Set sail into 2019 in ship-shape form! Whether you’re a dedicated cruiser or you’ve resolved to gain some sea legs, these state-of-the-art ships and awe-inspiring itineraries make this year the most exciting and enlightening one ever for cruising.
The Best Cruises of 2019
We (beach)combed through itineraries and pored over vessels to bring you this essential list.
1. Norwegian Cruise Line, 16-night Journey to The East from Dubai
Ship: Norwegian Jade
Travel: November 28 to December 15, 2019
Ports: Dubai, Khasab (UAE), Fujairah (UAE), Goa (Mormugao), India, Male (Maldives) Colombo, Phuket, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore.
We couldn’t help but notice that over the last few years, the ubiquitous label that marketers used to describe cruise journeys was “epic.” In 2019, we’re not calling a 5-night Caribbean cruise an epic voyage, we’re reserving the term for ones that truly are. Like this one! Aboard the award-winning Norwegian Jade, spend 17 unforgettable days sailing the enchanting waters of the Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal and more. Sailing between spectacular Dubai and Singapore, you’ll stop in other colourful ports in UAE, Oman, India, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Malaysia.
What we love about this cruise: Bragging rights and bucket-list checks! This incredible itinerary takes you to faraway places that would be a challenge, if not impossible, to experience on one trip. We also believe that while some of these may be on one’s travel radar, other ports are not, making this a journey of delightful surprises.
2. Princess Cruises, 9-night Transatlantic
Ship: Sky Princess
Travel: November 17 to December 1, 2019
Ports: Barcelona, Valencia, Malaga, Seville (Spain), Lisbon, Funchal & Madeira (Portugal), Fort Lauderdale.
The highly-anticipated ship embarks on her maiden voyage in October 2019. The newest jewel in the Princess fleet’s crown, she begins her inaugural cruise season in the Mediterranean, then onto the Caribbean starting in late December 2019. We suggest booking 2019 sailings as soon as possible if you wish to be among the first on this majestic ship, which features 270-degree stateroom views and balconies in 80% of the rooms.
What we love about this cruise: We chose this particular itinerary as it is a repositioning cruise. Sky Princess moves from her first home in the Mediterranean to the Caribbean waters by crossing the mighty Atlantic, reminiscent of the Golden Age of ocean travel. Sailing to fewer ports gives travellers extra time to enjoy and explore this sparkling, new Princess ship.
3. Holland America Line, 13-night Jewels of the Baltic
Ship: Nieuw Statendam
Travel: May 12 to May 25, 2019
Ports: Roundtrip Amsterdam (The Netherlands) to Copenhagen (Denmark), Warnemunde-Berlin (Germany), Tallinn (Estonia), St. Petersburg (Russia), Helsinki (Finland), Stockholm Archipelago (Sweden), Kiel-Hamburg (Germany), Arhus (Denmark).
Another brand new ship on the horizon is HAL’s Nieuw Statendam, launched in late 2018. In keeping with the seafaring tradition of christening ships, this fortunate vessel boasts none other than Oprah Winfrey as her godmother and seems destined for great things, including fantastic voyages.
What we love about this cruise: Many of the captivating cities around the Baltic are predicted to be among 2019’s hottest destinations. Explore Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Russia and more, in ease and comfort with an award-winning cruise line.
4. Celebrity Cruises, 7-night Western Caribbean Cruise
Ship: Celebrity Edge
Travel: February 17 to February 24, 2019
Ports: Roundtrip Fort Lauderdale to Key West, Costa Maya, Cozumel, Grand Cayman.
Voted best new ship by Cruise Critic readers, Celebrity Edge definitely has an edge over its competition, with elevated dining options and spacious staterooms. Celebrity Edge’s impressive one-of-a-kind feature, the Magic Carpet (pictured) moves up and down the boat; the clever cantilevered design makes you feel as though you’re floating in the air. The tennis court-sized glass area is used for a variety of purposes, from dining to disembarking. Worth noting is this ship’s godmother is Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, indicating Celebrity’s support of gender equality.
What we love about this cruise: Obviously a crowd-pleaser given its rave reviews, Celebrity Edge manages to exude an air of being a niche cruise ship, a challenging balancing act. In maintaining this exclusivity, there are only five sailings of this particular cruise. Tour roundtrip from sunny Fort Lauderdale to sexy Key West; Mexico’s Costa Maya and colourful Cozumel; then onto glorious Grand Cayman.
5. Royal Caribbean, 16-night Transpacific
Ship: Radiance of the Seas
Travel: April 18 to May 4, 2019
Ports: Sydney (Australia), Picton, Wellington (New Zealand)- International Dateline- Papeete (Tahiti), Moorea, Bora Bora (French Polynesia) Oahu (Honolulu, Hawaii).
And now for something completely different! Take a voyage from iconic Sydney Harbour to charming New Zealand and heavenly Hawaii on this adventure of a lifetime. Visit remote ports-of-call that were merely exotic dreams until now — French Polynesia’s gems of Bora Bora, Papeete and Moorea. Your ample time spent at sea will be pleasurably filled with all that Radiance of the Seas has to offer, with signature RCI dining options, Broadway-style shows, Vegas-inspired casinos and much more.
What we love about this cruise: Transpacific cruises are rare compared to their transatlantic counterparts. This itinerary combines the unique and unknown with a trusted cruise line, Royal Caribbean.