Luxury ships have been growing in popularity. Even before the global health pandemic, luxury vessels were experiencing something of a renaissance, thanks to their lavish accommodations, inclusive features and relatively small size that allows them to visit the ports that the big ships can't.
In the COVID-era, these luxury vessels are becoming even more prized for their relatively low passenger counts and abundance of personal space. Long-time luxury cruisers will tell you that these ships have physically distancing passengers for decade – you never feel crowded on a luxury ship.
Next year's class of luxury vessels includes some ships that should have debuted in 2020, resulting in a banner year for cruisers who love the finer things in life.
Silversea's newest ultra-luxury vessel, Silver Moon, officially debuted with a handover ceremony held in Italy on October 30. It is expected to enter service on April 1, 2021.
The 596-passenger vessel is based upon the design of Silversea's 2017 Silver Muse, but with some significant changes. Silver Moon will be first in the Silversea fleet to inaugurate the line's new Sea And Land Taste (S.A.L.T.) culinary concept that rolls out specialized bar, restaurant and test kitchen facilities to bring local foods, beverages and ingredients for passengers to enjoy.
Silver Moon will also introduce revised and improved versions of La Dame, Silversea's signature French dining experience; and the Connoisseur Club, a popular hangout for the cigar-and-brandy-set. In a first for the line, both La Dame and the Connoisseur Club will offer dedicated outdoor dining spaces aboard Silver Moon.
Silver Moon continues Silversea's tradition of offering butler service for each and every suite. Other amenities standard across the board include a nine-option pillow menu; Bulgari designer toiletries; and fine Pratesi linens. Top-of-the-line suites have lavish Savoir beds.
Silver Moon Itineraries: Africa & the Indian Ocean; Asia; Caribbean and Central America; Mediterranean; South America; Transoceanic; World Cruises
Though not technically new ships, this trio could be one of the splashiest debuts of next year, thanks to a massive refit and refurbishment program that has seen each vessel cut in half, completely re-engined, and lengthened with a prefabricated midsection containing new staterooms, suites and public areas.
In addition, Windstar is also renovating existing staterooms and public spaces on all three ships from stem-to-stern.
New restaurants, a brand-new spa and fitness area, a new tender embarkation platform, an additional elevator, and even a new pool will be added to Star Breeze, Star Legend and Star Pride when they make their long-awaited re-entry into service in 2021.
Star Breeze, Star Legend, Star Pride Itineraries: Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Caribbean, Alaska
Viking has always been hesitant to call its ships "luxury", but it's hard to find any other descriptor that fits so well.
Viking Venus continues the company's tradition of providing an engaging onboard atmosphere, coupled with crisp Scandinavian design and thoughtful features. Popular spaces, like the Wintergarden and the two-story Explorer's Lounge return, along with the ship's casual yet refined ambiance.
Little touches are present everywhere, from books on explorers and noteworthy expeditions scattered throughout the ship, to wireless Bose noise-cancelling headphones at the poolside movie screen that allow for cinemagoers to watch their favorite flicks without disturbing any other passengers.
Since the introduction of sister-ship Viking Star in 2015, Viking has continually won awards and accolades for its oceangoing vessels, and the 930-passenger Viking Venus guarantees more of the same.
Viking Venus Itineraries: Worldwide
The first-ever vessel for the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection is closer than ever before to becoming a reality. It's been a hard road for the luxury hotelier, as Evrima was scheduled to debut in February of 2020, but was beset by construction delays and issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Evrima has since been rescheduled for an July 24, 2021 debut.
When it sets sail, Evrima will carry just 298 passengers with the trademark-style and sophisticated service hat Ritz Carlton is known for. To that end, Evrima will offer yacht-like styling and amenities, including five different dining venues and round-the-clock in-suite dining, not to mention an aft-facing marina.
Those onboard will also be able to dine at Aqua, the seagoing restaurant from celebrity chef Sven Elverfeld. On land, Elverfeld headed up The Ritz-Carlton Wolfsburg and was awarded three Michelin stars for his eatery there.
Evrima Itineraries: Mediterranean, Caribbean, Canada & New England, Transatlantic Crossings, Northern Europe
The first newbuild in decades for luxury German operator Sea Cloud, Sea Cloud Spirit introduces the line's first balcony staterooms while maintaining the same classic sailing yacht ambiance found aboard the line's venerable 1931-built Sea Cloud and its modern sister, the 2000-built Sea Cloud II.
Sea Cloud Spirit will carry 132 passengers in comfort, propelled along (primarily) by three masts of billowing sails. The ship will also introduce a forward-facing fitness center, spa and wellness facility. Cabins will offer suitably nautical touches like wainscotting, brass fixtures and polished walnut accents, plus all the modern conveniences cruisers have come to expect from the international luxury line.
Sea Cloud Spirit will debut on a 10-day voyage from Palma de Mallorca and will then sail on to Barcelona, Tarragona, and Valencia before returning to Palma de Mallorca.
Sea Cloud Spirit Itineraries: Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Caribbean, Central America, Transatlantic.
Saga Cruises' long-awaited Spirit of Adventure will now debut on May 4, 2021, after being originally scheduled to debut in August of 2020.
The 999-passenger Spirit of Adventure is the sister to Saga's popular Spirit of Discovery, which launched in 2019 as the company's first-ever newbuild vessel.
Like its Spirit of Discovery, Spirit of Adventure is geared toward British cruisers over 50 years of age, though companions in their 40's are also allowed onboard. The result is a mature, classic cruise experience that focuses on amenities and service rather than North American-style gimmicks.
Spirit of Adventure will debut as a sort of seagoing country-club homage to all things British that will surely please loyal Saga passengers.
Spirit of Adventure Itineraries: Northern Europe, Mediterranean, Canary Islands, Caribbean, Americas
Silversea will also take delivery of Silver Dawn in 2021. The sister to Silver Moon, which launches in April, Silver Dawn will debut on November 9, 2021.
While Silversea hasn't announced what will differentiate Silver Dawn from its fleetmates, the vessel will clearly include a number of enhancements that will debut earlier in 2021 aboard Silver Moon, including the line's new S.A.L.T. culinary program.
The ship will also feature Silversea's popular Arts Café, Dolce Vita main bar, and the aft-facing Panorama Lounge, among numerous other dining and lounge venues. Silver Dawn will also offer the line's "All-Around Dining", allowing passengers to order food from any restaurant to be delivered to any location on the ship.
Like all Silversea ships, every suite aboard Silver Dawn will include the services of a butler, along with pillow menus, Bulgari toiletries, and Pratesi linens, in addition to a host of other amenities.
Silver Dawn Itineraries: Mediterranean, South America, Transoceanic