Above: Uniworld’s S.S. Elisabeth on the Rhine - TIM GREY

New Year, New Ships

The <i>S.S. Elisabeth</i> on the Rhine, Germany - Ian Schemper

It’s a new year, and with it comes a veritable fleet of new luxury cruise ships offering enticing itineraries. Here are eight of our favorites, from a sleek, family-owned catamaran to a storied brand’s first megaship in more than a decade. These standouts span the globe, sailing through the remote natural wonders of Australia and Chile, the breathtaking Norwegian fjords, the glamorous waters of the Caribbean and Mediterranean, and along two of Europe’s most picturesque rivers.

Explora Journeys

Explora II

Explora Journeys’ second ship, the 461-suite Explora II, sets sail in August. Identical to Explora I, it will first ply the Mediterranean, calling on ports in Spain, Portugal and northern Africa, before repositioning to the Caribbean. Guests can avoid crowds ashore with unconventional arrival and departure times, plus overnight stays ensure more time in popular destinations such as Casablanca, Ibiza and Lisbon. Guests will find plenty to do on sea days as well, considering the four pools, an expansive spa, 12 bars and lounges and 11 culinary experiences (most notably a for-fee restaurant featuring a rotating roster of Michelin-starred chefs). Expect an elegant boutique hotel vibe on this ship, in both the public spaces and in its ocean-facing suites with high-end furnishings by top Italian brands, baths with heated floors, Frette linens and Dyson Supersonic hair dryers.

On Board

The Odalisque III in Port Davey, Tasmania - Tim Grey

The newest member of Luxury Lodges of Australia explores the remotest areas of the least populous state in the Land Down Under. The Odalisque III is a purpose-built, luxury catamaran launched last year by On Board, a family-owned business that specializes in Tasmanian wilderness expeditions. The signature experience: a five- or seven-day floating adventure to Port Davey, a protected marine reserve and national park inaccessible by road that the company calls “one of the world’s few remaining places of raw, untamed beauty.” The 79-foot vessel accommodates up to 12 guests in cabins with knee-to-ceiling windows that offer splendid views of untouched waterways, mountains and forests. Meals feature sustainable Tasmanian seafood, wines and whiskeys.

Join Andrew Harper today to continue reading our exclusive content.
Above: Uniworld’s S.S. Elisabeth on the Rhine - TIM GREY