The best new cruise ships to book, returning from international cruises, from Disney to Virgin Voyages
The international cruise is back, accompanied by an armada of brand new ships from all the major cruise lines.
While domestic cruises have been operating since May, Monday August 2 is the day international cruises departing from England are allowed to restart.
Before the pandemic, cruise lines were spending heavily on building new ships, ranging from robotic helm offerings to hybrid engines, in an effort to attract their share of the thousands of new customers entering the booming cruise market.
During the 16-month ban on international crossings, ships that were planned and paid for long before the pandemic have been under construction, and many are set for inaugural crossings over the next 12 months.
If you book a cruise now, then the luck that you are sailing on a brand new ship, or at least a beautifully refurbished ship, has never been so good.
In fact, new ships are practically piling up. Cruise lines including Saga, Hurtigruten and Virgin Voyages are all set to launch twin ships of ships that barely touched the water before Covid shut down the industry more than a year ago.
UK-based cruise lines have responded to the government’s decision to open foreign cruises with routes to Europe from September.
Fred Olsen is sailing from Southampton to Iceland from August 14th. While P&O Cruises’ first international departure is a 14-night Mediterranean cruise departing from Southampton on September 25 starting at just £ 699 per person.
As international cruising returns, here’s our roundup of the latest and greatest ships to watch out for when booking your next cruise. Plus, don’t miss our Q&A guide to how the cruise works now; from vaccine passports to Covid rules and quarantine.
TUI River Cruises – TUI Isla, Maya and Skyla
Three new TUI cruise ships enter service this year, as the UK’s largest package holiday provider enters fresh waters with its first river company.
TUI River Cruises Adults Only Ships TUI Island, TUI Maya and TUI Skyla will sail on the Rhine, the Main, the Moselle, the Danube, the Dutch and Belgian waterways.
All three ships have undergone multi-million pound conversions, with floor-to-ceiling windows and a large sun deck with relaxation and activity areas for yoga and pilates classes.
There are two restaurants and bars on board, an observation lounge with large windows, and a wellness area with sauna and hot tub. Wi-Fi is included, as is £ 120 for shore excursions.
Prices are from £ 814 per person for a seven night full board cruise on the Gems of the Rhine on TUI Maya, including Heathrow flights departing August 22. Use code EXPLORE400 for an additional £ 400 at tui.co.uk.
Saga Cruises – Spirit of Adventure
The Spirit of Adventure has the allure of an upscale boutique hotel thanks to its comfortable capacity of 999 passengers.
The sister ship of Spirit of discovery, which was launched less than a year before Covid shut down the cruise industry, will offer all of the same amenities as its sibling, plus two specialty restaurants, Khukuri House (Nepal’s first offshore restaurant) and Amalfi .
The Balcony Suite ship is all-inclusive for drinks, tips, and specialties. There’s free Wi-Fi, round-trip house-to-port service, and an impressive two-to-one crew-to-guest ratio.
A five-night all-inclusive Taste of the Continent cruise starts at £ 1,064 departing Dover on 11 October 2022. See travel.saga.co.uk/cruises.
Hurtigruten – MS Fridtjof Nansen
The second of two new hybrid ships from Hurtigruten, MS Fridtjof Nansen is one of the world’s first battery-powered cruise ships, reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 20%.
The ship’s eco-friendly pool and hot tubs will be heated by water used to cool the engines, and there is no single-use plastic on board.
Invoiced as a “expedition vessel” on Fridtjof NansenThe s hull is reinforced against the pack ice, making it the ideal vessel for exploring the north and south polar regions on its spectacular routes.
A four-day cruise of the British Isles departing May 7 starts at £ 637 per person. See Hurtigruten.co.uk.
P&O – Iona
The latest and largest ship of the British cruise company P&O, Iona, is a 5,200 guest vessel featuring an artisanal gin distillery, infinity pool and new Conservatory Mini-suite cabins with wall-to-wall folding balcony doors.
The most ecological member of the fleet, Iona is the first UK cruise ship to run on liquefied natural gas.
The centerpiece of the ship is the SkyDome, a huge glass roof, under which passengers can soak up natural light as the sun shines while enjoying the pool, bar and on-deck entertainment in all seasons.
A seven-night Northern European Christmas Market cruise departing December 7 starts at £ 429 per person on pocruises.co.uk.
MSC – MSC Virtuosa
Italian cruise line MSC launched the second ship of its Meraviglia-Plus class in November 2019.
the MSC Virtuoso, sister ship of MSC Grandiosa is currently on a maiden voyage around the British Isles, following the departure of the first in a series of mini cruises on Saturday.
The ship will feature the world’s first humanoid robot bartender at sea, five swimming pools, one of the largest water parks at sea, a Lego kids’ club, and an exclusive Yacht Club lounge and pool with 24-hour butler service for guests. premium.
A three-night all-inclusive mini cruise departing Southampton on August 28 starts at £ 219 per person on msccruises.co.uk.
Virgin Voyages – Valiant Lady
Richard Branson’s second adult-only cruise ship, Valiant lady will debut from the UK in March 2022.
As Branson’s first ship, Scarlet lady tours the Caribbean from her home port in Miami, the new ship will be based in Barcelona for the summer, with stops in Spain, Portugal, Belgium and the Canary Islands for voyages of three, 11 and 12 nights.
Expect off-Broadway, off-the-beaten-path entertainment with a lineup of festival-worthy shows and immersive experiences.
Group workouts including yoga, meditation, cycling, HIIT classes are all included, as are food at over 20 international restaurants, soft drinks, tips, and Wi-Fi.
There’s even the Squid Ink tattoo parlor on board.
A three night extended weekend in Zeebrugge costs from £ 998 per person departing Portsmouth on March 18, 2022. See virginvoyages.com
Disney Cruise Lines – Disney Wish
the Disney wish is to present Disney’s first theme park-style ride at sea when it cruises around the Caribbean from June 9, 2022.
AquaMouse is a 760 foot water coaster that will propel riders above the upper decks for over two minutes of wet and wild fun.
Since this is a Disney cruise, the kids’ clubs will blow up the competition.
They include Marvel Super Hero Academy, a high-tech Avengers headquarters where “rookies” train to become the next generation of superheroes, and Fairytale Hall where kids can practice art with Rapunzel, read and play games. stories with Belle in her library and playing with Anna and Elsa in their Sommerhus.
The ship will also feature the first Star wars attraction never designed specifically for adults, an immersive bar called Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge.
Prices start at £ 1,495 per person for a three-night cruise on October 28, 2022 from Port Canaveral, Florida, with stops in the Bahamas and Disney’s Castaway Cay. See disneycruise.disney.go.com.