There are literally hundreds of new cruise ships on order to be built over the next five years, giving cruisers a wider choice than ever before.

Many of these new ships are to be marketed to the rapidly-growing Chinese market, such as the new ships by Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line. Others are by foreign operators such as Aida Cruises which caters solely to the German-speaking market. And some are sister ships to the vessels that we're already familiar with. So what we've done in this hot list, is picked out just the most exciting new ships. The ones we're really excited to sail on. And that you will be too.

MSC Meraviglia

June 2017

MSC Meraviglia is part of a new generation of cruise ships from Swiss-based company MSC cruises which has a focus on incredible new technology.

This brand new 'smart-ship' will have a host of features such as a 262ft LED dome, augmented reality mirrors and virtual reality experiences, thanks to their partnership with electronics giant Samsung. Guests will also be able to use Near Field Communication (NFC) technology on their cruise card, smart bracelet or phone to unlock their staterooms, pay for items or even locate their children.

Gone are the days of putting your phone in the safe at the beginning of your cruise and taking it out seven days later. On this ship, guests can use their smartphones to receive offers and information, and even change the channels on their televisions.

Sun-worshippers can enjoy three swimming pools, including the 82ft long main pool, which is inspired by Miami's South Beach and includes the largest poolside space at sea.

Entertainment on board will be second-to-none, with the popular Cirque du Soleil show featuring in the ship's Carousel Lounge twice each night. There will also be a huge theatre hosting a further six different shows with three performances per day. Children will never be short of something to do on-board, with a 5D cinema, two F1 simulators, bowling alley, arcade games, zipline and water park, as well as fantastic kids' clubs.

The ship will feature 12 dining venues including the main buffet, 24-hour cafe and dedicated restaurants serving sushi and steak. Guests can even enjoy dinner as they watch the Cirque du Soleil performance.

MSC Meraviglia sets sail in June 2017 and sailings are already filling up fast.

MSC Seaside

November 2017

A few months after the launch of MSC Meraviglia, we'll see another super-ship from MSC Cruises - MSC Seaside. Incorporating the smart technology features of her MSC Meraviglia, MSC Seaside also aims to get passengers 'closer to the outdoors' with more outdoor space for al fresco dining and outdoor fitness.

Following the sun to take advantage of the warmest of climates, MSC Seaside's focus will be on the enjoyment of the sunshine and water. With an interesting design akin to a beach-side hotel, the ship will have an increased number of balcony cabins and public areas offering sea views. The Promenade Deck will wrap around the ship, featuring two glass walkways  which extend over the edge of the ship to give the impression of walking on water. The Sun Deck will feature a third glass walkway, as well as the longest zip wire at sea.

The double-deck water park on this ship is second-to-none, with an interactive video-game slide as well as dual tubes extending over the sides of the ship which allow guests to race each other.

Unnamed Ship by Celebrity Cruises

Autumn 2018

Celebrity Cruises will build two ships under the name 'Project Edge'. The first as yet unnamed vessel will launch in late 2018, followed by an identical sister ship in 2020. This is a new class of ships for Celebrity, with the ships carrying 2,900 passengers each. This is a similar size to current Solstice Class ships such as Celebrity Eclipse and Celebrity Silhouette.

Celebrity Cruises say that the new class of ships will enable it to offer 'small ship itineraries with large ship amenities'. As the average size of cruise ships continues to grow, with Celebrity's 'cousin' Royal Caribbean producing ships which carry up to 5,400 passengers, it's interesting that Celebrity are not increasing the size of their ships, and instead focusing on making ports accessible.

Unnamed Ship by Virgin Cruises

Early 2020

There has been much anticipation of what the brand new Virgin Cruises ships will look like, ever since Richard Branson announced that has was starting a cruise line. The first ship is scheduled to be launched in 2020, followed by two sister ships.

Whilst we don't yet know much about these ships, they're believed to be aimed primarily at people in their 20s and 30s. So you can expect sleek modern designs, new technology, and some of Virgin's signature red colours in the decor.

Unnamed Ship by Carnival Cruise Line

2020

Carnival Cruise Line have recently ordered two mega ships, which will be the largest in their fleet with space for 5,200 passengers on each. They will be fully powered by Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) which is the world's cleanest burning fossil fuel. This is an industry first, and great for the environment, which supports the company's aggressive sustainability goals.

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