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Sunday, 17 March 2013 14:16

Ship Updates: 2013

Written by  Lilian Africano
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Looking forward in the New Year, we’ll see new ships cruising the world’s oceans and rivers, as well as renovations, upgrades - and even one total transformation, of older ships.

New Builds

In March, MSC’s 3,500-passenger Preziosa will debut as number 13 in the MSC fleet and the fourth (and last) of the Fantasia-class ships. The Preziosa will be similar to its Fantasia sisters, featuring the line’s signature Yacht Club, a Balinese-inspired spa and sophisticated “green” technology

A month later, Norwegian launches the much-anticipated Breakaway as the first of two 4,000-passenger sister ships (sister ship Norwegian Getaway will debut a year later). The ship will be christened by the Rockettes in New York City and will have many new-to-the-line features, including a boardwalk (The Waterfront) with eight dining venues; among these will be new Ocean Blu and, a gelato shop. Other new features: a New York-themed ice bar, a three-story sports complex and an upscale suite complex called The Haven.

Hapag-Lloyd’s charter, the ultra-luxurious 500-passenger Europa 2 launches in May; the ship features a pool with a sliding roof, cooking classes and bilingual German and English cruises.

In June, Princess Cruises’ Royal Princess, bigger than the line’s biggest ships (3,600 passengers), arrives with such innovations as a glass-bottom SeaWalk (extending 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship) and “Princess Live!” - a performance venue that also serves as a television studio airing the ship’s “Wake Show.”

Upscale Ponant Cruises adds another yacht-like ship, the 260-passenger Le Soleal, to sisters Le Boreal and L’Austral. The new ship debuts in 
the Arctic.

 

And on the rivers...

Spring 2013 sees the debut of Avalon Waterways’ 160-passenger Avalon Artistry II, the fourth ship in its Suite Ship class. Two full decks feature the signature wall-to-wall panoramic windows that create an open-air balcony; the Panorama suites measure 200 square feet.

Scenic Tours’ 160-passenger Scenic Jewel, representing the company’s successful “Space Ship” class also arrives in the spring - along with the company’s new all-inclusive policy, which means unlimited complimentary beverages (except for French champagne, premium spirits and select wines) and complimentary in-suite mini-bars. Also new: butler service for all staterooms, regardless of category (except for Russia cruises).

In April, the Austrian river cruise specialist Luftner Cruises debuts their new 180-passenger flagship, the MS Amadeus Silver, which brings the fleet total to 11. At 135 meters in length (the other ships measure 110 meters), the Amadeus Silver has enlarged cabins and an innovative style of French balcony, where the cabin-wide panoramic window fronts drop down so that the cabin itself becomes a balcony. (The 12 Amadeus suites have walk-out exterior balconies.) In order to enhance its sales efforts in North America, Luftner Cruises has entered into a partnership with Optriant, which will engage with U.S. travel agents via sales and reservation services, with a focus on the newest premium vessels in the fleet.

 

Renovations

The biggest and most dramatic makeover will be the $155 million transformation of the Carnival Destiny, which will emerge from a 49-day dry dock in April, 2013 as Carnival Sunshine. The ship will have all the elements of the line’s Fun Ship 2.0 product, as well as the new-to-the-line three-deck Serenity space for adults only.

NCL’s Pride of America gets a two-week (March-April) renovation that will add four solo cabins, 24 suites, a Brazilian-style steakhouse and all-ship WiFi.

Also in March-April, P&O’s Ventura undergoes a multi-million dollar refresh that will add 18 single cabins, an adults-only deck space, a re-named upscale dining venue (from Rambla to The Glass House) and new soft goods throughout. (P&O’s Arcadia also gets upgraded 
in December.)

Other ship renovations throughout the year: Azamara Journey (January) will get restaurant refurbs and new soft goods; Royal Caribbean’s Legends of the Seas (February) will get new restaurants, upgraded TVs in cabins and all-ship WiFi; Independence of the Seas (May) gets some technology upgrades, all ship WiFi, a nursery and a cupcake shop; Brilliance of the Seas (May) gains a new nursery, several new dining options (including a Chef’s Table experience), flat-screen TVs in cabins and all-ship WiFi; Vision of the Seas (October) will also have a Chef’s Table experience and other new dining options, a new nursery, all-ship WiFi, flat-screen TVs in cabins and new lounges for top-tier members and suite passengers; in December Navigator of the Seas gains the Chef’s Table Experience, two new restaurants, a new nursery, flat-screen TVs in cabins, all-ship WiFi and new lounges for top-tier members and suite passengers.

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