Royal Caribbean International’s latest Icon of the Seas seen during sea trials — Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

The old adage of “size matters” does actually apply to cruise ships, especially in 2024. Large cruise ships are getting even larger and packed with amenities. But, perhaps surprisingly, this new fleet is also getting more intimate.

Here are nine new cruise ships to look for on the horizon, from smallest to biggest — that is volumetrically, according to available public space measured in gross tons. (It’s all very technical.)

Ilma – The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection

Rendering of Ilma's Main PoolRendering of Ilma’s Main Pool — Photo courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection

The smallest on the list of new cruise ships for 2024 happens to be a near doubling of the line’s first ship, Evrima (25,400 tons and 298 guests).

Launching in the fall of 2024, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection’s Ilma clocks in at 46,750 tons and has a double occupancy capacity of 448 passengers in 224 suites. Travelers can enjoy five restaurants, six bars, a watersports marina, top-notch service, and more premium amenities befitting the decadent brand and its luxury-loving clientele.

Viking Vela – Viking Cruises

The Explorers' Lounge on Viking's beautiful ocean shipsThe Explorers’ Lounge on Viking’s beautiful ocean ships — Photo courtesy of Viking

The Viking Cruises brand was once solely synonymous with river cruising, but after introducing 10 ocean ships, plus two dedicated expedition ones, it’s now known as an upscale player in the seagoing market.

The adult-only Viking Vela will be a pinch larger than other Viking ships to accommodate its environmentally friendlier, fuel cell-powered propulsion system. But its signature “exploring the world in comfort” appointments, catering to 998 guests, are expected to be the same. Expect Vela excursions to Iceland, around the Mediterranean to Morocco, and more.

Silver Ray – Silversea

The engaging S.A.L.T. culinary experienceThe engaging S.A.L.T. culinary experience — Photo courtesy of Silversea

Following the debut of its latest Silver Nova, Silversea will unveil the equally luxurious sister ship Silver Ray in June 2024. Measuring in at 54,700 tons and a double guest capacity of 728, those doing the math might notice that as overall ship volume increases, the passenger count doesn’t necessarily rise proportionately. (This is known as passenger space ratio.)

In Ray’s case, there is more fine dining and activity and entertainment space to go around per guest. The Marquee is sublime for open-air meals. Also, don’t miss Silversea’s magnificent trio of destination-inspired S.A.L.T. (sea and last taste) dining venues.

Explora II – Explora Journeys

Sister ship Explora I, the inspiration for Explora IISister ship Explora I, the inspiration for Explora II — Photo courtesy of Explora Journeys

Showing again how the passenger space ratio curves can deviate, Explora II from the fresh-faced Explora Journeys (luxury spinoff of MSC Cruises) will carry 922 guests across its 63,900 tons.

As an identical sister ship to the first Explora I, the second in line will again, in the summer, offer exceptional Michelin-level cuisine and a half dozen dining venues for travelers. Private suite accommodations will range in size from 377 to 3,014 square feet.

Queen Anne – Cunard

Rendering of Bright Lights Society on Queen AnneRendering of Bright Lights Society on Queen Anne — Photo courtesy of Cunard

Jumping up quite a bit in scale to a comparatively median-sized vessel is Cunard’s 113,000-ton, 3,000-guest Queen Anne, the first new ship from the historic company in over a decade.

Launching in May 2024, the Queen Anne will reprise ocean-liner loyalist favorites, like the Golden Lion pub for classic fish and chips and pints of Guinness. New additions include the Bright Lights Society cabaret lounge, named after the fact that Cunard was the first to use electric illumination onboard.

Disney Treasure – Disney Cruise Line

Rendering of Haunted Mansion ParlorRendering of Haunted Mansion Parlor — Photo courtesy of Disney Cruise Line

The family-friendly Disney Cruise Line follows up its recent Disney Wish with the upcoming Disney Treasure, which is expected to launch in December 2024. The 144,000-ton vessel can carry 2,492 guests at double occupancy, or up to 4,000 passengers max.

Switching themes from Wish’s “enchantment” to Treasure’s “adventure” will be Disney theme park-inspired venues like the Haunted Mansion Parlor, Jungle Cruise-based Skipper Society, and the Periscope Pub, which will be adorned like “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.”

Sun Princess – Princess Cruises

Rendering of Spellbound Parlor Bar on Sun PrincessRendering of Spellbound Parlor Bar on Sun Princess — Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises

Another favorite among multi-generational families and couples alike is Princess Cruises, which will launch its largest-ever ship, the Sun Princess, in February 2024. Its specifications will be a tonnage of 175,500 and a double guest capacity of 4,300.

Headlining the vessel will be The Dome, taking inspiration from Santorini, Greece, for an indoor-outdoor pool experience by day, then switching to high-energy acrobatic shows by night. The Sea Breeze Rollglider lets guests soar like a bird 19 decks above the waves. And for magic lovers, the mysterious speakeasy-like Spellbound offers shows curated by Hollywood’s famed Magic Castle.

Utopia of the Seas – Royal Caribbean International

Rendering of The Pesky Parrot tiki bar, coming to Utopia of the SeasRendering of The Pesky Parrot tiki bar, coming to Utopia of the Seas — Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

Never to be outdone in the “largest cruise ship in the world” category, Royal Caribbean International will be taking delivery of two new vessels in 2024, which will again take the title of biggest cruise ship, as well as second biggest cruise ship, respectively.

As the sixth in the Oasis-class series, Utopia of the Seas will launch in July 2024 and hold 5,668 guests (double occupancy). The ship’s Caribbean-inspired Pesky Parrot bar along the Royal Promenade, plus a food truck around the pool, are new highlights.

Icon of the Seas – Royal Caribbean International

Rendering of the AquaTheater, part of the AquaDome neighborhood on Icon of the SeasRendering of the AquaTheater, part of the AquaDome neighborhood on Icon of the Seas — Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas will up the ante in January 2024 as the first in a new class of ships that will measure a staggering 250,800 tons. Compared to the Utopia, its double occupancy will be less at 5,610 guests, making for an improved passenger space ratio. However, at its maximum, the ship will be capable of accommodating 7,600 people.

Among standout aquatic attractions, travelers can enjoy a total of six waterslides, seven pools, and nine whirlpools, along with the splashy Surfside neighborhood, watery AquaDome’s AquaTheater, icy Absolute Zero arena, and much more.

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