Virtuoso Traveler 2019 December Bon Voyage: New Cruise Ships That Promise to Make Waves

Bon Voyage: New Cruise Ships That Promise to Make Waves

2020 vision: Windstar’s reimagined, eco-friendly <em>Star Breeze</em>.
2020 vision: Windstar’s reimagined, eco-friendly Star Breeze.
A raft of innovative new ships is set to hit the high seas (and rivers) in 2020.

Windstar Cruises’ Star Breeze

Launches: February 20
Passengers: 312
Destinations: Panana Canal, Alaska, Southeast Asia
Highlights: Instead of retiring this beloved all-suite ship, Windstar sliced it in half and inserted a new, 84-foot section, along with four fuel-efficient diesel engines. The result: an eco-friendly vessel that can still slip into small, remote harbors, but with 50 new suites, an expanded spa and fitness area, and new dining venues from Michelin-starred Spanish chef Anthony Sasso and barbecue guru Steven Raichlen.
You’ll Also Love: The reimagined Star Breeze features refreshed bathrooms throughout – including two in each of the all-new, two-bedroom Owner’s Suites. 
The all-suite <em>Mekong Jewel</em> offers intimate views of Vietnam and Cambodia. 
The all-suite Mekong Jewel offers intimate views of Vietnam and Cambodia. 

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection’s Mekong Jewel

Launches: January 3
Passengers: 68
Destinations: Vietnam, Cambodia
Highlights: One of Uniworld’s new line of Super Ships, the all-suite Mekong Jewel ups the fancy factor along Asia’s “Mother of Rivers.” Hardwood floors, ceiling fans, four-poster beds, and an alfresco eatery with blooming plants and bountiful rattan evoke a stately, colonial-era hotel. Modern amenities include an outdoor pool, as well as a spa with sauna and steam. Energy-efficient propellers, a water-cooled air-conditioning system, and sustainable materials reduce the ship’s impact on the Mekong’s vulnerable ecosystem.
You’ll Also Love: Measuring 924 square feet and featuring a wraparound balcony with a hot tub, two forward-facing Royal Suites provide some of the most sumptuous sleeps on the river.
Music to our ears: Virgin Voyages’ <em>Scarlet Lady</em> will feature an onboard record shop.
Music to our ears: Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady will feature an onboard record shop.

Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady

Launches: April 1
Passengers: 2,770
Destinations: The Caribbean 
Highlights: Only Richard Branson could come up with this “rebellious luxe” cruise ship for adults. Mod staterooms are tricked out with convertible beds and mood lighting; appetites are sated at more than 20 venues, ranging from Korean barbecue to a cooking-lab test kitchen. The music never stops, be it in the Japanese-style karaoke room or at the first-ever multiform theater at sea – which transforms to fit the performance.
You’ll Also Love: Virgin reaches back to its music roots with an onboard record shop stocked with some 6,000 titles on vinyl.
What’s hot: <em>National Geographic Endurance</em>'s ocean-view saunas. 
What’s hot: National Geographic Endurance's ocean-view saunas. 

Lindblad Expeditions’ National Geographic Endurance 

Launches: April 2
Passengers: 126
Destinations: Antarctica, the Arctic, Iceland, Greenland, and more
Highlights: Lindblad’s first new build purposely designed for year-round polar navigation features a patented X-shaped bow that slices through icy waters while providing a smoother ride. It’s loaded with kayaks, snowshoes, cross-country skis, and a fleet of Zodiac landing craft; after cool adventures ashore, guests can warm up in ocean-view saunas and infinity-style hot tubs or by the Observation Lounge’s fireplace. A dedicated yoga studio and wellness specialist keep things mindful, while a National Geographic photographer and photo workshop area help preserve polar memories.
You’ll Also Love: Every stateroom has its own “expedition command center,” complete with a tablet, USB charger, phone docking station, and even an old-school atlas.

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