With the new year comes new cruise ships, about 1.6 million gross tons of them.
This year will bring some 19 new vessels to the U.S. cruise market. The crop of new cruise ships will collectively add capacity for 38,000 passengers, according to the Cruise Industry New Orderbook for 2023. If each ship sailed seven-day cruises, that adds a potential for nearly 2 million passengers in a calendar year.
Some of those new ships will be the first of their class or the first for new cruise lines. Here's a look at five of the more notable ships to arrive in 2023, in scheduled order of appearance:
Oceania Vista -- This will be the first new ship for Oceania since 2012 and the first in the Allura class of two. The 67,000-gross-ton ship is equipped to carry 1,200 passengers. The Vista will include 12 dining options, four of which are new. The ship is set to debut on a sailing to Venice on May 13, which is a week earlier than planned after Oceania noted such robust sales for the inaugural sailing to justify a "Founders Cruise" the week before. The ship will call in Sorrento, Capri and Messina, Italy; Argostoli and Corfu, Greece; and Dubrovnik and Zadar, Croatia. The Vista joins a fleet of six ships.
Explora I -- This is the first of four ships for Explora Journeys, MSC Cruises' luxury brand. The 922-passenger ship will measure about 64,000 gross tons. Explora I will offer six restaurants ranging from Pan-Asian cuisine and a European steakhouse along with a culinary stage for guest chefs. Entertainment includes piano performances on Steinway & Sons self-playing pianos using new technology to replay performances from acclaimed pianists. The ship is scheduled to sail on July 17, from Southampton, England, on a 15-night voyage that will stop in Zeebrugge, Belgium; eight towns in Norway; and Denmark, including the capital city of Copenhagen.
Silver Nova -- This ship will be the first in a new class of ships for Silversea. The Silver Nova will feature an asymmetrical design uncommon for cruise ships; for example, the pool will be horseshoe-shaped, with the center facing the side of the ship, overlooking the ocean. The ship, at 54,700 gross tons, will sail with capacity of 728 passengers. The Nova will include eight restaurants, including a new alfresco dining space. The maiden voyage is set for Aug. 14, roundtrip from Venice, with calls that include Dubrovnik and Split, Croatia, and Kotor, Montenegro.
Seven Seas Grandeur -- While not the first new ship, Regent's Seven Seas Grandeur is notable because it appears to be the last ship on order for the brand for several years. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings doesn't expect to put out another ship for that line until at least 2027. The 750-passenger sister ship to the Seven Seas Splendor and Seven Seas Explorer will be the sixth in the fleet. Weighing about 54,000 gross tons, the ship will include a 4,443-square-foot Regent Suite with a sky-lit and glass-enclosed parlor, chaise lounges overlooking the bow of the ship and a private in-suite spa. The ship is scheduled to sail on Nov. 25 from Barcelona to Miami, calling in Seville, Spain; Funchal, Portugal; and Bermuda.
Icon of the Seas -- While this Royal Caribbean ship is not scheduled to sail in 2023, it will be delivered in Q4 and will have its inaugural Eastern Caribbean cruise from Miami in late January 2024. Not only will the Icon be the largest built to date at 250,800 gross tons, but it will also be the first of the Icon class. The colorful Icon of the Seas will introduce what it bills as the first true waterpark at sea, with six waterslides. With more than 80% of cabins available in triples or quads, the 5,610-passenger ship can accommodate up to 7,500 guests, although Royal said they are unlikely to sell it that full.