With several cruise lines announcing recently that they have contracted for construction of ships, the stream of new vessels entering service will pick up after several slow years. The lineup as it looks now: Next year will see the launch of seven major new ships, including vessels for Princess, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Costa and the first of four new ships for the new Viking Ocean cruise line. In 2015, eight new ships will enter service, among them vessels for Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Holland America and Seabourn. And 2016 already has six new ships so far scheduled. One of those, the Titanic II, will be a modern replica of the doomed White Star liner that sank on its maiden voyage 101 years ago.
HIGH SEAS HALLOWEEN
Disney Cruise Line will mount a brand new Halloween celebration aboard its Disney Dream ship this fall. Called Halloween on the High Seas, the event will run from Sept. 22 to Oct. 31 (except Sept. 29) and will include Mickey’s Calling All the Monsters Mouse-Querade, a deck party; A Nightmare Before Christmas, an interactive movie; Haunted Stories of the Sea, a storytelling event; and in the adult district, Creepy Cabaret with ghostly musicians. The Disney Dream will sail Bahamas cruises from Port Canaveral.
Halloween on the High Seas will take place only on the Disney Dream; however, all Disney ships, including the Dream, will mount the usual Halloween events, including costume parties; Spooky Movies; and edible Ghoulish Delights. All Halloween events will feature Disney characters.
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HALF A YEAR AT SEA
Got a half year you’d like to spend seeing the world? Oceania Cruises’ first around-the-world cruise will leave from Miami Jan. 10, 2015. The voyage on the line’s Insignia will last 180 days, more than any other around-the-world cruise, and will cross the equator four times, call at 45 islands and 89 ports.
Early booking deals (booked by Sept. 17) include two-for-one cruise fare, plus complimentary first-class roundtrip air, pre-paid gratuities, visas for 16 countries, onboard medical service, unlimited internet and laundry service, and roundtrip transfers. Fares start at $39,999 per person double occupancy.
A HEART-FELT CRUISE
Heart health is the target of a benefit cruise that Princess Cruises has scheduled this winter out of Fort Lauderdale. Special speakers and other heart-related programs are planned during the cruise, which is expected to raise about $1 million for the American Heart Association. Fares for the Ruby Princess sailing Feb. 10-15, range from $599 to $1,649. A tax-deductible part of that fare, ranging from $100 to $500 and matched by the cruise line, will be donated. The cruise is the second in the line’s new Cruising for a Cause series. The first, which will benefit veterans, sails on the Caribbean Princess Nov. 5-9 out of Houston. www.princess.com.
Itineraries for Lindblad Expeditions’ new National Geographic Orion ship, acquired from Orion Expeditions, will include a blend of undersea and land explorations in exotic locales. Starting in March, the ship will sail in South Pacific, Antarctic, South Atlantic and Southeast Asian waters, exploring such destinations as Papua New Guinea, Borneo, the Spice islands, the Great Barrier Reef, Fiji, Tahiti, Easter Island, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. Cruises will run 14 to 25 nights, with fares from $8,210 to $25,390 per person double occupancy.
The cruise line also has added six new itineraries to its 2014 schedule for its National Geographic Explorer. They will include two voyages through the Northwest Passage, a cruise calling at Svalbard, Iceland and Greenland, one to the British and Irish isles, a cruise along Brazil’s east coast to Buenos Aires, and an Atlantic isles odyssey calling at the Azores, Madeira, the Canaries and Cape Verde. www.expeditions.com.
HERE AND THERE
Legendary country music band Alabama be the headline act during Alabama & Friends Festival at Sea, a music cruise sailing from Miami to the Bahamas this fall. Also on board the Oct. 24-28 sailing of the Norwegian Pearl will be Diamond Rio, Craig Moran, Randy Travis and Meghan Linsey of Steel Magnolia. www.thealabamaband.com. ... Crystal Cruises is adding a number of private religious excursions to its European itineraries. Among the offerings: After-hours access to Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia Church and Rome’s Vatican Museum, private mass at Barcelona’s La Sagrada Familia. The line also is introducing connoisseur beers on its European cruises, among them Samuel Adams Utopias, which sells at $300 a bottle. ... Additions to the roster of yesteryear stars booked for the third TCM Classic Cruise on the Disney Magic from Miami Dec. 8-13 include Jane Powell, Robert Wagner and Theodore Bikel. http://TCMcruise.com