On the horizon: the best new cruise ships for 2023
From a priceless Fabergé egg to super submarines and secret speakeasies to an arty mega-ship, there’s so much to see and do on board 2023’s new ships writes Dave Monk.
1. Grandeur of the Seas
Cruising’s most expensive egg
If you’re asked how you’d like your egg done on Grandeur of the Seas, you can always answer: “Encrusted in jewels.” Regent Seven Seas’ new ship, due to set sail in November 2023, will house the first Fabergé egg to reside permanently at sea.
Hand-crafted in England, the 18cm-tall masterpiece – called ‘Journey in Jewels’ and based on a Fabergé Winter Egg of 1913 – will be the star of a multi-million-pound art collection.
The outer egg ‘shell’ is composed of seven blades, representing the seven seas, which will unfurl to reveal a surprise hidden inside. Elsewhere on the 732-passenger ship, the top-tier, two-bedroom Regent Suite – which even has its own spa – has gained a skylit, glass-enclosed parlour with two chaise lounges.
2. Scenic Eclipse II
The super sub has arrived
The sister to Scenic Eclipse (launched in 2019) will take to the seas with a bigger, better submarine able to carry up to eight passengers to depths of 650ft.
Scenic Neptune II, as the submersible is called, promises guests an ‘optimal sightseeing experience that promises to be truly unforgettable.’ The spa area on board the 228-passenger ship has been expanded too, with a bigger steam room area, an ice fountain, and experience showers, plus a salt therapy lounge with heated beds that emit scents designed to benefit the mind, body, and soul.
On deck 10, a new panoramic bar will allow guests to enjoy the views with a drink in hand, as they cruise through Antarctica, the Arctic, or the Med. A large, oval pool, great for sailaway parties, will be another new feature.
Smoking, not stirred…
Fancy a ready-made Negroni from a wooden barrel or cocktails topped with bubbles filled with aromatic vapours? Then head to the Casino Mixology Bar on Oceania’s new 1,200-passenger ship, Vista which launches in May 2023. The bar will also stock a selection of bourbons and ryes as well as cocktails prepared at your tableside.
Elsewhere on the ship, you’ll find The Ultimate Bloody Mary Bar as well as the Bubbly Bar beverage cart serving champagne cocktails. The Moët & Chandon Champagne Experience, making its debut on Vista, is a three-course menu paired with rare vintages.
That’s as well as Oceania’s signature Dom Pérignon Experience involving a six-course meal and the familiar Martinis bar. For non-drinkers, there are non-alcoholic ‘wines’ in the new Aquamar Kitchen.
4. American Eagle & American Glory
Cool for cats
A lounge with 270-degree views will give spectacular views on a new series of coastal catamarans launching in 2023 with American Cruise Lines. The first two 109-passenger ships, American Eagle and American Glory making their debut in 2023, will be followed by 10 more identical sisters which will all sail around the shores of the US.
It’s not only the front that’s impressive – at the stern will be an adventure deck with kayaks, a tender, and other activity equipment. There will also be two dining venues, as well as room service, a rarity for ships this small.
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5. MSC Euribia
A floating artwork
Other ships carry paintings but new ship, MSC Euribia, will be a giant floating artwork in itself. The 4,888-passenger vessel has a striking hull design called #SaveTheSea by artist Alex Flämig that reflects MSC Cruises’ commitment to the marine ecosystem. Five finalists in the competition to design the hull – including Briton Daniel Weatheritt – will have their artwork displayed on board.
Euribia will also host original shows in the theatre and have one of the biggest waterparks at sea, as well as boasting five pools, 10 dining venues, and 21 bars.
The ship is the second in the fleet to be powered by liquefied natural gas, the cleanest fossil fuel, after the launch of MSC World Europa.
6. Explora I
A pool for all seasons
From the same parent company as MSC Cruises comes the first in a fleet of ultra-luxury small ships in a spin-off line called Explora Journeys. With only 922 passengers onboard, Explora I will still pack in plenty of features – including three outdoor pools and an inside one for whatever the weather, plus plenty of indoor and outdoor hot tubs.
Guests will be able to choose from six restaurants, plus in-suite dining – that’s room service to you and me – and 12 bars and lounges (eight outdoor and four indoor).
Add to all that a spa and entertainment for a luxurious holiday at sea. After Explora I will come five more ships, two powered by hydrogen.
7. Silver Nova
A new look at outdoor space
Silversea’s eleventh – and most revolutionary – ship has put a new slant on the top deck space. The new asymmetrical design will give the 728-passenger newcomer an outward-facing pool deck, al fresco
dining area, and a sky bar with views from the stern.
Shaped like a horseshoe, the pool area on deck 10 will be on the starboard side, offering unobstructed views of the destination whether you’re swimming, relaxing at the bar, or sunbathing.
Two new food and drinks venues will be on the port side: the 220 Marquee which will welcome up to 220 guests to two of Silversea’s signature venues and The Grill with its ‘hot rocks’ cooking and Spaccanapoli, which will serve pizza. On deck 11 will be a quieter viewing area around an infinity-edge whirlpool.
Med food to share
A new 70-seat restaurant is coming to Ambassador Cruise Line’s second ship, Ambition – a Mediterranean-style venue where friends and families can share food together. The Olympic Taverna will have a relaxed, al fresco feel, with a communal vibe including sharing platters and flexible seating, fulfilling one of the line’s core values of being able to meet like-minded people and make long-lasting friendships.
On longer cruises, the restaurant will offer food inspired by local tastes and cultures. Elsewhere, the 1,200-passenger ship will be very much like her forerunner, Ambience, in offering ex-UK sailings, though now more regional ports will be served.
9. Marella Voyager
Prohibition never tasted as good
Hidden away on Marella’s new ship, Marella Voyager, will be a Secret Speakeasy bar, based on the ones in Prohibition-era America. The 1,912-passenger ship – formerly Mein Schiff Herz – is also introducing a Mexican eaterie for the first time in the fleet, alongside familiar favourites such as Surf and Turf, Nonna’s and Snack Shack.
Families will be able to enjoy everything from children’s clubs to the pool and the entertainment in the Broadway Show Lounge, as well as the 10 all-inclusive bars and 10 restaurants.
10. SH Diana
Exclusive dining room
A private dining room for around 20 people is being added to Swan Hellenic expedition ship SH Vega. The newcomer is bigger than the previous two sisters, SH Minerva and SH Vega, so there’s also space for a multifunctional room next to the observation lounge, as well as more suites.
In total, Diana will carry 192 passengers, 40 more than her forerunners. The ship will also have two tenders, adding to the fleet of Zodiacs for expedition landings.