The excitement surrounding the maiden voyage of a brand new cruise ship is always palpable, and increasing levels of showmanship, glitz and glamour associated with the launch itself still does little to dampen that feeling of being aboard for the first ever sail-away.

Considerable bragging rights come with a maiden voyage. It’s a cruise like no other – as of course there can only ever be one. And the ability to say you were among the first paying passengers to enjoy a ship is a rare privilege.

The smell of fresh paint and carpet hangs in the air and every bell and whistle is at full volume and operating perfectly. A big fuss accompanies the ship for its first call into every port on the itinerary, as the attention of locals and media alike. Often, you’ll be rewarded with significant levels of pomp and pageantry as you disembark to enjoy each port.

From time to time you’ll also be on hand to enjoy the old fashioned ritual of the christening ceremony itself – an ancient seafarers tradition almost as sold as sailing itself.

The feelings of pride in the new ship resonates among the crew as well, resulting in high morale and translating to an extra wide smile and an exceptional level of service, not least as the cruise line is eager to put its best foot forward to the media and dignitaries brought on at each port. The food and entertainment on offer for this voyage will only the best possible, while the ship will be docked in the most prominent location in each port, serving as a giant billboard for the cruise line.

As cruising continues to grow, the ships become more impressive. We’ve taken a look at some of the most exciting ships to launch during calendar year 2017 and identified what it is that will set one maiden voyage apart from the rest.

P&O Cruises – Pacific Explorer

P&O Cruises will be making waves by the middle of the year when it takes delivery of Pacific Explorer from its former owner, Princess Cruises.

The ship will be set up with the latest in the P&O passenger experience, including water slides, all the latest restaurants including Dragon Lady and Angelo’s as well as hot new venues including a funky summer pub, a casual pizza restaurant, a new-look Salt Grill and an exotic evening dinner / show venue known as the Black Circus Cabaret Supper Club.

The maiden voyage of Australia’s hot new resident is still not yet sold out. After its return sailing from Singapore to Sydney on June 22 after its transformation, Pacific Explorer will get straight to work, heading to the South Pacific on a 10-night sailing. Ports on the itinerary include Noumea, Lifou, Port Vila, Mystery Island and Isle of Pines.