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2009's Best New Cruise Ships

<center>2009's Best New Cruise Ships</center>

Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity, Solstice and Equinox

Cabins 1,425, ranging from 176 to 1,291 square feet

Perfect For Style-conscious thirtysomethings drawn by the edgy design: outdoor lounging pods; textured walls; and exquisitely sculpted wooden benches.

Unusual Features More than $6 million worth of modern art by such luminaries as Pablo Picasso, Robert Rauschenberg, and Jim Dine is displayed throughout the dining rooms, lounges, and stairwells. Guests can play bocce and croquet at the Lawn Club (with real grass, a first on a cruise ship), and watch a team of experts from the New York–based Corning Museum of Glass present a live glassblowing show at sea.

Routes The Solstice plies several seven- to 15-night routes: southwest through the Mediterranean; through the eastern Caribbean; and a transatlantic trip from Fort Lauderdale to Rome. The Equinox, which is identical to the Solstice and launches August 8, offers 10- to 14-night itineraries in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, plus a voyage from Southampton, England, to Rome.

T+L Tip Come 5:30 p.m., head to Crush, a 10-seat lounge located in an alcove off Deck 4’s popular Martini Bar, for the best scene on board. 800/647-2251; celebritycruises.com; seven nights from $899 per person on the Solstice; 10 nights from $1,099 per person on the Equinox.



2009's Best New Cruise Ships
<center>2009's Best New Cruise Ships</center>

Courtesy of Costa Cruises

Costa Cruises, Costa Luminosa

Cabins 1,130, ranging from 220 to 330 square feet

Perfect For Cruisers who relish entertainment and sports.

Unusual Features The ship has an 800-seat 4-D cinema (that’s sight, sound, touch, and scent), a golf simulator with 37 virtual courses as well as an outdoor putting green, jogging and rollerblading tracks, and a Formula One Grand Prix driving simulator. Of the 1,130 staterooms, 772 have balconies—the highest ratio of any Costa ship.

Routes Three 10- to 12-night itineraries, starting in May, sailing to Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, and, beginning in December, to Dubai, with stops in Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, and Oman.

T+L Tips Request Cabin 8374, a corner suite with the ship’s best port views; in the marble-and-wood restaurant, be sure to order chef Ettore Bocchia’s signature baked Spanish-pork coppa with white beans, squash pearls, and greens. 800/462-6782; costacruises.com; 10 nights from $2,629 per person.



2009's Best New Cruise Ships
<center>2009's Best New Cruise Ships</center>

Courtesy of Costa Cruises

Costa Cruises, Costa Pacifica

Cabins 1,504, ranging from 220 to 330 square feet

Perfect For Music enthusiasts, especially those interested in doing some actual recording.

Unusual Features The vessel has a musical theme, from a 29-song shipwide sound track specially arranged by Italian composer Mauro Pagani to a recording studio where guests can cut their own CD’s with a sound engineer.

Route A seven-night itinerary from Rome calling in Savona, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Tunis, Malta, and Palermo (June through November).

T+L Tip Try the Samsara Spa’s 50-minute Shirodhara Body Glow treatment, which combines natural sea salts, warm essential oils, and Eastern massage techniques. 800/462-6782; costacruises.com; seven nights from $1,259 per person.



2009's Best New Cruise Ships
<center>2009's Best New Cruise Ships</center>

Courtesy of Holland America Line

Holland America, Eurodam

Cabins 1,052, ranging from 175 to 1,000 square feet

Perfect For Globe-trotting food fanatics.

Unusual Features At the Culinary Arts Center, guests can watch cooking demos, take classes with visiting chefs, and plan market tours in ports of call.

Routes Seven- to 18-night itineraries, sailing to the Baltic region, Canada and New England, and the Caribbean.

T+L Tip Before the dinner crowd arrives, snag one of the elevated booths at the Silk Den—appointed with parchment-shaded lights, sheer white curtains, and velvet chairs—on Deck 11. Sip a “saketini” (Momokawa Silver sake, sour mix, and cucumber slices) as you watch the sun set. 877/724-5425; hollandamerica.com; from $149 per night per person.



2009's Best New Cruise Ships
<center>2009's Best New Cruise Ships</center>

Courtesy of MSC Cruises

MSC Fantasia, and MSC Splendida

Cabins 1,637, ranging from 172 to 570 square feet

Perfect For Devotees of old-school, European-style service, in which every whim is met, but only on request.

Unusual Features The cruise line debuted an outdoor “aqua park” with MSC Fantasia: a swimming pool and two whirlpools, surrounded by 150 illuminated fountains; and a private “yacht club,” consisting of 99 butler-serviced suites.

Routes For the MSC Fantasia, a seven-night round-trip itinerary from Genoa stopping in Naples, Palermo, Tunis, Palma de Mallorca, and Marseilles (through October). The MSC Splendida, which is identical to the Fantasia and launches July 13, offers seven-night round-trip itineraries from Barcelona, putting in at Tunis, Valletta, Messina, Civitavecchia, Genoa, and Marseilles.

T+L Tip Book one of the cabins numbered 1032–1040 or 1051–1059 on Deck 10, for their large balconies. 800/666-9333; msccruisesusa.com; seven nights from $1,600 per person.



2009's Best New Cruise Ships
<center>2009's Best New Cruise Ships</center>

Courtesy of Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises, Ruby Princess

Cabins 1,540, ranging from 163 to 687 square feet

Perfect For Cruisers looking for a great value.

Unusual Features In a canopied area at the front of the ship called the Sanctuary, adults can recline on plush lounge chairs and listen to specially programmed iPod playlists while stewards spritz them with Evian. And the British-themed Wheelhouse Bar serves culinary staples such as bangers and mash, cottage pie, and fish-and-chips.

Routes Three 12-day itineraries, sailing to the Greek Isles (starting in May) and the Mediterranean (through September); Caribbean cruises restart in October.

T+L Tip As soon as you embark, go to the service desk to purchase tickets for a two-hour guided tour of areas typically off-limits to passengers, such as the engine control room, printshop, and bridge. Only 10 tickets are sold per cruise, at $150 per person. 800/774-6237; princess.com; 12 days from $1,890 per person.



2009's Best New Cruise Ships
<center>2009's Best New Cruise Ships</center>

Courtesy of Seabourn Cruises

Seabourn, Odyssey

Cabins 225, ranging from 295 to 1,182 square feet

Perfect For Travelers with several weeks to spare.

Unusual Features A marina on the aft side allows cruisers to snorkel or kayak right off the ship.

Routes Numerous seven- to 38-night sailings to Eastern and Western Europe and the Caribbean starting in June, plus a world cruise launching in January 2010.

T+L Tip Want a truly deluxe voyage?Book one of the two Grand Signature suites ($15,435 for seven nights) up to six months in advance to land a berth with a 505-square-foot balcony. 800/929-9391; seabourn.com; seven nights from $3,299 per person.



2009's Best New Cruise Ships
<center>2009's Best New Cruise Ships</center>

Courtesy of Silversea Cruises/ P. H. Sébastien Darrasse/Realis

Silversea expeditions, Prince Albert II

Cabins 66, ranging from 175 to 675 square feet (some of the largest of any expedition ship)

Perfect For Adventurous nature lovers.

Unusual Features A fleet of eight Zodiac rafts is available for spontaneous crew-led excursions into otherwise hard-to-reach territory; all 66 rooms have ocean views and private marble bathrooms with bathtubs; the captain announces animal sightings using a shipwide broadcasting system.

Routes Seven- to 17-night itineraries, sailing to Antarctica, the Arctic Circle, and South America.

T+L Tip Spot polar bears and breaching whales from one of two glass-enclosed whirlpools overlooking the ocean, protected from winds and ocean spray. 800/722-9955; silversea.com; seven nights from $4,495 per person.



2009's Best New Cruise Ships

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