Small Oceangoing New Builds of 2019
By Anne Kalosh.
Small-ship fans are in luck. 2019’s crop of oceangoing new builds offers a huge selection, ranging from a sail-powered tall ship and a luxurious yacht to expedition vessels of varied designs and features.
Of the 25 oceangoing ships sailing into service for the global cruise industry this year, an astonishing 13 are small enough to be Quirky Cruise size (carrying up to 300 passengers).
They include the highly anticipated Azora, the first vessel of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, with all-balcony suites, a specialty restaurant by a three-star Michelin chef and a wide range of warm-weather destinations.
Sailing specialist Star Clippers‘ Flying Clipper, meanwhile, is a replica of the largest square-rigged tall ship ever built.
The rest of the Quirky-sized new builds are expedition ships.
Of those, French line Ponant continues its impressive 184-passenger series with Le Bougainville and Le Dumont d’Urville, chic and sleek and with a unique feature: Blue Eye, an underwater, multi-sensory lounge. There, hydrophones pipe in the sounds of the sea and “body listening” sofas softly vibrate.
German operator Hapag-Lloyd Cruises‘ Hanseatic Nature and Hanseatic Inspiration will have terraced observation decks, a marina platform that drops down for paddleboarding and snorkeling, and electric-powered Zodiacs. A pair of glass-bottom balconies extend over the side of each ship.
Scenic Eclipse will be the first of two planned “six-star discovery yachts” from Australia-based tour operator Scenic. All veranda suites, 10 dining options, two helicopters and a six-person submarine are some of the features of the sleek new build.
Australia’s Coral Expeditions will introduce the 120-passenger Coral Adventurer to the world in April 2019 in Singapore, before heading off towards Australia for her first cruise, an 18-night “In the Trail of Tasman” voyage. It will then expand the company’s itineraries in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Representing Coral Expeditions’ 34 years of experience building and operating expedition ships, Coral Adventurer will boast the latest advances in marine and environmental technology. For instance, its lightweight dual Xplorer expedition tenders, a trademark feature of all Coral Expeditions vessels, will allow fast trips to shore and deeper exploration into rivers and beaches.
Another Australian company, Aurora Expeditions, will introduce Greg Mortimer, with its novel X-BOW (pronounced “crossbow”) design. This inverted bow cuts through the waves more efficiently and gives a smoother ride in rough seas.
Celebrity Flora is designed specifically for the Galápagos Islands, where it will sail year-round. With huge suites, a star-gazing platform and four top-deck cabanas for glamping, this Celebrity Cruises ship will bring new style to one of the world’s most fascinating destinations.
Magellan Explorer will be positioned on the White Continent for Antarctica21’s fly and cruise program, where travelers fly from Puntarenas, Chile, to join the ship, avoiding the often stormy Drake Passage. After their cruise, they fly back to Puntarenas.
Polar specialist Oceanwide Expeditions is debuting its first new build, Hondius, designed for Antarctica and the Arctic.
Portugal’s Mystic Cruises is building World Explorer, which will be chartered seasonally to another polar veteran, Quark Expeditions, for austral summers in Antarctica and sail for Germany’s Nicko Cruises or Mystic itself the rest of the year.
Better late than never!
Flying Clipper, World Explorer and Scenic Eclipse had been scheduled to debut in 2018, but all were delayed. That’s not unusual when it comes to a particularly novel design or a shipyard new to the game.
Star Clippers’ Flying Clipper, for example, a replica of 1911’s France II, will be rigged with 35 sails spanning a total area of 6,350 square meters/68,351 square feet. It’s slated to debut in early summer 2019.
World Explorer is the first of what’s envisioned as a series of 10 new builds for Mystic Cruises, whose parent company is a seasoned Douro River operator now branching into ocean cruising.
And, having built up river fleets under the Scenic and Emerald Waterways brands, Scenic is dipping into ocean cruising with Scenic Eclipse, whose delay is related to financial troubles at the shipyard, Uljanik in Croatia.
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