Revealed: The best new cruise ships for 2024, from a Cunard liner oozing retro glamour to a floating city with capacity for 7,600 passengers
When a gleaming new cruise ship comes over the horizon, it is always something to celebrate.
And there’ll be no shortage of them in 2024, including the world’s biggest.
It’s been a record-breaking year for cruising, with more than 31.5million passengers, and bookings for 2024 are expected to top that again.
Here’s a pick of the most exciting new ships to book now.
The Queen Anne (above) is Cunard’s latest ship – the first new one since the Queen Elizabeth, which launched in 2010
It’s been worth the wait for the 3,000-passenger Queen Anne – Cunard’s first ship since it launched the Queen Elizabeth in 2010.
Designers have used archived furnishings from bygone Cunard liners as inspiration for its retro glamour. Dining includes a fresh take on classic pub grub in the Golden Lion, with a menu by two-Michelin star chef Michel Roux Jr, and Aranya, an Indian restaurant, as well as the Commodore Club, the place for cocktails and cabaret.
Meanwhile, West End hit shows will be shown at its Royal Court Theatre, beginning with Noel Coward’s Brief Encounter.
Sail away: A 14-night Canary Islands cruise from Southampton calling at La Palma, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Cadiz and Lisbon, departing on November 3, from £1,899pp for a balcony cabin (cunard.com).
At the heart of the 4,300-passenger Sun Princess will be the Piazza, with cafes, bars and restaurants inside a glass sphere, including Spellbound By Magic Castle, a Victorian-themed bar featuring conjurors and magicians. Elsewhere on board you can expect dance and acrobatic shows with dazzling sound and light effects. An activity zone for families includes the Sea Breeze Rollglider – like hang-gliding, but safe as can be. The main dining area will be spread over three decks.
Sail away: A seven-night Mediterranean With Greece And Italy cruise from Athens to Barcelona calling at Kotor, Corfu, Sicily and Naples, departing May 4, from £899pp; flights cost extra (princess.com).
WHOPPER OF THE WAVES
Icon Of The Seas stretches 365 metres and has a capacity of 7,600 passengers
Royal Caribbean’s Icon Of The Seas will be the largest cruise ship in the world, like a floating town stretching 365 metres with a capacity of 7,600 passengers – making the Titanic look like a tiddler at 269 metres. The bill for the ship came to a whopping $2 billion (£1.5 billion). Eight ‘neighbourhoods’ will include one called Central Park, filled with trees, while a massive waterpark will feature endless waterslides. Take your pick of seven pools and be awed by the 55ft-tall glass waterfall. Check-in to the three-storey Ultimate Family Townhouse suite and you’ll have your own white picket fence and a mailbox, too – but it comes with a £60,000 price tag for seven nights.
Sail away: A seven-night Caribbean round trip from Miami, calling at Costa Maya and Cozumel in Mexico and the Bahamas, departs on February 17 with cruise-only fares from £1,483pp (royalcaribbean.com).
DIVINE ON THE RHINE
SS Victoria has a crew of 41 looking after just 110 passengers
Formerly sailing as Crystal Bach (before six-star Crystal Cruises went bust), SS Victoria is the much refreshed, revamped and renamed ship joining Uniworld’s fleet next year.
It’s small, with 41 crew looking after just 110 passengers, sailing on the River Rhine. But the boutique boat has some of the most spacious suites on Europe’s rivers, an indoor pool and a rooftop bar with flowers and original art throughout.
Sail away: Seven-night Castles Along The Rhine cruises between Basel and Amsterdam, departing from March to November, start from £3,399pp all-inclusive including flights (uniworld.com).
Disney Treasure (above, one of her rides) will debut next winter with a seven-night Caribbean cruise
You’ll have to wait until next winter to sail on the 4,000-passenger Disney Treasure, the latest cruise by the entertainment giant – with Mickey, Minnie and pals on board.
For its sixth offering, the world of Aladdin can be found in the Grand Hall, complete with his flying carpet, while Miguel and his familia from the film Coco lead a song and dance dining extravaganza in Plaza de Coco where Mexican food is served.
The adult-only Periscope Pub pays tribute to 1954 film 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, fashioned like Captain Nemo’s submarine. And Skipper Society, based on Disney theme parks’ popular Jungle Cruise, is a new watery and leafy venue for cocktails.
Sail away: A seven-night Caribbean cruise from Port Canaveral, calling at Cozumel in Mexico, Grand Cayman and Jamaica, departing on December 28 is from £3,652pp including Gatwick flights (disneyholidays.co.uk).
SAILING WITH GAS
Pictured here is Utopia Of The Seas, which is launching in the summer of 2024
Utopia Of The Seas is a biggie with 2,830 cabins and the sixth in the Oasis class of Royal Caribbean ships. Launching next summer, it’s the first of the line’s ships to be powered by the greener fuel of liquified natural gas. It will be based in Port Canaveral for both three- and four-night Caribbean cruises.
Sail away: A four-night Bahamas cruise round-trip from Port Canaveral in Florida on November 18 is from £556pp; flights cost extra (royalcaribbean.com).
Explora II, identical to Explora I, is an ultra-luxury, all-inclusive ship offered by Explorer Journeys with 461 spacious cabins, all with balconies, and a hot tub on the private terraces for the top suites. Expect the best chefs from around the world to dazzle guests in the elegant Anthology restaurant.
Sail away: A seven-night cruise from Civitavecchia, near Rome, to Barcelona sailing on August 19 calls at Alghero in Sardinia, Trapani and Siracusa in Sicily and Lipari in the Aeolian Islands from £3,570pp; flights cost extra (explorajourneys.com).
BEACH CLUB ON SEA
Built with more glass than wall, Silver Ray is the twin sister to Silver Nova, with floor-to-ceiling widows filling the many airy bars and lounges with light. The pool, placed to one side of the sun deck, offers sweeping sea views for swimmers and gives off a beach-club vibe.
Sail away: A seven-night, all-inclusive Adriatic cruise round-trip from Fusina (near Venice) to Trieste as well as Opatija, Split, Havar, Dubrovnik and Zadar in Croatia, departing on July 30, from £4,900pp; flights cost extra (silversea.com).
Celebrity Ascent (above two pictures) will be sailing the Med in July
Celebrity Ascent builds on elder sisters Edge, Apex and Beyond’s success by replicating the amazing ‘magic carpet’ moving platform that glides up and down the outside of the ship. It also transforms into a wonderful bar and restaurant when it stops at different decks.
Sail away: A seven-night Greece, Turkey and Italy cruise sails from Civitavecchia to Athens on July 13 calling at Naples, Mykonos, Kusadasi and Santorini, from £1,221pp; flights cost extra (celebritycruises.co.uk).
STAY ON LAND EITHER BEFORE OR AFTER YOUR VOYAGE – AND LINGER FOR LONGER
By Lesley Bellew
Cruise lines have upped their game by creating imaginative itineraries for passengers that fly out early or stay on to go to festivals, visit white-knuckle theme parks, explore cultural cities, hike in national parks or just laze by a pool. Here’s our guide to the best on offer.
● Stay for three nights at a five-star hotel in Singapore followed by a night in Darwin, the capital of Australia’s Northern Territory, before joining a cruise along the coast to North-West Australia on board the 264-suite Seabourn Pursuit. One of the highlights of the cruise is a visit to Montgomery Reef, which Sir David Attenborough described as ‘one of the greatest natural wonders of the world’.
Book it: Leaving June 27, 16 nights costs from £8,925pp, including flights, hotels and a ten-night cruise (mundycruising.co.uk).
● Tickets to Universal Studios Florida, Universal Islands of Adventure and Universal Volcano Bay water park are included when combining a seven-night Princess Cruises’ Caribbean voyage with a five-night stay at Cabana Bay Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale. A two-night post-cruise stay at Miami Beach Hotel is also part of the package.
Book it: 16 days from £2,399pp (£1,549 for children) includes London to Fort Lauderdale flights, plus hotels, on April to November departures (cruise.co.uk).
● Enjoy a one-night pre-cruise stay at Tahiti InterContinental and a three-night post-cruise jaunt at Hotel Manava Beach Resort & Spa Moorea when joining a Star Breeze Tahiti cruise. The trip also offers the opportunity to snorkel in Moorea’s Cook’s and Opunohu bays.
Book it: A seven-night round-trip from Papeete departs April 25 and costs from £5,799pp, including flights and hotels (windstarcruises.com).
● Silver Endeavour’s Antarctica expedition features pre- and post-cruise stays in Punta Arenas for tours of Patagonia. The trip is not cheap but will be the thrill of a lifetime.
Book it: The six-day King George Island round-trip on February 27 costs from £17,050pp. This includes chauffeur service, flights, tours and drinks including champagne (silversea.com).
● Enjoy a three-night, pre-cruise stay in Medellin, Colombia – ‘the City of Eternal Spring’ – and a post-cruise, three-night stay in Panama City on AmaWaterway’s ‘Magic of Colombia’ cruise. Travel along the Magdalena River through the heart of Colombia, where you can see river turtles, iguanas, crocodiles and pelicans.
Book it: 13 nights, departing Barranquilla for Cartagena on December 11, costs from £7,929pp including flights and hotels (amawaterways.co.uk).
● Single travellers can put down a £200 deposit to secure a Far East holiday including five nights on Royal Caribbean’s Anthem Of The Seas. Depart Heathrow for a two-night stay at the Miramar Hotel, Singapore, before sailing to Penang, Malaysia, and Phuket, Thailand. Four nights at Bali’s Sol by Melia resort rounds off the holiday.
Book it: 12 nights costs from £2,899pp, departing December 2, including flights and hotels (passionforcruises.co.uk).
● Don’t miss New Orleans’ Thanksgiving Day Parade before cruising along the Mississippi on American Symphony. After a three-night stay in the French Quarter, board the 180-guest ship for Memphis and end with an overnight stay to explore Beale Street’s musical heritage.
Book it: Ten nights from £6,595pp, including flights and hotels, departs November 26 (fredholidays.co.uk).
● Soak up the sunshine on the all-inclusive Scenic Eclipse after two nights at the Cobblers Cove Hotel resort in Barbados. The yacht sails to French Guiana and Brazil with three-night hotel stays in Rio and Iguazu for walking tours on both sides of the Iguazu Falls. You will also stay in Buenos Aires for three nights for an amazing end to the adventure.
Book it: 22 nights, including the 11-night cruise, flights and hotels, costs from £8,499pp and departs November 3 (imaginecruising.co.uk).
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