There's something fantastic about walking aboard a shiny new vessel just weeks after it has sailed out from the shipyard. After all the hype and anticipation, this marvel of modern engineering and design is finally yours to enjoy as you soak up the Caribbean sun, learn about ancient cultures in the Mediterranean, or even marvel at nature’s wonders in the Arctic or Antarctica. There’s a fantastic lineup of newcomers set to sail in 2020. Here, nine must-see new ships listed chronologically by their debut dates.
1. Scarlet Lady by Virgin Voyages
When: March 2020
Onboard Features: Scarlet Lady, the 2,770-passenger, adults-only ship that will mark Virgin billionaire Richard Branson’s foray into the cruise realm, ranks among the most eagerly anticipated vessels of the year — and this isn't your grandma's cruise ship. Not only does its distinctive silver hull and bold red-and-white sundeck set it apart visually, but it also features a range of cruise-ship firsts like a tattoo parlor, drag queen brunch, and on-demand champagne delivery service. Scarlet Lady might be fabulous, but she has also been engineered for sustainability (single-use plastics are banned and engine heat waste will be converted to electricity). The vessel also features teched-out staterooms with mood lighting (among them are 78 RockStar Suites that come with access to Richard’s Rooftop deck, a chic private club), and has more than a dozen dining options (all included in the cruise fare, along with gratuities, wifi, and other amenities). Fittingly, this lady will be helmed by a female captain. To learn more about the new cruise line, read our guide.
Itineraries: From its debut through April 2021, Scarlet Lady will sail from Miami on four-to-seven-night cruises to the Caribbean and Mexico. Ports of call include Bimini (where the cruise line has its own private beach club), Costa Maya, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Plata, San Juan, and Key West.
2. Celebrity Apex
When: April 2020
Onboard Features: As the sister ship of Celebrity Edge, this 2,910-passenger vessel will feature almost identical onboard amenities and design-forward décor when it begins sailing the Mediterranean next spring. the enchanting Rooftop Garden, the multi-sensory Eden Lounge, the over-the-water Magic Carpet (a lounge/restaurant that can be positioned on several decks), and more than a dozen restaurants (among them the new Fine Cut Steakhouse and the casual Rooftop Garden Grill). Accommodations aboard Celebrity Apex will include the Infinite Veranda Staterooms, which feature floor-to-ceiling windows along with a balcony. There's also an array of Kelly Hoppen-designed suites located with The Retreat (where suite guests can also indulge in dishes by chef Daniel Boulud). Other treats: The Martini Bar located in the glamorous Grand Plaza, the Sunset Bar set on Deck 15 aft (perfect for sail-away sips), and the adults-only Solarium Pool.
Itineraries: Apex will spend her inaugural season in Europe, sailing 7-to-10-night itineraries in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe — from the Greek Islands and Italy to the Baltic capitals and Norwegian fjords — before crossing the Atlantic in late October to begin 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale.
3. Hurtigruten’s MS Fridtjof Nansen
When: April 2020
Onboard Features: The second of Norway-based Hurtgruten’s hybrid electric-powered expedition ships — MS Roald Amundsen launched in 2019 — 530-passenger MS Fridtjof Nansen, named for the Norwegian explorer, scientist, and Nobel Peace Price laureate, will also be a hybrid of adventure and luxury. Offering Scandinavian design throughout, from its modern staterooms and suites to its trio of inviting restaurants (Aune, Fredheim, and Lindstrom) serving contemporary Nordic cuisine, the ship offers an elegant setting for exploring the globe’s remotest locales led by expert guides and onboard naturalists. At its heart is the Nansen Science Center, headquarters for the expedition team. But if the weather cooperates, the aft infinity pool and hot tubs beckon.
Itineraries: Debuting in its home territory, MS Fridtjof Nansen will explore the Norwegian fjords and North Cape on 15-night itineraries through June 2020, then Iceland and Greenland before cruising Europe’s Atlantic Coastline in late September. Afterwards, the ship will cruise South America and Antarctica through March 2021.
4. Enchanted Princess
When: June 2020
Onboard Features: As the fifth Royal Class ship (which also includes the recently inaugurated Sky Princess as well as Discovery Princess, scheduled to debut in November 2021), the 3,660-passenger Enchanted Princess features many popular amenities — including the Italy-inspired Piazza, Movies Under the Stars, Discovery at Sea, the glass-floored SeaWalk, and the adults-only Retreat. Other features include two deep-tank pools with sunken communal seating, the Take 5 jazz theater, and specialty restaurant Bistro Sur La Mer by Michelin-starred chef Emmanuel Renaut. Accommodations-wise, Enchanted Princess also features a Sky Suite with a 1,000-square-foot balcony -- the largest at sea.
Itineraries: Enchanted Princess will cruise Europe from Athens, Rome, Barcelona, and Southampton on 7-to-11-night itineraries through October 2020. Afterwards, the vessel will cruise the Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale on 7- and 13-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.
5. The Ritz-Carlton Evrima
When: June 2020
Onboard Features: The luxury hotel company is embarking on a new journey with The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, beginning with 298-passenger, all-inclusive Evrima, named for the Greek word for “discovery.” All suites feature modern Scandinavian-inspired decor along with private terraces. Staterooms range from 312 square feet to 1,098 square feet, including 12 airy, two-level Loft Suites. The 8-deck ship has an aft infinity pool and a watersports marina, a spa with five treatment rooms, and six dining venues: The Evrima Room for locally inspired dining, Talaat Nam for contemporary Southeast Asian cuisine, S.E.A for a tasting menu by Michelin-starred Chef Sven Elverfeld, Mistral for al fresco Mediterranean fare, the Pool House for casual à la minute dining, and The Living Room for early morning and late evening snacks.
Itineraries: Evrima debuts with 7-to-10-night voyages in Europe, from the Mediterranean to the Baltic through September 2020 before sailing to Iceland and Atlantic Canada through October. Afterwards, the ship heads to Fort Lauderdale and will cruise the Caribbean until spring 2021.
6. Silversea’s Silver Moon
When: August 2020
Onboard Features: Calling all foodies: The lookalike successor to Silver Muse, the 596-passenger Silver Moon will offer all-suite luxury to guests while upping its already elevated gastronomic game with a new immersive Sea and Land Taste (S.A.L.T) program that integrates local ingredients and cuisine in a program curated by former Saveur editor Adam Sachs. Silver Moon will have seven restaurants ranging from gastronomic French and traditional Japanese to authentic Naples-style pizza and tapas-inspired dishes paired with jazz. Elegant suites range from 334 square feet to 1,389 square feet and public spaces include the Panorama Lounge, the vibrant Arts Cafe, and the clubby La Dolce Vita lounge.
Itineraries: Silver Moon will offer 7-to-11-night voyages in the Mediterranean, Adriatic, and Aegean before its 24-night transatlantic voyage from Monte Carlo to Fort Lauderdale in the fall. The ship will then sail South America and the Caribbean on 7-to-23-night itineraries through March 2021 before heading back to Europe.
7. Carnival Mardi Gras
When: September 2020
The Scoop: What’s in a name? Pretty much everything when it comes to this exuberant, no-holds-barred ship. Carnival Mardi Gras, the first in its class (although it’s named for Carnival’s first ship) creates six themed "zones" for eating, drinking, and entertainment. There's Grand Central (a three-deck atrium with floor-to-ceiling windows), French Quarter (lined with bars and eateries, including Emeril’s Bistro 1396), Summer Landing (an aft pool zone featuring Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse/Brewhouse), La Piazza (for pizza and Italian cuisine), Lido (the main pool zone lined with casual eateries such as Shaq’s Big Chicken and Blue-Iguana Cantina), and the Ultimate Playground (featuring Bolt, the first rollercoaster at sea). Plus, Mardi Gras’s updated stateroom design features contemporary décor.
Itineraries: In September 2020 after a transatlantic journey, Mardi Gras will cruise Canada and New England on a 6-night itinerary, along with a 14-night South Caribbean cruise (both from New York). Then, the ship heads to Port Canaveral for 7-night itineraries in the Eastern and Western Caribbean throughout 2021.
8. Crystal Endeavor
When: August 2020
Onboard Features: Luxury expedition cruising is a hot category and Crystal — which has two ocean ships, five river ships, and one yacht — is joining the fold with 200-passenger Crystal Endeavor, built to PC6 Polar Class specifications but featuring all the top-of-the-line amenities for which the cruise line is known for. Accommodations are all-suite and all-balcony (as well as butler-serviced). Endeavor will feature six dining venues (among them one by master chef Nobu Matsuhisa), a glass-enclosed solarium with a pool, and a 25-person expedition team to lead adventures ashore in some of the world’s most remote locales.
Itineraries: Crystal Endeavor will offer three 16-night cruises throughout Asia before heading to Australia, New Zealand, and Antarctica through March 2021. At that point, the ship will head back to Asia until June 2021, when it will cruise Alaska and the Arctic. In September 2021, the ship will make its way to Europe before cruising to South America and Antarctica.
9. Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the Seas
When: November 2020
Onboard Features: Just when you thought Royal Caribbean ships couldn’t get any bolder, along comes Odyssey of the Seas. First in the cruise line’s Quantum Ultra Class, this 4,198-passenger ship will feature an extra-colorful top deck brimming with enhanced family-friendly activities — both indoors and outdoors. A re-imagined SeaPlex will be the largest indoor activity space at sea with bumper cars, trapeze classes, virtual reality games, and augmented reality walls. Quantum-class favorites — including the North Star glass capsule, RipCord by iFly simulated sky diving, and SkyPad bungee trampoline — will all return. Odyssey will also have a two-level pool deck with two pools and four hot tubs, as well as a Splashaway Bay aqua park for younger kids and an adults-only Solarium retreat. Indoors, you'll find other Quantum-class favorites like Music Hall and the Two70 lounge/performance space, along with 15 restaurants and seven bars.
Itineraries: Odyssey will spend her inaugural season in the Caribbean, cruising four-to-eight-night itineraries from Fort Lauderdale to the Eastern, Western Caribbean, and Southern Caribbean (including calls on Perfect Day at Cococay), before heading to the Mediterranean in May 2021.