Editor’s Note: Forbes Travel Guide will announce its 2023 Star Award winners for ocean cruises on Monday, but here are some new ships that we have on our radar for the future.
Keep your eyes peeled on the ocean’s horizon as the next generation of luxury cruise ships sets sail. Forbes Travel Guide found 11 soon-to-come liners that promise to showcase innovative designs, far-flung destinations, once-in-a-lifetime adventures and next-level luxuries.
Celebrity Ascent: November
Celebrity’s latest vessel, Celebrity Ascent, boasts all of the design elements of its Edge class ships — the cantilevered Magic Carpet venue, outward-facing design, staterooms with convertible indoor/outdoor spaces and the signature amenities of The Retreat suite class. But it incorporates outdoor elements found on the Solstice class ships, like a top-deck, open-air green space dotted with sculptures. Also new for the brand: the vessel will woo solo travelers with 16 single-accommodation cabins. It makes for Celebrity’s most impressive ship yet.
Explora I: July, Explora II: August 2024
The forthcoming ships from Explora Journeys, the new luxury lifestyle brand from MSC Group, have itineraries, amenities and staterooms that allow multigenerational families to sail together in comfort while making lasting memories. Seventy-eight of the ship’s 461 oceanfront suites can connect, and families can choose to have them outfitted with cribs, toys and child-sized robes and slippers.
While aboard, guests over 6 can play at the Nautilus Club and parents can soak up the quiet of the adults-only Helios Pool & Bar. The whole family will enjoy Explora I’s November-to-March-2024 inaugural Caribbean season’s adventures, exploring the caves of Samaná in the Dominican Republic, plunging into Guadeloupe’s Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve and embarking on an underwater journey on a U-boat submarine in Curaçao.
Seabourn Pursuit: August
Seabourn Pursuit will soon hit the seas, as evidenced by the luxury liner’s recent traditional coin ceremony to celebrate the final phases of the 558-foot vessel’s construction. Once finished, Seabourn Pursuit will boast an impressive 30,000 square feet of deck space, ideal for the ship’s expedition journeys through coastal South America, the Amazon and Antarctica, followed by trips to the most remote corners of the South Pacific to northern Australia’s Kimberley Region — a first for the cruise line.
The ship will feature the amenities that have come to define the brand: activities guided by the onboard team of experts; excursions that include hikes, scuba dives and kayaking; and an onboard Constellation Lounge outfitted with a top-of-the-line telescope to witness the wonders of the night sky.
The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection’s Ilma: 2024
The Ritz-Carlton’s second addition to its growing fleet, the 790-foot Ilma, brings impeccable interior design (as envisioned by London-based architect and design firm AD Associates, and lighting by the award-winning DPA) and space (a significant percentage of the ship’s 228 suites exceeds 1,000 square feet and all feature a private terrace) — fitting the brand’s intent to create vessels aligned with the luxury of yachts as opposed to typical cruise ships. The Ilma will set off to iconic yachting destinations like the Greek Isles, the Amalfi Coast, the French Riviera and Monte Carlo.
Cunard’s Queen Anne: May 2024
The Queen Anne’s 3,000 passengers will feel like royalty with staterooms designed by the Paris-based design firm Sybille de Margerie (the same group responsible for Mandarin Oriental, Paris and Atlantis The Royal Residences in Dubai’s interior design); afternoon teas, ballroom dancing and classical music recitals hosted in the opulent Queens Room venue; ever-rotating displays of floral arrangements in public spaces and guest staterooms; and formal service — white-gloved bellhops greet every guest upon boarding.
Sun Princess: February 2024
Sun Princess will take the throne as the largest and most modern of the Princess Cruises fleet with a capacity for 4,000 passengers and standout design features, such as a three-story food and beverage venue offering distinctive, versatile dining options to suit every passenger; a theater space with capacity for 1,000 with rounded ceilings to highlight visual effects used in shows; and contemporary, bright interiors throughout.
Disney Treasure: 2024
The Disney Treasure, Disney Cruise Line’s sixth addition to its fleet of fun centers adventure with 1,254 staterooms and a desert-island itinerary to the sandy shores of the South Pacific. With the magic-carpet-riding Aladdin and Jasmine serving as the ship’s atrium character statues, the Disney Treasure brings the fairy tale land of Agrabah to life through design elements that incorporate real-life African and Asian influences with the opulent, richly colored and palatial Grand Hall.
Scenic Eclipse II
Originally intended to be the Scenic Eclipse’s identical sister, the Scenic Eclipse II instead improved upon its already impressive predecessor, benefiting from design adjustments informed by guest and crew feedback. Like the Scenic Eclipse, the Scenic Eclipse II boasts onboard Zodiac ships, two helicopters and a submarine to allow for unparalleled experiences wherever the boat travels with voyages to the Mediterranean, Scotland, the Americas, the Caribbean and both Polar regions.
Design upgrades to the Scenic Eclipse II, which made its inaugural sail in April, include expanded outdoor spaces: a more extensive pool deck, a chef’s garden for culinary experiences and the sky deck’s Sky Bar and Vitality pool, complete with jets that simulate a lap pool.
Silver Nova: August
A first for Silversea, Silver Nova ship introduces a horizontal layout that elevates every aspect of the cruising experience from cabins (364 balcony-equipped suites run along the ship’s perimeter, allowing for the brand’s broadest range of accommodation categories) to a seamless flow between the 10 bars and eight restaurants (the all-day Dolce Vita lounge will serve as the ship’s central activity hub) and outdoor spaces such as an outward facing pool deck, sky bar and dining areas.
Silver Ray: summer 2024
Silver Ray, the second member of Silversea’s Nova class, will feature the same horizontal design concept of the Silver Nova. Like its sister ship, Silver Ray also will incorporate more glass to put the vistas front and center, whether it’s the 270-degree panoramas on display in a new category of suites, drinking and dining outlets like the open-air Dusk Bar or the pool decks, particularly the jaw-dropping infinity glass Cliff Whirlpool on the ship’s upper-level sundeck.