If you love the biggest, tallest, longest new cruise ships rolling out of European shipyards at a brisk pace, enjoy it now because it's not gonna last. Through 2011 we'll welcome eight new ships which will end the decade-long expansion of the cruise industry.
After spending $3 billion building the two biggest ships on earth -- Oasis & Allure of the Seas -- Royal Caribbean, the leader in building behemoths with the most remarkable on board features, has no new vessels on order. And, in 2013, only one new ship, an unnamed Princess vessel, is scheduled to debut.
When the economic crisis hit, cruise lines closed their check books; as a result, orders of new ships have slowed to a trickle with only a few new vessels entering service after 2011. The cruise industry's record of incredible innovation in ship design stops for the foreseeable future as the era of grand innovation in ship design wanes.
So feast on the line up of gleaming vessels ranging from a second 6300-passenger ship with non-stop fun for the entire family to a Cunard cruise liner destined for global voyages and a luxury ship where well-heeled guests dine on sumptuous cuisine created by a world-famous chef.
Twelve Months of New Ships
Queen Elizabeth debuted October 11, 2010, continuing Cunard Line's tradition of building graceful English liners destined to explore the far reaches of the globe when she enters service next month. A sister ship of Queen Victoria, the 2014-passenger liner boasts ballroom dancing, live shows in an opulent theater with boxes, a large pub and exclusive dining and private lounges for suite passengers.
In November 2010, Allure of the Seas, sister ship of Royal Caribbean's popular Oasis of the Seas, begins its year-round schedule of one week Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale. Aboard the 6300-passenger behemoth you'll find Central Park and the Boardwalk, zip-line, "Flow Rider" (faux surfing), a 3D theater, dozens of restaurants to choose from, Aqua-Theater and the best kids programs in the industry.
Disney Dream gives Mickey & Co. are larger area for frolicking. This larger Disney ship, which debuts in January, 2011 carrying 1250 passenger staterooms and 4000 total capacity boasts the longest water slides at sea (765 ft.), inside cabins with animated "portholes," 3-D movies, staterooms with a bath-and-a-half and a lot more activities for adults and kids.
Oceania Marina, the first new ship built by Oceania Cruises, also enters service in January carrying 1260 guests, with six restaurants under the tutelage of renowned chef Jacques Pepin including a namesake restaurant called "Jacques," the first on-board culinary school with workstations and exceptionally large staterooms and suites.
Carnival Magic, entering service in May, is a sister ship of Carnival Dream that boasts a secluded deck area for adults, water slides and more bars, lounges and clubs for having fun; she carries 3652 passenger berths.
Costa Favolosa debuts in July with 3012 passengers with a new entertainment area for teenagers comprising 4D Cinema, PlayStation World, a bar with ice cream, drinks and popcorn, and a Teens' Dance Floor; a children's game room, and a new open-air Aqua Park water playground with its own pirate galleon plus more dining options.
Celebrity Silhouette is the fourth 2850-guest ship in Celebrity Cruises' Solstice-class with signature features like a deck-top lawn using real grass, glass making demonstrations by Corning, spacious staterooms and several elegant restaurants. She debuts in November sailing on Caribbean itineraries.
Seabourn Quest is the ultimate in luxury, carrying only 450 pampered guests, will debut in May. Sublime dining with cuisine planned by celebrity chef Charlie Palmer is the star of this ship, where you may order anything you can imagine and dine in the most elegant restaurants at sea. This ship charts a global course and will be among the choices for those who decide to circumnavigate the globe.