The next generation of cruise ships are on the horizon – packed with smart gadgetry, luxurious accommodation and extravagant entertainment options.

As seen across all industries, sustainability and artificial intelligence are two trends redefining the global cruise business. Industry-first hybrid and LNG-powered ships make their debut this year – as does the world’s first AI personal cruise assistant, Zoe.

The world’s growing desire to travel off the beaten path is also reflected in a number of new cruise itineraries this year, with decked-out expedition vessels taking travellers from America to Antarctica and everywhere in between.

What are you waiting for? Make 2019 the year of the cruise with one of these all-inclusive ocean voyages:

Spectrum of the Seas

Royal Caribbean’s first Quantum Ultra-class ship, Spectrum of the Seas will sail from Shanghai to provide experiences specially tailored to Chinese guests.

From high-flying VR thrills in the Sky Pad bungee trampoline and robot-crafted custom juice drinks at the Bionic Bar, to karaoke performances in the Ultimate Family Suite’s private 3D cinema – this ship has entertainment in spades.

Launching in June 2019, the 4,246-guest ship also features the cruise line’s first private enclave for suite guests – complete with a dedicated restaurant, solarium, members-only lounge and boutique shopping venue.

MSC Bellissima & MSC Grandiosa

MSC Cruises has unveiled a duo of impressive new ships this year. Launched in March, MSC Bellissima will spend her maiden season cruising the heavenly Mediterranean. Exciting new features include an 80-metre-long LED sky dome, Hola! Tapas Bar, brand-new shows from Cirque de Soleil at Sea, and the world’s first AI personal cruise assistant, Zoe.

Sailing in November with a capacity for 6,334 guests, MSC Grandiosa will be the largest ship in the MSC Cruises’ fleet and the first in the Meraviglia-Plus class. With a Mediterranean-style promenade serving as the social hub of the ship, guests will enjoy an array of shops and specialty restaurants – not to mention surprise performances including flash mobs and themed parties.

Sky Princess

Princess Cruises’ Sky Princess will debut this October. After a handful of one- and two-week-long Mediterranean voyages, the 3,660-pax Royal-class ship will spend the winter season sailing through the Eastern and Western Caribbean.

Onboard entertainment includes Movies Under the Stars, an 18-metre-long glass walkway, SeaWalk, cantilevered 40 metres above the waves and nine metres over the ship’s side, Discovery at SEA programs, an art gallery and a theatre – not to mention The Voice of the Ocean singing competition.

Sky Princess will also see the introduction of a new luxe suite category. Hosting up to five guests, each Sky Suite offers 270-degree views and a 92-square-metre continuous balcony – the largest at sea – perfect for relaxing or partying.

Scenic Eclipse

The world’s first six-star discovery yacht and Scenic’s first ocean cruise ship, Scenic Eclipse sets the standard in ocean cruising in terms of technology, safety, size and luxury.

The upscale 228-passenger expedition ship boasts a one-to-one staff-to-guest ratio, a 550-square-metre spa, multiple pools, 10 eateries and eight bars – not to mention each of its luxuriously appointed suites come with a balcony.

Guests can explore destinations with incredible perspective via a series of 7- to 21-night voyages to Antarctica, Cuba, the Mediterranean and beyond. Better yet, intimate excursions are offered via a fleet of Zodiacs, helicopters or a six-person submarine that can reach depths of nearly 200 metres.

Celebrity Flora

Island hop through the Galápagos archipelago in style on Celebrity Cruises’ newest year-round expedition ship, Celebrity Flora. Making its debut in May, the 100-passenger vessel is purpose-built for the destination and will be one of the most energy-efficient ships in its class.

Guests can spend their days snorkelling with sea turtles, exploring the islands on foot, swimming in the plunge pool onboard or relaxing in a private cabana. After an adventurous day, they can head to the top deck for Galápagos Glamping, the first sunset-to-sunrise experience of its kind in the islands.

Following a delicious dinner of campfire-themed delights and cocktails, guests can enjoy a naturalist-guided stargazing session under the constellations of both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, as they sail along the equator. Glampers will sleep under the stars in a double-bed cabana, waking up to the sunrise and a private gourmet breakfast before another day of exploration.

For more cruise news, we experience the unabashedly indulgent Crystal Symphony.