While the major corporations continue to dominate the cruise market, there are several new brands entering service over the next few years. With their new products and ships, they’re adding a fresh perspective to the business. Cruise Industry News has looked at the plans of five of the new cruise lines.
First ship: SH Minerva
Inaugural Cruise: December 29, 2021
Region and Itinerary: Antarctica and South Shetland Islands
Swan Hellenic is returning to the market after a four-year hiatus with new management at the helm. The new cruise line is about to launch service in Antarctica and will be operating in the expedition cruising niche.
It aims to offer “cultural expedition cruising” to remote parts of the globe with its three new purpose-built expedition ships. Sailing areas include the polar regions, where the first ship Minerva will debut on Dec. 29.
According to the company, the vessel and its sister ships were designed with “state-of-the-art features” meant to provide “guests with an elegant, intimate and personal onboard experience delivered by 120 warm, friendly and knowledgeable staff.”
The SH Vega will follow the Minerva, entering service next April, while a third – yet unnamed – vessel will debut in the fourth quarter of 2022.
Ambassador Cruise Line
First ship: Ambiance
Inaugural Cruise: April 6, 2022
Region and Itinerary: Northern Europe
Ambassador Cruise Line claims to be the first new British cruise line since 2010. The brand launched in 2021, announcing its plans to offer a “premium-value, authentic cruise experience, sailing for the British market from its homeport of London Tilbury.”
With a program of no-fly itineraries, Ambassador is focusing on the over-50s market looking for a traditional cruising product.
Ambassador’s first ship, the 1,590-guest Ambiance, was built in 1991 and is currently undergoing a major refurbishment in Croatia. Among the vessel’s main features are five restaurants, nine lounges, a swimming pool and a spa.
After the refit, the Ambiance is set to debut on Apr. 6, with an inaugural short-break cruise to Hamburg, before embarking on a mixed itinerary program with sailings to the Norwegian Fjords and the British Isles planned throughout spring.
Margaritaville at Sea
First ship: Margaritaville Paradise
Inaugural Cruise: April 30, 2022
Region and Itinerary: Short cruises to Freeport, Bahamas
After doing a deal with Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, the Margaritaville Resorts & Hotels group will operate a new cruise brand in 2022.
Called Margaritaville at Sea, the company will operate the Margaritaville Paradise on short Bahamas getaways beginning Apr. 30.
Currently sailing as the Grand Classica, the 1991-built vessel is expected to undergo an extensive refit at Grand Bahama before entering service for the new brand.
Margaritaville at Sea will sail from the Port of Palm Beach and is set to offer two-night cruises to Freeport in Grand Bahama Island. The product will provide guests with Margaritaville’s authentic culture, entertainment and food, the company said.
Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection
First ship: Evrima
Inaugural Cruise: May 6, 2022
Region and Itinerary: Western Europe and Mediterranean
The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection is launching its luxury mega yacht service in 2022. The brand is planning an upscale boutique product, focusing on dining and wellness features, onboard its purpose-built first ship Evrima.
The vessel – set to enter service in 2022 – will offer 10 different dining experiences. Those range from steaks and seafood to fully customized lunches and dinners. Other features on the ship include spa treatments and a marina-style platform with sundecks ensuring direct access to water.
The Evrima also has some of the nicest accommodations at sea, including duplex suites and a 160-square-meter Owner’s Suite with its own private terrace and whirlpool.
The ship’s first cruise is scheduled for May 6 and departs from Lisbon, Portugal. The 11-night itinerary visits seven ports in the region – including Tangier in Morocco – before it arrives in Barcelona, Spain.
First ship: Explora I
Inaugural Cruise: May 31, 2023
Region and Itinerary: Europe – Western and Eastern Mediterranean
When it launches service in 2023, Explora Journeys will mark MSC Group’s debut in the luxury market. The new brand will sail global itineraries on mid-sized purpose-built vessels and currently has four ships on order.
According to MSC, Explora Journeys will offer the “highest level of service and amenities,” while utilizing the latest technology to provide “journeys of discovery” through destinations “on and off the beaten path.”
The brand’s first ship Explora I’s first cruise is scheduled to depart on May 31, 2023. For its debut season, the 922-guest vessel is offering a program in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe before crossing the Atlantic for a series of itineraries in North America, the Caribbean and South America.