Holland America’s new flagship ms Koningsdam’s maiden voyages are twelve months away, but guests have already made bookings for her first sailings in the Mediterranean,

It is no surprise as frequent cruisers love the kudos of sailing on a new ship, and this year some 22 new ocean and river cruise ships are making their debut.

Next month all eyes will be on P&O’s 3,311-passenger Britannia as she sails on her maiden voyage from Southampton (England) on a 14-night Mediterranean cruise. She  leaves no doubt of her British origins as there is a striking Union Jack on her superstructure,

The striking bow livery on P&O's new cruise ship Britannia which debuts next month.
Striking livery on P&O’s Britannia which debuts next month.

A much anticipated sailing in April is on the 930-passenger Viking Star, the first ocean going ship from Viking Cruises which is already a major player on the European river cruise scene. Within the next few years another two ships of similar size will be added to Viking’s fleet cruising the world’s oceans.

The chairman of Viking, Torstein Hagen, says, “It is our view that in the race to build bigger ships, many cruise lines have lost sight of the destinations to which they sail.

“With our new ocean cruises, we are applying the same principles behind our award-winning river cruises. We will focus on privileged-access excursions and onboard experiences, and make destinations the true focus of our cruises,”

Nonetheless, notes that mega liners continue to be built with Royal Caribbean’s latest giant, Anthem of the Seas, carrying almost 5000 passengers, sailing from Southampton (UK) on her maiden 7-day cruise to Spain and France in April,

Another behemoth, Norwegian Escape makes her maiden debut in late October with an 11-night trans-Atlantic voyage from Southampton to Miami,




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