PortMiami is the busiest cruise port in the world, hosting more than 5.6 million cruise passengers in 2017. Port Everglades had 3.8 million passengers. With all that traffic through South Florida’s ports, it’s a prime spot for cruise lines to showcase what’s new on their ships.
So it’s not surprising that most new cruise ships home port for a time in South Florida, if not immediately after their launch, then after a season in Europe, where they were built.
For years, the Miami Herald has reviewed the new ships that sail out of those ports — or at least the first ship in a new class.
Now we’ve compiled the ship reviews the Herald published in the last 10 years, updated the older ones and offer them here. We included some river cruise ships that have never sailed out of South Florida but appeal to our readers nonetheless, as well as Disney Cruise Line ships that sail from Port Canaveral. We also included older ships that started here but now home port elsewhere in the U.S.
If you can’t find the ship you want, look for one of its sister ships. For example, if you’re interested in Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, which you won’t find here, look for other Oasis-class ships: Oasis of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas. Although there may be tweaks in their features, different shows and restaurants, architecturally they are the same.
Here are the ships:
American Queen Steamboat Co.
Carnival Cruise Line
Disney Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line
Regent Seven Seas
Viking Sun (ocean cruises)
Viking Freya (river cruises)