Here’s a quick look at what’s new this week in cruising, and how it could impact your next trip...
No, this is not an April's Fools joke: Royal Caribbean asked James Hand -- the 26-year-old who named the UK’s now-infamous polar research vessel Boaty McBoatface -- to come up with a moniker for its own upcoming cruise ship. "Like the rest of the world, we fell in love with the name Boaty McBoatface when we heard it, and we knew immediately that Royal Caribbean could use James Hand’s talent to name our next ship,” said the line's President and CEO Michael Bayley. All the Royal ships have of the Seas in their name. What Hand will come up with to preface that, and whether his creation will actually be used, we can't wait to see.
Viking Ocean Cruisesdoubled it's fleet this week when it launched its second ship, the 930-passenger Viking Sea, done up in modern Scandinavian décor and an infinity pool. Shore excursions and free WiFi are among fare inclusions. For an added fee, passengers can book ultra exclusive outings, including a cooking class with a Contessa in Venice and a King Crab Safari in northern Norway.
When Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Joy debuts in summer 2017, cruisers will be able to experience the first-ever racetrack at sea. Situated on the top decks, the bi-level track will host modern Go-Kart racing. But there's a catch: You have to cruise from China to be part of the fun; the ship is being purpose-built in Germany for the Chinese market.
Good news for cruisers looking to stream videos: you can now use Skype and surf the web at sea. Celebrity Cruises will soon roll out its Xcelerate high-speed wireless Internet fleet-wide (it's currently just on one ship). An unlimited package for a one-week cruise will cost you $140 per person.
Princess Cruises is getting two new Royal-class ships. Where they'll go has not been announced, but they'll be built in Italy and arrive in 2019 and 2020.