The line-up of new cruise ships for 2022 is one of the most exciting exciting and robust ones we've seen in a while, with the new Disney Wish and the world's largest cruise ship -- Wonder of the Seas -- among over two dozen debuts. That number is partially due to the COVID-19 pandemic: some new cruise ships that were meant to launch in 2021 have been moved back to 2022. But the new cruise ship roster for 2022 also has a number of first-in-class builds that are likely to push the envelope on new features and attractions, as well as welcoming back some signature venues people already love.
Here's a look at 2022's best new cruise ships -- and why we're excited about them:
At 6,988 passengers, Royal Caribbean's Wonder of the Seas will become the largest cruise ship in the world when it debuts in early March 2022. While Wonder of the Seas is technically an Oasis-class ship and not first in its class, (there are even some major design changes between Wonder of the Seas vs. Symphony of the Seas, for example), the vessel does have some extras, including the new Suite neighborhood, where high-spenders will have access to an enhanced Suite Sun Deck, with its own plunge pool, bar and loungers.
Families will be excited by the ship's new Wonder Playscape, an underwater-themed area for kids that will include slides, climbing walls, views and an interactive mural. Finally, a new cantilevered pool bar, called The Vue, will offer fantastic sunning opportunities during the day and turn into a colorful outdoor venue after sunset.
Disney Cruise Line's first new ship in a decade will usher in a number of firsts when Disney Wish debuts in June 2022. The 4,000-passenger ship -- designed primarily around the theme of "enchantment" -- will offer new dining experiences, reimagined kids clubs (always Disney's strong-suit), and the first-ever Disney attraction at sea: the 760-foot-long waterslide known as AquaMouse, which mixes storytelling and thrills. Disney Wish deck plans reveal a world of wonders for the young and young-at-heart.
But Disney has also mindfully designed Disney Wish for parents, too. The adults-only Quiet Cove will introduce the cruise line's first infinity pool, while grown-ups will be the only ones allowed to dine at Enchante, the line's new onboard restaurant designed by three-Michelin-starred chef Arnaud Lallement. Where will Disney Wish sail from? Like its earliest fleetmates, Disney Wish will debut in the Caribbean and Bahamas, sailing from the line's flagship terminal in Port Canaveral -- a view that will be best seen from the line's massive suite inset into one of the ship's funnels.
Princess Cruises has been adding to its fleet fast, and the next of its Royal Class ships -- the 3,660-passenger Discovery Princess -- has a March 2022 debut date. It's the latest ship to debut with the line's Medallion technology built right in, which allows passengers to do everything from check into the ship to open their cabin door to buy things in designated shops in some ports.
Discovery Princess will also have most of the onboard features that debuted on sister ships Majestic Princess and Enchanted Princess, including the Salty Dog Gastropub and Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria with specialty pastas. If you want a fabulous suite experience, check out the Sky Suites, which have one of the best balconies at sea, with a direct view of Movies Under the Stars.
With Norwegian Prima, Norwegian Cruise Line ushers in a new class of ship, with an array of accompanying new features. The Norwegian Prima deck plan includes something for everyone. Thrill seekers will love The Drop -- a dry, freefall slide that has a 10-story plunge -- as well as a new version of the popular top-deck race track. There's also The Rush, a pair of dueling dry racing slides, and the line's first Tidal Wave innertube waterslide.
Norwegian always leans into nightlife, and Norwegian Prima's theater will be able to convert into a giant Las Vegas-style nightclub. The marquee show onboard will be a version of "Summer: The Donna Summer Musical." The line is also bringing on Light Balance, a dance troupe winner from "America’s Got Talent," for a show that combines high-energy dance and aerobics with a multisensory light show.
Technically, Celebrity Beyond is the third Edge Class ship from Celebrity Cruises. In reality, the 3,260-passenger ship is offering enough new onboard features that it can almost qualify as a class of its own. Also exciting: TikTok and Instagram star Capt. Kate McCue will take command of Celebrity Beyond when it launches in April 2022.
Chief among the changes is a re-imaging of Celebrity's wellness program, led by actress and lifestyle maven Gwyneth Paltrow (who is now also the line’s Well-Being Advisor). New suites are being added in AquaClass and The Retreat -- Celebrity's resort for suite passengers -- is 40 percent larger than on other ships. Celebrity Beyond will also have the first fine-dining restaurant at sea from Michelin-star chef Daniel Boulud.
Carrying 2,770 passengers, the ship will be an adults-only cruise and have a similar design and attitude to Scarlet Lady (which won the Cruise Critic's Editors' Picks award for Best New Cruise Ship of 2021). Valiant Lady will sail in the Mediterranean, and we're excited to see how Virgin's hip and quirky approach to cruising works in Europe (nights in Ibiza, anyone?).
Carnival Cruise Line turns 50 in 2022, and the line is leaning into the festivities with its next Excel Class ship, Carnival Celebration. Set to debut with a 14-night transatlantic cruise departing Southampton on November 6, 2022, Carnival Celebration will homeport out of Miami when it arrives Stateside.
The Bolt roller coaster aboard sister-ship Mardi Gras is one of the line's biggest hits, and Carnival Celebration will also feature Bolt, the line's popular roller coaster at sea. Carnival's new neighborhood concept will also be continued aboard Carnival Celebration, although word is that it will be different from the French Quarter aboard Mardi Gras. As for what will replace it? Stay tuned.
MSC Cruises' second Seaside EVO class ship, MSC Seascape will debut at PortMiami in November 2022 when it launches. Like sister-ship MSC Seashore, which made its U.S. debut in fall 2021, MSC Seascape will offer 2,270 individual cabins across 12 separate grades of accomodations, including balcony staterooms, suites and MSC's coveted Yacht Club luxury ship-within-a-ship concept.
An increased focus on public rooms that connect with the sea will be showcased aboard MSC Seashore, with some 70 percent of all public spaces being completely redesigned from the ship's predecessors, MSC Seaside and MSC Seaview. But, like its fleetmates, MSC Seascape will offer some of the most distinctive features of this class, including the massive Waterfront promenade and the spectacular glass-floored "Bridge of Sighs" perched 16 decks above the water.
As if launching MSC Seascape in 2022 wasn’t enough, MSC Cruises is dreaming even bigger with an all-new class of ship. MSC World Europa will carry 5,079 passengers (at full occupancy) and will boast 22 decks, immediately becoming the longest, tallest and largest ship in the entire fleet. The ship launches in December 2022 and is earmarked to sail in the Arabian Gulf.
On a ship this size, you’d expect a ton of fun. MSC World Europa will have several onboard “districts” divided into separate areas. An 11-deck dry slide called The Spiral will be the longest at sea, and new dining venues include Chef’s Garden Kitchen, focusing on microgreens, and La Pescaderia, a traditional seafood grill with alfresco seating. The ship will also be powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) technology.
A sister ship to 2021's Silver Moon, the 596-passenger Silver Dawn will up the luxury cruise game even more with the line’s first Roman-inspired spa and wellness program. Called Otium, the program places luxury front and center, with special spa touches put throughout your cruise. Among the goodies: a new posh mattress; an indulgent room service menu with foie gras burgers, lobster and caviar on brioche and truffle fries; and multisensory bath soaks.
In addition, Silver Dawn will include the line’s culinary immersion program S.A.L.T., which debuted in 2021 to rave reviews. If you’re a foodie, this deep dive into local food and drink, offered both onboard and ashore, is a can’t-miss.
People have been talking with excitement about luxury hotel brand Ritz-Carlton’s entry into cruising for the past few years -- and in 2022, the launch of the 298-passenger yacht Evrima is poised to happen. The ship will have five restaurants -- that’s a lot for a ship this size -- and the personalized service that Ritz-Carlton is known for.
Another reason that Ritz-Carlton lovers are excited -- Evrima is part of the Marriott Bonvoy program, and members will be able to redeem points for the ship’s first sailings in October 2022. The Ritz-Carlton yacht will spend its first season in the Mediterranean before heading the Caribbean.
While Azamara isn’t a household name like some cruise lines, lovers of small ships have always been drawn the intimate size of their vessels -- about 702 passengers -- and the smaller ports they visit. The line left the Royal Caribbean Group in early 2021 to become an independent cruise company, and has started to introduce fun new programs while continuing the focus on great shoreside experiences.
Azamara Onward is not technically a new ship. Rather, the line has bought the former Pacific Princess -- a direct sister-ship to the line's existing fleet -- and is completely renovating it to look more like the rest of the Azamara fleet. We are excited to see what happens when you combine Azamara’s intimate service -- the crew learn the names of every single passenger and you’re greeted by name when you board -- with a fresh spin on its destinations.
Viking Ocean Cruises won’t call themselves luxury. But when you’re onboard one of the line's identical oceangoing vessels, you certainly feel like you’re on a luxury cruise, with fantastic food and dining options, itineraries that stop at interesting ports, and inclusions such as Wi-Fi, a shore excursion at each port of call, and one of the best spa thermal suites at sea.
Viking has two identical 930-passenger ocean ships coming in 2022. Viking Mars will debut in May 2022 and sail itineraries in the Mediterranean and northern Europe before moving to Asia. Viking Neptune, meanwile, will debut in fall 2022 and start Viking’s 2022-23 World Cruise in December from Fort Lauderdale.
With only 100 passengers, Emerald Azzurra promises an intimate yacht experience from a line that has already won accolades for its European river cruises. Emerald has always offered an inclusive type of sailing, and cruises on Emerald Azzurra include complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks at lunch and dinner; onboard gratuities; some shore excursions; transfers to and from the airport; port charges and taxes.
We’re also excited by the itineraries that Emerald Azzurra will sail, which include its debut in the Red Sea in January 2022. The yacht will then move to the Mediterranean and sail into small Croatian and Greek ports, as well as itineraries that focus on Italy and France.
Viking is jumping into expedition cruising in a big way in 2022 by adding a pair of 378-passenger ships aimed at polar adventure. Viking Octantis debuts first in January 2022, with cruises in Antarctica. It will then move to the Great Lakes for the summer, before heading back to the White Continent. Viking Polaris arrives in summer 2022 and will spend its season in Norway and the Far Arctic before heading south to Antarctica.
What makes these pair of ships so exciting is the design. Viking’s expedition ships will have an enclosed area known as The Hangar, where passengers can get on and off zodiac boats in comfort and without biting winds. The Aula panoramic auditorium is custom-designed for lectures, and we can’t wait to see the Finse Terrace, an outdoor lounge with comfy couches and warming lava rock faux fire pits.
With Seabourn Venture, the luxury cruise line Seabourn leaps into the high-end expedition trend. The 264-passenger ship will have two custom-built submarines as well as 24 zodiacs, kayaks– you also snorkel and scuba dive – and a full expedition team to explain all the natural wonders around you. Plus you get the sumptuous suites with a built-in heated jacket wardrobe, Swarovski binoculars and the Moulton Brown amenities, upscale dining and endless Champagne that Seabourn is known for.
Seabourn Venture debuted in August 2022 with cruises in the British Isles, Norway and the Arctic before transiting to South America and Antarctic for winter 2022. On all itineraries expect adventure along the way, with stops at small ports and remote areas.
Previously known primarily for American river cruises, American Queen Voyages will be making its first foray into expedition cruising with the 186-passenger small ship, Ocean Victory. The ship will debut in Alaska in summer 2022, running an itinerary that includes big name marquee ports and smaller, out-of-the way locales.
Technically, Ocean Victory is a charter by SunStone, a ship management company that has focused on building small adventure ships. The ship will have a full array of expedition gear for outdoor adventure, including zodiacs, a fleet of kayaks and an onboard expedition team. The ship is small enough to dock in Alaskan ports that are off limits to larger cruise ships.
In one of the most anticipated domestic launches, Viking will expand its river cruising juggernaut into the U.S market for the first time with the 386-passenger Viking Mississippi. The ship will be one of the largest constructed for the Mississippi River, and all cabins will have either French or full step-out balconies; suites are also available.
What’s exciting about Viking Mississippi is that the ship will have many of the onboard features that people already love on other Viking vessels. There will be a two-story Explorers’ Lounge observation area; the Aquavit Terrace outdoor dining venue; an infinity pool and sun deck. There’s also a new outdoor seating area known as The Bow, which promises excellent views of the river. Plenty of inclusions are also on offer, such as beer, wine and soft drinks with lunch and dinner; a complimentary shore excursion per day; lectures; Wi-Fi and free room service.
In the past few years, American Cruise Lines has revamped the expectation of what riverboats on U.S. rivers should look like by introducing a more modern style of ship. These ships do not have paddlewheels; instead, the 175-passenger vessels look more like a hotel on land with a four-story glass atrium in the center of the ship. ACL ships are known for having some of the largest cabins in river cruising, with most ranging from 250 to 650 square feet.
River cruising in the United States has become more popular during the COVID-19 pandemic, as people look for sailings that are closer to home. American Cruise Lines, which owns its own shipyard in Maryland, has turned down other boat-building work so it can concentrate on cruise ships. American Symphony will debut on the Mississippi River in summer 2022 and American Serenade will launch at the end of 2022.