Friday, 5 April 2013

Best New Ship Of The Year?

The first of the year's five major new ship offerings has just been launched, amid much Italian fanfare, by MSC Cruises in Genoa.

MSC Preziosa is the 12th new vessel to join the MSC fleet and another example of the amazing range and appeal of modern ship design. Interestingly, she also makes the Italian company the third-largest in the world after Carnival and Royal Caribbean, edging Norwegian Cruise Line into fourth place (for now!).

With that in mind, we at World of Cruising thought it would be an interesting idea to run a poll of our readers, asking what they think is the most keenly anticipated new ship of the year. The five contenders are as follows:

MSC Preziosa: the latest and greatest from MSC Cruises, overseen by godmother Sophia Loren to add star power and boasting a capacity of 3,502 passengers. She includes seven restaurants and the latest enhancements of the line's exclusive MSC Yacht Club, the ship-within-a-ship area that effectively recreates a first class style of travel.

Norwegian Breakaway: a large-scale refinement of Norwegian's largest vessel, Norwegian Epic, Breakaway will be notable for her dedication to providing a sea-view aspect with many of her public areas. Due out at the end of April, she will feature The Waterfront, a quarter-mile of outward-facing dining, bars and lounges that give her 4,000 passengers a true connection with the sea (a rarity these days). While still monolithic in appearance, she should be spectacular inside.

Royal Princess: the largest ship ever ordered for the Princess brand, this should also be the most spectacular, with a whole raft of extra amenities, facilities and design features when she debuts in June. At 140,000 tons, she is 20% larger than the biggest vessels currently in the fleet, but she will add a great range of new dining and entertainment choice, including an expanded Atrium area that serves as the focal point and a unique top-deck pool arrangement featuring a water and light show.

Europa 2: going for a smaller and more exclusive style in May, Hapag-Lloyd's first new-build project in several years features a sumptuous arrange of distinctive, six-star amenities that should make this one of the most distinctive ships in the world, from a service point of view. With cutting-edge interior design and an array of six specialist restaurants that promises to be truly deluxe, Europa 2 will also be one of the most spacious ships ever built, with some of the largest staterooms and the highest Space Ratio of any ship at sea.

Le Soleal: the smallest of our Fab Five for 2013, the latest offering (launching in July and just 10,600 tons) from French line Le Compagnie du Ponant, this sleek cruiser should be a known quantity as she is the third in this novel series. Carrying barely 250 passengers, Le Soleal should be the latest word in exclusive small-ship sophistication and chic, within the company's style of Yacht Cruising that is wonderfully elegant and individual. 

So, those are the contenders for our Ship of the Year feature - now go and vote in our poll (you will find it at the top of our home page, on the right, with the heading What Is The Most Anticipated New Ship Of The Year For You?) and let us know what YOU think will be No 1.