Should I book an inaugural cruise on a brand-new ship?

3.82K viewsPre-Cruise Booking

With so many new cruise ships being built, I think it would be great to sail on the first voyage.

This question was answered on our Cruise IQ show on December 29, 2017.
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While it might be tempting to book a brand-new ship on its inaugural voyage, there are some points you need to consider. Booking the first cruise on a ship straight from the shipyard can inherently have some drawbacks. For instance, while thankfully not very common, if there are delays in the construction of the ship, your intended departure may be delayed or cancelled altogether. Even more likely and quite often the case, new cruise ships leave the shipyard with varying amounts of work still to be completed. This work is usually done while the ship is sailing on its inaugural voyage and sometimes even into its first several cruises. It is also quite common that not all services and features will be operational. This is especially true if any specific safety or health inspections are required. The first cruises on any new ship are known as “shake-down” cruises because they need actual guests to assist them in finding any problems. Until hundreds of toilets get flushed, elevators get packed full of guests and just about every system onboard gets tested in a true cruise environment, there is no way to know what is working properly. It also important to note that the same caveats hold true for older ships returning from major dry docks. Like new ships, there can be unforeseen delays or issues with any modifications that were made while the ship was out of service. Before booking that cruise or more truthfully being the guinea pig, ask yourself, aside from having bragging rights, what else will this cruise give you that you can’t get after the ship has sailed for a while.