The 9 best new cruise ships launching in 2024

This year will be a big one for new cruise ships, with three major vessels on the way that promise to break new ground in cruising.

The most notable of the three, Icon of the Seas, is the first of a new series of megaships from Royal Caribbean that will be larger than any cruise vessels ever built. It’ll be loaded with all sorts of gee-whiz attractions, restaurants, bars and entertainment.

Icon of the Seas is just one of two major new Royal Caribbean cruise ships arriving in 2024. Also on the way is Utopia of the Seas, the sixth and final vessel in the line’s hugely successful Oasis Class of ships.

The year will also bring the first new ship in more than a decade from storied cruise line Cunard (Queen Anne) and the first of a new class of ship from cruise giant Princess Cruises (Sun Princess).

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The new ships from Cunard and Princess Cruises will both feature notable updated designs for the brands, with an expanded lineup of restaurants, bars and entertainment areas.

All three vessels — Icon of the Seas, Queen Anne and Sun Princess — are the three new cruise ships for 2024 that have us the most excited here at TPG. But they’re far from being the only major new cruise vessels arriving during the next 12 months.

To whet your appetite for cruising in the year ahead, take a look at our list of nine new cruise ships arriving in 2024.

Carnival Jubilee

Maiden voyage: Dec. 23, 2023

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This newest ship for cruise giant Carnival technically arrived at the end of 2023, but its maiden voyage on Dec. 23 was so close to the start of 2024 that we’re calling it a new vessel for 2024.

The 15-deck-high ship is a sister to the line’s recently unveiled Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebration, which have made waves in the past two years for their huge size and what might be the most unusual attraction ever on a cruise vessel: a deck-top roller coaster.

Like Carnival Celebration, Carnival Jubilee measures 183,521 tons, putting it in a tie with the former ship for the position of biggest vessel ever to sail for Carnival (at 181,808 tons, sister ship Mardi Gras is slightly smaller). Carnival Celebration and Mardi Gras, notably, are a whopping 35% bigger than the next-biggest Carnival ships currently afloat, and they are bigger than all but a dozen other cruise vessels in the world.

Like Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebration, Carnival Jubilee has a roller coaster on its top deck. Dubbed Bolt: Ultimate Sea Coaster, it’s similar to the roller coasters on its sister vessels, with an 800-foot-long track and vehicles that reach speeds of 40 mph — give or take.

Also, like its sisters, Carnival Jubilee was designed to hold up to 6,630 passengers. That’s just a tad below the 7,600 passengers that will be able to fit aboard Royal Caribbean’s soon-to-debut Icon of the Seas — the new world’s largest cruise ship (more on that vessel below).

Related: The ultimate guide to Carnival Cruise Line

In addition to a roller coaster, Carnival Jubilee has a giant water park on its top deck. Like its sister, its interiors are filled with a far broader array of suites than you’d find on earlier Carnival ships. But the vessel isn’t a carbon copy of the previous vessels. New features include two ocean-themed zones with new bar and dining options — including an underwater-themed bar adorned with octopus arms that will serve drinks.

The development of ships on the scale of Carnival Jubilee and its sisters has been a big deal for Carnival. Until recently, the line had resisted the trend among major brands to build even bigger vessels that offer a supersized megaresort-at-sea experience.

Carnival’s last new vessel before the arrival of Mardi Gras in 2021, Carnival Panorama, didn’t even crack the top 40 list of biggest ships when it debuted in 2019.

Carnival Jubilee is sailing seven-night voyages to the Western Caribbean out of Galveston. Fares start at $669 per person, not including taxes and fees.

Icon of the Seas

Maiden voyage: Jan. 27

Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas during sea trials in 2023. ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Call it the new grande dame of the megaship world. At 250,800 tons, Icon of the Seas will be the biggest cruise ship ever built, and it’ll be chock-full of more amusements, restaurants, bars and entertainment venues than any cruise vessel ever.

In other words, if you’re a megaship fan, this is your new go-to ship — assuming you don’t mind vacationing with a lot of other people.

In size, Icon of the Seas will be about 6% bigger than the biggest of the Oasis Class ships, the one-year-old Wonder of the Seas. But it’ll be able to hold about 7% more people — 7,600 passengers as compared to Wonder of the Seas’ total capacity of 7,084 passengers. That’s a new all-time record for a passenger ship.

The bigger passenger capacity is in part due to the ship’s greater focus on family travelers. Icon of the Seas is being built with more cabins offering extra bunks to accommodate families with children. It’ll also have more amenities geared to families, including a new-for-the-line outdoor “neighborhood” called Surfside dedicated to families with young children.

Related: Icon of the Seas will cater to families

Surfside notably will feature splash areas for babies and kids, pools and lounge spaces for parents, family-friendly eateries and shops, and a bar with “mommy and me” matching mocktails for kids and cocktails for grownups.

Icon of the Seas will also feature the largest water park ever built on a cruise ship, with a record six waterslides. No other vessel comes close when it comes to water attractions on a cruise ship.

Other notable new attractions will include the AquaDome — a massive, glass dome-covered area at the front of the ship. A true engineering marvel (the 363-ton glass dome had to be built separately next to the ship and winched into place), the AquaDome will be home to the AquaTheater — a venue found in a different location on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class ships that hosts acrobatic and diving shows in a high-tech stage/pool.

The AquaTheater will be the marquee attraction within the AquaDome, which will also offer dining and drinking venues, as well as cozy seating areas for daytime and evening hangouts. One such spot, the Overlook, is an elevated lounge featuring special nooks (Overlook Pods) and wraparound windows providing fantastic ocean views and easy viewing of the aqua shows.

In addition, Icon of the Seas will have a record-for-a-ship seven pools, four of which will be at a main pool area called Chill Island. The latter area will be home to the line’s first swim-up bar on a ship, Swim and Tonic.

Related: The ultimate Icon of the Seas guide: Pricing, itineraries, and what’s on board

Ten new food outlets on the ship will include Surfside Eatery, a family-friendly buffet in the Surfside neighborhood, and Empire Supper Club, an upscale venue designed to evoke the atmosphere of New York City in the 1930s. The latter will serve an extravagant eight-course meal (think: caviar and wagyu), with each dish paired with a cocktail created by celebrity mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim.

Among lodging options, Icon of the Seas will boast 14 new cabin and suite types plus 14 categories of rooms that already exist on earlier Royal Caribbean ships. That’s a whopping 28 types of accommodation in all.

Many of these cabin categories are family-friendly rooms that sleep four guests; some can accommodate six or eight guests. In total, 313 cabins and suites are listed specifically as family-focused accommodations, though many regular room types can sleep more than two people.

Note that Icon of the Seas is just the first of three sister ships Royal Caribbean has on order for delivery by 2026, all of similar dimensions. Together, they will make up what is known as the Icon Class.

Icon of the Seas will operate seven-night voyages to the Caribbean out of Miami. Fares start at $1,577 per person, not including taxes and fees.

Sun Princess


Like Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises is going bigger with its next new ship — a lot bigger.

Under development for more than six years and the first of an all-new series of vessels for the line, the 4,000-passenger Sun Princess is about 21% bigger than the biggest ships currently in the Princess fleet. And yet, while it’s 21% bigger, it’s designed to hold just 17% more passengers.

In other words, its space-to-passenger ratio will be greater, making the ship feel roomier — if only modestly.

Sun Princess will also be the first Princess ship with suites that come with exclusive access to a private restaurant, lounge and sun deck — a sign Princess is finally getting serious about pampering its best customers.

In addition, Sun Princess will boast an innovative new type of “cabana cabin” along the ship’s extra-wide 10th deck, which will come with access to a private deck area (sort of a riff on the Havana-class cabins found on a handful of Carnival Cruise Line ships). Plus, the top deck of the ship is getting some unusual-for-Princess sizzle with the addition of a glass-dome-topped pool area that will transform into a nightspot after the sun goes down.

Related: A sneak peek inside Sun Princess under construction

Other notable differences between Sun Princess and earlier Princess ships include the lack of a buffet restaurant on its main pool deck. Don’t worry, buffet lovers: There will still be a buffet-like venue on the ship. It will be eight decks below the pool deck, closer to the ship’s central piazza and just off the ship’s outside promenade.

The ship’s main theater, to be called the Princess Arena, will also have a new look. Its new-for-Princess in-the-round shape can be converted into a more traditional proscenium-type theater or a keyhole-type theater to allow for different types of productions.

The ship’s three-deck-high piazza, called the Sun Princess Piazza, is getting an upgrade, too, with a new circular shape, a stage that pops up from the center of the floor for performances and a giant, three-deck-high moveable LED screen that will play a role in evening productions in the space.

Among other standout venues, Sun Princess will feature a secret hideaway for magical performances designed in partnership with the Magic Castle performance venue in Los Angeles. Kids should love the new-for-Princess fun zone called Park19, featuring a ropes course and what’s being billed as the first roll glider at sea, an electric ride that goes up to 11 mph.

Sun Princess initially will sail in Europe through the fall before repositioning to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for voyages to the Caribbean. Fares start at $467 per person, not including taxes and fees, for a five-night Caribbean sailing.

Queen Anne

Maiden voyage: May 10

An artist’s rendering of Queen Anne. CUNARD LINE

It’s been a long time coming, but storied cruise line Cunard is finally launching a new ship. Built to an all-new design for the 183-year-old brand, the 3,000-passenger Queen Anne will be Cunard’s first new vessel in 14 years — an unusually long period for any line to go without a new ship.

Queen Anne, notably, will embrace the latest trends of travel and cruising in a way that Cunard ships haven’t done before, including a new focus on choice in dining and entertainment, wellness and onboard celebrations.

The ship will offer 15 different places to grab a bite, more than double the number on the line’s other ships. The options will include Aji Wa, a new restaurant concept for Cunard that will serve Japanese cuisine influenced by the seasons of the year. Also new for Cunard will be Aranya, an Indian eatery; Sir Samuel’s, a high-end steakhouse; and Tramonto, which will serve Mediterranean dishes.

Wellness-focused areas will include a new-for-the-line, glass-enclosed Wellness Studio at the top of the ship that will offer classes in yoga, pilates, Zumba and line dancing during the day and ballroom dancing classes at sunset.

A new juice bar and a cafe near the main pool will serve healthy dishes, and the ship’s spa is being built as a temple to wellness. It’ll offer a sprawling thermal pool complex that includes eight heated loungers, four experiential showers, a reflexology footpath with textured stones flowing with hot water, a cold room (a first for Cunard), a large steam room, a Himalayan salt sauna and a traditional sauna. A relaxation room and wellness suite will round out the offerings.

Related: A sneak peek inside Queen Anne under construction

On the celebrations front, Queen Anne will have a lounge specifically designed for weddings that spills into an indoor reception room and, just beyond, a new-for-the-line private rooftop terrace space for wedding and vow renewal receptions.

Other notable features of the ship will include an expanded Commodore Club observation lounge and a main pool area (The Pavilion) topped with a retractable glass roof designed to be as much a showpiece as a functional structure.

Not everything about Queen Anne will be different from previous Cunard ships. A lot will be familiar. As is always the case for Cunard vessels, Queen Anne will have a soaring Grand Lobby with a cascading staircase where you can take selfies in your formal night splendor. That staple of all Cunard ships, the ballroom known as the Queens Room, is also making a comeback.

Queen Anne initially will sail in Europe before setting off on an around-the-world cruise in January 2025. Fares start at $449 per person, not including taxes and fees, for a quick two-night cruise from Hamburg, Germany, to Southampton, England. Seven-night sailings in Europe start at $849 per person, not including taxes and fees.

Silver Ray

Maiden voyage: June 27

Silver Ray will be a sister ship to Silver Nova, which debuted in 2023. SILVERSEA CRUISES

The newest ship for the luxury line Silversea Cruises is a sister to the brand’s recently unveiled Silver Nova — a groundbreaking vessel that has been turning heads since it debuted in August.

Like Silver Nova, Silver Ray will be bigger than Silversea’s previous ships and feature an unusual, asymmetrical design for its public decks that reorients its key features toward the sides of the ship instead of the center. Whether you’re floating in the ship’s main pool or dining at its open-air Marquee restaurant, you’ll be looking out at the sea (or whatever destination the ship is visiting) like you’ve never been able to before.

Silver Ray’s pool area, in particular, will be striking, as is the pool area on Silver Nova. The long and narrow pool won’t be in the middle of the deck but offset to its starboard side, and it’ll be oriented to face outward to the sea. Nearly all the lounge chairs around the pool will face in the same direction toward the sea, too.

Related: The 5 best destinations you can visit on a Silversea ship

As we wrote about in our recent first look at Silver Nova, part of what makes this new outward-facing orientation for these ships so magical is that they don’t have any structures rising from the starboard sides of their pool decks. Passengers floating in the pools on these ships or lounging on nearby lounge chairs get an unobstructed view of the sea off the starboard side.

Silver Ray’s asymmetrical design will also be evident at two food and beverage venues at the top of the vessel — both new-for-Silversea concepts that first debuted in August on Silver Nova.

The first, Marquee, will be an alfresco dining venue that is also off-center, with an orientation that offers commanding views of the sea from the ship’s port side. It’ll be home to The Grill, Silversea’s signature outdoor “hot rocks” dining venue, and also double as the ship’s Spaccanapoli pizza outlet. The second venue, The Dusk Bar, will be an open-air sky bar at the back of the vessel that, like Marquee, is positioned on the port side of the ship.

The pool deck on Silver Ray will be oriented to the sea in the same way as it is on the line’s new Silver Nova. GENE SLOAN/THE POINTS GUY

Additional dining venues on board will include versions of Silversea’s main signature restaurant La Terrazza, French eatery La Dame, seafood eatery Atlantide and sushi outlet Kaiseki.

In addition to asymmetry in many areas, one thing that will be particularly noticeable about Silver Ray is its spaciousness — something it will share with Silver Nova. At 54,700 tons, the two ships are about 34% bigger than Silversea’s last three new vessels — Silver Muse, Silver Moon and Silver Dawn — but they are designed to hold only about 22% more passengers. That gives them significantly more space per passenger.

With every berth filled, Silver Ray will sail with 728 passengers — the same as Silver Nova and just 132 more than the three earlier Silversea vessels.

The extra space on the two vessels has allowed Silversea to expand its lineup of cabin categories, with more large suites. As is always the case with Silversea ships, every cabin on the ship will be a suite. But Silver Ray and Silver Nova offer new premium aft suites, including a massive 1,324-square-foot complex called the Otium Suite.

Even the smallest cabins on Silver Ray will measure at least 357 square feet, which is unusually large for a cruise ship cabin.

Silver Ray will initially sail in Europe before repositioning to North America in December 2024 for winter sailings to South America and the Caribbean. Fares start at $4,600 per person, including transfers, for a nine-night South America sailing out of Panama City.

Utopia of the Seas

Maiden voyage: July 22

An artist’s drawing of Utopia of the Seas. ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Royal Caribbean’s second new ship of the year will be a giant, too, though not quite as big as Icon of the Seas. The sixth and final vessel in the line’s groundbreaking Oasis Class of ships, Utopia of the Seas is expected to carry up to around 6,700 passengers and measure around 237,000 tons, which would place it just behind Icon of the Seas as the world’s second-biggest cruise ship.

Like the five earlier Oasis Class ships (the newest of which, Wonder of the Seas, is the current size leader in the cruise world), Utopia of the Seas will be loaded with lots of family-focused attractions, including multiple main pool areas, a kiddie splash zone, surfing simulators, a miniature golf course, a basketball court and even a zip line. And that’s just on its top deck.

Inside the vessel, you’ll find more lounges, bars, restaurants and shops than you can imagine, plus a huge casino, spas and theaters with Broadway-style shows.

As with earlier Royal Caribbean ships, it’ll even have an indoor ice-skating rink.

In design and features, Utopia of the Seas will be nearly identical to Royal Caribbean’s last new Oasis Class ship, Wonder of the Seas, which debuted in 2022. Like that vessel, it’ll have a dedicated suite area with a private lounge, restaurant and sun deck — something not found on the four earlier Oasis Class ships.

Utopia of the Seas will be based in Port Canaveral, Florida, for short three- and four-night sailings to the Bahamas. Fares start at $431 per person, not including taxes and fees, for a three-night sailing.

Related: Why Royal Caribbean is about to own the market for short cruises from Florida

Explora 2

Explora 2 will be a sister ship to Explora 1. EXPLORA JOURNEY

The world’s newest cruise line, three-month-old Explora Journeys, is doubling in size in 2024 with the addition of Explora 2.

Designed for 922 passengers, the high-end vessel will be an almost identical sister to Explora 1, the line’s first ship, which debuted in August. It will similarly target the luxury market.

Like Explora 1, the new ship will offer oceanfront suites, penthouses and residences designed to be “homes at sea,” and it’ll be packed with upscale amenities. They will include 10 distinct culinary experiences, 10 indoor and outdoor bars and lounges, four swimming pools, outdoor deck areas with private cabanas, wellness facilities and entertainment.

A creation of the deep-pocketed MSC Group, which already owns MSC Cruises, Explora Journeys plans to launch at least six of the superluxurious vessels by 2028, with the first four being roughly the same size and the last two being even bigger.

In just a few years, that’ll give Explora Journeys a bigger capacity than such well-known luxury cruise operators as Seabourn and the recently relaunched Crystal.

Explora Journeys is competing in the same upscale cruise space as Seabourn and Crystal, as well as luxury lines like Viking, Silversea and The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection. It’s run completely separately from its sister brand, MSC Cruises, which caters to a mass-market audience.

Explora 2 will initially sail in the Mediterranean before repositioning to North America for the winter. Fares start at $4,275 per person, not including taxes and fees, for a seven-night Caribbean sailing.

Viking Vela

Maiden voyage: Dec. 19

Viking Vela will be a sister vessel to the 6-year-old Viking Sky and several other recent Viking ships. VIKING

Fast-growing Viking will continue its expansion into ocean cruising in 2024 with its 11th new seagoing vessel since 2015.

Like Viking’s first 10 ocean ships (one of which has been transferred to a joint venture with a Chinese company), Vela will be a relatively small, elegant vessel designed to appeal to an older crowd looking to explore the world in style and comfort.

Slightly bigger than its sister ships, Viking Vela will hold 998 passengers at double occupancy — 68 more than its siblings. But it’ll still be less than a third the size of the giant ships operated by such well-known cruise brands as Royal Caribbean, MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line.

Like Viking’s other ocean ships, it’ll sail itineraries that feature more time in ports than is common at many other lines. Like the earlier Viking ships, it’ll also be adults-only, with no passengers under the age of 18 allowed.

While slightly bigger than earlier Viking ocean ships, Viking Vela’s interior will have an almost identical look. Like Viking’s 10 earlier ocean vessels, Vela will boast modern, Scandinavian-influenced decor that’s soothing and upscale. Onboard activities will revolve around enrichment programs and classy entertainment, and there will be elegant meals in multiple restaurants. Cabins will be relatively spacious, with the smallest of five cabin categories having 270 square feet of space. Every cabin will have a balcony.

As is typical for Viking, the fare will include a shore excursion at every port that Vela visits. Also included will be Wi-Fi, and wine and beer with lunch and dinner — all part of Viking’s “no-nickel-and-diming” philosophy.

Disney Treasure

Maiden voyage: Dec. 21

An artist’s drawing of Disney Treasure. DISNEY CRUISE LINE

Disney Cruise Line is shifting into growth mode again with the unveiling of Disney Treasure, its second new ship in two years (after a 10-year period where Disney didn’t unveil a single vessel). Due at the end of 2024, it’s coming out in relatively quick succession to Disney Wish, a similarly designed ship that arrived in 2022.

Like Disney Wish, Disney Treasure is part of Disney’s new Triton Class of vessels, and it’ll share many of the same features and layout as its older sister. But it will be far from an exact copy. Disney has announced quite a few major changes for Disney Treasure, including the addition of an all-new Mexican restaurant called Plaza de Coco that is themed around the events of the “Coco” movie. It replaces the “Frozen-” themed eatery on Disney Wish.

Also, a new Haunted Mansion-themed bar will replace the “Star Wars-” themed Hyperspace Lounge on Disney Wish.

Other new venues include Jumbeaux’s Sweets, an ice cream parlor and candy shop inspired by Jumbeaux’s Cafe in the movie “Zootopia,” and Skipper Society, a new bar inspired by Disney’s Jungle Cruise ride and its wisecracking skippers. At the latter, which will be where The Bayou is on Disney Wish, passengers will find a menu of themed cocktails and light snacks, such as waffles.

Yet another new drinks venue is Periscope Pub, inspired by Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” (and Disney’s 1954 movie version of the book and theme park attraction). It will replace Wish’s Keg & Compass as Disney Treasure’s sports bar. The bar is designed to look like the Nautilus submarine from the story, complete with a giant periscope, porthole windows and a ceiling designed to look like you’re underwater.

Disney is also launching a new Broadway-style musical on Disney Treasure, “Disney The Tale of Moana.” The show will feature popular songs and characters from the animated movie and marks the first time Disney has brought the story of Moana to the stage.

The ship’s two other main shows, “Beauty and the Beast” and “Disney Seas the Adventure,” are repeats from earlier Disney ships.

Like Disney Wish, Disney Treasure’s big top-deck attraction will be AquaMouse, a water ride that swirls around the top of the vessel.

The ship will hold 2,500 passengers at double occupancy (two passengers per cabin) and up to 4,000 passengers with every berth filled.

Disney Treasure will sail seven-night voyages to the Caribbean and the Bahamas out of Port Canaveral. Fares start at $1,862 per person, not including taxes and fees.

Related: The ultimate guide to Disney Cruise Line

Other new ships

In addition to the above, newcomers for 2024 include several small oceangoing cruise vessels from such small-ship cruise operators as The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection and American Cruise Lines, as well as small river ships from river lines AmaWaterways, Avalon Waterways and Viking.

Among the most notable of these smaller vessels is the 60-passenger AmaMagdalena, which is being billed as the first major river ship designed to sail on the Magdalena River in Colombia. Avalon’s new entry for 2024, the 102-passenger Avalon Alegria, will be that line’s first vessel on the Douro River in Portugal.

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