Published: May 2009
By Jane Levere
The latest itineraries, activities, and ships from six leading cruise lines.
Ship upgrades After spending $23 million to refurbish the Symphony in 2006, next year the line will remodel the Crystal Serenity’s casino with softer lights and a subdued color scheme. Last summer the Serenity also increased third-berth accommodations in suites and staterooms by 15 percent. Onboard services Beginning next year both the Symphony and Serenity will have certified cheese sommeliers.
New ships The Celebrity Solstice debuts in December 2008 with a seven-night Caribbean itinerary. It will be Celebrity’s first new ship since 2002 and will be joined by three other 2,850-guest vessels in the coming three years. The Solstice and its sister ships will offer new AquaClass veranda accommodations, designed specifically for spa enthusiasts. Passengers in these 130 cabins will have unlimited access to relaxation rooms and aromatherapy steam baths and can dine at Blu, a 130-seat specialty restaurant. New itineraries The Azamara Quest, the second ship in Celebrity’s new Azamara Cruises brand, sails to Asia in late 2008, a first for Celebrity.
New ships In summer 2008, the line is scheduled to take delivery of the Eurodam, a $450 million, 2,104-passenger ship, that will be the line’s largest ever. Almost 90 percent of the staterooms will be outside cabins, two-thirds with verandas. New on board By next summer, all Holland America ships will offer As You Wish dining, which allows passengers to choose between flexible or assigned seatings. Cooking classes for kids and teens in a fleet- wide Culinary Arts Center were recently added.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
On-shore extras This line has teamed up with Royal Ocean Events, a destination wedding specialist, to offer customized planning services in select ports for passengers who wish to marry or renew their vows. Options include a sunset ceremony on an uninhabited South Pacific island or a kilted affair in a Scottish castle. Onboard programs The line’s 2008 Circles of Interest enrichment programs will include well-known experts like Dr. Oz Garcia and oceanographer Jean-Michel Cousteau. New itineraries Long-range planners take note: the Seven Seas Voyager (below) and Seven Seas Mariner will each embark on world cruises in 2009.
New itineraries Europe will be a major focus in summer 2008, with Royal Caribbean operating a record seven ships there next year, with one, the Brilliance of the Seas, sailing year-round from Barcelona. New ship In May 2008, the 3,634-passenger Independence of the Seas debuts. Like its sister ship the Freedom of the Seas, it will have a water park, ice-skating rink, and rock-climbing wall. The ship will offer a variety of European itineraries out of the United Kingdom before heading to the Caribbean for the winter.
Ship upgrades The line’s three yachts—the Pride, Spirit, and Legend—are undergoing multimillion-dollar renovations, all scheduled to be completed by April 2008. Seating in the outdoor sections of the ships’ Veranda Cafés is being increased from 54 to 72, while deck space adjacent to the Sky Bars is also being expanded. Spa treatment rooms and bedding in suites are also getting an upgrade. New ship In October 2007, Seabourn began selling cruises on the Odyssey. This $250 million, 450-passenger vessel will enter service in June 2009 with 13 categories of suites, 225 with ocean views; four restaurants, including one with menus by Aureole’s Charlie Palmer; six bars; stepped terraces with sun beds; and a spa. In February 2008, Seabourn will also launch its first-ever world cruise, aboard the Odyssey, setting sail in early 2010.