Four cruise lines, five new ships to discover - we explore some of the features and itineraries to consider for your group’s future cruise holidays. 

P&O Cruises Iona

The cruise line hosted a record-breaking virtual ceremony for its newest ship with a ‘virtual’ audience of 25,000 guests. What is said to be Britain’s largest and most environmentally-friendly cruise ship, P&O CruisesIona, was officially named at the event in May by Dame Irene Hays, chair of Hays Travel. 

With a capacity of 5,200 (with 2,614 cabins), the ship is powered by liquefied natural gas, said to be ground-breaking for the UK cruise industry and one of the cleanest fuels in the world. 

Iona has 30 bars and restaurants with speciality dining options including tapas from award-winning Spanish chef José Pizarro paired with wines selected by Olly Smith and a new Chef’s Table menu from Marco Pierre White. Entertainment venues include the first SkyDome, described as an extraordinary glass structure which will be a relaxed poolside environment by day and then transform at night into a venue with DJs, stage and aerial acrobatic shows.

There will also be the first gin still on a cruise ship, created in association with Salcombe Gin, distilling tailor made spirit on board. The gin’s maiden production will take place in Iona’s custom-made still named Columba and will be distilled, bottled and labelled on board.

Viking Cruises Venus

Officially named by broadcast journalist Anne Diamond in a ceremony in May, Viking’s newest ocean ship, Viking Venus, joins the cruise line’s fleet of identical sister ships.

Viking Cruises' new Venus cruise ship in Portsmouth

Viking Venus departed Portsmouth in May for its first three sailings of England’s shores. 

The ‘small ships’ each have 465 all-veranda staterooms that accommodate 930 guests and are described as featuring ’clean, minimalist Scandinavian design with air public spaces filled with natural light and abundant al fresco options’. 

As part of the onboard programme, there’s a Viking resident historian who can provide guests with lectures and discussions on the arts, architecture, music and culture of upcoming ports and various aspects of world history.

Its 2022 itineraries include a 15-day Viking Homelands holiday which begins in Stockholm and tours scenic fjords, towns and cities before finishing in Bergen, Norway. 

Riviera Travel’s World Voyager

The company’s new ocean ship will offer three itineraries for up to 190 guests next year; France, Spain and Portugal; the British Isles; and Morocco, Madeira & the Canary Islands. 

  • The France, Spain and Portugal sailing will include stops at Guernsey, Belle Île and Spain’s Basque Country, as well as the harbour-side cities of Portugal. Excursions will feature a private wine tasting tour of ‘Route des Châteaux’ and cultural tours of San Sebastián, Santander, Porto and Lisbon. 
  • The British Isles cruise will set sail from Portsmouth and head for Scotland and Ireland. Bringing together lesser-visited parts of our shores and port towns, stops will include Aberdeen, Inverness, the Orkney archipelago and Isle of Lewis & Harris. The ship will also call at Belfast and Dublin, before a final stop in the Isles of Scilly.
  • The Morocco, Madeira and Canary Islands cruise will feature tours of all three destinations, including excursions set away from the main tourist destinations, so guests can explore more of the local regions. 

Riviera Travel's new World Voyager ship

World Voyager will offer three itineraries next year for up to 190 passengers. 

The vessel comprises 100 cabins, all with balconies or sea-view windows, as well as an on-board fitness suite, sauna, spa and pool terrace. More than 100 crew will be on board and all meals, excursions and flights are included. 

Fred. Olsen’s Bolette and Borealis 

The cruise line introduced its new ships to the fleet this year and has now unveiled 16 new sailings on board the vessels which depart in early 2022. They include a 15-night Mediterranean discovery as well as sailings closer to home with a five-night scenic Ireland cruise and a two-night ‘no port’ short break. Also included are scenic sailings to the Norwegian fjords, the chance to see the Northern Lights as well as voyages to the Canary Islands and Iceland. 

Fred. Olsen's new ship Borealis

The new ships (Borealis pictured) offer scenic Norwegian fjord itineraries. 

Clare Ward, director of product and customer service at the cruise line said the sailings were a “great opportunity for us to showcase our new ships” adding: 

“Now, more than ever, people are dreaming of their holidays and yearning to get their travels booked in for 2022, and we have been working closely with our destination partners and the UK government when it comes to our future itineraries.

“Our journey planners have worked exceptionally hard in curating these new sailings, placing as much focus on the joy of the journey as the destinations themselves.”

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is also offering ‘risk-free deposits’ on all new bookings for 2021, 2022 and 2023 as part of its Plain Sailing Guarantee so that guests can move their deposit to any other cruise within 12 months of their original sailing, so long as it’s before the final balance has been paid.