Another clutch of ocean-going cruise ships is due to enter service in 2011. Jane Archer gets the lowdown
Although the number of ocean-going ships set to come out of the shipyards next year is down on 2010 – the first sign that the recent building boom is ending – the talk in cruising is still of growth.
Association of Cruise Experts director Flo Powell says: “In tough economic times, people want to know what they are spending, which means cruising’s all-inclusive value proposition becomes even better.
“There will be fewer launches in 2011 but this year’s ship launches, new onboard activities and new destinations will have a snowball effect on next year’s bookings. The Passenger Shipping Association forecasts 6% growth to 1.75 million passengers.”
Next year’s eight new ocean-going ships include AIDAsol, which operates exclusively for the German-speaking market, leaving seven new ships for UK agents to sell.
On the rivers, Viking River Cruises is bringing out two vessels, to sail on the Danube and Yangtze; AMA Waterways is launching vessels on the Mekong and in Europe; Uniworld has new river cruise boats on the Rhine and Douro; and Avalon Waterways and Scenic Tours are each launching one new vessel in Europe.
In addition, the 700-passenger Royal Princess will be leaving the Princess Cruises’ fleet to join P&O Cruises after a gala renaming ceremony in Southampton in May.
Here’s a rundown of the seven new ships set to launch next year in the UK market in order of appearance.
Sets sail: January 22, 2011
Key selling points: The 1,258-passenger Marina is twice the size of the line’s three existing ships, which has made space for two more restaurants – Jacques for French cuisine, and Red Ginger for Asian. There’s a culinary studio for cookery lessons and La Reserve for wine-tastings.
Find it: Marina’s maiden voyage is a 13-day cruise from Barcelona to Miami. The ship cruises the US West Coast and Caribbean until March, then returns to the Mediterranean for the summer.
Sample price: From £2,633 cruise-only for a 10-day cruise from Barcelona to Civitavecchia, the port for Rome. oceaniacruises.co.uk
DISNEY CRUISE LINE
Sets sail: January 26, 2011
Key selling points: The AquaDuck, the first ‘water coaster’ at sea travels 765ft around the ship and has a four-deck drop; virtual portholes that give passengers in inside cabins a sea view; and the Enchanted Garden dining room, which changes from day to night as you eat.
Find it:Disney Dream will be sailing three, four and five-night Bahamian cruises year-round from Port Canaveral, calling at Nassau and Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island.
Key selling points: Carnival’s first pub at sea, the RedFrog, which has its own signature beer, ThirstyFrog Red. There’s a new Italian restaurant, Cucina del Capitano, a ropes course with nets suspended 150ft above the sea, the drainpipe and twister water slides, and an outdoor weight-lifting area.
Find it:Carnival Magic is cruising the Mediterranean from Barcelona until November, when it relocates to Galveston, Texas, where it will be based year-round.
Sample price: From £899 for a seven-night cruise from Barcelona including flights and transfers.carnivalcruise.co.uk
COMPAGNIE DU PONANT
Sets sail: April 27, 2011
Key selling points: More yacht than ship, it will have a chic grey and white hull and shades of brown inside. Cabins have open-plan bathrooms (with sliding doors if passengers want privacy) and several have interconnecting doors, so they can be put together to create a suite.
Find it:L’Austral will be based in the Mediterranean until October, when it relocates to Ushuaia, Argentina for cruises to Antarctica.
Sample price: From £1,655 cruise-only for a seven-night Adriatic cruise round trip from Venice on May 31, 2011. ponant.com
YACHTS OF SEABOURN
Sets sail: June 9, 2011
Key selling points: This is the third and last new 450-passenger ship being built by Seabourn, a sister to Odyssey and Sojourn, so it’s more of the same, rather than anything new. There’s Restaurant 2 for a taster menu, a stylish spa, balcony suites and caviar in the surf on calm days in the Caribbean.
Find it:Seabourn Quest will be based in the Mediterranean next summer, relocating to Fort Lauderdale in November. A 109-day maiden world cruise starts on January 5, 2012.
Sample price: From £5,449 for a 14-day cruise from Barcelona to Piraeus, the port for Athens, on June 20, 2011, including flights and transfers. seabourn.com
Sets sail: July 4, 2011
Key selling points: Favolosa is Italian for fairytale so Costa is promising decor resembling a modern-day enchanted castle. There will be Costa favourites including a Grand Prix driving simulator, 4D cinema and a large Samsara spa, plus a new Aqua Park.
Find it:Costa Favolosa (pictured top) will be based in Venice for the summer, sailing seven-day cruises to the Greek islands, Turkey and Croatia.
Sample price: From £769 for a seven-night Ancient Treasures cruise from Venice in July 2011 including flights and transfers. costacruises.co.uk
Sets sail: July 23, 2011
Key selling points:Silhouette is Celebrity’s fourth Solstice-class ship and will feature the same real grass lawn as its sister ships; a glassblowing workshop; Qsine for traditional dishes served in quirky ways; and Blu for healthy cuisine.
Find it: Celebrity Silhouette will be based in Civitavecchia, the port for Rome, for summer, sailing 12-night cruises to Egypt, Israel, Turkey and Greece. For winter 2011-12, it will be sailing Caribbean cruises from New Jersey.
Sample price: From £2,100 for a 12-night Holy Land cruise from Civitavecchia on August 10, 2011, including flights and transfers. celebritycruises.co.uk