10 New Cruise Ships Sailing Europe This Year

Courtesy of AIDA Cruises

Forego the hotel hopping, endless train rides, and rental car mishaps that can mire a European getaway by arriving fresh in a new destination each morning on board the world’s newest and most technologically advanced cruise ships. We’ve tallied up the most remarkable new cruise ships sailing Europe this year that push the boundaries of engineering. From haute cuisine by way of a Thomas Keller outpost to the rush of the world’s longest slide at sea, there are a host of firsts debuting this year that further impress how cruising can be a European destination vacation for all. —Zachary Laks

Courtesy of Holland America Line

Koningsdam

Cruise: 7-Day Premiere Voyage

Itinerary: Roundtrip from Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, to Dubrovnik, Croatia, to Kerkira, Nisos Kerkira (Corfu), Greece, to Sarande, Albania, to Katakolon (Olympia), Greece, to Naples (Pompeii), Italy

Date: April 8, 2016

Price: Starting at $999

Set to welcome passengers for an inaugural voyage on April 8, the MS Koningsdam is Holland America Line’s first new ship since 2010. The largest ship ever built for Holland America, the new 2,650-passenger vessel will sail Europe for the summer before heading west to the Caribbean for a winter season that begins in November 2016. A fresh take on the more traditional stylings of a Holland America Line cruise, passengers can expect new cabin configurations that include accommodations for a family of five in a two-bathroom suite, as well as cabins for solo cruisers. The line also welcomes its first French seafood specialty restaurant, Sel de Mer, with a menu set to include salt-crusted whole fish, scallops, and bouillabaisse.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Holland America Line Travel Guide

Courtesy of Viking Cruises

Viking Sea

Cruise: Inaugural 10-Night Empires of the Mediterranean

Itinerary: Istanbul, Turkey, to Kuşadası, Turkey, to Piraeus, Greece, to Thira, Greece, to Kotor, Montenegró, to Dubrovnik, Croatia, to Pula, Croatia, to Venice, Italy

Date: Inaugural voyage on April 3, 2016 with select dates in 2016

Price: Starting at $4,099

Although it launches April 3, there may still be time to reserve your spot on board the dazzling new Viking Sea, Viking Ocean Cruises’ second to launch in a fleet that plans to add four sister ships. Setting sail throughout the spring and summer with Baltic itineraries, the 930-guest midsize ship will reposition itself come fall to the Mediterranean, sailing year-round throughout Greece, Egypt, and Turkey. An onboard experience that’s sleek yet relaxed, days at sea offer plenty of ways to unwind in unique areas including the ship’s Scandinavian-influenced Wintergarden retreat and its unique Nordic holistic wellness spa.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Cruises Travel Guide

Courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

Harmony of the Seas

Cruise: Inaugural 4-Night Short Getaway Cruise

Itinerary: Roundtrip from Southampton, England, to Rotterdam, Netherlands

Date: May 22, 2016

Price: Starting at $1,860

Surpassing her sister ships in Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class—the Allure of the Seas and the Oasis of the SeasHarmony of the Seas sails into the record books as the world’s largest cruise ship when it makes its inaugural voyage this May. A triumphant megaship packed with more amenities than most ships combined, Harmony of the Seas brings a few new signature elements to the Oasis Class, including the Ultimate Abyss, a slide that stretches ten stories and a crop of thrilling waterslides known as the Perfect Storm slides. The ship’s seven distinct neighborhoods include the Boardwalk with a full-scale carousel and hot dog stand, along with the ship’s Central Park setting, where 12,000 trees and plants offer a serene escape to nature.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Royal Caribbean International Travel Guide

Courtesy of Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Regent Seven Seas Explorer

Cruise: Inaugural 14-Night Monte Carlo to Venice

Itinerary: Monte Carlo, Monaco, to Saint-Tropez, France, to Sanary Sur Mer, France, to Palma de Mallorca, Spain, to Ibiza, Spain, to Barcelona, Spain, to Taormina (Sicily), Italy, to Valletta, Malta, to Kotor, Montenegro, to Split, Croatia, to Koper, Slovenia, to Venice, Italy

Date: July 20, 2016

Price: Starting at $6,799

The first new Regent ship in more than a decade, the Regent Seven Seas Explorer arrives in grand fashion this July, extending the line’s signature all-inclusive luxury cruising in a new vessel that aims to wow. Billed as the most luxurious and expensive cruise ship of the modern era, it offers passengers best-in-class service amid an easygoing atmosphere that is less formal than competitor lines. With a base fare that includes roundtrip airfare, spirits, gratuities, and even free unlimited Wi-Fi throughout the ship, the new 750-passenger, all-suite vessel is a one-stop luxury destination.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Regent Seven Seas Travel Guide

Courtesy of Seabourn

Seabourn Encore

Cruise: Pre-Inaugural 16-Day Holy Land and Arabian Gems

Itinerary: Piraeus (Athens), Greece, to Agios Nikolaos, Crete, Greece to Haifa (Tel Aviv), Israel, to Ashdod (Jerusalem), Israel, to Aqaba (for Petra), Jordan, to Muscat, Oman, to Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Date: December 4, 2016

Price: Starting at $4,499

Known for its top-tier refined luxury and consistent service, Seabourn Cruise Line expands its fleet with its fourth new ship in 7 years, the Seabourn Encore. The largest ship to ever sail in the boutique line, expect the line’s pinnacle of luxury to scale as well with reimagined interiors that make the common areas of the vessel feel more akin to a private yacht than a commercial cruise line. And when it comes to dining, Seabourn’s new culinary program reigns supreme as a partnership with three-star Michelin chef Thomas Keller welcomes The Grill by Thomas Keller, an American chophouse, onboard.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Seabourn Travel Guide

Courtesy of P&O Cruises

P&O Britannia

Cruise: Norwegian Fjords

Itinerary: Round-trip from Southampton, England, to Bergen, Norway to Alesund, Norway, to Flåm, Norway, to Stavanger, Norway

Date: April 23, 2016

Price: Starting at $1011.

Joining a fleet of seven ships that make up Britain’s P&O Cruises line, the value cruise line welcomed the P&O Britannia in March 2015 by way of a naming ceremony led by Queen Elizabeth. With a royal sendoff, the Britannia has been charting a range of round-trips from its Southhampton, England, home port in the spring and summer season before heading to the Caribbean for winter. Expect a distinctly British feel throughout the ship, including tie-ins with British TV celebrity chefs and classic afternoon tea service.     

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s P&O Cruises Travel Guide

Courtesy of Princess Cruises

Regal Princess

Cruise: 10-Day Scandinavia and Russia

Itinerary: Round-trip from St. Petersburg, Russia, to Helsinki, Finland, to Stockholm (Nynashamn), Sweden, to Copenhagen, Denmark, to Oslo, Norway, to Berlin (Warnemunde), Germany, to Tallinn, Estonia

Date: Select dates in May, June, and July 2016

Price: Starting at $1,449

A cruising experience that lives up to its imperial name, the Regal Princess is Princess Cruises’ newest ship, christened in 2014. Adorned with stately elegance, the Regal Princess along with its sister ship, the Royal Princess, are the two largest ships in Princess Cruise Line’s expansive fleet, with a capacity for 3,600 passengers. The ship spends the winter and spring months in the Caribbean, primarily porting in Fort Lauderdale, before repositioning in the summers to trace the coasts of Scandinavia and Russia. As for the onboard experience, the ship fosters a relaxing and low-key environment with an emphasis on culinary excellence, especially in its specialty restaurants Sabatini's and Crown Grill (both charge a cover fee).

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Princess Cruise Lines Travel Guide

Alexis Harnichard

Le Lyrial

Cruise: 8-Day Ancient Treasures of Greece

Itinerary: Dubrovnik, Croatia, to Paxi Island, Greece, to Navagio Beach, Greece, to Hydra, Greece, to Delos, Greece, to Mykonos, Greece, to Petra, Greece, to Istanbul, Turkey

Date: August 2, 2016

Price: Starting at $3,700

On Le Lyrial, Ponant’s newest addition to its fleet, French-infused cuisine, culture, and service remain consistent with the intimate ships that sail for the line. The megayacht took its maiden voyage in April 2015, suited up with ice-strengthened hulls, Zodiacs for ship-to-shore landings, and extended port stays. Onboard, the new ship maintains Ponant’s luxury retreat feel with a casual vibe of cruisers who appreciate the access to lesser-frequented ports and fine French cuisine.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Ponant Cruises Travel Guide

Courtesy of AIDA Cruises

AIDAprima

Cruise: Inuagural 4-Day German Bight Cruise

Itinerary: Round-trip from Hamburg, Germany, to Southampton, England

Date: April 25, 2016

Price: Starting at $587

The largest and newest of a fleet of 12 cruises, German-based AIDA Cruises debuts AIDAprima this April after a series of delays pushed back its launch for months. AIDAprima will alternate its base between Hamburg and Rotterdam throughout the year, primarily sailing a week-long northern Europe route. Pioneering a few firsts for the line, the massive new vessel will feature water slides, climbing walls, and a skywalk glass walkway similar to the ones on the Royal and Regal Princess ships.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Cruises Travel Guide

Courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

Ovation of the Seas

Cruise: Inaugural 3-Night Netherlands Cruise

Itinerary: Round-trip from Southampton, England, to Rotterdam, Netherlands

Date: April 14, 2016

Price: Starting at $362

Entering service next month, Ovation of the Seas is the third of three next-generation ships in the Quantum class in the Royal Caribbean fleet. Built specifically for the Chinese cruise market, the ship will homeport in Tianjin, China, for summers before heading south for the winter to homeport in Sydney, Australia. Among the many bells and whistles on board the 4,180-passenger ship, the Ovation of the Seas will be outfitted with a few unique features not found on its sister ships, including a partnership with China's Imperial Palace Museum to feature cultural and historical speakers on board and a few modified restaurants and menus tailored to the Chinese market.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Royal Caribbean International Travel Guide

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