Virtuoso Traveler December 2017 7 New Cruise Ships for 2018

7 New Cruise Ships for 2018

This year, cruise lines will christen a fleet of new ships with novel onboard attractions that are sure to make a splash. There’s never been a better time to set sail.
Royal Caribbean: Symphony of the Seas
Launches: April
Passengers: 6,870
Cruises: The Mediterranean and the Caribbean
Star Attraction: Huge is an understatement – with 2,774 staterooms, 18 decks, seven “neighborhoods,” and 18 dining venues, Symphony will be the world’s largest cruise ship.
You’ll Also Love: The ten-story Ultimate Abyss slide, the tallest at sea, and virtual balconies (real-time floor-to-ceiling displays) in staterooms.
<em>Symphony of the Seas</em>' Ultimate Abyss waterslide. 
Symphony of the Seas' Ultimate Abyss waterslide. 
Lindblad Expeditions: National Geographic Venture
Launches: June
Passengers: 100
Cruises: Alaska and the Pacific Northwest
Star Attraction: The bow’s unique tiered design, which allows for totally unobstructed wildlife viewing.
You’ll Also Love: Step-out balconies in nearly half of the staterooms, and military-grade Zodiacs with easier entry and added stability.
Ponant: Le Lapérouse and Le Champlain
Launches: June and September, respectively
Passengers: 184
Cruises: Northern Europe and the Mediterranean
Star Attraction: Cruising’s first underwater lounges, with portholes that look out into the subaquatic world. 
You’ll Also Love: A hydraulic mini-port that provides easy access to Zodiacs, and a high-tech theater with an LED wall.
A rendering of the Blue Eye, Ponant’s new underwater lounge.
A rendering of the Blue Eye, Ponant’s new underwater lounge.
Viking Ocean Cruises: Viking Orion
Launches: July
Passengers: 930
Cruises: Asia, Australia, Europe, and Alaska
Star Attraction: The 1,448-square-foot Owner’s Suite with a glass-walled sauna – the perfect reprieve after meetings in its private boardroom.
You’ll Also Love: Wraparound balconies in Explorer Suites, and the ship’s pool with a glass dome that can be opened during balmy weather.
Norwegian Cruise Line: Norwegian Bliss
Launches: November
Passengers: 4,000
Cruises: Alaska and the Caribbean
Star Attraction: Multiple world’s firsts, including a two-story, electric go-kart track and a galactic-themed laser-tag course. 
You’ll Also Love: The 20,000-square-foot observation lounge with 180-degree views, and a Texas barbecue joint with live country-pop music.
Holland America Line: Nieuw Statendam
Launches: December
Passengers: 2,650
Cruises: The Caribbean
Star Attraction: High-def projections of cirrus clouds and constellations that cap the three-story central atrium. 
You’ll Also Love: The “Music Walk,” featuring Lincoln Center Stage 
and Billboard Onboard, and wine- blending classes at Blend by Chateau Ste. Michelle.
Celebrity Cruises: Celebrity Edge
Launches: December
Passengers: 2,900
Cruises: The Caribbean
Star Attraction: Eden, a three-level venue featuring panoramic ocean views, performance art, and a variety of restaurants and culinary experiences such as hands-on cooking classes. 
You’ll Also Love: A “Magic Carpet” outside elevator that picks up passengers for disembarkation, and a smartphone app that lets you control everything from dinner reservations to stateroom lighting.
<em>Celebrity Edge</em>'s floating Magic Carpet feature. 
Celebrity Edge's floating Magic Carpet feature. 

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