Here They Come – Part 2 - Sailing Your Way Soon!
Why I believe 2016 will be the most exciting era in cruising

by Vanessa Lee

Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas' 10 storey Ultimate Abyss

Royal Caribbean's Royal Genie

Carnival Vista's Sport Square & Skyride

Carnival Vista's RedFrog Pub

In my last column I wrote about several of the remarkable new ships being brought on line by a number of highly regarded cruise lines this year. I truly believe this will be one of those years that will be looked back upon and consequently referred to as a period when cruising made another huge leap forward in reaching its enormous potential. I even think of one of my favourite quotations as I write this – it’s from Robert Browning: “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for”.  

So think about this and consider how much the cruise industry constantly reaches and strives to innovate and bring us ever more beautiful and fantastic ships. How they have revolutionized their vessels and all they contain and how the experiences are so much richer, vibrant and tasty than in previous decades.

I sailed my 1 st ship when I was just 15 but it was such an experience for me that I will never forget that transatlantic journey from Southampton to New York. I know my life was changed forever as I look back on that early August morning as the ocean liner on which I was a guest (not a passenger!) sailed past the Statue of Liberty, under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge into the sights and cacophony of sound of the Big Apple.

Of course, I have basically lost count of how many ships I have sailed since then but  it is close to 200 (and some numerous times) but fortunately I have never lost that wonderment for all things cruise and water and I am thrilled every time I step on board a ship of any size as I just know I am very likely going to be delighted once more.

Today I am going to tell you more about 2 new ships coming from the brand leaders of the industry, Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas due in June and Carnival Vista coming in May. Both are huge and full to the brim with new and exciting concepts and of course bigger and better “everything at sea”!

So here’s a scoop on the highly anticipated Harmony of the Seas, the newest vessel in the popular Oasis Class from Royal Caribbean and some insight into all her bells and whistles – of which there appear to be many, some of which have been kept top secret ‘til recently. She will launch in Europe with Med cruises from Barcelona and then head to Fort Lauderdale to homeport for the winter and of course – she’s going to be the largest ship in the world carrying 5,497 guests!

The main  show on Harmony will be a full-scale production of yet another Broadway hit musical GREASE and of course it will include such memorable tunes as “Summer Nights” and “Greased Lightnin”. A sure fire hit.

Then there’s the tallest slide at sea called the Ultimate Abyss which is 10 storeys high and located in the aft part of the ship. Apparently one can slide all the way down and arrive at the Boardwalk, one of the 7 neighbourhoods on board – just in time for some fish and chips or a hot dog or something! Just imagine that…

And let’s not forget the debut of the Royal Suite Class which is being rolled out on Quantum and Oasis class ships in May. These ships will offer a range of exclusive amenities for suite guests with many premium features and one’s very own Royal Genie who will be at your beck and call and meet every need and wish!  I could use one of those at home.

Now on to Carnival Vista which has a list of firsts coming on this, the largest vessel for Carnival with 3,954 guests. This ship is going to be very family-focused with sports and watersports oriented activities sure to please every member of the clan and in dedicated family zones too. The ship will offer the first IMAX Theatre at sea and beer lovers will be able to enjoy hand-crafted ales brewed on board at the RedFrog Pub, a stalwart on many Carnival ships.

Splashing good fun is going to be found in the expanded water park and the line’s 1 st raft-riding water slide along with the colourful Kaleid-O-Scope slide. Oh yes tons of fun for everyone. Never mind the SkyRide ™ which is an aerial-attraction offering a pedal-powered, suspended open-air cycling experience! That’s going to be an interesting innovation for sure. And naturally there’ll be more announcements to come.

These ships, along with Regent Seven Seas Explorer and Holland’s Koningsdam which I wrote about last week are just 4 of the new ships arriving on the scene this year. There are still more to come and I will give my thoughts on those in my next column. Plus the entry of Scenic’s ocean-going discovery yacht and the great news about the refurbishment of Regent’s 3 existing vessels, never mind all the new river ship announcements. Lots to hear about – lots of news to tell. Catch me next time for more. 





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