The Vibe: Lively and Italian-influenced—85 to 90 percent of its guests are European. As a result, you’ll find later dinner service, nightlife lasting into the wee hours, and plenty of spaces where smoking is allowed.
Highlights: New toys appeal to both kids and grown-ups: golf and racing simulators, a PlayStation arcade, and suites with whirlpool tubs.
Itineraries: Seven-day eastern Mediterranean cruises out of Venice from July’s launch through October.
Costa Cruises Launch Date: July 2011
Size: 3,780 passengers; 114,500 tons. 800/462-6782; costacruise.com; from $759 per person, double, for seven nights.
The Vibe: As kid-oriented as you’d expect from Disney, with animated artwork and virtual visits from favorite characters. But the line has also done an exceptional job of setting aside spaces for adults (a pool, two restaurants, and a section of its private beach, Castaway Cay).
Highlight: The first “water coaster” at sea, AquaDuck, will carry riders four stories up, then swing 13 feet over the side of the ship before gliding down 335 feet of rapids.
Itineraries: Three-, four-, and five-night cruises out of Port Canaveral, Florida, to the Bahamas.
Disney Cruise Line Launch Date: January 2011
Size: 4,000 passengers; 128,000 tons. 888/325-2500; disneycruise.com; from $599 per person, double, for three nights.
The Vibe: Cultural immersion in an intimate setting. This small ship—formerly the Clelia II—takes passengers to remote areas (Borneo; Russia’s Kamchatka peninsula) to see wild animals in their natural habitats.
Highlights: Onboard talks by marine biologists, naturalists, and academics; dining menus that focus on each destination’s ingredients and cooking styles.
Itineraries: Far-eastern Russia from the end of June through early July; Japan’s Inland Sea from mid-July to mid-August; Southeast Asia from mid-August through December.
Orion Expedition Cruises Launch Date: May 2011
Size: 100 passengers; 4,077 tons. 877/ 674-6687; orionexpeditions.com; from $4,850 per person, double, for seven nights.