New Cruise Ships for 2018

2018 promises many exciting new cruise ships. Here are our top picks:

Seabourn Ovation

Seabourn Ovation
Seabourn Ovation

Seabourn introduce Ovation in 2018. Sister to the stunning Encore, this new ships offers the same pleasing design and first-class service, along with some new developments. Read our full preview here.

Nieuw Statendam

Nieuw Statendam
Nieuw Statendam

In December 2018 the latest Pinnacle-class ship, Nieuw Statendam, is due to embark upon its inaugural voyage from Fort Lauderdale to Key West and Half Moon Cay, Holland America’s private island in the Bahamas. Read our full preview here.

Viking Orion

VIKING ORION FLOATOUT
Viking Orion

Fifth in the Viking line of first-class cruise ships, the Orion will debut in 2018. Read our full preview here.

Celebrity Edge

Celebrity Edge
Celebrity Edge

Celebrity’s Edge intends to revolutionise the cruise ship experience with exciting design features. Read our full preview here.

Ms Roald Amundsen

Roald Amundsen
RoaldAmundsen

MS Roald Amundsen, launching in 2018, is one of two hybrid cruise ships on order from leading exploration cruise line, Hurtigruten. Read our full preview here. 

Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas

Symphony of the Seas at Night
Symphony of the Seas at Night

Debuting in spring next year, Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas is set to be the ‘world’s largest cruise ship’. Read our full review here

Norwegian Bliss

Norwegian Bliss
Norwegian Bliss

Norwegian Bliss, due to launch in April 2018, will be one of the largest cruise ships in the world. As the third in the successful Breakaway-Plus class, this 4000 passenger ship will debut in Alaska before moving to the Caribbean for winter. Read our full preview here.

 

Scenic Eclipse

Scenic Eclipse
Adventure on the Eclipse

Billed as ‘The World’s First Discovery Yacht’ the Scenic Eclipse promises to bring something very unique to the ocean cruising experience when it launches in August 2018. Read our full preview here.

 

New cruise ships for 2018 – Celebrity Edge

Touted as ‘the cruise ship of the future’ Celebrity’s Edge certainly boasts enough innovative and impressive features to support this claim, so far. This immensely popular cruise line, which offers luxury without elitism or snobbery, hasn’t introduced a new class of ship for a decade … so excitement is building. Not only is Edge taking to the water in 2018, but the whole fleet is due a comprehensive upgrade starting in 2019.

Eden Magic Carpet
Magic Carpet

With a star-studded team of designers behind the project, including the legendary Kelly Hoppen and British architect Tom Wright, the central concept revolves around a greater connection with the ocean. At the heart of this theme is the jaw-dropping Magic Carpet; an open-air platform, cantilevered from the starboard hull, that slides from deck to deck. Taking on many roles, the Magic Carpet extends the pool area, providing better access for tenders or, more glamorously, transforming to become a stunning al fresco dining area and party venue.

Infinite Veranda
Infinite Veranda

Super-spacious cabins, to accommodate the 2918 passengers, re-invent the guest experience with ‘Infinite Verandas’ extending the stateroom outwards creating more internal space. Hoppen’s serene taupe interiors combine modern luxury with technological innovation, featuring king-size beds with cashmere bedding and fully automated controls.

Edge Villa
Edge Villa

Six split-level Edge Villas have an elevated master bedroom, two bathrooms and large balcony with private plunge pool. Direct access to The Retreat is an enviable perk; this private suite-only sundeck also has a restaurant and bar.

Iconic Suite
Iconic Suite

Two identical Iconic Suites, located over the bridge with the same expansive views as the Captain, measure a whopping 5,000 square feet. There are two lovely bedrooms and a vast balcony that extends over the bridge wing, complete with cabanas and private Jacuzzi.

Eden
Eden

In keeping with the outward-facing design of the ship, one of the most anticipated features is Eden; the glass-fronted, multi-purpose venue which spans three decks. Wearing many hats, this communal space is put forward as a quiet coffee-time space in the morning or a ‘sinful’ performance venue at night.

Celebrity Edge Resort Deck
Resort Deck

The Resort Deck includes the main pool area, Rooftop Garden, jogging track and Solarium. Architectural to excess, this playful space has martini glass-shaped hot tubs, a huge mirror installation and dramatic tree sculptures.

Rooftop Garden
Rooftop Garden

There’s no doubt, from a physical perspective Edge is destined to break the cruise ship mould. The promised features are stunning, imaginative and fun but only time will tell if the ‘whole package’ will innovate enough to satisfy the discerning cruiser’s thirst for progress. We’ve heard little about advances in customer service, itineraries or the all-important aspects of environmental sustainability. Our breath is bated …

Photos courtesy of www.celebritycruises.co.uk

In Photos: Scandinavia and the Baltic

After our recent trip with Celebrity Cruises to the Scandinavian and Baltic region we can reflect on the experience; looking at photos of the places we visited and contemplating the positive (and sometimes negative) aspects of these destinations. This particular itinerary on the Celebrity Eclipse visited Zeebrugge, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Tallinn, St. Petersburg and Warnemunde over 14 days. Pictures do ‘speak a thousand words’, offering a unique account of a trip and these will hopefully help readers decide if this adventure is one for them.

Zeebrugge is an access port to the historic town of Bruge, as well as further afield to Ypres and Flanders Field. The shuttle bus takes you to Blankenberge – one of Belgium’s most lovely seaside resorts.

Blankenberge Beach
Traditional beach huts on Blankenberge beach © 2017 Louise Farquhar
Coffee in Blankenberge
Belgian coffee in Blankenberge © 2017 Louise Farquhar
Blankenberge Bistro
Bistro in Blankenberge © 2017 Louise Farquhar

Copenhagen is the gateway to the Baltic, rich in Scandinavian culture and modern design. Tivoli Gardens, a traditional amusement park, inspired Walt Disney and Hans Christian Andersen.

Tivoli Gardens
Tivoli Gardens © 2017 Louise Farquhar
Copenhagen Flowers
Copenhagen Flowers © 2017 Louise Farquhar

Stockholm is a vibrant city surrounded by pristine forests and a stunningly beautiful archipelago. The historic Gamla Stan, with its cobbled streets and Royal Palace, contrasts with the modern centre where visitors find leading museums and the famous Ice Bar.

Stockholm archipelago
Stockholm archipelago © 2017 Louise Farquhar
Stockholm
Stockholm by the river © 2017 Louise Farquhar
Changing of the guard
Changing of the guard © 2017 Louise Farquhar
Stockholm Ice Bar
Stockholm Ice Bar © 2017 Louise Farquhar
Stockholm at night
Stockholm at night © 2017 Louise Farquhar

Tallinn is a Medieval gem, with a well-preserved quaint centre only a short walk from the cruise terminal. Beyond the old town are abandoned and neglected post-Soviet buildings giving a stark reminder of the recent history of this fascinating place.

Tallinn
Tallinn approaches © 2017 Louise Farquhar
Tallinn's abandoned buildings
Views of the former Patarei Prison from the abandoned Linnahall 1980’s Moscow Olympic sailing venue © 2017 Louise farquhar
Tallin graffiti
Graffiti covers Tallinn’s abandoned buildings © 2017 Louise Farquhar
Tallinn's historic centre
Tallinn’s historic centre © 2017 Louise Farquhar
IMG_0424
Tallinn can be very busy © 2017 Louise Farquhar
IMG_0673
Tallinn’s oldest cafe © 2017 Louise Farquhar

St. Petersburg is the pinnacle of the voyage with its onion-domed churches in eye-popping technicolour, world-leading art collection and glittering palaces. A visa is required to leave the ship, which comes as part of any shore excursion. With the high crime rate in the city a group tour may be a safer option. There is poverty here as well as riches, and the information you are given on trips seems carefully curated to the point of being restricted in terms of some Russian history and current affairs.

The Winter Palace
The Winter Palace on a walking tour © 2017 Louise Farquhar
Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood
Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood © 2017 Louise Farquhar
St. Petersburg military
Russia’s military might on show as battleships and submarines line the river © 2017 Louise Farquhar
The Hermitage Museum
Crowds at The Hermitage Museum © 2017 Louise Farquhar
Touring the Hermitage Museum
Touring the Hermitage Museum © 2017 Louise Farquhar
St. Petersburg housing near cruise terminal
Standard housing near St. Petersburg cruise terminal © 2017 Louise Farquhar
Naval Defences
Naval Defences on Russian sail away © 2017 Louise Farquhar
Russian sea fort
Russian sea fort © 2017 Louise Farquhar

Warnemunde is a pleasant seaside town but has limited interest. The port is more beneficial as a starting point for Berlin excursions, which can be lengthy and expensive,  or trips to the nearby town of Rostock.

Warnemunde harbour
Warnemunde harbour © 2017 Louise Farquhar
Warnemunde house
Warnemunde house © 2017 Louise Farquhar
Warnemunde lighthouse
Warnemunde lighthouse © 2017 Louise Farquhar

And so after 14 wonderful days …

Sunset on the Baltic
The sun sets on the Baltic © 2017 Louise Farquhar

Review: Celebrity Eclipse

With great excitement, I boarded the much-loved Celebrity Eclipse for a 14-night tour of Scandinavia and the Baltic. This fantastic itinerary stops in Bruges, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Tallinn, St.Petersburg and Warnemunde; the scenic cruise through the Stockholm archipelago being a definite highlight. These destinations are rich in European heritage, contemporary culture and stunning scenery – and with two overnight port stops in Sweden and Russia there is ample opportunity to explore these fascinating places.

Celebrity Eclipse Day One
Day One on the Celebrity Eclipse. Photo ©2017 Louise Farquhar

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