeaDream Innovation, at $886,363 per berth, also promises to offer very high standards and expedition capabilities.
Whilst not promising such a lavish hotel operation, the new fleet of pretty Ponant Explorer ships (184 guests, at $706,521 per berth) is well underway, offering a range of very unusual and appealing itineraries around the globe. Hayley, Cathy and Georgia have all spent a few days on board Le Bougainville recently, so give them a call to learn more!
If you're looking for a fantastic expedition experience but not such high levels of luxury, we have Aurora's extraordinary Greg Mortimer, Hurtigruten's larger hybrid vessels, and a couple more from the Sunstone stable and Quark Expeditions.
Maybe hopping in and out of zodiacs is not for you - fear not! Your needs are being served also. The first of Ritz-Carlton's Yacht Collection will launch next February, with a capacity of just under 300, lots of space and some interesting dining options. At the same time we see another new Regent vessel counting down to launch in Spring 2020, the Seven Seas Splendor, with a capacity of 738, whilst from Silversea, Silver Moon (capacity 596) is due in Autumn 2020 and sister Silver Dawn in Autumn 2021.
In the premium market, Viking continues to thrive, with no fewer than ten ships on the order book through until 2027. More exciting for we Brits, we think that Saga's two new babies, Spirit of Discovery this year and Spirit of Adventure next, will transform the face of ex UK cruising with new upmarket 'small' (under 1,000 passengers) ships.
Last of all, and I have to mention this because I find it so intriguing, Virgin Voyages' funky Scarlet Lady launches next year as the first of a small fleet of vessels which will, according to Virgin, appeal to that elusive 'don't do cruises' consumer with what they call a 'Festival at Sea'. We'll keep you posted!