2021 was a big year for cruising. The industry had to recover from what was (hopefully) a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic that shut down all sailings. The first cruises restarted over the summer, and while there have been stumbling blocks, the industry chugged along. 2022 will hopefully be even better. Here are the brand-new ships to look forward to in 2022.
Wonder of the Seas
Coming March 2022
The Wonder of the Seas was one of the few pleasant surprises cruisers received in 2021. The fifth ship in the Oasis-class, the Wonder of the Seas was initially scheduled for China-based sailings, meaning most North American cruisers would never experience it. However, because of changes in the China cruising market, Royal Caribbean decided to move the ship to North America, where it will homeport in Orlando in early 2022.
When it launches, it’ll be the largest cruise ship in the world, just beating out the current largest cruise ship in the world, Symphony of the Seas, by a matter of a few feet. For the most part, Wonder of the Seas will be similar to its siblings, except for a few notable changes:
New Solarium Design
The first change guests who are familiar with the Oasis-class ships will see is the new Solarium design. The Solarium areas on the other ships sport a semi-covered design, with fresh air being able to flow in and out of sections. The Wonder of the Seas’ Solarium will be fully covered using glass triangles to form a dome. This dome allows the area to be better climate-controlled and be useable in cold weather.
This venue is a brand new cantilevered bar in an area that used to be a hot tub on other Oasis-class ships. Stop by and enjoy breathtaking panoramic ocean views during the day, and at night, you’ll find a colorful mosaic of lighting.
Wonder of the Seas will feature a brand new, interactive open-air kid’s play area. The Wonder Playscape features an underwater theme and has tons of slides, climbing walls, puzzles, and games to keep the little ones busy. It’s a dry area, so a great alternative to the splash pad when it’s cooler outside.
A New Suite-only Neighborhood
The Wonder of the Seas will add a brand new neighborhood, the “Suite Neighborhood.” This neighborhood will be exclusively for suite guests only. It’ll have its own dining venue, a new Suite Sun Deck, a private lounge, an exclusive plunge pool, and more. If you’re a fan of suites, this news will be really exciting for you.
Valiant Lady and Resilient Lady
Coming March 2022 and July 2022
Launching two cruise ships in a single year is a lot for any cruise line, but for a brand new cruise line, it’s an immense undertaking. For Virgin Voyages, these launches will triple the size of its fleet. It wasn’t the original plan, though. The Valiant Lady was scheduled to sail in 2022, but delays due to COVID meant Virgin Voyages would have two new ships for 2022.
Virgin Voyages hasn’t given much information about these new ships. However, they have indicated they’ll be mostly the same as the Scarlet Lady, which launched in 2021. It’ll be interesting to see if they keep the same dining venues that are on the current ship or add new options. The food on Virgin Voyages, in terms of quality, the number of options, and no additional fee, is one of the things most passengers seem to rave about, so it’s hard to see how they’ll handle this. It’s also not yet known if Virgin Voyages will improve the pool design on the ship, which most people report is grossly undersized.
The Valiant Lady will be used for cruises leaving from England and will then be repositioned for Mediterranean cruises. The Resilient Lady will have inaugural cruises in the Mediterranean and then homeport in Puerto Rico.
Coming April 2022
In Spring 2022, Celebrity will introduce the Beyond, another in the Edge class of ship. Rather than just another carbon copy of the Celebrity Edge and Apex, the Beyond has quite a few structural tweaks that change the ship quite a bit. As part of this change, the main open deck will have 40% more space than its sister ships. The “Resort” area will still feature a single humongous 25-yard lap pool and two “martini glass” jacuzzis.
The Beyond also sees the upgrade of “The Retreat” which will be available exclusively to suite guests. The space will have a lounge and a two-story deck. It’ll also add new classes of cabins like two-story villas with private plunge pools or staterooms with decks overlooking the water.
The Grand Atrium will also be expended, with a much airer feeling. It’ll still house the popular Martini Bar, but it’ll change to a full circular bar with a LED chandelier rather than a bar at the end of the room with a large LED backdrop.
The Rooftop Garden will get an upgrade as well. It’s 20% larger than the Edge and has two cantilevered pools that extend over the water. In addition, they’ve added new windbreaks and spoilers to help reduce the gusts in this area.
Of course, being an Edge-class ship, it’ll also have the Magic Carpet, a moving platform cantilevered over the side of the ship that can move up and down. This platform provides one of the best experiences when having to tender to port.
Coming August 2022
Next year, Norwegian’s newest ship will debut and sail from several different ports around the globe. It’s the first in the Prima class and will represent how Norwegian sees the future of cruising. While not all the details are known, Norwegian released some preliminary renders and descriptions, which are a reason for excitement.
Smaller Ship With Fewer People
In a surprising twist, Norwegian is going smaller with this new ship. The Prima will be 4% smaller than the Breakaway-class ships and hold 19% fewer passengers. They’re really focusing on open space on this ship. The cabins will be some of the roomiest on mainstream cruise lines, and the number of public spaces has increased.
New Haven Area With Dedicated Sun Deck
The Haven is Norwegian’s luxury experience on their ships. It’s a “ship within a ship” concept where passengers who stay there have exclusive access to parts of the ship. On the Prima, the Haven now gets prime real estate, with a large sundeck including an infinity pool, on the back of the ship. If you’re a fan of the Haven, you’re going to love this space.
Goodbye Waterfront, Hello Ocean Boulevard
The Waterfront, a lower-level promenade that wraps around the ship, is a very popular area on the Breakaway-class ships. On the Prima, they’re expanding that concept to Ocean Boulevard. The new space will feature two glass bridges, a sculpture garden, two infinity pools, and restaurants where you can dine outdoors. It’s a design that will make all guests feel more connected to the ocean.
The Prima will see the Norwegian Speedway racetrack return with a 22% longer track than the Norwegian Encore. Guests can also try the three 10-story thrill slides that will take them from the top-level down to Ocean Boulevard. The ship will also have a new dart lounge, called The Bull’s Eye, and a glitzy mini-golf course called Tee Time Mini Golf.
In 2021, Carnival’s Mardi Gras sailed into service, showing the world their next class of cruise ship. Passengers and critics were impressed with the new take on cruising from Carnival, and next year we’ll see how that evolves. In November 2022, the Celebration will set sail. Like Mardi Gras, Carnival Celebration pays homage to another past Carnival ship that sailed from 1987 to 2008.
The ship will mostly be similar to the Mardi Gras, but it’ll be interesting to see what changes they’ll make on this second Excel-class ship.
One thing we know for sure is there will be some new zones. Excel-class ships have six distinct zones with different entertainment and attractions. On the Mardi Gras, those are Grand Central, French Quarter, Summer Landing, La Piazza, Lido, and The Ultimate Playground. The Celebration deck plans have “TBD” in place of the La Piazza and French Quarter zones, so we expect they’ll be changed with new themes and restaurants.
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