Now you are ready to take the next step!    Never been on a cruise or an avid cruise fan – this blog  is for you!   So, to bring you right up to date with the newest  cruises and cruise tips for making your money go further keep on reading!

2016 is your year. Seven new cruise ships will add about 18,500 new beds (to the seas. This is the year of the biggest, the most luxurious, the most technologically advanced ships.

BEST TIP:   Subscribe to many UK and US cruise agencies as well as the cruise companies direct.  Cruise agencies can offer packages to include a few days pre and post tour including air fare, transfers and perks.   You have to book quickly, so by spending time doing your research you can benefit greatly by booking when you see the best deal.

Just as a taster – NEW IN 2016: 

1. HOLLAND AMERICA’s  highly anticipated newest ship since 2010 ‘KONINGSDAM’  is medium size ship for 2,650 passengers.    Holland America features the Culinary Arts Centre where passengers can take cooking classes during the day while for sea food lovers Sel de Mer restaurant is a must (extra charge), and wine-lovers will adore Blend, a small venue that allows passengers to mix their own wines at the only purpose-built wine-blending venue at sea.

2.  ‘OVATION OF THE SEAS’ is the third ship in Royal Caribbean’s innovative  4,100 Quantum Class ship and is aimed at the growing Asian market. Ovation’s homeport will be Tianjin, China and will sail Australian and New Zealand itineraries from December 2016.  This ship is totally high tech with robot bartenders and a Two70 which is unique  entertainment space, with floor-to-ceiling LED screens and six moving high-definition TVs!

Active passengers can try the ship’s skydiving simulator, surf rider, rock climbing wall, bumper cars, and not-to-be-missed ‘North Star’ which is like glass pod rising high above the ship for amazing 360 views.

3.  ‘VIKING SEA‘  from Viking Ocean Cruises, well known for river cruising. This smaller 930-passenger ship features multiple dining venues and atrue infinity pool that extends off the back of the ship.

Fans of Viking River Cruises the design focuses on the same distinctly Scandinavian elements: clean lines, modern simplicity including  the Aquavit Terrace, a popular indoor/outdoor restaurant that can be enjoyed no matter the season.

4. ‘CARNIVAL VISTA’  is a 3,954-passenger ship will feature the cruise industry’s first IMAX theater and for family fun features  a water tube slide that’s more than 450 feet long and SkyRide, a suspended ride along an open-air track atop the ship.  Of course, the regular favourites are all there including Guy’s Burger Joint and a Mexican Cantina restaurant are joined by and a New England inspired ‘Seafood Shack’.

5.  I am so happy to say that I will be going on the biggest cruise ship in the work ‘THE HARMONY OF THE SEAS’ soon!   She takes  5,497 passengers and is part of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class (like Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas).  New themed areas await and surprises for the active cruisers like three slides collectively called “The Perfect Storm,” as well as a 10-story spiral slide called “The Abyss.”

The Harmony is completely high-tech, with the high-speed Internet service Royal Caribbean says allows passengers to surf, share and even stream at speeds equal to those on land –  still a relative rarity at sea. I really like the new idea of wristbands that are used as your cabin key and to pay for onboard purchases. I have already been on the Oasis and the Allure and really can’t wait!

6.For added luxury,  Regent Seven Seas promises its new cruise ship, 738 passenger ‘EXPLORER’ and Regent say that this will be the most luxurious ship ever built!   There are no cabins only suites – the smallest being  212 square feet! 

Just so you know,  the 2,917-square-foot Regent Suite includes unlimited private in-cabin massages, a personal car and guide for use in ports, a 958-square-foot wraparound balcony, a glass-enclosed sunroom and a personal butler, among myriad other perks!

A Culinary Arts Kitchen is a first for the line where can hone their cooking skills and receive hands-on instruction in areas like cooking the perfect fish or French techniques.

7.  Also for the luxury lovers, Seabourn has clear plan of expansion, starting with the new  604 passenger ship ‘SEABOURN ENCORE’ the largest in its fleet of luxury ships.  Much of the excitement around Seabourn Encore is on a new partnership with world-famous Chef Thomas Keller, known for his three Michelin-starred land-based restaurants and with Keller, Seabourn creates a signature restaurant onboard Encore that features high-quality ingredients and innovative dishes.

New for ‘Encore’ are a marina deck, from which you can windsurf, kayak and pedal boat; Sky Bar, an alfresco spot for drinks; and the Grand Salon, showcasing talks from a range of experts, including explorers, chefs, scholars and performers and culture.

LAST TIP:  So many cruise ships available – so how do you choose?   For generations of families traveling together, I would suggest the larger American ships as the facilities for children or teens are far superior.  For under 3’s a family member has to remain.   If you prefer more British atmosphere then look at lines such as Cunard, P & O and Fred Olsen.

Janis Leader – Cruise Expert.