The crop of new cruise ships in 2011 will come in like fireworks: an early bang, then slowly fizzle out.
The year's first two ships to be named are among the most anticipated vessels in recent memory.
Disney Cruise Line's 4,000-passenger Disney Dream is the line's first new ship in more than a decade as well as its largest, and it features "virtual portholes" that provide inside cabins with a live video feed from outside the ship.
Oceania Cruises' first newbuild, the 1,250-passenger Marina, will enter service with rich design elements, such as a Lalique crystal staircase and top suites designed with furnishings from the Ralph Lauren Home collection.
After that, the excitement factor fades, as almost every other ship entering service this year is a sibling, with even the fourth member of a ship class.
The exception is the possible debut of Pearl Seas Cruises' Pearl Mist, the 210-passenger ship that was supposed to launch the line into service in 2010. The ship's construction was delayed, but Pearl Seas, a luxury offshoot of American Cruise Lines, said the Mist will enter service in July.
Carnival's second Dream-class ship, the Carnival Magic, will have features like the first ropes course at sea and the line's first pub. Also debuting are the third ship in Seabourn's Odyssey class, the Seabourn Quest, followed by Costa Cruises' Costa Favolosa, the fourth Concordia-class ship and Costa's 16th vessel.
Compagnie du Ponant's 264-passenger L'Austral will be the line's second newbuild in two years, following the debut of its sister ship, the Boreal, last May.
Finally, the Celebrity Silhouette, Celebrity Cruises' fourth Solstice-class ship, will actually have enough new features to warrant some buzz; its Lawn Club will have two new eateries, including a specialty restaurant focused on grilling, as well as private cabanas. The space will take the place of the Corning Museum of Glass.