The Newest Ships: A Showcase of Luxury, Longboats, and A River Ship Revival

The Cruise Ship Debuts For 2012

DETROIT (Feb 17, 2012)- Each year, the cruise lines introduce new ships to showcase the latest technology, and “wow” amenities that the industry has to offer.  This year is no different, with grand crystal staircases, gourmet restaurants, and a new river boat for the U.S. market.

So what do the most recent ships to hit the water have to offer? And what’s in store for ships debuting in 2012? The experts at AllThingsCruise provide information on what these all the new ships will be showcasing.

Recently launched:

Costa Cruises Costa Favolosa launched from Venice, Italy, July 4, 2011 on her first voyage, a three-day mini-cruise. The ship carries 3800 passengers, and showcases 6 new fabulous Suites-two Grand Suites with balconies and verandas with jacuzzis, and four Suites with verandas and Jacuzzis.  It also features a state-of-the-art Samsara Spa which incorporates Ayurvedic treatments, massages with special oils, and cleansing saunas. Also onboard: an open-air Aqua Park, children’s game room, 4D Cinema, PlayStation World, ice-cream bar, and teen dance floor.  The Costa Favolosa itineraries include eight-day summer cruises in the Eastern Mediterranean, moving in the winter to the Arab Emirates and Oman. 

Celebrity’s Celebrity Silhouette launched July 21, 2011 with a capacity of 2886 passengers. It features wireless Internet access, flat-screen televisions in the staterooms, and Solstice-class amenities such as The Lawn Club, The Hot Glass Show, Art Gallery and Theatre with large production and musical shows. The Silhouette debuted with Holy Land sailings out of Rome before moving to Cape Liberty in Bayonne, New Jersey  in November for 12-night Southern and Eastern Caribbean cruises.

AmaWaterways launched the AmaLotus in early September 2011, making it the line’s second river vessel for the Mekong River.  The ship features two lounges, a fitness room, spa and gift shop, and has a Sun Deck with swimming pool.  Staterooms are highlighted with traditional Colonial touches and regional Khmer artifacts, and 90% of the cabins feature twin balconies providing guests with a scenic view as the floating markets and villages drift by.

Coming in 2012:

AIDA is set to launch its new ship, the AIDAmar, during the 823rd Hamburg Port Anniversary celebrations in May 2012. It joins its three sister ships, AIDAluna, AIDAblu and AIDAsol, which serve as godparents to the AIDAmar and will accompany her during a parade of ships in the Port of Hamburg. The AIDAmar is the sixth ship in AIDA’s Project Sphinx series.

American Cruise Lines will be launching the Queen of the Mississippi riverboat in August 2012. This 140-passenger ship, with the look of a traditional riverboat, will be the first new build designed to cruise the Mississippi River in some 20 years.  In keeping with tradition, she ship will an authentic paddlewheel, a steam whistle, and a calliope; guests will also find 75 spacious staterooms, six unique lounges, a library, an elegant dining area, and elevator service onboard the ship.

Avalon Waterways will introduce two new builds in the spring of 2012, the 164-passenger Avalon Vista and the 128-passenger Avalon Visionary.  They will be sister ships to the Avalon Panorama, and mirror its design with 200-square-foot staterooms that have floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall panoramic windows which, when opened, transform the room into an open-air balcony.  They will also include a bar and lounge, dining room, hair salon, fitness room, sky-deck hot tub and an open-air bistro.  The Avalon Vista will cruise between Prague, Czech Republic, and Budapest, and the Avalon Visionary will offer eight-day cruises between Basel, Switzerland, and Amsterdam, as well as Christmastime cruises.

Avalon Waterways will also partner with Pandaw Cruises to lease the 32-passenger Avalon Angkor, for sailings on Southeast Asia’s Mekong River in the Spring of 2011.

Carnival’s 3690-passenger Carnival Breeze launches in June of 2012 as the third ship in Carnival’s “Dream Class”. In keeping with the “fun” theme that Carnival embraces, there is a friendly/competitive sports and fitness area called SportSquare, a WaterWorks aqua park with a 303-foot-long, corkscrew waterslide, and the Cloud 9 Spa. The ship will also feature a new Caribbean-inspired décor, Carnival Comfort Collection linens, towels and bathrobes, and 24-hour stateroom service. Carnival Breeze will spend its inaugural season in Europe, and then sail Mediterranean cruises out of Barcelona through October of 2012. Following a 15-night transatlantic voyage in November, the ship will port in Miami, where it will offer year-round, six- and eight-night Caribbean itineraries.

Celebrity Cruises will be premiering the 3,030 passenger Celebrity Reflection in October 2012. The fifth Solstice-class ship from Celebrity, the Reflection will include the line’s first AquaClass Suites, which will have interior space of 251 square feet and an additional 57-square-foot balcony. It will also feature the new two-bedroom “Reflection Suite” (a first for the line), with a bathroom that extends out over the edge of the ship for up-close and personal view of the sea.  This huge 1636 square-foot suite (with 194 square foot veranda) includes butler service and can accommodate up to 6 guests. The Lawn Club will see some new additions, as well, with the fleet’s only “Lawn Club Grill”, a dining venue with stainless steel grills, custom pizza-making tables and large ovens. During the day, the Lawn Club Grill will feature interactive cooking demonstrations and classes; by night, it will become an eatery where passengers can choose top-quality meats to either grill themselves, or have grilled to order.

Costa Cruises launches the Costa Fascinosa, set to debut in May 2012 at Savona, Italy. This 3,800 passenger vessel showcase decorator touches such as the Amarcord Atrium’s theatrical grandeur, warm colors and diamond-shaped chandeliers.

It will also feature five Jacuzzis, four pools (two with a retractable covers, children’s pool and Water slide) and the famed Samsara Spa. The ship’s Samsara spa extends over 19,680 square feet and features Samsara cabins and suites with direct spa access- these include six veranda suites with their own Jacuzzi and balcony, and additional relaxation amenities.  Guests will be able to sample cuisine from five restaurants, enjoy a show in the 4-D cinema, or seat up in a Grand Prix simulator.

Costa Cruises will also be launching the Costa neoRomantica this year in February 2012.  This is not a new ship, rather, a completely restyled one, formerly known as the Costa Romantica.  Its new features will include two new half-decks and more than 100 new cabins.  (An already existing 120 cabin and suites will have also received new private balconies.)  It will also incorporate wine, coffee, and sweets bars, in addition to a new specialty restaurant.  The Samsara spa on the neoRomantica (complete with 50 Samsara Spa cabins and six spa suites) will also feature a wellness area/gym, thalassotherapy pool, treatment rooms, sauna and Turkish bath.

Disney Cruises will be launching the Disney Fantasy in March 2012 The Fantasy is a sister ship to the Disney dream, and the fourth ship in the Disney Cruise Line Fleet. It will include 1250 staterooms and house 4000 passengers, and is approximately 40% larger than the Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder. A grand feature of the ship will be the 3-deck atrium lobby, with a cascading chandelier of stained glass and crystal beads, evoking memories of grand ocean liners of the past. The crown jewel of this magnificent space will be the welcoming lobby statue: Mademoiselle Minnie Mouse, cast in bronze and dressed in vintage fashion with steamer luggage at her side.

Great American Steamboat Company has renovated the American Queen, which will begin domestic river cruises in April of 2012.   This paddleboat will visit historic U.S. ports of call like New Orleans, Mark Twain’s Hannibal, and Chattanooga and will include a deluxe, pre-cruise hotel stay and complimentary shore excursions on every voyage.  Elaborate filigree on the exterior; gleaming woodwork, fresh flower arrangements and antiques throughout the interior… these stylized touches, reminiscent of the historic river steamers are a clever disguise for the modern comforts and conveniences within.

MSC Cruises MSC Divina, which launches in May 2012, is modeled after its sister ships, the MSC Splendida and MSC Fantasia, but features some significant improvements.  Guests will find a “beach zone” with Infinity Pool at the ships aft, and an expanded MSC Yacht Club, which takes the luxury “ship within a ship” concept to new levels. The Yacht Club (also available on the Fantasia and Splendida) creates a “private club” feel through its own concierge reception, butler service, and exclusive amenities.  This 3478 passenger ship will also feature three main restaurants with a variety of Mediterranean fare and high-tech 1,600-seat Pantheon Theater.

Oceania Cruises premiers its new ship, the Riviera, in April 2012. The Riviera is a sister ship to the Marina, with a “country club casual” atmosphere and a guest capacity of 1250. Designer touches abound, with an impressive Lalique Grand Staircase and dazzling 2,000 sq ft. Owner’s Suites furnished in Ralph Lauren Home. This ship, like the Marina, caters to those who love fine dining and travel experiences, with a total of 10 dining venues (six are open-seating gourmet restaurants with no surcharge).  Additional facilities include a Bon Appétit Culinary Center, full-service Canyon Ranch SpaClub, swimming pool and hot tubs.

Viking River Cruises will be launching an astounding 6 river cruise vessels in 2012 as part of a $250 million expansion program. They include the Viking Freya, Viking Idun, Viking Odin and the Viking Njord will  launch in rapid succession, all in the month of March 2012 (March 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 28th, respectively).  Later this summer, the Viking Embla will launch in July and the Viking Aegir will make its debut in August 2012.

The 443-foot-long vessels will have 95 cabins each, and in addition to two of the 445-square foot top suites, each of the new ships will have seven 275-square-foot, multi-room Veranda Suites that feature large balconies. These balconies are possible due to an offset corridor design.

In a deviation from the norm, these new long ships will not have in-ship spas; instead the line will offer passengers spa and health club packages at top facilities in key ports of call. They are also forgoing the customary “theater” in favor of a multimedia room, with four large screens and surround sound in the ships main lounge.

The six ships are scheduled to sail Viking’s most popular European itineraries including the 15-day Grand European Tour, 8-day Romantic Danube, 8-day Danube Waltz, 10-day Tulips & Windmills and 8-day Rhine Getaway.

Voyages of Discovery will be premiering a new addition to their fleet, the MV Voyager, in November 2012.  Carrying just 550 passengers, the MV Voyager features, open seating dining in two dining venues, plus an intimate pre-bookable restaurant.   The ship will also include four bars, an Internet center, swimming pool, hot tubs and gym, an outstanding number of amenities for a small ship.  This design allows guests to luxuriate in many “large ship” conveniences while still enjoying access to remote ports and inlets for an up-close and personal exploration of the lines’ itineraries.  The ship will begin its cruising duties in November with a full Caribbean, Central and South American program, including a cruise of the Amazon.

About AllThingsCruise:

AllThingsCruise is a website for cruise enthusiasts, dedicated to the joy of cruise travel and planning the best cruise vacations ever. Its wealth of information includes valuable cruise travel tools – from cruise reviews and feedback, to helpful videos and information for choosing the right ship, to preparing for and enjoying a memorable cruise vacation. A valuable unique feature of AllThingsCruise is a complimentary e-card with vital cruise line and cruise ship contact information travelers can send to family members and others prior to departure. For more information, please visit

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Media Contact:

Renee Goyeneche

Shane and Shane, Inc.




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