This European operator has acquired and renovated the former Norwegian Crown and is bringing it to America as the Balmoral in March. The ship will make four cruises out of Miami this spring, and Fred. Olsen plans to base it there for a full winter of cruises next year.
First of its new Signature series, the 2,044-passenger Eurodam also will be the line's biggest ship at 84,000 tons. Carrying one more passenger deck than the line's popular Vista-class ships, the Eurodam adds several new elements, among them a pan-Asian restaurant, the Explorer's Lounge bar (a specialty restaurant), an expanded shops area and an atrium bar area. Eurodam debuts in Europe in July.
Albert Peter, former CEO of Silversea Cruises, has launched this cruise line with the plan of creating the first fleet of boutique-luxury ships on European rivers. The line's Jewel Imperial Blue, the world's first all-suite river cruiser, will make its maiden voyage this summer on France's river Seine. The company will also have two other brands: Emerald River Journeys, a premium line, and the contemporary Princess River Journey. Their five ships are currently operating in Europe as charters.
This fast-growing line is debuting two new vessels this year, one of them its biggest.
That ship, the 3,887-passenger MSC Fantasia, will be the first in the MSC fleet to boast an exclusive VIP area. Called the MSC Yacht Club, it will have 99 suites plus a private bar, solarium, two whirlpools, a pool with a skydome, and an observation lounge. Yacht Club guests also will have 24/7 butler service. The 135,000-ton Fantasia joins the fleet in December and will stay in Europe making sailing Mediterranean cruises.
MSC's other new ship, the 2,430-passenger Poesia, is the third sister ship in the line's 92,400-ton Musica class. It will debut in April.
This new line's first ship, nearing the end of construction, will carry 214 passengers, all housed in suites with sitting areas and private balconies. The ship will have six lounges, a spa, single-seating dining and country-club casual dress code.
An innovation: complimentary pre-dinner cocktails. It will make its maiden voyage Aug. 2 in the Canadian Maritimes.
Another last of a series makes its debut in November. The 116,000-ton, 3,100-passenger Ruby Princess will carry the same features as its sister ships, the Crown Princess and Emerald Princess, among them a piazza-style atrium, Movies Under the Stars and The Sanctuary, an outdoor, adult-only lounging area.
The last of its trio of three cruise behemoths, Independence of the Seas, is due out in May. At 160,000 tons, these will hold the title of ''world's biggest cruise ships'' until Royal Caribbean's mammoth 220,000-ton, 5,400-passenger Project Genesis ship comes out in 2009. Independence, like its sister ships, will feature a surfing wave machine, rock-climbing wall and ice-skating rink. The ship will spend its inaugural season in Europe.
This tour company will launch two new luxury river cruisers, the Scenic Sapphire and the Scenic Emerald, on the Rhine and Danube rivers this summer. Most cabins on both ships will have private balconies, with butler service on upper-deck accommodations. Two more new ships will be added in 2009.
The line has bought the former World Discoverer and is refitting and renaming it Silver Dawn for launch sometime this spring. The 6,072-ton ship will sail it in Arctic, Iceland and Greenland in summer, Antarctica and South America in winter. Cabins are being reduced from 175 to 132 and specialty restaurants added.
One of the most famous ships afloat, the venerable Queen Elizabeth 2, will go to Dubai this fall to become a permanently moored hotel. The Delta Queen paddlewheeler is being retired this fall after decades of sailing on America's rivers. Royal Caribbean's Sovereign of the Seas, which was the first really big, really elaborate cruise ship when it debuted in 1988, is leaving Royal Caribbean and the American market to join the fleet of Spanish cruise operator Pullmantur, a sister company. NCL America's Pride of Hawaii is leaving Hawaii this month to serve the British market as the Norwegian Jade.