Despite the upheaval of this year, ship-builders have been busier than ever, building and readying ships across the world for sailings in 2021. Brittany Lazarus reports.

Cruise lines are gearing up for 2021 to be a year of new ships, new itineraries, and even new kinds of sailings for some brands.

Mardi Gras

Carnival Cruise Line

The largest Carnival ship ever constructed, Mardi Gras will be delivered in February of 2021 and will be homeported in Port Canaveral, Florida. The ship’s name and dramatic new red, white and blue hull design are a nod to the first Carnival Cruise Line ship, which entered service in 1972.

The 5282-passenger ship will be powered by liquefied natural gas as part of Carnival Corporation’s green cruising platform and is made up of 21 decks – a new layout for the family line. The ship boasts Bolt, the first rollercoaster at sea, as well as re-designed Carnival WaterWorks, SportSquare and main pool deck. For dining, favourites such as BlueIguana Cantina and SeaFood Shack are onboard, joined by new venues Shaq’s Big Chicken, Street Eats, RedFrog Tiki Bar and Emeril’s Bistro 1396.

Odyssey of the Seas

Royal Caribbean

April will see Odyssey of the Seas make her debut voyage from Civitavecchia, Italy as part of her seven- to 12-night Europe and Mediterranean cruises through to October.

Like her sister ship Spectrum of the Seas, Odyssey will include Quantum-class-specific venues and activities the Music Hall, Royal Esplanade, Two70, North Star, the SeaPlex and RipCord by iFLY. Other popular features from around the fleet include SkyPad, Lime & Coconut Pool Bar, Playmaker Sports Bar & Arcade, Splashaway Bay, FlowRider and Vitality Spa & Fitness Center.

After October, she will reposition to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where she will sail six- to nine-night Caribbean cruises through April 2022.

Odyssey will include Quantum-class-specific venues and activities the Music Hall, Royal Esplanade, Two70, North Star, the SeaPlex and RipCord by iFLY.

Pacific Adventure

P&O Cruises

Sailing into Sydney Harbour in April, Pacific Adventure will lead the P&O fleet refresh. While the waterslides will be added at a later date, the ship will be otherwise updated with a range of new offerings, including Byron Beach Club, and a dedicated family pool area with loads of activities and an all-weather retractable roof.

With capacity for 2636 guests across 10 decks, there will be something for everyone. Pacific Adventure has all the P&O favourites and new range of features, including concepts from celebrity chefs Luke Mangan and Johnny di Francesco, Adventure Hotel, and Altitude nightclub.

Pacific Encounter

P&O Cruises

Pacific Encounter will join Pacific Adventure and flagship Pacific Explorer in Australian waters from May 2021 with sailings from Brisbane. Very similar to Pacific Adventure, the ship will feature exclusive Byron Bay Beach Club, Altitude nightclub, celebrity chef concepts from Luke Mangan and Johnny di Francesco as well as a family pool area. Pacific Encounter has 12 guest decks and capacity for 2600 guests.

Viking Venus

Viking Cruises

The first delivery of 2021, Viking Venus will make her debut in January. Viking Venus will be almost identical to her seven sister ships and is part of Viking Ocean Cruises’ schedule to build 12 new ships in 10 years.

Sailing from several European ports, Viking Venus will offer accommodations for just 930 guests, allowing for a smaller crew to guest ratio. The ship will feature many of the activities and services found on large cruise ships, including multiple dining venues, bars, shops, a fitness centre and spa, pool with retractable roof, aft infinity pool and several entertainment lounges.

Discovery Princess


The sixth and final ship in Princess Cruises’ Royal-class fleet, Discovery Princess, will be delivered in November 2021. The ship will have capacity for 3660 guests and will sail a series of Mediterranean itineraries before repositioning to spend the winter months in the Caribbean and South America.

The ship will offer more spas than her sister ships, as well as a newly designed main pool deck, retreat pool and infinity WakeView aft pool. They will also be new kids’ and teens’ spaces and two Sky Suites offering space for up to five guests with two bedrooms and bathrooms and a 700-square-foot balcony.

Crystal Endeavour

Crystal Cruises

Taking the Crystal excellence to expedition ships, Crystal Endeavour will be the first of a kind for the line. With just 100 suites accommodating 200 guests and a one-to-one staff to guest ratio, the ship will meet Crystal’s standards of luxury when it starts sailing in May. The ship will feature six dining venues, all-suite accommodations, a glass-enclosed solarium, The Marina fold out platform, high-end shopping, wellness spa and several lounges.

Crystal Endeavour will sail to destinations in Alaska, Europe, Antarctica, Asia and South America.

Crystal Endeavour will sail to destinations in Alaska, Europe, Antarctica, Asia and South America.

MSC Virtuosa

MSC Cruises

Featuring the first fine art gallery at sea, MSC Virtuosa will launch in April 2021. With capacity for 4800 guests and 1700 crew, Virtuosa and sister ship MSC Grandiosa share the title of largest ships in the MSC fleet.

Like other Meraviglia-class vessels, the ship will feature an LED-domed Promenade, with two new Cirque du Soleil shows per sailing, a large aqua park, more than a dozen dining venues, an F1 racing simulator and the exclusive MSC Yacht Club and Aurea Experience private areas.

MSC Virtuosa will sail three- to 14-night Europe and Mediterranean itineraries.

MSC Seashore

MSC Cruises

In what MSC is calling an evolution of MSC Seaside and MSC Seaview, MSC Seashore is 16 metres longer and has more and larger main restaurants, casinos, and retail and ertainment areas.

MSC Seashore will debut in the Mediterranean in August with a series of four- to seven-night itineraries until October. Following a repositioning voyage to Miami, she will then cruise the Bahamas and Caribbean through to April 2022, featuring a stop to their private island, Ocean Cay, Bahamas, on most itineraries.