SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH OUR LATEST VIDEO OF THE TOP CRUISE SHIPS OF 2020!
Can you believe that 2020 is right around the corner? If you are like us, then you are probably already planning (and have booked) some cruises for the upcoming year. To help with all the important cruise decisions, we have our list of the top cruise ships to sail on in 2020.
These vessels are the newest and hottest ships that recently debuted or are set to debut in the coming year. If you are planning a cruise in 2020, you should definitely consider booking a trip on one of these cruise ships in the new year. There are several options for all types of travelers. Don’t be surprised if you catch the two of us on many of these innovative ships over the course of the year. Just make sure to say hi!
15 Top Cruise Ships to Sail on in 2020
Norwegian Encore debuts this month, and we will be among the first passengers onboard this final ship in the Breakaway-Plus class! With some of the most innovative attractions on a cruise ship, like the longest race track at sea, a virtually-enhanced laser tag course, and immersive virtual reality rides in the Galaxy Pavilion, Norwegian Encore will be a great cruise option for the whole family in 2020.
The ship will feature many Norwegian Cruise Line favorites like Freestyle Dining, the Waterfront, 678 Ocean Place, Cagney’s Steakhouse, the Sugarcane Mojito Bar, the Cavern Club, and more. Norwegian Encore will also feature some brand new entertainment and dining options. The Tony Award-winning musical Kinky Boots, with original music from Cyndi Lauper, will debut on the ship, in addition to the wildly popular Choir of Man and Happy Hour Prohibition – The Musical.
Cruisers can enjoy familiar dining favorites like Teppanyaki and Le Bistro, as well as Q Texas Smokehouse which debuted on Norwegian Bliss. A new addition to the restaurant line-up is the Italian venue Onda by Scarpetta. This restaurant will offer homemade pasta, signature seafood dishes, and a new take on Italian cuisine. We can’t wait to test out this venue.
When she debuts, Norwegian Encore will sail 7-day cruises to the Eastern Caribbean visiting San Juan, Puerto Rico; Tortola, BVI; and St. Thomas. This itinerary offers cruisers the opportunity to explore historic forts, beautiful beaches, and natural wonders all on the same trip. Norwegian Encore will sail from NCL’s brand new terminal in Miami, Florida.
Related Posts: 5 Things to Love About Norwegian Encore
Continuing the trend of bigger and better ships, Carnival Cruise Line will launch Carnival Panorama next month. This third vessel in the Vista-class of ships will be the largest ship to homeport in Long Beach, California when she debuts. The ship will sail a 7-day itinerary visiting Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, and Mazatlan.
This innovative vessel will offer plenty for families and couples alike to enjoy. The outdoor decks will include a ropes course, the WaterWorks park with waterslides and an expanded splash zone, and the one of a kind Sky Ride where you can challenge your friends to a suspended bike ride high above the Pacific Ocean. Carnival Panorama is also home to an IMAX theater showing first-run movies and a first of its kind trampoline park at sea. The Sky Zone will be a for-fee activity open to adventure seekers of all ages.
Carnival Panorama will include a wide selection of culinary options as well. The ship will feature the popular Guy’s Pig and Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse | Brewhouse, the line’s signature steakhouse, Bonsai Teppanyaki, and the Seafood Shack, among others. There will be plenty of complimentary options like Guy’s Burger Joint and BlueIguana Cantina, as well as several bars to make good use of your Cheers drink package.
While the ship is designed for families, those seeking an escape from the little ones can head to the Serenity adults-only area. Or, you might want to consider booking a Havana stateroom to have access to your own exclusive pool area and amenities. We plan to check out all these areas and more during our Mexican Riviera cruise in January 2020.
Virgin Voyages is set to debut its first ship, Scarlet Lady, in April 2020! And, we are booked on the inaugural sailing! Scarlet Lady is breaking the cruise mold and restricting the age of its “sailors” to 18+. Virgin Voyages is hoping that this kids-free atmosphere will draw a more sophisticated crowd. They are especially looking to appeal to those who might not ordinarily consider a cruise for their next vacation.
Scarlet Lady is also set to revolutionize the whole dining experience on a cruise ship. There will be 20+ dining options on the ship that will all be included in your cruise fare. From casual options to upscale dining experiences, there will be no up-charges to dine at any of the restaurants. You will also have the ultimate flexibility in where you want to dine, with whom you want to dine, and at what time you want to dine.
All cruise fares will include basic beverages like soda, bottled water, coffee, and tea. Cruise fares will also include all gratuities. Virgin Voyages will also not charge additional fees for other cruise add-ons like fitness classes or WiFi. Now, you can share all the highlights of your voyage on social media at no additional charge!
Scarlet Lady currently offers 4, 5, and 7 night itineraries visiting locations such as Dominican Republic, Mexico, Key West, and San Juan. However, the most anticipated destination is the Beach Club at Bimini. This private paradise will overlook the ocean and offer an expansive lagoon-style pool. The club’s vibe will transform throughout the day with yoga and meditation spots in the morning to a high energy DJ-led pool party during the day and a beach bonfire to end the evening.
Related Posts: Top Things to Know About Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady
The latest ship in Princess Cruises’ Royal-class is the Sky Princess sailing from Ft. Lauderdale beginning in December. In 2020, this ship will sail a season in the Caribbean, Europe, and Canada/New England with various itineraries. This ship will feature several new elements that are not found on her older sisters. Among the new innovations is the Sky Suite. Offering 270-degree panoramic views and the line’s largest balcony at sea, these luxurious accommodations will get you closer to the ocean than ever before.
The ship will also feature several exclusive Princess Cruises dining experiences. Among the fan favorites are the crafted dishes by Curtis Stone found on select evenings in the main dining room. Dessert lovers will crave the sweet concoctions from renowned chocolatier Norman Love as part of the Chocolate Journeys, or perhaps the cookies at Movies Under the Seas. Additional specialty dining options will also be onboard, including the Crown Grill, rated as the best steakhouse at sea.
While Sky Princess might not have all the bells and whistles of new ships from other cruise lines, there is still plenty of activities to keep you entertained. You can relax at one of several outdoor pools, including an infinity pool on Deck 16, or in the adult only Sanctuary. You can enjoy comedy and other live performances in Princess Live!, listen to some jazz tunes in the new Take Five bar, and enjoy original nighttime productions exclusive to the ship. The line’s signature Movies Under the Stars and The Voice of the Ocean means you have a front row seat to some of the best entertainment at sea.
Oasis of the Seas
When Oasis of the Seas debuted in 2009, the ship revolutionized cruising. As the largest cruise ship in the world, Oasis of the Seas ushered in a variety of new attractions, experiences, and firsts at sea. Now, Royal Caribbean is looking to re-imagine this namesake vessel to make it unlike any ship in the fleet once again. Following refurbishment, Oasis of the Seas will sail from Miami beginning this month and from New York as of May 2020.
Perhaps some of the biggest changes coming to Oasis of the Seas will be the outdoor areas. As many suspected, the ship will be receiving the 10 story Ultimate Abyss. Oasis of the Seas will also be getting the trio of waterslides known as the Perfect Storm. The ship will feature a brand new Caribbean-inspired pool deck, including comfy casitas, daybeds, hammocks, and swing seats. While the spiced up pool area is sure to be popular, the main attraction will be The Lime & Coconut. This two-story, signature bar will be one of the liveliest spots onboard the ship.
The dining on Oasis of the Seas will also be upgraded to include the complimentary El Loco Fresh Mexican restaurant, Playmakers Sports Bar and Arcade, and a brand-new restaurant, the Portside BBQ. This up-charge restaurant will feature authentic barbecue favorites, such as pulled pork, chicken, and beef ribs. Don’t forget the home-style sides including cornbread and mac & cheese.
In terms of entertainment, Oasis of the Seas will receive popular venues from other ships like the Bionic Bar and Music Hall, as well as a spruced up karaoke bar, a brand new laser tag game, and a newly themed Puzzle Break escape room.
Related Posts: All the Changes Coming to Oasis of the Seas
While MSC Meraviglia actually debuted in 2017, the ship just recently arrived stateside. This ship will be sailing the winter season from Miami, Florida. This 7-night itinerary will visit the cruise line’s brand new private island in the Bahamas, Ocean Cay, in addition to other Western Caribbean ports of call.
With some of the most deck space on any modern ship, MSC Meraviglia has a lounge chair with your name on it. Not to mention, there are also four pools, four waterslides, and an aqua park to help you stay cool as you soak up the rays.
For those looking for some thrills, the ships offers plenty of onboard excitement too. These include an F1 racing simulator, a full size bowling alley, a 4D cinema, and virtual reality games. No matter how you choose to spend your days on MSC Meraviglia, you will also want to find some time to stroll the massive two-deck indoor promenade, complete with the largest LED dome with interactive displays.
The ship offers the traditional Mediterranean-influenced cuisine you would expect from the brand at the complimentary venues, along with signature specialty restaurants. You can carve into one of the choice cuts of beef at the steakhouse Butcher’s Cut, savor some of the “Best Sushi at Sea” at Kaito Teppanyaki and Sushi Bar, indulge in seafood at Ocean Cay Restaurant, and more.
MSC Meraviglia also offers several entertainment options, including six signature shows that were designed for the ship’s main theater. In addition to the nightly entertainment, the ship features two productions of Cirque du Soleil. These two shows, Sonor and Viaggio, have been designed exclusively for the ship, each with its own story line, costumes, and atmosphere.
We experienced our first Viking Ocean cruise this year and loved it. If you are looking for a luxury cruise experience in 2020, look no further than Viking Cruises. With 6 ocean cruise ships now in the fleet, Viking Cruises offers a variety of itineraries exploring various corners of the globe. Whether you want to explore the Baltic, the Mediterranean, the British Isles, or beyond, you can do so in style with this cruise line. Debuting in 2019, Viking Jupiter is the newest ship in the fleet; however, all ships are mostly identical.
Viking Cruises offers destination-focused itineraries to compliment the unparalleled service and inclusive nature of the cruise line. These small 930-passenger vessels boast state of the art technology and all veranda staterooms. On a Viking Ocean cruise, you will enjoy a free tour in each port of call, WiFi, no up-charges for specialty dining, complimentary room service, included beer, wine, and soft drinks at meals, specialty coffees and bottled water, access to the thermal suite, and more without any nickel and diming.
Although the ships are smaller in size, Viking Cruises offers several dining options and some of the best food at sea. If you are looking for a casual atmosphere, the World Cafe offers buffet-style meals including a sushi bar with indoor seating or al fresco seating at the Aquavit Terrace. Guests can also enjoy Mamsen’s, a gourmet Scandinavian deli, and afternoon tea in the Wintergarden. For a more gourmet meal, Viking Jupiter has a main dining room, Manfredi’s Italian restaurant, and Chef’s Table. The best part is that all of these restaurants are included in your cruise fare.
While you are not enjoying your ports of call, you can relax in the thermal suite complete with a sauna, cold plunge, therapy pool, and snow grotto. Or, you might choose to enjoy a performance in the theater, dance the night away in Torshavn, or admire the views from the infinity pool.
Freedom of the Seas
Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas will also be receiving a multi-million dollar renovation in 2020. When the amplified ship emerges from dry dock in March 2020, it will be sailing highly desirable Southern Caribbean itineraries from Puerto Rico. We are already booked! Are you?
Freedom of the Seas will receive the Perfect Storm duo of waterslides and a Caribbean-inspired poolscape complete with casitas, daybeds, and hammocks. Other additions include the Lime and the Coconut Bar, a Splashaway Bay aqua park for the kids, and a spruced up adults only Solarium.
For dining, this ship will also receive a Playmakers Sports Bar, a poolside El Loco Fresh with a full service bar, and the popular Izumi Hibachi and Sushi. For a new take on Italian dining, Freedom of the Seas will debut Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen complete with an in-house pizza oven. Cruisers are sure to love this re-imagined fan favorite.
Freedom of the Seas will add a glow in the dark laser tag, Clash of the Titans, to its entertainment line-up, along with already popular activities like the Flowrider. Teen spaces and the kids’ area Adventure Ocean will also be completely redesigned. With more interactive experiences, the latest in movies and gaming, and a private outdoor deck for teens, kids of all ages will love cruising on the revitalized Freedom of the Seas.
Celebrity Apex, the sister ship to Celebrity Edge, will debut in the spring of 2020 sailing its inaugural season in the Mediterranean from Southampton. The ship will then reposition to Ft. Lauderdale beginning in November of 2020 visiting various ports of call in the Eastern and Western Caribbean.
Like her older sister, Celebrity Apex will be home to many of the same dining, entertainment, and onboard experiences. Some of the boldest features will be the Magic Carpet and the dynamic venue of Eden.
The Magic Carpet is a cantilevered, floating platform that serves multiple purposes, including an al fresco dining experience, a state of the art tender station, and one of the coolest sun deck bars at sea. Eden is a transformative venue featuring relaxation with floor to ceiling views by day and unique theatrical performances by night. Also, the Eden Restaurant hosts some of the most experiential dining at sea.
Continuing the evolution of dining on a cruise ship, Celebrity Apex will also feature four different main dining rooms, each with its own theme, decor, and specialty menu items. The popular specialty restaurants found on Celebrity Edge can also be found on Celebrity Apex, including Fine Cut Steakhouse, the Rooftop Garden Grill, and more.
Cruisers on Celebrity Apex will also love the outdoor tranquil vibes of the Rooftop Garden, the glamorous resort feel of the pool deck, the unique theater design and first rate shows, and the technology-enhanced staterooms.
Related Posts: Celebrity Edge Cruise Review
Enchanted Princess will be the fifth Royal-class ship when she debuts in 2020. Enchanted Princess will sail a season of Mediterranean cruises followed by Caribbean itineraries beginning in November. The ship will share all of the spectacular style and luxury of its predecessors, while also introducing some new attractions of her own.
Boasting the most pools and whirlpools ever, Enchanted Princess will feature two pools with sunken communal seating. In addition, the ship will also feature the Wakeview infinity pool and bar where you can score some amazing aft views.
Like Sky Princess, cruisers can enjoy comedy and other live performances in Princess Live!, relive the Jazz era in the only jazz theater at sea, and enjoy original nighttime productions exclusive to the ship. The line’s signature Movies Under the Stars and the Piazza with street performers will also be featured on Enchanted Princess to keep you entertained day or night. You will also never go hungry as all your familiar favorites will also be included on the ship like the Crown Grill Steakhouse and Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria.
Enchanted Princess will also be added to the line-up of MedallionClass ships. With your OceanMedallion, you can enjoy a more customized cruise experience. This starts with the embarkation process, to automatically opening your stateroom door as you approach, and even more digital experiences.
Carnival Mardi Gras
Two Carnival Cruise Line trips in one year is a record for us! In August 2020, Carnival Mardi Gras is set to debut as the largest ship in the Carnival fleet. While paying homage to the original TSS Mardi Gras, this new version will feature many firsts for the cruise line. With the new “zones” concept, cruisers can enjoy a variety of themed dining and entertainment in these six unique areas.
The French Quarter will be among the zones on Carnival Mardi Gras and will feature a brand new partnership with Emeril Lagasse. With inspiration from New Orleans, the French Quarter will be lined with bars and restaurants including Emeril’s Bistro 1396. The other zones include Grand Central (think Atrium), Summer Landing featuring Guy’s Pig and Anchor Smokehouse | Brewhouse, La Piazza debuting a new Meditteranean spot specializing in seafood, Lido, and the Ultimate Playground.
Speaking of the Ultimate Playground, Carnival Mardi Gras will debut the first rollercoaster at sea. Yes, you read that correctly! Bolt is an all-electric thrill ride that puts you in control of speed as you zip around this open-air course high above sea level. This zone will also feature the largest WaterWorks, a full mini-golf course, a ropes course, and more.
Carnival Mardi Gras also plans to take its restaurants, bars, entertainment, and staterooms to the next level. The ship will have the first RedFrog Tiki Bar, a two-story poolside watering hole. Family Feud Live will also debut on Mardi Gras hosting a live addition of the popular game show. In partnership with Shaq, there will also be a complimentary chicken shack, Big Chicken, that will serve tasty treats for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as the cruise line’s take on food trucks and all the specialty restaurants that fans know and love.
MSC Cruises’ newest mega-ship launches in Fall of 2020. This ship is set to carry more than 6,000 passengers. Debuting less than a year behind sister ship Grandiosa, Virtuosa will truly embody its namesake with every deck named after a musical instrument. It will also feature two brand new Cirque du Soliel shows.
For a little daytime fun, cruisers of all ages can enjoy the Polar Aquapark- one of the largest waterparks at sea, the sportplex, F1 racing simulators, or some relaxation on one of the most spacious pool decks at sea. When the sun goes down, cruisers can enjoy game shows, comedy shows, karaoke, and live music at the TV Studio and Bar. Or perhaps, you would prefer to dance the night away in the Attic, the ship’s nightclub.
When MSC Virtuosa launches, it will be one of the most technologically enhanced ships sailing the Mediterranean. With the MSC for Me app and the virtual assistant Zoe, your cruise vacation will be seamless and effortless. You can use the app to stay connected with friends and family onboard for no additional charge, have access to interactive maps, make reservations, get answers to all your questions without waiting in line at guest services, and more.
Odyssey of the Seas
Odyssey of the Seas will be Royal Caribbean’s second Quantum Ultra-class ship and is set to launch in the Fall of 2020. While not much is known about this ship yet, we do know that the ship will sail from the United States. We can also anticipate that Odyssey of the Seas will have many of the same features as its older sister Spectrum of the Seas which is currently sailing in Asia. Bookings are not available for this ship yet, but we are certainly keep our eye on it!
National Geographic Endurance
Lindblad Expeditions will debut the National Geographic Endurance, a new polar vessel, in the first quarter of 2020. This new ship is designed to navigate polar passages year-round while providing a level of comfort and sophistication to its guests. The National Geographic Endurance will feature 69 outward facing cabins allowing all guests to enjoy the surroundings every moment of the cruise.
These expedition vessels come equipped with zodiacs, kayaks, snowshoes, and more for guests to get up close and personal with the unique landscapes and destinations. While not exploring the uncharted locales, you can relax in the onboard lounge with bar, infinity-style hot tubs, or the spa. You can also get some exercise at the fitness center or dine on local cuisine at one of two restaurants on the ship.
Endurance will visit remote destinations like Antarctica, Iceland, Greenland, the Norwegian fjords, Patagonia, and more. Each trip includes a team of experts from naturalists to regional specialists who will provide knowledge on the local history, wildlife, and landscapes. There will also be daily ashore activities like walking tours, visits to historic sites, zodiac adventures, and more. Which exotic trip is on the top of your bucket list?
American Queen Steamboat Company will debut the American Countess, the fourth cruise ship in the fleet, in 2020. This new authentic paddlewheeler will launch on the Mississippi River and will accommodate 245 passengers. With comfortably appointed staterooms, an onboard theater, and award-winning cuisine, it’s easy to traverse the US rivers with style and old-time charm.
American Queen Steamboat Company features guest historians, nightly entertainment, and fine dining that showcases culinary influences of America’s heartland. American Countess also features complimentary room service, a fitness center, and a sun deck to satisfy all your needs 24/7.
If you want to discover America from a whole new perspective, 2020 should be the year that you step onboard a classic paddlewheeler. American Countess offers a variety of sailings from 6 to 15 days with various “themes” like Antebellum South, Ohio River Sojourn, or Mark Twain’s Mississippi. These trips offer included and premium shore excursions that allow you to explore the ports of call and immerse yourself in Americana.
Do you agree with our list of the top cruise ships to sail on in 2020? Which of these ships are you most excited to try? Drop us an anchor below to share your 2020 travel plans.