Over the past few years, an impressive lineup of new cruise ships have debuted. These first-in-class vessels feature high-tech, innovative designs and all-new onboard activities. And while some major cruise lines are going bigger than ever before, other companies have designed smaller vessels that offer guests a more personalized, elevated experience.
To help you plan your next cruise vacation, U.S. News compiled the most noteworthy new cruise ships that have debuted between 2020 and 2022 – plus those that are preparing to set sail later this year. Whether you’re looking for a petite luxury vessel, a megaship or something in between, these newcomers are sure to keep you comfortable and entertained during your getaway at sea.
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MSC World Europa, MSC Cruises: December 2022
(Courtesy of MSC Cruises)
MSC Cruises’ largest ship, MSC World Europa, weighs in at 205,700 gross tons and can accommodate up to 6,774 passengers and 2,138 crew members. The ship’s groundbreaking, futuristic design sets it apart from the line’s other two Seaside EVO-class ships, MSC Seascape (debuting December 2022) and MSC Seashore (debuted November 2021). World Europa is powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and features a unique wastewater treatment system, plus other green technologies.
World Europa’s 295-foot-long promenade opens up at the rear/aft of the ship, offering panoramic ocean views. One of the most striking features of this space is The Venom Drop @ The Spiral, a dry slide spanning 11 decks. The vessel’s brand-new offerings include an adults-only zen district; a promenade with bars, entertainment and luxury boutiques; and a family district focused on kids’ activities. The ship also boasts the largest water park in the fleet, six pools and 14 whirlpools, plus Luna Park Studio, a 300-seat multifunctional venue.
When it comes to culinary offerings, MSC World Europa has 13 dining venues, including six specialty restaurants. MSC fans will recognize favorites like Butcher’s Cut steakhouse and Kaito Teppanyaki Grill and Sushi Bar, but there are new options to check out as well. La Pescaderia offers grilled seafood dishes and alfresco dining, while the Chef’s Garden Kitchen focuses on fresh dishes and microgreens. There’s also no shortage of bars and cafes; plan a visit to the new two-story craft beer concept, Masters of the Sea Pub, as well as Elixir – Mixology Bar and The Gin Project.
Fans of the line’s luxurious MSC Yacht Club will also find new duplex suites boasting large balconies and private hot tubs. MSC World Europa’s inaugural sailing from the Emirates is scheduled for December 2022. The ship will then head to the Mediterranean in spring 2023.
Norwegian Prima, Norwegian Cruise Line: August 2022
Norwegian Prima is the first of Norwegian Cruise Line’s six cutting-edge Prima-class vessels, which are scheduled to launch between 2022 and 2027. The vessel’s completion kicks off the line’s first new class of ships to launch in almost 10 years. Weighing in at 142,500 gross tons, Prima is smaller than Norwegian’s Breakaway- and Breakaway Plus-class ships. The 3,200-plus passengers on board will enjoy a spacious, relatively upscale experience, plus top-notch service from the ship’s 1,388 crew members.
When it comes to dining and entertainment, there are a lot of firsts on Prima. Guests will be impressed with seven new global dining venues, including Palomar, a Mediterranean seafood specialty restaurant, and Hasuki, an elevated Japanese hibachi-style experience. Prima will also be home to the Indulge Food Hall, a first-of-its-kind upmarket food hall featuring 11 unique eateries. Metropolitan Bar will serve up responsibly crafted, zero-waste libations as part of the line’s Sail and Sustain program. Meanwhile, Ocean Boulevard wraps around the entire deck, offering more than 44,000 square feet of alfresco dining space and Infinity Beach, which features relaxing ocean views from two infinity pools.
Guests staying in The Haven cabins will enjoy a guest-centric experience across eight exclusive decks at the rear of the ship. The reimagined space includes a larger sun deck than other Norwegian ships, plus an outdoor bar, an infinity pool and an outdoor spa with a cold room and glass-walled sauna. Indoors, there’s an elegant bar and lounge, as well as The Haven Restaurant.
Prima’s other features include Penrose Atrium, Norwegian’s first three-story glass-walled atrium. Thrill seekers will love Prima Speedway, the first three-story racetrack at sea with a 22% longer track – and more turns – than the speedway on Norwegian Encore. There’s also The Drop, the world’s first 10-story freefall slide. And in the three-story theater, guests can catch exclusive Broadway productions, like “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical.” Within minutes, the theater can transform into a space for interactive game shows and Vegas-style nightclub entertainment.
In 2022, Norwegian Prima will sail itineraries in the Caribbean, Mexico and Bermuda from ports in Florida, Texas, Virginia and New York. There are also several sailings in Europe and a trans-Atlantic crossing.
Celebrity Beyond, Celebrity Cruises: August 2022
(Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises)
Celebrity Cruises’ newest ship, Celebrity Beyond, weighs in at 140,600 gross tons and accommodates 3,260 passengers and 1,400-plus crew members. The third ship in the line’s Edge Series, Celebrity Beyond is longer, taller and sleeker than Celebrity Apex (debuted June 2021) and Celebrity Edge (debuted December 2018). It also features one additional deck (for a total of 17) and 179 more staterooms and suites. The ship’s design team for the new luxury Edge Series includes Kelly Hoppen, CBE and Nate Berkus.
Passengers that have cruised on other Edge Series ships will recognize familiar features such as the cantilevered Magic Carpet: a bar, dining and entertainment venue that transforms as it moves between decks two and 14. Beyond will also have the multisensory entertainment space known as Eden, plus a rooftop garden with float pools suspended over the ocean. The Sunset Bar is almost twice the size of previous iterations on other ships. And additional highlights include the newly designed Resort Deck with a larger outward-facing pool area, in-pool loungers in the 25-yard lap pool and two-story, martini glass-shaped hot tubs.
Guests of the ship’s “resort-within-a-resort” complex, The Retreat, will also find inviting outdoor spaces, including a 40% larger two-story sun deck, newly designed spaces at The Retreat Lounge and a private restaurant, Luminae at The Retreat.
When it comes to dining and imbibing, Beyond has 32 eateries, including eight specialty restaurants. An especially notable addition is Le Voyage by Daniel Boulud, Chef Boulud’s first signature restaurant at sea. There are also four main dining restaurants, four complimentary casual dining venues and 14 cafes, bars and lounges. For entertainment, there are all-new productions with state-of-the-art technology, including acrobatic performances, Broadway and West End musicals, jazz music and more.
Celebrity Beyond’s 2022 itineraries sail to ports across the Italian Riviera and France, western Europe, the Greek Islands and Malta, Spain and the Canaries, Mexico and the Caribbean. Beyond will also complete a trans-Atlantic voyage this year.
Disney Wish, Disney Cruise Line: July 2022
Disney Wish, the fifth ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet, will set sail this summer with 4,000 passengers and 1,555 crew members on board. The new vessel is powered by LNG and weighs approximately 144,000 gross tons.
The ship offers new interactive family fun with Disney Unchartered Adventure, described as a “multidimensional voyage into the worlds of iconic Disney and Pixar characters.” With the help of the cruise line’s Navigator app – and an introduction from Captains Minnie and Mickey Mouse – smartphones turn into enchanted spyglasses that solve puzzles and take guests on quests where they can conquer evil forces and save the day. One such adventure includes diving into the Eastern Australian Current (EAC) with Nemo and friends.
Cruisers will also find AquaMouse, the first-ever Disney attraction at sea, on this new ship. The 760-foot-long water ride boasts show scenes, special effects and lighting. Three new family restaurant concepts include a theatrical dining venue called Arendelle: A “Frozen” Dining Adventure, where travelers will enjoy Nordic-influenced dishes. More traditional diners will appreciate 1923, which pays homage to classic Hollywood and animation styles from the year The Walt Disney Company was founded.
Adults can also have fun on Disney Wish. Designed for passengers 18 and older, Quiet Cove sits at the back of the ship, away from the bustling entertainment areas. This relaxing space features an infinity pool with ocean views, chaise lounges, a whirlpool spa and the Cove Bar and Cove Cafe, where grown-ups can grab treats and drinks while chilling poolside. Other adults-only venues include “Star Wars”: Hyperspace Lounge; Palo Steakhouse; Enchanté by Chef Arnaud Lallement; The Rose, a restaurant inspired by “Beauty and the Beast;” Nightingale’s piano bar; and a New Orleans-inspired lounge, The Bayou.
In 2022, Disney Wish will sail three- and four-night Bahamian cruises from Port Canaveral, Florida.
Azamara Onward, Azamara: May 2022
Formerly Princess Cruises’ Pacific Princess, Azamara Onward debuts in May 2022 as Azamara’s fourth ship. Similar in design to its sister ships, Azamara Onward carries 670 passengers and 400 crew members. Its small size allows it to navigate waterways larger ships can’t access.
Window’s Café and Discoveries Restaurant, the main dining venue, are complimentary and feature menus inspired by the specific itinerary and ports of call. The Patio and Swirl & Top are also complimentary; this pool deck space is casual by day but offers fancier alfresco dining in the evenings. The ship’s classic steakhouse, Prime C, and Italian-inspired Aqualina are the line’s specialty restaurants. Additionally, wine connoisseurs will be impressed by the collection of vintages at The Wine Cellar.
Passengers who have sailed on Azamara’s other ships will be familiar with cozy bars and lounges like Discoveries Lounge, Mosaic Café and The Living Room. Visit the Cabaret Lounge to watch nightly live performances. A new concept on Azamara Onward is Atlas Bar, which features artisanal cocktails and small plates.
Azamara Onward will also feature the line’s signature Destination Immersion experiences, which include complimentary onshore AzAmazing Events or Destination Celebrations on the ship. Another passenger favorite that cruisers can look forward to on Onward is the Bright Night Party, which features outdoor dining and entertainment on the pool deck.
Azamara Onward is based in Europe for the 2022 season.
Wonder of the Seas, Royal Caribbean International: March 2022
(Courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)
Wonder of the Seas, the biggest ship in the world, is Royal Caribbean International’s fifth Oasis class ship. Weighing in at 236,859 gross tons, it carries a maximum of 6,988 guests and 2,300 crew members.
Features of the new ship include eight distinct neighborhoods – one more than on previous Oasis-class ships. The all-new Suite Neighborhood is a private area exclusively for suite guests. Royal Suite-level guests will appreciate their own quiet spaces with a lounge, a plunge pool and a bar. They’ll also find Coastal Kitchen, a restaurant reserved for suite guests and Pinnacle members, as well as the Suite Lounge, which is open to Grand Suite-level staterooms and above.
There are also new venues and attractions to check out at the Pool and Sports Zone (decks 15 and 16). The Vue is a cantilevered bar that sits above the spacious, redesigned pool deck and boasts 360-degree views of the ocean. Another addition is Wonder Playscape, an interactive underwater themed play area with slides and climbing walls. Royal Caribbean fans will also find familiar favorites like the FlowRider surf simulator, rock climbing walls, laser tag, the Ultimate Abyss and the zip line.
You won’t go hungry (or thirsty) on the ship, either; cruisers can enjoy 20 dining venues (nine complimentary) and 11 bars. The Mason Jar, a new specialty restaurant, features Southern specialties and barbecue.
Wonder of the Seas sails through the Mediterranean from Barcelona and Rome until the end of October 2022. After a trans-Atlantic voyage, it will complete an array of Caribbean itineraries out of Port Canaveral, Florida.
Discovery Princess, Princess Cruises: March 2022
Discovery Princess is Princess Cruises’ 15th ship, and the sixth and final ship in the Royal class. It weighs in at 145,000 gross tons and can accommodate 3,660 guests and 1,346 crew members.
Discovery Princess was built from the bottom up with MedallionClass, Princess Cruises’ cutting-edge technology that offers a touchless digital experience for guests. Each cruiser receives a Medallion: a small wearable device that features touch-free boarding, keyless stateroom entry and enhanced Wi-Fi access. It also allows travelers to purchase food, beverages and other items, find family and friends on board and make dining reservations. You can even send a bottle of Champagne to other passengers anywhere on the ship.
There are a whopping 23 options for dining and imbibing. Five specialty restaurants include Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria and Bistro Sur La Mer, which serves up French bistro cuisine by Michelin-starred Chef Emmanuel Renaut. You can also opt for steak at the Crown Grill or enjoy pub favorites, cold brews and classic cocktails at The Salty Dog Gastropub.
Another highlight of Discovery Princess is the European-inspired Piazza, which has elegant spiral staircases, glass-walled elevators with a view, unique boutiques, entertaining street performers and live musicians. Make time to check out all the other entertainment options on board; there are original musical productions, deck parties, destination-themed activities, a sports court and Princess Cruises’ signature Movies Under the Stars.
When you’re ready to relax, take your pick of four pools and 10 hot tubs. Or, for the ultimate in relaxation, reserve a space at the thermal suite at The Enclave within the tranquil Lotus Spa. This experience includes access to a hammam, a Turkish-style steam bath; a hydrotherapy pool with a cascading rain shower; and both a light steam and heated dry chamber to assist in detoxifying and purifying the body.
Discovery Princess will be based on the West Coast in 2022, with itineraries in Mexico, California’s wine country, Canada and Alaska.
Rotterdam, Holland America Line: November 2021
Holland America Line’s third Pinnacle-class ship weighs in at 99,500 gross tons and can carry 2,668 passengers and 1,025 crew members. It is the seventh Rotterdam ship in the history of the line, and like many Holland America ships before it, art is a main focus on board. Rotterdam has an impressive art collection valued at more than $4.1 million.
There are a wide variety of restaurants, bars and lounges on the ship, including four complimentary venues and several specialty eateries like the line’s signature steakhouse, Pinnacle Grill, and Rudi’s Sel De Mer, a French brasserie named after Master Chef Rudi Sodamin. Other international dining options include Nami Sushi, Asian-influenced venue Tamarind and Canaletto Italian restaurant. The Grand Dutch Café serves Dutch specialties like open-faced herring sandwiches and more than a dozen Dutch and Belgian beers.
In terms of entertainment, cruisers can tune in to live performances at the 270-degree surround-screen World Stage, Lincoln Center Stage, B.B. King’s Blues Club and the Rolling Stones Rock Room.
In 2022, Rotterdam sails from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to ports across the Caribbean, as well as to European destinations in Iceland, the Baltic regions and more.
Scarlet Lady, Virgin Voyages: October 2021
(Courtesy of Virgin Voyages)
Virgin Voyages’ first ship set sail in fall 2021. Weighing approximately 110,000 gross tons, it is the first of four ships in the line. The adults-only Scarlet Lady accommodates more than 2,700 passengers and 1,160 crew members.
Founder Richard Branson designed his ships to be anything but traditional. There are no cruise directors, set menus, enforced mealtimes or strict dress codes. There are, however, more than 20 onboard eateries, including the first Korean barbecue restaurant at sea and venues by Michelin-starred chefs. The Wake, the ship’s premier restaurant, and Richard’s Rooftop, a chic outdoor lounge, are also not be to be missed. Across the ship, most beverages and tips are included in the fare.
Other highlights include The Dock, a beach club serving up Mediterranean-style tapas; Sip, where you can indulge in Champagne; and The Red Room multiform theater. There are also pop-up performances on the ship, the Squid Ink tattoo studio and the Aquatic Club, a pool area designed to resemble a yacht. Travelers focused on healthy living will enjoy exercise classes, a jogging track, the Redemption Spa and a juice bar.
In 2022, Scarlet Lady is based in Miami and cruises to ports in the Caribbean.
Mardi Gras, Carnival Cruise Line: July 2021
As of this writing, Mardi Gras is the largest ship in Carnival Cruise Line’s fleet, carrying 5,282 passengers and 1,745 crew members. Weighing in at 180,000 gross tons, it debuted in summer 2021 as the first ship in North America to be powered by LNG.
Mardi Gras features six themed zones and several new venues. The atrium’s Grand Central zone features bars, restaurants and entertainment spaces, and the New Orleans-inspired French Quarter boasts Emeril’s Bistro 1396 and The Brass Magnolia bar.
At Summer Landing, you can chill poolside or grab bites and brews at Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse/Brewhouse. If a Caribbean-themed experience is more your style, head over to the pool at Lido, where you’ll find RedFrog Tiki Bar and BlueIguana Cantina. Or, for a taste of Italy, head to La Piazza for Italian restaurants, pizzerias and bars – some of which offer alfresco dining.
When you’re ready for some action, visit The Ultimate Playground to ride BOLT, the first roller coaster at sea. Riders can reach an acceleration of 1.2 g on the 800-foot-long track, which towers 187 feet above sea level. Mardi Gras is also home to the largest WaterWorks water park in the fleet.
In the ship’s staterooms, guests will find new features that provide better comfort, storage and lighting, as well as more USB charging ports. Examples include ring-lit vanity mirror lights and recessed wall lighting for reading in the dark at night. You can also create an extra table in your cabin by flipping over the cushion on the ottoman.
Mardi Gras sails from Port Canaveral, Florida, to destinations in the Caribbean in 2022.
Viking Venus, Viking Ocean Cruises: May 2021
(Courtesy of Viking Ocean Cruises)
Debuted in spring 2021, Viking Venus is the sixth ship in the Viking Ocean Cruises fleet. Like its sister ships, the vessel carries 930 guests and 465 crew members. Weighing in at 47,800 gross tons, the all-veranda small ship can navigate tighter waterways that larger vessels can’t access, creating unique itinerary opportunities around the world.
Past Viking guests will find familiar destination-focused dining options at Viking Venus’ main restaurant and two specialty eateries – Manfredi’s Italian Restaurant and The Chef’s Table. World Café’s open kitchen, alfresco Aquavit Terrace and wide selection of cuisines, including seafood and sushi, make it a traveler favorite. Meanwhile, the Pool Grill is perfect for a lighter meal or a casual bite outdoors.
Viking Venus’ sleek Scandinavian design provides cruisers with elegant, light-filled public spaces. Favorite onboard areas include the two-level Explorers’ Lounge on decks 7 and 8, where you’ll also find Mamsen’s Norwegian restaurant. Elsewhere on the ship, passengers can enjoy daily afternoon tea in the Wintergarden, while resident musicians play relaxing classical music in the Living Room and the Atrium. There are also TED Talks, live musical performances in the theater and lectures with guest and resident historians.
Another highlight is the snow grotto at The Nordic Spa. Inspired by Scandinavian bathing rituals, guests can experience the rejuvenating treatment of alternating hot and cold while on board the ship. The process begins with five or 10 minutes spent in the hot steam sauna, followed by an icy trip to the snow grotto.
Viking Venus’ itineraries for 2022 travel to destinations across Europe, the Mediterranean, Asia and the Middle East. The cruise line will also unveil two new sister ships in 2022: Viking Mars in May and Viking Neptune later this year.
Seven Seas Splendor, Regent Seven Seas Cruises: February 2020
Added in early 2020, Seven Seas Splendor is the newest of five vessels in Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ luxury fleet. The decadent vessel features collections of fine artwork, more than 46,000 square feet of Italian marble, 500-plus chandeliers and approximately 52,000 square feet of balcony space. The all-suite, all-balcony ship weighs 55,498 gross tons and carries 732 guests and 567 crew members.
Passengers will find plenty of dining options on the ship. Specialty restaurants include upscale steakhouse Prime 7 and French-inspired Chartreuse. At Pacific Rim, the vessel’s Pan-Asian restaurant, diners will be greeted by a large Tibetan prayer wheel as they arrive. Meanwhile, those craving Italian fare can visit La Veranda, a breakfast and lunch buffet that morphs into Sette Mari at La Veranda every evening for dinner.
Other onboard highlights include upscale boutiques, a luxurious spa, a casino, cooking classes at the Culinary Arts Kitchen, late-night cigars and after-dinner cognac at the Connoisseur Club and live entertainment at the Constellation Theater. You’ll find even more live music in the ship’s three lounges: Meridian, Splendor and Observation.
Seven Seas Splendor’s 2022 itineraries visit destinations in Europe (including London), the Caribbean, Mexico and the Panama Canal.