New cruise ships around the world: The top 10 new ships for 2017

KONINGSDAM 

The first ship from Holland America Line in years, launched in April 2016, sets a new benchmark for the company in luxury levels, technology, dining and entertainment, and sets out to appeal to a wide range of passengers. Koningsdam has adroitly taken the best from other HAL ships and made them bigger and better, particularly with its specialty restaurants, adults-only spa area and excellent service. Thumbs up to solo and family cabins too. See hollandamerica.com

CARNIVAL VISTA 

This new 3954-passenger action-packed cruise ship launched last May, aiming at family fun and something of a new look for Carnival. It packs in several extraordinary new attractions including a 138-metre water slide, the first IMAX theatre at sea and SkyRide, a monorail-suspended pod that you can pedal high above the deck. It has abundant restaurant and high-energy entertainment choices and family-oriented cabins, kids' clubs and sports, including a suspended ropes course. See carnival.com.au

See also: Carnival Vista Mediterranean cruise ship review: Breathless on the Med​

HARMONY OF THE SEAS

The latest mega-ship from Royal Caribbean also floated out in May and impresses with 18 decks, seven "neighbourhoods" and space for 6410 guests and 2300 crew. It's the world's largest cruise ship – sometimes you forget you're on a ship at all – and perfect for families looking for a resort-like shipboard experience. Get climbing on the rock wall, plunge down the 10-storey Ultimate Abyss slide and check out the spectacular entertainments. See royalcaribbean.com.au

See also: Life aboard the world's biggest cruise ship

CRYSTAL MOZART

Ocean-going Crystal Cruises branched into river cruising for the first time last July with this ship on the Danube River, and four more (all named for composers) are gracing European rivers this year. The largest river-cruise vessel in Europe carries 158 passengers and has a pop-up bar and outdoor cinema on its deck, rooftop garden, several restaurant choices and butler service. Impressive suites feature king-size beds, marble bathrooms and Nespresso machines. See crystalcruises.com

SEVEN SEAS EXPLORER

In July 2016 Regent Seven Seas Cruises' most opulent ship made its maiden voyage from Monte Carlo. Carrying just 750 passengers, it has one of the highest space ratios of any cruise ship, all-balcony suites and an opulent spa. Few ships look this beautiful, and the chandelier and marble-encrusted decor is matched by attentive service and impressive (and complimentary) fine dining in several specialty restaurants; the steakhouse is fabulous. See rssc.com

See also: Is Regent's Seven Seas Explorer the world's most luxurious cruise ship?

SCENIC AURA

New on the Irrawaddy River from September 2016, this river-cruise ship sets a new style on the Irrawaddy River. It hosts just 44 guests, all in suites with a separate lounge and a balcony; its largest Panorama Suite even features a walk-in dressing room and Jacuzzi. Every cabin has a butler on call. The ship has a choice of dining venues, lounge-bar and sun deck with pool area and open-air cinema. See scenic.com.au

SEABOURN ENCORE

Seabourn's latest and largest cruise ship, carrying 600 passengers, started operating in January and has already visited Australia; it will be back in December for another season. It continues to position the company as sophisticated and luxurious without being snobbish. The decor recalls luxury hotels and the food is wonderful, especially in the sushi restaurant and the grill. The spa has both treatments and classes, and wellness is a focus of voyages. See seabourn.com

See also: Cruise ship review: Lapping up luxury in oceans heaven​

VIKING SKY 

Splashing down the slipway this February, Viking Sky didn't spring any surprises, sensibly mirroring Viking Ocean Cruises' two existing, highly successful 930-passenger ships. It features understated, elegant Scandinavian decor, a Nordic spa with snow grotto, two swimming pools and a choice of several all-inclusive dining venues. Cruises emphasise culture and lingering port stays. Another ship, Viking Sun, arrives in November to spend its maiden season sailing Viking's first world cruise. See vikingcruises.com.au

See also: Six of the best: Small cruise ships

JOIE DE VIVRE 

The newest river-ship in Europe will be christened at the end of March and sail on the Seine River. It's slightly shorter than standard river-cruise ships, allowing it to dock in the centre of Paris. The 128-passenger vessel has all the expected Uniworld luxuries, including handmade beds, luxe linens and marble-lined en suites in cabins, as well as antiques and artworks in public spaces. French cuisine and wines will be highlighted in the restaurant. See uniworld.com/au

SILVER MUSE 

Silversea's most luxurious ship will be unveiled in Monaco in mid-April for an inaugural season in the Mediterranean. It promises ultra-luxury cruising, including a wellness retreat, personalised service and upmarket enrichment programs. The 596-passenger vessel will have all-suite accommodation with butler service, as well as eight dining venues – more than any other luxury ship afloat – ranging from the Relais & Châteaux restaurant La Dame to an informal Italian poolside restaurant with pizza oven. See silversea.com

Brian Johnston has travelled as a guest of several cruise lines. 

See also: 25 insider tips about cruise ships

See also: 20 amazing new ships set to change the world

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