ICYMI: March’s top cruise stories

Queen Elizabeth down under

CUNARD is planning its longest deployment in Australia in 2019, basing Queen Elizabeth in local waters for two months.

An evolution of Cunard’s traditional world cruise program, the vessel will operate seven different round-trip cruises from Sydney and Melbourne.

Queen Elizabeth‘s local season will offer a total of 27 combination itineraries.

“This will be the first time that Cunard has featured so many voyages to and from Melbourne in addition to Sydney, and will give Australians a much greater number of options to experience Cunard than ever before,” said Cunard vice president international development David Rousham.

Celebrity Edge’s big reveal

Celebrity Cruises has unveiled the first new class of vessel in ten years, Celebrity Edge, touted as “a ship designed to leave the future behind”.

The first of four vessels planned for the new class will bear the Celebrity Edge name and begin sailing the Caribbean from December 2018.

The cruise line has revamped the accommodation offering, upping the suites on offer to 12% of the stock, as opposed to 5% on Solstice Class. New additions include the two two-bedroom, two-bathroom Iconic Suites, located above the ship’s bridge and boasting spectacular panoramic views and the six split-level Edge Villas, equipped with private plunge pools and direct access to The Retreat — a private utopia for suite-class passengers.

Details on the class’ food and beverage concepts will be released in coming months.

Norwegian’s big order

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) has penned a deal with shipbuilder Fincantieri for up to six new ships for the Norwegian Cruise Line brand.

The next generation of vessels are priced at approximately 800 million each and will accommodate 3,300 guests.

They will follow in the footsteps of the line’s Breakaway-Plus class and introduce “meaningful innovation to the cruise industry,” Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of NCLH said.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s new additions are set for delivery in 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025, with an option for two more ships in 2026 and 2027.