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Rendering of the Seabourn Encore.
Rendering of the Seabourn Encore.

Want to know what’s new in cruising for the coming year and into 2018? Well, for starters, Windstar Cruises’ Europe sailing season in 2017 will include two brand-new itineraries focusing on Croatia, Slovenia and Montenegro—the 8-day Quintessential Croatia and the 12-day Marvels of the Croatian Coast & Greece, both aboard the Wind Star. Windstar Cruises is also doubling capacity on its Around Iceland cruises that sail roundtrip from Reykjavik.

Next year, Oceania Cruises’ Insignia will homeport in New York City and is set to offer more than 20 voyages to New England, Canada, Bermuda, Greenland and Iceland. Itineraries for 2017, starting in July, include the 10-day Cottages, Coves & Coasts with stops in Newport; Boston; Bar Harbor; Halifax in Nova Scotia; and St. George, Bermuda; the 11-day Seaside Medley, visiting the aforementioned ports, plus Hamilton in Bermuda; and the 10-day Capitals & Coastlines with stops in Newport; Boston; Bar Harbor; Saint John, New Brunswick; Halifax; Sydney, Nova Scotia; and Saguenay, Quebec City, and Montreal in Quebec. Oceania will offer even more itineraries from this homeport for 2018.

Farther south, in the Galapagos Islands, Celebrity Cruises’ 16-guest Celebrity Xploration has been upgraded and will offer two alternating itineraries starting in March. Celebrity has also refreshed the Solstice, which now features the A Taste of Film experience under the stars—the first in the Solstice-class ships to do so—authentic Japanese cuisine at Sushi on Five, with Asian-inspired cocktails; and a reimagined Photo Gallery. The ship will show off her facelift during its summer season in Australia, which includes itineraries that stop in New Zealand and Indonesia. Facelifts are also coming to the Scenic fleet, with its France Space-Ships Scenic Emerald, Diamond and Sapphire being completely rebuilt for the 2017 cruising season to include larger suites and more spacious public spaces

For fascinating itineraries look to Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic’s 10-night Cuba by Land and Sea: Cultural Heritage and Natural Wonders, a people-to-people program with departures starting this month and continuing through March 2017. And keep Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises’ Crystal Esprit on your radar as it will be redeployed to the West Indies beginning in November 2017 and all of 2018; itineraries include the British Virgin Islands & Saint-Barthelemy Yachting Escape with stops in St. Martin; St. Barth; and the British Virgin Islands.

All eyes are on the 600-guest Seabourn Encore, set to sail on its inaugural voyage in January. It’s got all the bells & whistles expected of a luxury vessel, including the much-talked-about The Retreat, where guests can relax in private cabanas; the unique Spa and Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil program; and distinctive entertainment such as An Evening with Tim Rice. The latter is a concert-style presentation narrated by Rice that takes guests on a musical journey through some of his best-known work, with Seabourn singers as well as anecdotes and visuals from Rice’s personal archive. And in case you hadn’t heard, Encore’s sister ship, Seabourn Ovation, is set to join the fleet in 2018.

But those clients who can’t wait to sail on brand-new ships until 2018 have an array of options for 2017, including the Viking Sky, which will debut early next year, and the Viking Sun, which will spend her maiden season, starting in December 2017, sailing the company’s first-ever World Cruise. Next year also brings Silversea’s Silver Muse, which will spend the European spring and summer months in and around the Mediterranean, as well as the inaugural voyage of the Silver Cloud as an ice-class expedition ship; the MSC Seaside, the first in the fleet to be christened in the U.S., and set to sail the Caribbean year-round from PortMiami starting in December; Princess Cruises’ Majestic Princess, sailing her maiden season in the Med and Southeast Asia; and the Norwegian Bliss, which will sail weekly 7-day cruises in Alaska.

Looking to 2018, AmaWaterways will add the 158-passenger AmaLea to its fleet. Sailing the Danube, it will offer connecting rooms and triple accommodations, twin balconies, and a pool with swim-up bar. And Disney Cruise Line has unveiled its ports and itineraries for early 2018, including the introduction of Bonaire as a new pot of call, part of a 7-night sailing that departs San Juan, Puerto Rico on Jan. 28, 2018.

Flip the page for onboard reviews on Viking Star and Harmony of the Seas.