Review: 2022’s 8 New Cruise Ships

As the world eased out of a pandemic, cruising slowly returned to an almost-normal state in 2022. This resulted in the debut of several new cruise ships, which we had sailed a few months back.

In this article, we’ll give you mini-reviews of the 2022 cruise ships we had the opportunity to sail, including important details about each vessel.

1. Carnival Celebration

  • Who Sailed: Doug Parker
  • Itinerary: 14-night transatlantic from Southampton to Miami
  • Ship Class: Excel class
  • Size: 180,800 gross tons / 5,374 guests

What I liked

Even though it was built on the same platform as Mardi Gras, Carnival Celebration is a little more guest-friendly in terms of space and seating. The only significant change you may notice is the Gateway Zone, which replaced the French Quarter on Mardi Gras.

The dark New Orleans spooky theme was replaced with a bright, airy travel theme as well as throwbacks of Carnival’s storied past.

Having spent 22 nights onboard, my two favorite food options on Celebration are Deco Deli and Big Chicken, as well as for-fee specialty venues like Rudi’s Seagrill and Emeril’s Bistro.

What I disliked

Even though the added alcoves, booths, larger mid-main dining room, and extra seating in the Punchliner Comedy Club were welcomed, improvements are still needed.

One drawback is the long wait to watch a comedy show; it almost took an hour before the comedy show started.

Also, the thermal suite on sea days was also very busy, and you could hardly find a chair. The cruise line should consider selling fewer passes or making them exclusive to guests booked in Cloud 9 staterooms. 

Lastly, the Celebration Central Zone (atrium) has a lot of sightline issues for the shows.

More about Celebration: First Impressions of Carnival Celebration & Carnival Celebration Dining Guide: Which Restaurants Are Complimentary?

Aerial view of Carnival Celebration in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
Aerial view of Carnival Celebration in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands

2. Carnival Radiance

Even though this renovated and renamed ship technically debuted in late 2021, we include Carnival Radiance here since it’s still a newly-introduced vessel.

  • Who Sailed: Doug Parker
  • Itinerary: Four nights from Long Beach to Catalina Island and Ensenada
  • Ship Class: Sunshine class
  • Size: 102,000 gross tons / 2,764 guests

What I liked

This is almost a carbon copy of Carnival Sunrise and is perfect for shorter west coast sailings. I enjoyed the food in the main dining room. I also liked Shaq’s Big Chicken.

What I disliked

There are a couple of bottlenecks on the ship with a lot of congestion, with the two major ones being on the lido deck on the port and starboard side of the eateries.

The same can be said for the opposite side at Guy’s Burger Joint, although they have two lines.

More: 5 Carnival Radiance Tips: Know These Before You Cruise

Carnival Radiance's lido deck during sunset
Carnival Radiance’s lido deck during sunset

3. Celebrity Beyond

  • Who Sailed: Theresa Russell
  • Itinerary: Two nights from Southampton, UK, to nowhere
  • Ship Class: Edge class
  • Size: 140,600 gross tons / 3,260 guests

What I liked

Like other ships in the Edge class, Beyond takes this class to the next level. The absolute star of the vessel is found aft at the Sunset Bar, where you’ll see plenty of space for lounging, sunning, and live music in the evenings.

All these features are complemented by an upscale design evoking images of sunny destinations around the world.

Overall, this bar is a great place to find a connection to the sea and enjoy a sunset.

What I disliked

With improvements on each new ship in the Edge class, Celebrity raises the aesthetic and comfort of its ships.

No major issues are present. In my two-day experience aboard Beyond, my dislikes are more of a preference.

Craft Social was disappointed in its selection of porters and stouts. Seeing Budweiser and Miller Light on a flight made me shake my head. The space is nice, but the Martini Bar rules.

More about Beyond: Celebrity Beyond Trip Report: Day 1, More is More & MENU: Le Voyage Specialty Restaurant

Pool deck at Celebrity Beyond
The pool deck at Celebrity Beyond

4. Costa Toscana

  • Who Sailed: Doug Parker
  • Itinerary: Seven-night Western Mediterranean
  • Ship Class: Excel class
  • Size: 185,010 gross tons / 6,554 guests

What I liked

After figuring out the layout of the ship, I enjoyed Costa Toscana. I especially liked the Italian architecture in the center atrium — which was a play on the Colosseum in Rome — and the enclosed pool deck. The pizza onboard was spot on and maybe some of the best at sea, even though it cost five euro.

What I disliked

This is my fault because I didn’t do enough research before sailing, but there were limited food venues included in the cost of the cruise.

There was no dinner service at the buffet, so you had to dine in the main dining room or eat in a paid specialty venue. We did the steakhouse and the pizza place more often than I admit.

More about Toscana: Trip Report, Part 1: The Same, But Different & 9 Things To Know About Costa Toscana

Costa Toscana's enclosed pool; 2022 cruise ships
Costa Toscana’s enclosed pool

5. Discovery Princess

  • Who Sailed: Doug Parker
  • Itinerary: Four nights from LA to Ensenada
  • Ship Class: Royal class
  • Size: 145,000 gross tons / 3,660 guests

What I liked

There is much to like about the Royal class ships, including the play on technology with the Ocean Medallion integrated throughout the cruise experience.

Dining at Alfredo’s Pizzeria is always a great experience when returning to the ship after a long day in port because of the complimentary dining, including pizzas, salads, and calzones.

Discovery Ship was never crowded while sailing, and the central atrium spanning three decks was perfect for participants and people-watchers alike.

What I disliked

Many guests were frustrated at having to wear the Ocean Medallion for everything they did. People often traded their medallions for keycards at the front desk.

Aerial view of Discovery Princess in Los Angeles
Exterior view of Discovery Princess in Los Angeles (Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises)

6. Norwegian Prima

  • Who Sailed: Richard Simms
  • Itinerary: Four nights from New York City to Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Ship Class: Prima class
  • Size: 142,500 gross tons / 3,215 guests

What I liked

Everything in Norwegian Prima was elevated, from the decor of the staterooms to the stunning Mandara Spa.

What’s more, Deck 8’s wraparound promenade, Ocean Boulevard, featured bars, restaurants, pools (more like hot tubs), and a vast array of seating areas, making it a fantastic place to relax, especially on a sea day.

Indulge Food Hall — think a high-end food court — is also an incredible (and primarily fee-free) addition to the food options.

It was also lovely to see NCL downsize from the previous Breakaway and Breakaway-Plus class.

What I disliked

Although Indulge Food Hall offers a wide variety of options, it doesn’t have nearly enough seating, especially during prime lunch and dinner hours.

More about Prima: Everything You Need to Know About Indulge Food Hall & 5 New Hot Spots to Grab a Drink on Norwegian Prima & Best and Worst of Norwegian Prima: Is This New Ship Right For You?

Exterior view of Norwegian Prima
Exterior view of Norwegian Prima

7. MSC Seascape

  • Who Sailed: Sarah Bretz
  • Itinerary: Media event in NYC (not a cruise)
  • Ship Class: Seaside EVO class
  • Size: 170,400 gross tons / 5,877 guests

What I liked

The latest iteration of the evolution of MSC’s Seaside class is a solid addition to the line’s fleet.

As is the case with every Seaside class ship, the family-friendly Jungle Pool is a slam-dunk, in my opinion, and the kids’ club located just off this area was a great design choice.

The feature that makes Seascape stand out — the top-deck ROBOTRON attraction — is a fun addition that any ride-lover should try. I also appreciate the grouping of the ship’s specialty restaurants.

The smart elevators are also a nice improvement that helps alleviate frustration due to long waits.

What I disliked

The ship’s layout will take more time to get used to, especially for those who are relatively new to cruising or who are used to other lines.

I often had to double back or go up or down a deck to get to another part of my deck. However, I was only on the ship for two days, so I’m sure halfway through a weeklong cruise.

The dining options are also a little lacking — if I were taking a regular, full-length voyage on this ship and only eating what’s included, I may get a bit bored with the available venues.

Additionally, the buffet is massive, with a wide variety of food.

More: My 7 First Impressions of MSC Seascape

Interior view of Jungle Pool at MSC Seascape
Interior view of Jungle Pool at MSC Seascape

8. Wonder of the Seas

  • Who Sailed: Theresa Russell
  • Itinerary: Seven nights from Fort Lauderdale to the Caribbean
  • Ship Class: Oasis class
  • Size: 236,857 gross tons / 5,734 guests

What I liked

Royal Caribbean’s largest ship to date features familiar favorites on its sister Oasis-class ships.

The Wonder of the Seas has added an 8th neighborhood and another specialty restaurant and bar.

The Mason Jar Southern Restaurant and Bar brings homestyle cooking onboard with plenty of selections of comfort foods.

Even better is the carefully curated bar offerings to complement this new venue, which features live country music in the evenings.

What I disliked

Staterooms and corridors on Deck 6 behind Playmakers Sports Bar take on the odors from the kitchen. During cooking hours, the essence of fried chicken wafts through the area.

The newest private suite neighborhood includes a sun deck that overlooks the sports deck area.

At least one suite has a balcony overlooking a sports court rather than the sea.

More about Wonder: Overview of Wonder of the Seas & My Dining Experience on Wonder of the Seas & DINNER MENU: The Mason Jar Southern Restaurant

The Boardwalk on Wonder of the Seas
The Boardwalk on Wonder of the Seas (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

This 2022 cruise ships roundup was written by Doug Parker, Theresa Russell, Richard Simms, and Sarah Bretz

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our thoughts on 8 new cruise ships we sailed in 2022

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