New cruise ships commonly offer the latest and greatest of what cruise lines have to offer. When they enter service, inaugural sailings sell out fast as cruise travelers want to be among the first to sail. But after a long and sustained growth period, building new cruise ships like they were preparing for war, just a few cruise lines have new ships set to sail in 2013.
The two ships that will garner the most attention for North American cruise travelers are 141,000-ton Royal Princess from Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line’s New York City-themed, 146,600-ton Norwegian Breakaway.
Under construction since October, 2011 at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, Royal Princess highlights include an increased focus on fitness and health with a state-of-the-art fitness center.
Called the Princess Sports Central and Fitness Center, passengers of all athletic abilities can keep in shape with a new outdoor jogging track, additional circuit exercises including elliptical machines, and all of the latest equipment with a private aerobics studio for special classes.
On her top decks, Royal Princess will feature a new adults-only pool surrounded by seven plush private cabanas that appear to be floating on the water. Two additional pools and a tropical island will offer pool seating by day. At night, the area will become an outdoor dance club, complete with what promises to be a dazzling water and light show. A Princess-first, the Movies Under the Stars poolside theater will be on board with an expanded size and high-definition viewing.
Never forgetting their “Love Boat” roots, Royal Princess promises new features for fans of the line’s “Escape Completely” mantra too.
Princess’ signature adults-only haven, The Sanctuary, will be expanded with new private cabana options that will give passengers the opportunity to personalize their relaxation time. Passengers might choose cabanas in The Sanctuary or a new cabana location, the Retreat Pool, which offers poolside cabanas that appear to be floating on the water. New cabana picnic baskets, packed with artisan edibles paired with a premium wine will also be available.
Among the other special features found on board Princess Cruises new Royal Princess will be:
- Expanded atrium- Added to the 50% larger area are new casual dining options that include an Italian gelateria, a seafood bar and expanded seating in the passenger-favorite International Cafe.
- SeaWalk- The “wow” feature of Royal Princess, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway that extends more than 28 feet beyond the edge of the vessel.
- Princess Live! television studio- An experience that takes the audience behind the scenes to the excitement of a working television studio that will showcase live television broadcasts, intimate performances from musicians, and special events such as cooking shows.
- Pastry shop- An industry first, a dedicated pastry shop where passengers can indulge in fresh-baked goodies throughout the day.
- Chef’s Table Lumiere- A private dining experience that surrounds diners in a curtain of light.
- Balconies on all outside staterooms- In other words, no staterooms with just windows, a first as far as we know.
Check more of the ship’s new features in this photo gallery from Princess Cruises:
This is Norwegian Cruise Line’s answer to critics of Norwegian Epic, an odd single ship that could be described as “Innovation On Acid” as psychedelic ship designer dreams played out at sea.
Moving past Norwegian Epic, new Norwegian Breakaway has got to get an A+ for engaging their target audience prior to sailing. Solidly locked into New York City, with even a New York skyline-themed painted hull and Sabrett hot dog carts on deck, Norwegian Cruise Line seems to have proposed and New York City accepted in a partnership that could work out really well. Here’s why…
Unique features on Norwegian Breakaway, set to sail year-round from New York City to Florida, the Bahamas and Bermuda include:
- The Haven- These private enclaves at the top of the ships are home to Norwegian’s most luxurious accommodations offering top shelf service and elegance. The Haven guests have an array of special amenities just for them, including private butler and concierge service, poolside valet, and white tablecloth in-suite dining.
- Fireworks At Sea- Previously the sole domain of Disney Cruise Line, an environmentally friendly pyrotechnics display will be featured on the second to last night at sea each week, after the ship departs Bermuda during her summer inaugural season.
- Top Deck Attractions- Experiences include Norwegian’s version of an Aqua Park at sea with five full-size water slides, including twin Free Fall slides (the first ever at sea), a three-story sports complex that includes the largest ropes course at sea, a nine-hole miniature golf course, basketball court, rock climbing wall and more.
- The Waterfront and 678 Ocean Place- Norwegian will offer a wide range of indoor and outdoor venues on three dynamic decks that will create a whole new complex at sea – trendy, relevant dining and entertainment.
- Entertainment- Quality entertainment will pick right up where bar-raising Norwegian Epic left off, including three Broadway shows, comedy troupe The Second City, Howl at the Moon dueling pianos and New York’s own Slam Allen.
- Dining options- Celebrity Chef and Food Network star Geoffrey Zakarian will also debut his first restaurant at sea on Norwegian Breakaway, Ocean Blue by Geoffrey Zakarian.
Norwegian Breakaway will sail weekly summer seven-day cruises to Bermuda on Sunday, May 12, 2013. From October 2013 through April 2014, New York’s ship will offer voyages from the heart of Manhattan to the Bahamas & Florida and the Southern Caribbean.
Seven ships in total will launch this year, adding about 10,000 berths to worldwide cruise ship accommodations.
In March, MSC Cruises will launch 139,000 ton MSC Preziosa and British-American owned German cruise line AIDA Cruises, the German branch of Costa Cruises, will launch 71,000-ton AIDAstella. Hapag-Lloyd will give us Europe 2, a small, new build at 40,000 tons sailing with just over 500 passengers, due in May. In June, French cruise line company Compagnie Du Ponant will present even smaller 264 passenger Le Soleal.
Can’t wait for new ships to arrive? Check this new video from Norwegian Cruise Line all about new Norwegian Breakaway: