• Hapag-Lloyd’s Europa 2, christened earlier this month, is an all-suite ship, and every suite has a veranda. The 512-passenger luxury vessel is cruising in the Mediterranean until fall, when it will shift to fall/winter sailings out of the Arabian peninsula and Asia.
While this year’s fleet of five new large liners is the fewest in many years, smaller ships are being built in record numbers. At last count, more than 20 new vessels were scheduled to enter service this year. Most are river cruises ships destined for service in Europe. Viking Cruises alone is launching 10 new river cruisers this year, all of them of the line’s new longships design. Uniworld has four new ships coming on line, three of them destined for rivers in the Far East. AMAWaterways, Avalon and Vantage each are putting two new river ships into service, and Scenic Cruises and Orient Express each have one.
Lastly, Compagnie du Ponant debuts a small ocean-going vessel, the 264-passenger Le Soleal, in June. The French ship will sail in Arctic waters this summer.
• American Cruise Lines has added a Puget Sound/San Juan Islands to its fall sailings on the 100-passenger American Spirit. Dates are Oct. 12 and 19.
• Silversea Expeditions now offers three- and four-night Galapagos cruises as well as seven-nighters on its Silversea Galapagos that combine with pre- or post- South American land packages.
• Regent Seven Seas Cruises is adding 10 new itineraries to its 2014 lineup for two of its ships. Its Seven Seas Mariner now will include sailings to Tahiti, and the Seas Seas Voyager will make a 30-night voyage from Dubai to Cape Town, calling at many Indian Ocean ports.
• Among its 2014-15 sailings, Princess Cruises will offer several new itineraries: Regal Princess’ debut in the Caribbean, Royal Princess’ first cruises to Canada and New England, new roundtrips from Vancouver to Hawaii or to coastal California on the Grand Princess, and Crown Princess’ first full season out of Los Angeles.
HERE AND THERE
For the first time in four years, Princess Cruises will base a ship in summer in Fort Lauderdale. The Caribbean Princess will make a variety of Caribbean cruises from May to September of 2014.
• Royal Caribbean’s recently renovated Enchantment of the Seas has replaced Monarch of the Seas in year-around cruises at Port Canaveral. The line’s Freedom of the Seas also is based there.
• Crystal Cruises will eliminate smoking in all indoor areas starting in 2014 and allow smoking outside only in a limited number of designated spaces. Only exception: Smoking will continue to be permitted indoors in the Connoisseur Club.
• Beds are going high-tech aboard all Celebrity Cruises vessels. The line is installing customizable beds that allow passengers to “build” their beds, which have rearrangeable air cylinders. Five of the line’s 11 ships so far have the new beds.
• Windstar Cruises will take over the first of three ships it is purchasing from Seabourn Cruises next spring, renaming the former Seabourn Pride the Star Pride. The two other Seabourn vessels, the Seabourn Spirit and Seabourn Legend, will go to Windstar in 2015.
• Costa Cruises now has two ships deployed in Asia. After a series of cruises from Singapore, new arrival Costa Atlantica will make two cruises from Taiwan, then home port in Shanghai for a series of short cruises. Next March, the ship will sail the line’s first-ever roundtrip world cruise from China, an 83-day voyage.
• Turner Classic Movies’s third TCM Classic Cruise will sail out of Miami aboard the Disney Magic Dec. 8-13. Hosts will be TCM’s Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz. Prices start at $1,085 per person, double occupancy; tickets go on sale June 3. Info: 877-223-7030, www.tcmcruise.com.