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The pool deck of the new luxury ship Seabourn Encore, one of the biggest cruise ship debuts of 2017.

Courtesy of Seabourn

The pool deck of the new luxury ship Seabourn Encore, one of the biggest cruise ship debuts of 2017.

Biggest cruise ship debuts of 2017

New ships from Seabourn, Viking, Princess, Norwegian, Celebrity, MSC & Silversea

This is the first of a two-part series on new cruise ships debuting in 2017. Also see:

2016 was a banner year for the launch of new cruise ships. And while Royal Caribbean and Carnival have no new ships on the docket for this year, we count 13 new ships that will hit the water in 2017 (not including river cruise ships).

These are big, modern smart ships — some of which cost upward of a billion dollars apiece (Norwegian Joy's price tag was $920 million) — with enhanced onboard amenities, outstanding dining options and wide-ranging itineraries. So the cruise industry continues to thrive as the Cruise Lines International Association estimates that 25.3 million people worldwide this year will take a cruise. 

Want to book an early voyage? You better get a move on! Some of these ships' itineraries are already completely sold out for the first six months after launch. 

Here is what's on tap: the 13 biggest cruise ship debuts of 2017, with ships appearing in roughly this order.

 

Enjoy al fresco dining in The Colonnade, one of the classy dining venues on Seabourn Encore.
Courtesy of SeabournEnjoy al fresco dining in The Colonnade, one of the classy dining venues on Seabourn Encore.

Seabourn Encore

1

Cruise line: Seabourn

Launch date: Jan. 7, 2017 in Singapore.

Ship capacity: 604 passengers

Highlights: First out of the gate for 2017, Seabourn Encore was christened in Singapore on Saturday and is now en route to Australia. She'll head to New Zealand and Singapore before arriving in the Mediterranean in April. No plans for cruises in U.S. waters just yet. The uber-posh Encore, designed by Adam D. Tihany, features all-suite accommodations with larger verandas and bigger public rooms that will include a greatly expanded Seabourn Square (the ship’s hub with computers, books, barista-operated coffee bar and reception area). She also offers a new restaurant created by celebrity chef Thomas Keller. While the architecture of the ship is similar to the other three Seabourn ships, the interiors represent the kind of luxury found on private yachts.

 

A 1-minute Viking video on its new fleet of ocean ships.

Viking Sky

2

Cruise lineViking Ocean Cruises

Expected launch date: Feb. 25, 2017 in Barcelona. The only U.S. ports along the ship's itineraries are Boston and New York in October 2017.

Ship capacity: 930 passengers

Highlights: Viking plans to debut its third ocean cruise ship, Viking Sky, in February 2017. Similar to its sister ships, Viking Star and Viking Sea, the 930-passenger Viking Sky will focus on destination immersion, giving guests ample time to explore ports large and small. Viking provides free shore tours. A lovely three-deck atrium will let you watch musicians playing regional and classical music.

 

Celebrity Xperience begins sailings to the Galapagos in 2017.
Courtesy of Celebrity CruisesCelebrity Xperience begins sailings to the Galapagos in March 2017.

Celebrity Xperience

3

Cruise line: Celebrity Cruises

Expected launch date: March 23, 2017 in the Galapagos. This specialty luxury expedition ship sticks to the Galapagos region. 

Ship capacity: 48 passengers

Highlights: When it debuts in March, the refurbished Celebrity Xperience will provide an array of all-inclusive cruises and a choice of all-inclusive vacations to the Galapagos. With 24 stylish staterooms — each featuring an ocean view and detailed extras that make a big difference — you'll be able to meet fellow passengers and receive an even higher level of personal attention. The ship's capacity of just 48 passengers and active itineraries attract a younger, better educated demographic. 

 

Celebrity Xploration begins sailings to the Galapagos in 2017.
Courtesy of Celebrity CruisesCelebrity Xploration begins sailings to the Galapagos in March 2017.

Celebrity Xploration

4

Cruise line: Celebrity Cruises

Expected launch date: March 23, 2017 in the Galapagos. This specialty luxury expedition ship sticks to the Galapagos region. 

Ship capacity: 16 passengers

Highlights: On the same day that Celebrity Xperience is launching, the small 16-guest catamaran Celebrity Xploration will also begin regular sailings in the Galapagos. Look for intuitive service and creature comforts galore on this intimate ship. Xploration is ideal for family get-togethers, getaways with friends and groups (friends, relatives, fellow hobbyists) that want to explore together. Celebrity Xploration features itineraries with ports of call no other cruise ship visits. 

 

Majestic Princess, arriving in April 2017, will be Princess Cruises' most advanced ship (digital rendering).
Courtesy of Princess CruisesMajestic Princess, arriving in April 2017, will be Princess Cruises' most advanced ship (digital rendering).

Majestic Princess

5

Cruise line: Princess Cruises

Expected launch date: April 4, 2017, out of Rome. She will then reposition to China.

Ship capacity: 3,600 passengers

Highlights: Majestic Princess sets sail with a voyages throughout the Mediterranean in April-May 2017 before she repositions to China. She is a sister ship to Princess's most recent ships, Regal Princess and Royal Princess. Majestic Princess will offer several new features with a Chinese flair, and she is also the first ship in the fleet to feature a brand-new Seawitch livery design at her bow with hair flowing toward the stern. 

 

This is how Silver Muse will look when she launches in April 2017.
Courtesy of SilverseaThis is how Silver Muse will look when she launches in April 2017.

Silver Muse

6

Cruise line: Silversea

Expected launch date: April 10, 2017, in Monte Carlo. The first U.S. sailing will feature a 14-night itinerary to Canada and New England out of Ft. Lauderdale in September 2017. 

Ship capacity: 596 passengers

Highlights: When it debuts in the spring, Silver Muse will become the flagship of this well-regarded luxury line. Silversea took the best of its Slver Spirit and extended her amenities and technological touches. Look for a new level of ultra-luxury ocean travel as Silver Muse wisks around the globe to places like Bordeaux, Lisbon, Quebec City, Bonaire, Buenos Aires and much more. (See all of Silver Muse's 2017 sailings.) Small-ship intimacy combines with spacious all-suite accommodations and first-rate service (including butlers) to add up to a memorable experience.

 

A rendering of the upcoming ship American Constellation,  designed to navigate the inland waterways of the East Coast.
Courtesy of American Cruise LinesA rendering of the upcoming ship American Constellation, designed to navigate the inland waterways of the East Coast.

American Constellation

7

Cruise line: American Cruise Lines

Expected launch date: May 6, 2017 out of Baltimore

Ship capacity: 163 passengers

Highlights: Who says you need to go abroad to enjoy a great cruise getaway? American Constellation from born-in-the-USA American Cruise Lines was designed to navigate the inland waterways of the East Coast. She begins service with two seven-night round-trip sailings from Baltimore on the Chesapeake Bay, followed by 10-night sailings out of Boston. Passengers can expect complimentary Wi-Fi, evening entertainment that focuses on music and history, onboard historians and naturalists, and a roomy atmosphere on board.  

 

A digital rendering of the upcoming smart ship MSC Meraviglia.
Courtesy of MSC CruisesA digital rendering of the upcoming smart ship MSC Meraviglia.

MSC Meraviglia

8

Cruise lineMSC Cruises

Expected launch date: June 4, 2017, out of Genoa, Italy. There are no U.S. ports on the horizon for this ship. 

Ship capacity: 4,500 passengers

Highlights: MSC Meraviglia will be the first of several next-generation smart ships from Swiss-based MSC Cruises. (Meraviglia, pronounced mair-uh-VEAL-ya, is the Italian word for amazement or wonder.) Look for a 315-foot-long indoor promenade with LED dome, several new dining venues, family-friendly attractions including a super amusement park, full-size bowling alley and an Aqua Park with four waterslides. The ship features an extended MSC Yacht Club, an exclusive area that spans three decks with 78 suites and luxurious accommodations.

 

A digital rendering of Norwegian Joy, debuting in China in summer 2017.
Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise LineA digital rendering of Norwegian Joy, debuting in China in summer 2017.

Norwegian Joy

9

Cruise line: Norwegian Cruise Line

Expected launch date: Summer 2017, will home port in China

Ship capacity: 3,900 passengers

Highlights: Styled for Chinese travelers, passengers on Norwegian Joy can expect an upscale resort-style vacation with top entertainment, fine international dining and duty-free luxury shopping with the freedom and flexibility found on all Norwegian ships. A sister of Norwegian Escape, which launched in late 2015, Norwegian Joy matches Escape as the largest in the Norwegian fleet. The ship will feature the highest crew-to-passenger ratio of any contemporary-class ship. Activities and entertainment include a two-level go-cart racetrack on the top deck — the first ever at sea — in which 10 guests in electric carts will compete in a 5- to 6-minute race. There’s also an al fresco laser tag course and a new Galaxy Pavilion entertainment complex, complete with interactive video walls.

 

An artist's rendering of the upcoming National Geographic Quest.
Courtesy of Lindblad ExpeditionsAn artist's rendering of the upcoming National Geographic Quest.

National Geographic Quest

10

Cruise line: Lindblad Expeditions

Expected launch date: June 26, 2017, starting in Seattle

Ship capacity: 100 passengers

Highlights: The first of two upcoming ships from adventure cruise line Lindblad Expeditions, the $48 million National Geographic Quest will sail Alaska's Inside Passage, followed by a series of cruises in the Pacific Northwest. This fully stabilized vessel has been designed to navigate narrow inlets and wildlife-rich passageways inaccessible to larger ships. Along with spacious viewing decks, Quest will carry innovative exploration tools, including a SplashCam and a hydrophone to enable passengers to look and listen beneath the waves, as well as a full complement of Zodiacs, sea kayaks and snorkeling gear. A photo instructor, video chronicler, undersea specialist and wellness specialist will accompany every voyage.

 

Summer in Norway's Aurlandsfjord is simply brilliant.
Photo courtesy of Paul EdmundsonVisit Norway's Aurlandsfjord during summer on Viking Sun. 

Viking Sun

11

Cruise lineViking Ocean Cruises

Expected launch date: Nov. 17, 2017, out of Miami

Ship capacity: 930 passengers

Highlights: Viking's fourth ocean cruise ship, Viking Sun will focus on destination immersion, giving guests time to explore ports large and small. The ship debuts with a cruise to Havana, Cuba, as well as Cozumel, Mexico, Belize City and Key West, Fla., followed by cruises throughout Scandinavia, the Baltic Sea and Mediterranean. I was on one of the early Viking Star voyages (Viking's first ocean ship) in November 2015, a 10-day cruise in the Med, and it was fantastic: a perfectly sized ship with free shore excursions, great spaces on board to meet and mingle, a modern, airy design, great service, a free high-end spa and a lovely infinity pool. Not for kids, though. 

 

MSC Seaside debuts with Caribbean sailings starting in December 2017.
Courtesy of MSC CruisesMSC Seaside debuts with Caribbean sailings starting in December 2017.

MSC Seaside

12

Cruise line: MSC Cruises

Expected launch date: Dec. 23, 2017, out of Miami

Ship capacity: 5,179 passengers

Highlights: The second new smart ship from MSC debuting this year, MSC Seaside will sport an elegant design with innovative touches and revolutionary architecture, including bringing guests closer to the ocean for a memorable experience. With connecting inside and outside public areas, you'll find a cool waterfront promenade that wraps around the ship, offering a variety of places to shop, dine and sunbathe while panoramic elevators provide glorious sea views. The ship will also offer a large Aquapark at Sea and an interactive waterslide geared toward the family. 

 

A digital rendering of the five-mast tall ship Flying Clipper, launching in late 2017.
Courtesy of Star ClippersA digital rendering of the five-mast tall ship Flying Clipper, launching in late 2017.

Flying Clipper

13

Cruise line: Star Clippers

Expected launch date: Second half of 2017

Ship capacity: 300 passengers

Highlights: If you're not familiar with the cruise line Star Clippers and its glorious tall ships, you'll have the chance to get better acquainted when the line debuts its fourth ship, Flying Clipper, in late 2017. The world's largest square rigger, it's the first new ship to join the Star Clippers fleet since Royal Clipper in 2000. Flying Clipper will feature three pools, a Tropical Bar and Piano Bar, and a water sports platform at the rear for kayaking, waterskiing, snorkeling and other water activities.

Interested in one of these ships?

Does a cruise on any of these ships look tempting? Contact a Cruiseable travel advocate and our Business Department will make sure you get the lowest price, the best value and all the perks. Call us at 1-877-322-3773 to speak to an expert travel professional, or send us a query.

Further down the road

2016 launches

When you're considering new ships, don't forget the ships that were launched or refurbished in 2016, including:

2018 launches

And don't forget some of the ships debuting in 2018 that are already open for bookings:

Related

JD Lasica
I'm co-founder, Editor and chief cat herder at Cruiseable. Follow your cruise bliss to any land where it may lead. Let's connect! I'm @jdlasica on Twitter.

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