Flying Clipper

Maiden voyages

An armada of new ships are ready to set sail across the world’s oceans and rivers over the next year. So pull up the gangplank as Gary Buchanan readies the fleet before launch

Ocean cruises CELEBRITY EDGE

This new ship was the first to be designed in 3D and is one of the most advanced to be built. Its stand-out feature is a ‘Magic Carpet’: a cantilevered platform restaurant on the side of the ship that is raised and lowered between the 16 decks. Light, colour and modern styling make this a sound pick for style-savvy or first-time cruisers. Kelly Hoppen is behind the interiors, bringing her trademark pared-back palettes and use of texture through all the spaces, which are designed to bring the outside in. Glass atriums, a rooftop garden and staterooms with retractable glass walls that raise to leave just a balcony between your room and the sea add to the feeling of spaciousness.

BEST ROUTE Celebrity Edge sails from Florida’s Fort Lauderdale for Key West via Costa Maya; Cozumel with its gin-clear waters surrounding coral reefs; and George Town, Nassau for snorkelling.

1489363191 Edge Villa

Travel Details

7-nights, departing 6 January 2019, from £945.


Norwegian specialist Hurtigruten has a well-earned reputation for its voyages along the Norwegian coast. Now the company is heading not just off the beaten track but to the edges of the beaten map – to the Chilean fjords, Falkland Islands and Antarctica. Launching in July 2018, MS Roald Amundsen is the newest ship in the fleet – the first of two ships which will use hybrid technology. This, combined with the advanced construction of the hull and effective use of electricity on board, will reduce fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions significantly.

BEST ROUTE Sailing round-trip from Punta Arenas, the cruise explores Patagonia before crossing the Drake Passage to Antarctica. It continues to the Falkland Islands which are teeming with wildlife and nature.

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Travel Details

17-nights, departing 25 November 2018, from £8,619.

Ocean cruises FLYING CLIPPER

The 300-passenger square rigger Flying Clipper is 8,770-tonnes of sailing poetry. Due to launch in late 2018, a great deal of emphasis has been placed on Flying Clipper’s creature comforts. From bowsprit to polished brass and varnished hardwood, it’s a vision of the golden age of ocean travel largely unseen since the turn of the 20th century. The vessel has 150 cabins, including 34 balcony cabins and four owner’s suites. There’s a two-deck- high main restaurant, alfresco Tropical Bar, a piano bar and an extensive library. There are also three pools on the top deck and a watersports platform at the stern. Nestled below the billowing sails is the bowsprit net for canoodling a few feet above the dolphins gambolling beneath.

Flying Clipper

Travel Details

Itineraries and prices are yet to be finalised. More details will be available soon at

Ocean cruises LE LAPÉROUSE

Fancy following in the footsteps of the great explorers? Ponant, France’s only cruise line, is the new protagonist in polar expedition and is expanding its portfolio of expedition vessels with two new sister ships, the Ponant Explorers. The new 184-passenger vessels pay tribute to the great French navigators: Le Lapérouse and Le Champlain will join the fleet over the course of the next 12 months. The ships combine cutting-edge technology with respect for the environment. French design is channelled throughout – cabins and suites have hues of charcoal and white with colourful leitmotifs, while lounges open out on to the decks.

BEST ROUTE Le Lapérouse sails from Victoria on Mahe Island in the Seychelles bound for Aride, via Praslin for the surreal Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve; La Digue, Astove, Desroches and Poivre as well as the unspoilt Alphonse lagoon.

2 Ships Sterling Design International

Travel Details

12-nights, departing 29 November 2018, from £6,409.

Ocean cruises SCENIC ECLIPSE

This ship has been billed as the world’s first ‘Discovery Yacht’. It’s got features more akin to nuclear icebreakers, with GPS dynamic positioning, stabiliser fins and a safety rating that enables the safest navigation from the Arctic to Antarctica and everywhere in between. Staff look to engage passengers with their destinations, with in-depth presentations from field- specialists and guided tours on visits ashore. Arriving in August 2018, this 228-passenger vessel has spacious veranda suite accommodation with butler service for every guest.

BEST ROUTE The ‘Ultimate Arctic’ cruise sets sail from Longyearbyen for an incredible circumnavigation of the Svalbard Archipelago. There are Zodiac and kayak excursions, as well as an Arctic submarine tour.

Eclipse Norwegian Fjords Dusk

Travel Details

11-nights, departing 25 June 2019, from £8,


Arriving in June 2018 and designed for cruising Alaska and the Caribbean, the 4,004-passenger Norwegian Bliss features an Observation Lounge vantage point designed to capture the best side of snow-capped mountains or fiery Caribbean sunsets. There’s also a two-deck- high go-kart racetrack. Norwegian Cruise Line pioneered the ‘Freestyle Dining’ concept, which means there are no fixed mealtimes or seating arrangements. Aboard the ship, restaurants include a Texan barbecue joint called Q; Mexican Los Lobos; Cagney’s steakhouse; Le Bistro for French cuisine; La Cucina Tuscan restaurant; Ocean Blue for seafood; global fusion cuisine at Food Republic; and Teppanyaki, a Japanese-style hibachi steakhouse.

BEST ROUTE The ‘Alaska Highlights’ cruise starts in Seattle before heading north. Juneau is the gateway to Tracy Arm Fjord, Juneau Icefield and Glacier Bay National Park. The following day there’s a close encounter with the Sawyer Glacier before the cruise continues to Skagway and timeless Victoria on Vancouver Island.

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Travel Details

6-nights, departing 2 June 2018, from £1,469.

Ocean cruises VIKING SPIRIT

Launching in 2018, Viking Spirit is the fifth new vessel from Viking Ocean Cruises. With their blend of Scandi-style, these 930-passenger ships have clean lines, calm neutral colours and natural elements. It’s a similar scenario when it comes to cuisine where the vision is simple: no fusion and without confusion. Cabins are larger than industry standard and all have balconies. Viking Ocean offers destination-centric voyages designed for experienced travellers with an interest in geography, culture and history, making an ideal option for those who look for authentic experiences when they dock. There is no casino, no theme park on deck, or any Broadway-style shows. Instead there’s a Nordic-themed spa with snow grotto; Explorers’ Lounge with panoramic views; Aquavit terrace; and two pools.

BEST ROUTE Start in Bangkok before cruising the Gulf of Thailand and the Straits of Malacca prior to arriving in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. A cruise of the Java Sea precedes an overnight stay in Jakarta before Semarang, Java for a two-day visit. Crossing the Bali Sea, it concludes at Bali.

Ncl Asian Sashimi Poblano Cropped

Travel Details

12-nights, departing 18 November 2018, from £4,105.


Two decks high and 128ft long, Pivoine and Lilas are two new boutique barges – or péniche hôtels as they are known locally – in the seven-barge fleet of Afloat in France. What distinguishes these hotel barges from their peers is space. While other barges of similar size sleep 24, these are designed for just eight guests and offer a floating country house ambiance. Taking a bow next spring, each of these barges has an expansive deck with a heated swimming pool, lounge, dining room, and four en-suite cabins.

BEST ROUTE Pivoine cruises between Meaux and Châlons- en-Champagne. Lilas sails through the Alsace region from Krafft to Arzviller.

Aif Lil Gst Deck 01

Travel Details

6-nights aboard Lilas, departing 27 May 2018, from £7,090 per sole charter, based on eight guests.

River cruises RV AFRICAN DREAM

‘Safari’ is a Swahili word meaning ‘journey’ or ‘to travel’. Imbued with a sense of Africa, new ship RV African Dream channels it perfectly. Conveying just 16 passengers, the 131ft-long cruiser plies the most beautiful stretches of the Chobe and Zambezi Rivers as wildlife goes about its business on both sides.

BEST ROUTE: Chobe and Zambezi river voyage.


Travel Details

Departing 6 March 2018, from £3,

River cruises U BY UNIWORLD

The placid world of river cruising is about to get a shot in the arm. Launching in April, U by Uniworld is a concept aimed at 21-45 year olds who want to experience the pulse of Europe aboard two 120-passenger ships on the Rhine, Main, Danube and Seine. Named The A and The B, these vessels are styled like boutique hotels with black exteriors and cool design. The restaurant features communal tables and local, farm-to-table cuisine from the ports visited. Part of the experience is overnight stops in cities like Paris, Vienna, Amsterdam and Budapest.

BEST ROUTE ‘Rolling on the Rhine’.

Uby Uniworld Bedroom The B

Travel Details

7-nights, 23 June 2018, from £1,499.

Maiden voyages VIKING RA

In spring 2018 Scandi-style will arrive on the ribbon of liquid history that is the Nile. The newest addition to the Viking River Cruise fleet will sail the river on an in-depth Egypt cruisetour. Named after Egyptian sun god Ra, Viking Ra features clean, elegant design blended with local influences like geometric Arabic patterns and terrazzo floors. The ship has three suite categories, each 291sq ft, including 20 Veranda Suites with a full-size veranda and a French balcony in the bedroom. In addition to two Jacuzzis there’s a pool at the stern of the vessel. Sculptural ‘sail-shades’ inspired by dhow ships and mashrabiya- influenced screens surround the pool and sun deck.

BEST ROUTE The ‘Pharaohs & Pyramids’ cruisetour begins with a three-night stay in Cairo, before flying to Luxor for three nights and a seven-night round trip cruise to Aswan.

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Travel Details

11-night cruise tour, departing 25 January 2019, from £5,795.

Maiden voyages CRYSTAL DEBUSSY

Crystal River Cruises will be making waves on the Rhine in 2018 when Crystal Debussy enters service offering the highest crew-to-passenger ratio on any European river ship. Accommodation is all-suite, all-balcony and ranges from Petite Suites to River Suite Deluxe to two-bedroom Crystal Suites. In addition to butler service in every category, the king-size beds face panoramic balcony- windows offering unimpeded views. Additional features include farm-to-table cuisine in the elegant Waterside restaurant, Bistro café and exclusive Vintage Room.

BEST ROUTE ‘The Legendary Rhine’ cruise departs Basel. There’s an overnight stay in Cologne, before journey’s end at Amsterdam.

Travel Details

6-night cruise, departing 16 September 2018, from £3,

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