A newspaper reporter asked me, "What is
the most significant cruising trend in 2008?" The best answer I could give her is that
"2008 leads to 2009, and that is when the party really starts for massive sea changes in the cruise industry, BUT..."
But... it really starts in late 2008 with one ship that will be the first completely new design in cruise ship classes set to be introduced in almost a decade, Celebrity Solstice. This will lead to as many as nine new generations of ship classes to be introduced by almost all of the major cruise lines from 2008 to 2012.
Suffice it to say, before long the cruise industry will look entirely different to us, reinvented, and chances are this will lead to oodles of press coverage and new and renewed interest from the traveling public. Not that we don't have enough cruisers already, though.
So, while the 10 new ships set to enter the cruise market this year will be mostly iterations of designs created several years ago, the real fun begins soon. These sleek new beauties will come from Carnival, Celebrity, Cunard, Disney, MSC, NCL, Oceania, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn and Silversea.
|Be Sure to Check Out CruiseMates' Royal Caribbean Bargains Just for you!|
It is hard to say which of these new designs will be the most dramatic, partly because they keep many of the details under wraps for as long as they can, but some specs that have been revealed verge on "unbelievable" in the sense that they will be bigger and carry far more passengers than any of us ever believed to be possible.
The most notable is Royal Caribbean's Genesis class, set to debut in fall of 2009. This class of ships (two are scheduled, one is already under construction) will be 220,000-tons, that is 1/3 again larger than the existing largest cruise ship in the world. And keep in mind, when the current largest cruise ship in the world was introduced, it was based on a class that itself was 1/3 larger than the existing largest cruise ship at the time.
In the space of 10 years we will go from ships that averaged around 80,000-tons to ships in service that are 220,000 tons. That is almost a three time expansion in size over the average cruise ship of just ten years ago. Genesis will accommodate 5,400 passengers and will be 1,180 feet long, 154 feet wide and 213 feet above the waterline. The scheduled delivery is autumn 2009 and the contracted cost of 900 million euros will cross the $1 billion mark for a single ship for the first time.
Other notable ships include the new class from NCL currently code-named simply "F3" which refers to the third generation of "Free-style" designs by NCL. "Free-style" is a concept of ship design that offers cruisers a more relaxed, less regimented onboard experience. Current NCL ships at about 90,000-tons already offer 10 different restaurants and 12 nightclubs onboard. The F3 ships will be 150,000-tons, which is a respectable size close to the largest cruise ships in the world today. They will carry 4200 passengers.
Celebrity's new Solstice class, which will be the first new generation ship to appear in late 2008, comes it at 122,000-tons which is not as significant a leap in size as the ships above. These ships will be spacious and elegant, according to the design renderings we have online in CruiseMates here: Celebrity Solstice Design and Pictures. At that size, with a passenger capacity of 2850 berths, they should expand on the quality reputation Celebrity has for premium service and uncluttered, tasteful surroundings.
And if you would like to sail on one of the first few cruises scheduled for Celebrity Solstice, Cruisemates has already reserved group space and we are taking orders. We don't make money on our group cruises (we are not travel agents), we work to lower the price as much as we can for everyone and just have a great time sailing together. Check it out here: CruiseMates Celebrity Solstice Cruise
One of the most successful cruise lines in the world, good old Carnival, has been building most of their ships based on a basic floorplan they created back in 1996. They now have nine ships based on that basic design (the triumph/conquest class). Carnival is unique, however, in that they go out of their way to make each ship entirely unique in terms of interior decor. Each is based on a theme and you find vastly different colors, accents, artwork and often just plain radical and surprising design elements on every ship they sail.
Carnival is finally scheduled to unveil a new ship design in 2009 called the Carnival Dream. So far, it is not certain how different the ship will actually be since the leap in size is not nearly as significant as what the other cruise lines are doing. They are only bumping up from the current max of 110,000-tons to 130,000-tons, and passenger capacity from 3000 to 3600. One thing we are hoping for, however, is a fix to the "you can't get there from here" dining room placement that is on virtually every large ship they sail.
To read more about new ships: CruiseMates Guide to New Ships 2008 and Beyond: Specifications, launch dates, pictures.
New Ships for 2008 and Beyond
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There are dozens of theme cruises offered every year on topics as diverse as gourmandism, oenophilia, philatelism and other extremely hard to spell words.
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A 14-night transatlantic cruise.
April 2008, from Florida to the Caribbean then to Europe including the Canary Islands, Spain, Florence Italy and ending in Rome - starting as low as $699 per person. This one is filling up fast!
Celebrity Solstice - New Ship!
Sail on Celebrity's next generation ship, Celebrity Solstice, from Ft. Lauderdale, Fl on Jan. 11/ 09, with all your CruiseMates friends and your host, Kuki. Calling on San Juan, Puerto Rico - St. Kitts, St. Maarten, and returning to Ft. Lauderdale.
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