Arvia will join sister ship Iona

The Amazing New Cruise Ships Setting Sail in 2021

A raft of new cruise ships is due to appear this year - with some of them delayed from 2020. Many are identical sisters to previous ships but they will still have their own distinct character. Here are the main newcomers


Words by Dave Monk

From rollercoasters to helicopters, new cruise ships will show off a host of exciting features in 2021, no doubt making up for lost time as they finally take to the water post-pandemic.

Ocean-going giants such as Carnival’s Mardi Gras and Iona from P&O Cruises will be joined by tall ships Golden Horizon and Sea Cloud Spirit, luxury yachts Evrima and World Navigator and polar explorers including Crystal Endeavor and Minerva.

Some were built last year but have not yet carried passengers because of the Covid-19 pandemic. While it is possible that further delays could still ensue, the industry is looking forward to the 2021 launches with optimism and enthusiasm. Here are the 2021 cruise ship launches you can look forward to.

Iona, P&O Cruises

Passengers: 5,200

The biggest ship built for the British-based line, Iona will offer 30 bars and restaurants, new menus by Marco Pierre White and what’s claimed to be the ‘best burger at sea’ - as well as its own gin distillery. The two-deck glass-topped SkyDome will be a pool area by day and a dining and entertainment venue at night, featuring aerial acrobatics shows.

Skydome Iona
Cruise Lines

Mardi Gras, Carnival Cruise Line

Passengers: 5,200

Daredevils will be able to enjoy the first rollercoaster at sea, hurtling around an 800ft-long track at up to 40mph, when Mardi Gras makes its debut in Florida. The Ultimate Playground, one of the ship’s six themed zones, will also have a large aqua park and three heart-racing water slides.

Carnival Cruise Line Mardi Gras

Odyssey of the Seas, Royal Caribbean

Passengers: 4,180

A bigger version of the Quantum-class ships, the Royal Caribbean newcomer will have the familiar North Star viewing pod, dodgem cars and skydiving simulator. The cruise ship’s 14 restaurants include the novel Wonderland and among its nine bars is a traditional English pub.

Odyssey of the Seas: Ultimate Playground

Celebrity Apex, Celebrity Cruises

Passengers: 2,908

Apex is the baby sister to Celebrity Edge, the ship that pioneered the Magic Carpet – the world’s first cantilevered floating platform which can move between decks, acting as everything from a restaurant to a boarding platform for tender boats. There are also the ‘infinite balconies’ as well as 29 restaurants and bars, including a new craft beer venue.

Celebrity Apex
Cruise Lines

Scarlet Lady, Virgin Voyages

Passengers: 2,800

Sir Richard Branson’s dream of setting up an adults-only cruise line is set to come true with the arrival of not one, but two, ships – Scarlet Lady will be joined in Miami by sister Valiant Lady. Both feature slick interiors, tattoo parlours, ‘Rock Star’ suites (one has an outdoor table big enough to dance on) and out-there entertainment, from club nights to drag-artist performances.

Virgin Voyages
Cruise Lines

Spirit of Adventure, Saga Cruises

Passengers: 999

The second new ship in the Saga fleet will have the same elegant and modern feel as her sister, Spirit of Discovery, with art deco restaurants and bars, a Playhouse theatre and all-balcony cabins – plus a few unique features, including two new speciality restaurants. There’s no extra charge at these restaurants, so as well as the main dining room and alfresco option The Grill, you can enjoy Khukuri House – the first Nepalese restaurant at sea – plus Italian at Amalfi, and steak and live music at Supper Club.

Saga Cruises, Spirit of Adventure

MSC Seashore, MSC Cruises

Passengers: 4,540

MSC Seashore will offer even more than its forerunners Seaside and Seaview – at 52 feet longer, there’s room for a double-deck show lounge and enlarged waterpark. Families will also be able to book into ‘cluster cabins’ of linked rooms that can sleep up to 10 people. Also due in 2021 is MSC Virtuosa, which claims to have the largest shopping area at sea with 11 boutiques.

MSC Seashore
Cruise Lines

Silver Moon, Silversea

Passengers: 596

Sister to the luxurious Silver Muse, Silver Moon could be joined by a third in the family, Silver Dawn, by the end of the year. However, this triplet will be the first to introduce S.A.L.T. – Silversea’s innovative Sea and Land Taste programme which will serve food and wine based on the destinations. Eight restaurants include French, Asian and Italian cuisine, as well as Japanese.

Silver Moon restaurant
Cruise Lines

Enchanted Princess, Princess Cruises

Passengers: 3,660

Packed with lounges, restaurants and pools, Enchanted Princess will also have Ocean Medallion technology, allowing guests touchless entry to their cabins and the ability to order drinks and food to anywhere on the ship. She also boasts the luxurious Sky Suites, featuring the largest continuous balcony in the fleet at 1,000 square feet.

Enchanted Princess
Cruise Lines

Rotterdam, Holland America Line

Passengers: 2,668

Rotterdam was the name of Holland America’s first ship in 1872. This latest incarnation – the seventh – has entertainment including BB King’s Blues Club, the Rolling Stone Rock Room and Lincoln Center Stage, as well as 11 places to eat and 12 to drink.

Rotterdam Holland America Line

Viking Venus, Viking

Passengers: 930

The seventh in a line of nearly identical ships from Viking exudes the same calmness and style, with al fresco dining, a retractable pool roof and an infinity pool at the stern. The 930-passenger Viking Venus is set to spend her maiden season in Scandinavia and Northern Europe, sailing popular itineraries including ‘British Isles Explorer’, ‘In Search of the Northern Lights’, ‘Viking Homelands’ and ‘Into the Midnight Sun’.

Viking Cruises

World Navigator, Atlas Ocean Voyages

Passengers: 196

New cruise line Atlas Ocean Voyages is aiming to launch five identical ships before the end of 2023. First up is World Navigator with 98 suites and staterooms. All-inclusive fares cover flights, drinks and tips – as well as a selection of shore excursions.

World Navigator

Evrima, Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection

Passengers: 298

The Ritz-Carlton hotel group is dipping its toe into cruising with the launch of Evrima, the first of three yachts that aim to bring the same luxury to the ocean. Guests will be able to dine in a restaurant designed by Michelin-starred German chef Sven Elverfeld.

Evrima Ritz Carlton

Golden Horizon, Tradewind Voyages

Passengers: 272

Britain will welcome the billowing sails of the world’s biggest square rigger for its first season. Golden Horizon, which will sail from Harwich and Glasgow, has three pools, five bars and a spa. Many of the 140 cabins have their own balcony. The ice-class ship also has a marina for kayaking, swimming and snorkelling.

Golden Horizon, Tradewind Voyages

Sea Cloud Spirit, Sea Cloud

Passengers: 136

Sea Cloud Spirit will have some illustrious company when she joins the German line’s fleet, sailing alongside the 90-year-old four-masted Sea Cloud barque and the windjammer Sea Cloud II. The new three-masted ship with 28 sails will offer balcony cabins and a fitness centre with sea view, as well as a fine-dining restaurant and bistro.

Sea Cloud Spirit

Le Commandant Charcot, Ponant

Passengers: 270

French line Ponant is launching its biggest ship yet: Le Commandant Charcot, a polar exploration vessel powered by a hybrid electric and Liquefied Natural Gas system, meaning it will be able to sail almost silently in sensitive areas without producing any emissions. The ship will also be fitted with science labs.

Ponant Le Commandant

Crystal Endeavor, Crystal Expedition Cruises

Passengers: 200

As well as two helicopters and a six-passenger submarine, the first expedition ship from Crystal Cruises will carry a remote-operated underwater camera to send 360-degree images back to screens around the ship. Speciality restaurants include Umi Uma, which will serve up sushi and signature dishes from chef Nobu Matsuhisa.

Crystal Endeavor
Cruise Lines

Ultramarine, Quark Expeditions

Passengers: 199

Quark promises to get guests closer to nature with two helicopters that will provide flightseeing trips and land on polar ice. Twenty Zodiac boats will also be able to launch quickly to spot passing wildlife. The ship has a main restaurant and bistro, four bars, a panoramic lounge, spa and lecture theatre.

Ultramarine Quark Expeditions

Minerva, Swan Hellenic

Passengers: 152

Cruisers may remember Swan Hellenic and its previous ship Minerva, but now the line is back with a new expedition vessel with the same name. At its heart will be an observation lounge, but guests will also be able to relax in the Swan Restaurant or Club Lounge with a holographic fireplace.

Minerva

Silver Origin, Silversea

Passengers: 100

All-suite Silver Origin will be the first Silversea ship designed for one destination – the Galápagos – and will sail around the islands all year, with expert local guides lecturing on the unique wildlife and landscape. The Explorer Lounge has a terrace with a round sofa and a fire pit, while Ecuadorian cuisine will feature in The Restaurant and Grill.

Silver Origin

Seabourn Venture, Seabourn

Passengers: 264

Explore underwater in luxury on Seabourn’s first purpose-built expedition ship. Its two six-seat submarines feature embroidered upholstery, air conditioning, stereo sound and even a champagne cooler. Seats swivel through 280 degrees for a sweeping view, as powerful lights pick out the colours and a remote arm picks up or moves interesting objects. The ship also carries 24 Zodiac boats and plenty of kayaks.

Seabourn Venture