January and February are “wave season” for cruising. This means that cruise lines, cruise consolidators, and travel agencies offer their BEST DEALS OF THE YEAR. Typically, it’s also when at least one new cruise ship will set sail. Here is the low-down on three new cruise ships being launched this year. And boy do they have a lot to offer!
Ship: Norwegian Getaway (Launch date: January 2014)
The Low-Down: Getaway features a multistory sports complex, complete with ropes course, rock-climbing wall and zip line; outdoor promenade for dining and drinks; and more than 20 restaurants and bars. The 146,600-ton, 4,028-passenger ship will sail year-round from Miami, and its new-to-the-line features include tropical-inspired artwork and some Miami-themed public spaces like the Tropical Room, which will capture Miami Beach of the 40s and 50s; Flamingo Bar and Grill, a Latin-style restaurant; Sunset Bar, inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s home in Key West; and Sugarcane Bar, an island-themed tiki bar. Pop artist David “LEBO” Le Batard designed the hull artwork, which features mermaids and pelicans. The “Illusionarium,” a special-effects magic show and dining experience, is also new to the line, replacing the “Cirque Dreams and Dinner Jungle Fantasy” onboard Breakaway. The Grammy Experience is another first-to-line venue that will showcase artifacts from the Grammy Museum. At night, past Grammy winners and nominees will perform.
Ship: Regal Princess (Launch date: May 2014)
The Low-Down: Regal Princess will be very similar to splashy fleetmate Royal Princess, which was launched in summer 2013. That means Princess fans can expect many of the same features that debuted on Royal Princess to appear on Regal: the SeaWalk, a cantilevered, glass-enclosed walkway that will extend 28 feet beyond the ship’s edge and 128 feet over the water; a series of private, for-fee poolside cabanas; an adults-only pool; a huge pastry shop; and the Princess Live! television studio. Regal Princess (141,000 tons, 3,600 passengers) also will feature the line’s famous Piazza, an expanded atrium that’s ideal for people watching or enjoying a cup of coffee and ocean views. Regal Princess also will add a couple of new features, including an aft pool and a promenade deck that will allow passengers to walk the length of the ship. All outside cabins will have balconies, which means 80 percent of the ship’s accommodations will have outdoor spaces.
Ship: Quantum of the Seas, (Launch date: November 2014)
The Low-Down: Quantum of the Seas represents Royal Caribbean’s first new-build since Allure of the Seas in 2010. The much-anticipated Quantum of the Seas, the first in the line’s Quantum Class, will debut more than a few “wow” features, including the first skydiving simulator at sea, bumper cars and the “North Star,” a glass capsule that can rise 300 feet above sea level and provide 360-degree views over the sides of the ship. The vessel also will feature Two70, a multilevel entertainment space with floor-to-ceiling windows that will house a gourmet marketplace, library and workshop. At night, entertainment there will be the name of the game, with a combination of live and digital performances, including aerialists and TV screens that move with the aid of robotic arms.
The line also made some changes to its cabins, adding options like solo staterooms and inside cabins that feature “virtual balconies,” essentially floor-to-ceiling LCD TV screens linked to cameras mounted on the outside of the ship. Cabins, on average, will be nine percent larger than those on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class ships.
Destination: Caribbean, Bahamas
*Content taken from www.cruisecritic.com, a leading cruise broker and great resource for cruising information