By Georgina Cruz
12:50 PM EDT, May 13, 2013
Like supermodels sporting the latest on the runways of the world’s oceans, each year a group of new cruise ships debuts. Here are some noteworthy ones being launched in 2013:
· MSC Cruises – The MSC Preziosa, a 139,400-ton, 3,502-passenger vessel debuts this spring offering weeklong Mediterranean cruises through November. The 13th ship in the MSC fleet, the MSC Preziosa is the last of the line’s Fantasia Class. Amenities include the MSC Yacht Club with suites, an Infinity Pool and Zen Area, a 4D cinema and Formula 1 racing simulator. Visit www.msccruisesusa.com.
· Norwegian Cruise Line – The Norwegian Breakaway, debuting this spring, will be the largest ship to be launched in 2013 weighing in at 146,600 gross register tons and with a capacity for 4,000 passengers. Novelties onboard include The Waterfront and 678 Ocean Place, a collection of outdoor and indoor venues –including 17 eateries and 12 bars and lounges on three decks – that as their names imply are designed to enhance the ship’s connection to the sea. Other features include a 23,000-square-foot spa with 22 treatment rooms, a top-deck Aqua Park with five slides including two Free Fall slides, a miniature golf and a ropes course. The ship will also offer The Haven, an upscale complex with 42 suites. The Norwegian Breakaway, after a trans-Atlantic voyage in late April, will will be homeported in New York and will offer a series of Bermuda sailings, followed by cruises to the Bahamas and Florida as well as some voyages to the Southern Caribbean. A sister ship to the Norwegian Breakaway, the Norwegian Getaway, is expected in February of 2014. Visit www.ncl.com.
· Princess Cruises – The new 141,000-ton, 3,600-guest Royal Princess is slated to debut in June. Billed as a “new generation” of ship for Princess, the Royal Princess presents novel signature features for the line. These include a piazza style atrium, 50 percent larger than on previous Princess ships; additional casual dining options including a gelateria and seafood bar; Princess’ largest top deck pool ever with a water and light show, an enhanced Movies Under the Stars screen (30 percent larger than on previous ships), and the new SeaWalk that juts out more than 28 feet over the side of the vessel and provides views 128 feet straight down via a glass floor; and balconies on all outside staterooms. After an inaugural summer in Europe, the Royal Princess repositions to Fort Lauderdale in the fall to feature Eastern Caribbean cruises. A sister ship to the Royal Princess, the Regal Princess, is scheduled to debut in spring of 2014. Visit www.princess.com.
· Silversea Cruises – The 4,077-ton, sleek-lined, Silver Galapagos, currently sailing as the Galapagos Explorer II, will be launched as Silversea’s second luxury expedition vessel (along with the Silver Explorer) in the fall. The ship, with all-suite ocean-view accommodations (most with private balconies) for 100 guests, will undergo a major refurbishment in September and begin two new seven-day itineraries from Baltra Island, in the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The expeditions will feature complimentary excursions ashore, led by a team of naturalists and other experts certified by the Galapagos National Park Service. Participants may experience close encounters with the fabled fauna of the Galapagos including marine iguanas, blue footed boobies, giant tortoises and Charles Darwin’s famous finches. Facilities on board include a restaurant, outdoor grill, boutique, library, lounge, piano bar, beauty salon, fitness center, massage room and Jacuzzi. In addition to all-suite accommodations featuring the services of a butler and such amenities as espresso machines, Wi-Fi, radio alarm with iPod docking stations and flat-screen televisions, guests will find gourmet cuisine, complimentary beverages including wine and spirits, stocked in-suite beverage cabinet. All gratuities will be included in the fare. Visit www.silversea.com.
In addition to these vessels, three new ships from European-based brands are debuting this spring and summer, the 71,300-ton, 2,192-passenger AIDAstella from AIDA Cruises; the 40,000-ton, 516-guest Europa 2 from Hapag Lloyd; and the 264-guest Le Soleal from Companie du Ponant.
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