AIDA Cruises’ 38,557gt/1996 built AIDAcara departed Hamburg on 17th October at the start of a 116-day cruise around the world, taking the ship to 41 ports in 23 countries on five continents, until 10th February 2018. Captain Lars Krüger had the honour of taking the ship out on AIDA’s very first world cruise itinerary, departing from the Steinwerder cruise terminal. The ship sailed via the Hafencity and the Elbphilharmonie prior to heading down the River Elbe. As she did so, a fireworks display was staged at Altona as the AIDAcara passed. On 8th October 2018 the 42,289gt/2003 built AIDAaura will undertake the operator’s second world cruise programme over a total of 117 days.

Azamara Club Cruises will offer its first ever round-trip sailing from Southampton on the new 30,277gt/2001 built Azamara Pursuit, formerly P&O’s Adonia, on 13th August 2018 when the ship departs for Reykjavik, Iceland, returning on 28th August. The Azamara Pursuit’s other itineraries, include 15 maiden calls and will add more than 61 destinations to the brand, an increase of 40%.

Celebrity Cruises announced on 17th October that the new Celebrity Edge will make her cruising debut in Europe in summer 2019, based at Civitavecchia and Barcelona. The inaugural sailing will take the ship from Southampton on 15th May 2019 on a 10 night cruise. As previously mentioned, the Celebrity Edge marks a turning point in Celebrity Cruises’ approach to ship design, with her revolutionary, outward-facing infrastructure (highlighted by signature features such as the Magic Carpet and the Edge Stateroom with an Infinity Veranda). The Infinity Veranda merges the boundaries between outside and inside to create one larger space and open-air access to the sea. In addition to Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Cruises will also have the Celebrity Infinity (Venice & Rome), Celebrity Constellation (Venice, Barcelona Civitavecchia), Celebrity Reflection (Dublin/Amsterdam) and Celebrity Silhouette (Southampton) based in Europe for the 2019 season.

Costa Cruises will, in a move to optimise fleet deployment, relocate the Costa Fortuna to sail in Europe in 2019 after a winter in Southeast Asia. The ship has been based in Shanghai, since 2016 but, with the arrival of the new vessel for Costa Asia specifically designed for Chinese and Asian guests (currently being built by Fincantieri) the ‘Fortuna will reinforce the Mediterranean operations ahead of the arrival of the Costa Smeralda at the end of 2019. The latter will then serve alongside the 102,669gt/2003 built Costa Fortuna and the recently redeployed 75,166gt/1996 built Costa Victoria. In May 2018 the 114,261gt/2007 built Costa Serena will deploy to South Korea for two week-long cruises as the ship has been chartered by Lotte Tour.

On 1st November Costa Cruises revealed the name of its next new Vista Class vessel as the Costa Venezia, which will be purpose-built for the Chinese market. The ship will debut in 2019 and her name was announced at the ship’s coin ceremony at the Monfalcone Fincantieri shipyard in Italy. The 135,500gt and 5,260 guest capacity Costa Venezia will enter service with an inaugural world cruise departing Trieste in Italy in March 2019 and sailing to Shanghai. A second Costa cruise ship for the Chinese trade will debut in 2020.

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