As well as building new ships, cruise lines regularly refurbish existing ones, sometimes giving them different names to complement their new look.
Here is a selection of this year’s highlights (prices include flights unless stated).
Sailing: in Northern Europe and the Mediterranean in the summer, South America and Antarctica in winter.
The 118-passenger Hebridean Sky will join Noble Caledonia’s fleet in April after a multimillion-pound refurbishment that will include new bathrooms and two new suites, refreshed public areas and the addition of a boot room where passengers can store the outdoor gear they will need on her small-ship expedition cruises. Built in 1991 and formerly sailing as Sea Explorer, Hebridean Sky is the third ship in the fleet. Shore excursions are included in the cruise fare.
- From £3,995 per person for a 10-night Beyond the Pillars of Hercules cruise from Sardinia to Madeira, departing October 4, 2016 (noble-caledonia.co.uk).
Sailing: the Mediterranean in summer; the US coast and the South Pacific in winter.
Sirena is the new name for Ocean Princess, a 684-passenger ship joining Oceania Cruises in April after a US$40 million refurbishment. Among other changes, the top suites will be upgraded and steak and Asian speciality restaurants will be added. At lunchtimes the dining room will be transformed into Jacques, a French bistro serving a chalkboard menu du jour.
Built in 1999, the ship holds 684 passengers.
- From £1,699pp for a 10-day Mediterranean Collage cruise from Valletta to Barcelona, departing July 7, 2016 (oceaniacruises.com).
Sailing: the Norwegian coast this summer and the Arctic in summer 2017.
Formerly known as Atlantida and built in 2009, the 320-passenger Spitsbergen is undergoing a major refit before entering service on expedition-style cruises for Hurtigruten in May. The ship’s hull will be strengthened to sail in polar waters and interiors given a Scandinavian makeover.
Nordic specialities will be served in the restaurant’s Coastal Kitchen.
- From £2,220 per person for a 12-day expedition-style Classic Round Voyage from Bergen to Kirkenes and back, departing August 15, 2016. Excludes flights (hurtigruten.co.uk).
Sailing: the Mediterranean in summer and the Caribbean in winter.
In April Royal Caribbean International’s Splendour of the Seas will leave its fleet and resurface in June as Thomson Cruises’ Thomson Discovery. With capacity for 1,830 passengers and almost 400 balcony cabins, she will be the line’s largest, most modern ship, featuring its first steakhouse and a new deli-cum-bistro.
Kora La, a reservation-only restaurant, will serve menus created by celebrity chef Ian Pengelley.
On board Thomson Discovery
- From £901 per person for a seven-night Magic of Spain round trip from Palma de Mallorca, departing October 22, 2016 (thomson.co.uk/cruises).
Sailing: to Greece and Turkey this summer and Costa Rica in the winter.
Joining Variety Cruises in April, Callisto is a
34-passenger motor yacht that was launched in 2000 and renovated in 2015. Decked out in wood and brass, she has two sun decks, indoor and outdoor dining areas and cabins with portholes or large windows. At the back of the ship is a swimming platform.
- From £1,584 per person for a seven-night Aegean Odyssey round trip from Piraeus (for Athens), departing May 13, 2016. Excludes flights (varietycruises.co.uk).
Queen Mary 2
Sailing: the North Atlantic (transatlantic crossings).
Fifteen single cabins are being added to Cunard’s QM2 during a refit in Germany starting on May 27. When she emerges 25 days later, she will also have 30 more Britannia Club balcony cabins – these afford access to the more intimate Britannia Club dining room.
Largest cruise ships
The Verandah restaurant will replace Todd English and a redesigned Kings Court buffet will have new central serveries and a Chef’s Table.
- From £999pp for a seven-night Westbound transatlantic crossing from Southampton to New York, departing October 18, 2016 (cunard.co.uk).
Sailing: the Mediterranean in summer, Asia and Australia in winter.
Two spa suites with glass-enclosed showers offering ocean views were added to Azamara Club Cruises’ Azamara Journey during a January makeover.
Cabins have been updated and new dining options include the Patio, for alfresco lunch and dinner by the pool, and a Spanish tapas bar in the Living Room, formerly the Looking Glass lounge. The same changes will be made to Azamara Quest in April.
- From £1,719 per person for a seven-night Sicily and Malta Voyage, a round trip from Civitavecchia (the port for Rome), departing September 30, 2016 (azamaraclubcruises.co.uk).
Jewel of the Seas
Sailing: the Mediterranean this summer and the Caribbean in winter.
A two-bedroom family suite and the Japanese Izumi restaurant will be among the new attractions on Royal Caribbean International’s Jewel of the Seas when it arrives in Civitavecchia next month for its summer season.
The changes are part of a $30 million refurbishment that will also add a poolside movie screen, Giovanni’s Table Italian Restaurant and Vintages wine bar and promises super-fast internet.
- From £725 per person for a seven-night Greek Isles round trip from Civitavecchia, departing June 19, 2016 (royalcaribbean.co.uk).
Sailing: the Mediterranean and Northern Europe (based in Southampton from April to September 2016).
New restaurant Share replaces trattoria Sabatini’s on Princess Cruises’ Emerald Princess following a multimillion-dollar refit. As the name suggests, it serves family-style dishes designed to be shared. Other changes include the new Salty Dog Gastropub and connecting doors between 100 cabins.
- From £1,109 per person for a 14-day North Cape and Norwegian Fjords round trip from Southampton, departing August 6, 2016 (princess.com).
Swiss Emerald and Sapphire
Sailing: the Rhône and Seine.
A makeover on Tauck’s Swiss Emerald and Swiss Sapphire river ships will result in 20 larger cabins and a reduction in passenger capacity (from 118 to 98).
The duo will also be given new names and a second dining venue, Arthur’s, with its own chef. The same changes will be made to Swiss Jewel, Esprit and Treasures 12 months down the line.
- From £3,185 per person for a 10-day French Waterways cruise-tour from Paris to Lyon, including two hotel nights in Paris and a seven-night Rhône cruise, departing April 5, 2017. Excludes flights (tauck.co.uk).
Sailing: the Danube.
Ocean-cruise company Crystal will launch this 1987-built river boat in July after a bow-to-stern rebuild. Cabins will be larger, passenger capacity reduced and a bistro and show kitchen added. Drinks and tips will be included in the cruise fare.
A cabin on Crystal Mozart
- From £2,450 per person for a 10-day Christmas Markets round trip from Vienna, departing on December 2 or 12, 2016 (crystalrivercruises.co.uk).