New Cruise Ships Bring More Amenities, Glamour to the Seas

Every year, the world’s oceans play host to a variety of new cruise ships.  Seasoned cruisers and newbies alike look forward to seeing what bold new innovations, itineraries and amenities will be offered as the new cruise standard.  I myself can’t wait to see what’s new each year!

I’ve done hours of exhaustive research on the subject, and am happy to provide some information on what these shiny new ships will be showcasing.

And now…I’m ready for a vacation…which ship shall I choose?

The newest ships on the water:

SilverSea’s Silver Spirit, the new flagship of the fleet, welcomed guests for its maiden voyage on December 23, 2009.  This ship accommodates just 540 guests, and has the largest suites (95% of which feature private verandas) in the Silversea fleet. The sophisticated traveler will appreciate the Art Deco feel of the ship, along with an enormous indoor/outdoor spa, resort-style pool and hot tubs.  Foodies will rave over the 6 separate dining venues that feature the renowned Silversea cuisine.  A bonus for those who love to nosh around the clock: the Star Supper Club, which features chic food choices and all-night entertainment.

Costa’s Costa Deliziosa, which launched February 5th, 2010 boasts some exciting new entertainment innovations: a spectacular 4D cinema (with an 800-guest capacity!), 18-hole golf simulator, Grand Prix race car driving simulator, roller skating track and the “PlayStation World” area , which is dedicated exclusively to PS-3 video games.   Onboard activities, however, aren’t the only impressive thing about this 2,260 (double occupancy) passenger ship; it also showcases spectacular design elements which prominently feature marble, granite and Murano glass.  And those who love to be pampered will take pleasure in the Samsara Spa, which features Ayurvedic treatments, a “wellness restaurant” and a plethora of other services, including Thalassotherapy and Turkish Baths.

MCS’s Magnifica launched its inaugural cruise March 7, 2010.  This 2,518 passenger ship carries a crew of over 1,000, allowing for the kind of service makes it a cruiser’s dream.  This particular perk is reflected prominently in the MSC AUREA SPA, where expert Balinese personnel offer traditional Balinese massages and beauty treatments.  The ship features tennis courts, basketball, mini-golf and a jogging track, and guests have a choice of three swimming pools, including one with an inspired ‘Magrodome’ retractable roof.

On the horizon:

P&O Cruises Azura, scheduled to sail for the first time on April 12, 2010, is the first of the fleet to feature single staterooms.  Another choice for the 3100 passengers: a Spa Stateroom, where guests are treated to priority service at The Retreat, and a luxurious collection of spa treatments, events and gifts.   Promising a wide appeal, the fabulous Aqua Deck presents the Children’s Clubs aft, the Oasis Spa and Gym fore and Azura’s open air cinema SeaScreen in the middle.  Throw in the The Glass House, a wine connoisseurs dream, and venue for tasting vintages selected by expert Olly Smith, and you have a winning combination on this luxurious cruise ship.

Celebrity’s Celebrity Eclipse, launching April 29, 2010 features a freshly cut lawn on the uppermost deck in an area called The Lawn Club. The lawn club invites casual outdoor activities, and promises to let you feel the grass between your toes.  Numbering no less than 9, the bars, lounges and clubs prove there’s no limit on evening activities for adults; but the kids are taken care of too, in the ship’s Celebrity X-Club Youth Programs. And young and old alike aboard this 2850-passenger ship will love the dazzling Hot Glass Show, where professional glassblowers produce spectacular pieces of art in an interactive environment.

Seabourn’s Sojourn, launching June 6, 2010 is a luxury masterpiece, carrying 450 passengers and a 6-star rating that promises all-suite accommodations to rival the finest hotels.  The ocean view suites measure 295 to 1,682 square feet, and travelers can expect walk in closets, granite bathrooms and flat screen televisions.  Most (90%) will also feature private verandas. The ship will offer 24-hour room service, as well as luxury amenities such as treatments at The Spa at Seabourn, which covers two decks. There is also a fully-equipped fitness center with state-of-the-art cardio, strength and weight training equipment, and passengers will have the option of working with a personal trainer.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Epic, slated to sail June 24, 2010, will carry 4200 passengers and has an innovative specialty feature: cabins called the Studios are specifically designed and priced for the solo traveler.  These 100 square-foot cabins will have exclusive access to the Studio Lounge – a private, two-story lounge where solo cruisers can relax with a cup of coffee in the morning, or a drink in the evening.  The ship will also include Norwegian’s first-ever water park, with three multi-story waterslides, two main pools, five hot tubs and large sun decks for soaking up the rays.  Sip drinks in the unique ice bar, enjoy a stogie in the Humidor Cigar Lounge, or place your bets in the elegant full-action casino.

Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam’s inaugural cruise is scheduled to launch July 4, 2010. This 2,106-passenger ship, actually named the Nieuw Amsterdam IV, continues the glamour and history of its namesake predecessors with luxury appointments and spacious staterooms.  The ground-breaking Culinary Arts Center is presented by Food & Wine Magazine; culinary experts provide cooking demonstrations and classes in onboard show kitchens.  And to experience the finer things in life, guests can enjoy their own private sanctuary; the Retreat cabanas are the definitive place to relax while surrounded by health-conscious refreshments and sumptuous amenities.

Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth has her maiden voyage scheduled for October 12, 2010.  This 2092-passenger ship recalls the luxury and glamour of old with gleaming marble surfaces, polished woods, and plush fabrics.  The art deco flavor period flourishes and traditions abound; there are rounds of croquet on the Games Deck, afternoon tea is served by white-gloved waiters, and guests enjoy elegant dancing in the splendid double-heighted Queen’s Room ballroom.  The staterooms, too, are fabulously luxurious, with 71% having balconies, Guests staying in the highest category of suites will welcome the services of a butler, plus priority embarkation and disembarkation.

SeaCloud’s Sea Cloud Hussar, set for an inaugural cruise on November 4, 2010, is currently the largest full-rigged, three-mast tall ship designed to carry passengers.  The 138-passenger ship will cruise to destinations in the Arabian.  All cabins are ocean view and feature complimentary bathrobes, slippers, hair dryers, and have TV’s and e-mail access.  Take in superb views while relaxing in the open-air Jacuzzi on the Sun Deck, or enjoy the gym or spa to recharge your mind, body and soul.

Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, set to launch December 5, 2010 offers something for everyone.  This ship 5,400-passenger ship provides outstanding amenities for youth, including the Adventure Ocean Theater and Science Lab, teen areas and a nursery service for the tiniest cruisers.  In addition, there’s the H2O Zone aqua park and full-size carousel on board!  The ship is also home to adult pursuits, offering a full service spa, an adults-only solarium, casinos and nightclubs.  Guests can also enjoy the state of the art fitness center, which includes cardio and resistance machines and Pilates, kickboxing, yoga and spinning classes.  The ship’s distinctive two-story Loft Suites are equipped with televisions, up-and-downstairs bathrooms, and floor-to-ceiling windows.

Disney’s Disney Dream sets sail January 26, 2011 and will accommodate 4,000 passengers.  This new ship is roughly 40% larger than its and two decks taller than Disney’s current ships the Magic and the Wonder; expect big things to come from this larger package!  Disney, always known for its family-friendly amenities, has stepped it up on this ship; look for a combination waterslide/rollercoaster (the Aquaduck) as well live musical shows, youth clubs and Goofy’s Sport Deck, which boasts a miniature golf course, virtual sports simulators and a basketball/volleyball court.  And in their spare time (Will there be any?) adults can enjoy 11 cafes, nightclubs and bars, the Quiet Cove (adults only) pool, and the full service spa and fitness center.  And here’s a neat new industry trick; on the Dream, inside cabins will have an outside view- each will have a porthole-shaped monitor which receives footage from cameras mounted outside the ship!

It’s no surprise that these new ships have everything the consumer can imagine to offer; the cruise industry is constantly upping their game, providing more and more to the passengers lucky enough to board. 

I’ve provided information about the launch dates of these ships for good reason- an inaugural cruise is truly something special.  Look for an upcoming story on why these cruises are such a unique and fabulous experience!

For more information on how to book a cruise on one of these outstanding new vessels, please visit CruiseCompete.com.

See you onboard!

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