The cruise industry is seeing a building boom unlike any it’s seen in recent years. North American cruise lines have ordered 16 ships to debut between now and the end of 2019 – with more vessels likely to be announced.
Right now, there is a lot of attention on Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas, set to debut in November. But the "revolutionary" ship, with its first-at-sea skydiving, bumper cars and robotic bartenders isn't the only new ship on the horizon.
2016 will see significant expansion – with Holland America, Viking Ocean, Royal Caribbean, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn and Carnival all getting new ships. Viking and Royal Caribbean will launch two ships each.
International lines are adding capacity, too. Italian line MSC Cruises, for instance, has four ships on order so far, including one that will debut as the third-largest ship in the world in 2017.
More ships mean more attention-grabbing features and more space for travel professionals to sell.
Here's a rundown of highlights.
Viking River Cruises moves into the ocean realm in April 2015, with the debut of the 928-passenger Viking Star.
Viking is focused on pricing things differently by making its cruise fares inclusive of a number of amenities – shore excursions, wine and beer with lunch, Wi-Fi, specialty restaurants, dinner, port fees and taxes, along with airfare discounts.
The over-sized cabins and suites will all have verandas, the dining room will have windows that open and the ship's aft will have an infinity pool. There won’t be a casino.
The coolest feature, literally, will be a "snow room" in the Scandinavian-style spa.
Sister ship Viking Sea is due in March 2016 and sister ship Viking Sky is due in June 2016, with a fourth sibling due in early 2017.
Royal Caribbean International
The 4,180-passenger Anthem of the Seas, sister ship to Quantum of the Seas, debuts in April 2015, around the same time Quantum leaves for its new home in China.
Expect the same dramatic features from Quantum on Anthem, including a SeaPlex with bumper cars, roller skating, a circus school with flying trapeze, simulated sky-diving, inside cabins with virtual balconies and an amusement park-like mechanical arm ride off the ship.
Coming in spring 2016 will be a third Oasis-class ship, which will have distinct "neighborhoods," including a Central Park filled with trees and plants. A fourth Oasis-class ship arrives in 2018.
Norwegian Cruise Line
The big news in October 2015 will be the 4,200-passenger Norwegian Escape, an action-packed Breakaway Plus ship – similar to Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, only larger.
Norwegian is keeping much under wraps at this point, but you can expect an expanded version of The Haven luxury complex and The Studios cabins for solo cruisers. The hull of the Miami-based ship will feature a marine design created by Guy Harvey.
Sister ship Norwegian Bliss arrives in spring 2017, with more siblings in 2018 and 2019.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
The 738-passenger Seven Seas Explorer is billed as "the most luxurious cruise ship in the world," and set to increase Regent's capacity by 40% when it debuts in summer 2016.
The all-suite, all-balcony ship will offer accommodations from 300 to 1,500 square feet, including an opulent Owner's Suite done up with stonework.
There will be designer furnishings and an "eclectic" art collection, along with a half-dozen gourmet dining options. The 54,000-ton ship will also have the highest space ratio and staff-to-guest ratio in the industry, the line said.
Holland America Line
In February 2016, Holland America Line will get its first new ship since 2010's Nieuw Amsterdam. The 2,660-passenger Pinnacle-class ship will feature new culinary and entertainment venues and a higher level of premium accommodations.
Noted designed Adam Tihany (Le Cirque) is working on the interiors.
Seabourn Cruise Line
Seabourn will debut a new, 604-passenger Odyssey-class ship in mid-2016, the line's first since the Seabourn Quest in 2011. It's Seabourn's largest ship ever.
Design of the interiors is expected to harken back to the luxury line's roots.
Carnival Cruise Lines
The 4,000-passenger Carnival Vista will debut in 2016, the first new Carnival ship since 2012's Carnival Breeze. Expect all the 2.0 Fun Ship enhancements, such as a WaterWorks on top and a RedFrog Pub.
The Royal Princess and Regal Princess, with their impressive Piazza atriums and Sanctuary outdoor area for adults, will get a sibling – a new 3,560-passenger ship due in 2017.