Travelers considering a cruise may want to check out these new ships for an over-the-top vacation.
Big and beautiful
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line in April debuted the third ship in its Freedom-class, Independence of the Seas. The 160,000-ton Independence was home ported in Europe, making it the largest ship in that part of the world. Royal Caribbean bills the Independence–along with sister ships Liberty of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas–as the largest ships in the industry, which gives plenty of room to pack in many activities. If you love sports, this is the ship for you. You can surf using the FlowRider® wave simulator, climb a rock wall, ice skate, get in a round of mini golf–even box in the ring.
Should you have enough energy left, you can enjoy the entertainment, bars, lounges and dining venues.
This winter, Independence will be based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., sailing the eastern and western Caribbean.
Another ship debuted this season in Europe–Carnival’s Splendor, the largest “Fun Ship” at 113,000 tons. The 3,006-passenger Splendor offers the large and luxurious Cloud Nine Spa. Sixty non-smoking staterooms adjacent to the facility will offer private access to the spa. For children, a two-level activity area will entertain for hours.
Carnival Splendor will operate the line’s first South America cruises from January to March 2009, visiting historic destinations in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador, Chile and Peru. Following these voyages, Carnival Splendor will launch year-round seven-day Mexican Riviera cruises from Long Beach, Calif., continuing the line’s expansion of its west coast operations.
Other ship amenities include a mid-deck pool with a two-story sliding sky dome, nine bars, a supper club and a restaurant.
Holland America Line’s newest ship debuted in July offering cruises from Copenhagen, moving into Canada/New England for the fall and settling in the Caribbean for the winter. There are three alternative dining venues on the 2,044-passenger ship.
The newest gem for Princess Cruises will begin its inaugural season Nov. 15 and offers seven-day cruises to the western Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale. The 3,070-passenger Ruby Princess will have a piazza-style atrium, an adult-only area called The Sanctuary–even a wedding chapel.
The final ship to be launched this year, the 2,850-passenger Solstice is the first of the line’s new Solstice-class. A new feature will be 130 veranda staterooms in the AquaClassSM category, giving guests unlimited access to the spa and Persian Garden, an exotic aromatherapy and steam room, plus complimentary dining in Blu, an intimate 130-seat specialty restaurant. The ship will sail the Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale this winter.
On the Horizon
Celebrity’s second Solstice-class ship, the Equinox, will be launched in August 2009. And like its sister ship, Equinox will offer a country club setting at the Lawn Club, manicured grass on the highest deck of the ship.
|Nov/Dec 2008 Issue
Do you want your ship Super Sized
The question begs to be asked: How big can they build these ships? Royal Caribbean answers with a November 2009 launch of its largest ship, the 220,000-ton Oasis of the Seas. Innovations here include the line’s new neighborhood concept, which includes the Boardwalk, Entertainment Place, the Royal Promenade, Central Park, and the Pool and Sports Zone. AquaTheater will be the first amphitheater at sea. Another industry first will be 28 loft suites, an urban living concept with expansive ocean views and luxury amenities.
Oasis of the Seas will accommodate 5,400 passengers in its 2,700 staterooms over 16 decks. It will sail from its home port of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
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