Everything new is old again.
multimillion-dollar makeovers of old cruise ships could steal the
thunder from 2007's nine new-builds, which are mostly cookie-cutter
versions of ships already afloat.
All but three are
replicas of their sister ships, and the Queen Victoria, the most
innovative of the crop, won't debut until December.
Liberty of the Seas, sister to the Freedom of the Seas, will have
the second surf park at sea. The Norwegian Gem will get bowling
alley No. 2. And the Costa Serena will have a race car simulator,
just like the Costa Concordia. The cruise lines could still
surprise with some newfangled additions to these reproductions, but
as of now, they're keeping quiet. In the meantime, here's what to
look for in 2007.
Launch: March, in
The fifth in
Carnival's Conquest class of ships, the 2,974-passenger Carnival
Freedom will debut in Venice, from where it will begin the line's
first-ever itineraries to the Greek islands and Turkey.
ship's interior, designed by Carnival architect Joe Farcus, is
supposed to "take guests on a journey through the centuries by
decade." Public rooms on the ship will be designed to represent
everything from ancient Babylonia, the heyday of disco, the
19th-century Victorian era and contemporary design.
Launch: April, in Santorini,
As sister ship to
the Crown Princess, there won't be much here that wasn't seen
there. As on the Crown, a piazza-style atrium will be surrounded by
casual eating venues with "street entertainers" doing everything
from singing a capella to juggling. The Emerald will also have the
Sanctuary, an adults-only, quiet retreat on the uppermost forward
deck of the ship that became so popular on the Crown that Princess
started charging for its use.
create some buzz during the ship's inaugural in Santorini, when it
does a double christening with Swan Hellenic's Minerva II, nee the
R8, which will transfer to Princess in March, get a face-lift and
join the fleet as the Royal Princess. The ship will operate
itineraries in the Mediterranean, southern Caribbean and
Launch: April, in
The AidaDiva is
German operator Aida Cruises' first of four ships in the Sphinx
series, currently on order with German shipyard Meyer
2,050-passenger vessel will have new features for Aida, including a
three-story atrium with bars, a theater and a retail area. The spa
and fitness area on the AidaDiva will be the line's
Launch: April, in Oslo,
Voyage designed the 12,700-ton expedition ship, by far the smallest
new-build this year, for cruising in Arctic waters. Its cabins will
be decorated by Greenlandic artists, as the ship will spend its
summers cruising the Greenland Sea.
Launch: May, in Italy
The Serena's sister
ship, the Costa Concordia, last summer floated out the first "spa
cabins," where passengers had exclusive spa privileges. Due to the
high demand for the Samsara Spa cabins, the Serena will have 87
such cabins, 30 more than the Concordia.
vessel will have the Concordia's other features, including the
Grand Prix driving simulator.
Launch: May, in New
It's hard to follow
the biggest ship in the world, but the Freedom's not-so-little
sister will make its mark by being the first major cruise vessel to
have a travel agent serve as its godmother.
Besides that, the
ship will have the same features that made the Freedom famous,
including the Flowrider surf machine, cantilevered hot tubs off the
side of the ship and the H20 Zone, a children's water park.
Launch: June, in Italy
2,550-passenger MSC Orchestra will be the newest ship from the
fastest-growing cruise line in the world. Like its predecessor and
sister ship, the MSC Musica, 65% of the ship's cabins will sport
The main difference
between the Orchestra and the Musica is that the Kato Sushi Bar on
the Musica will be replaced with a Chinese restaurant on the
Orchestra. MSC said the decision was made to offer more variety on
Launch: October, in
godmother could give the Gem's inaugural some pizzazz. As of now,
the ship is slated to be an exact replica of the Norwegian Pearl,
recently christened by television personality Rosie
Like the Pearl, the
Gem will have a bowling alley, a rock wall and luxury suites atop
the ship, including the 5,750-square foot garden Villas, exclusive
Courtyard Villas and ultraluxurious Black Pearl suites.
Launch: December, in Southampton,
ship, the 90,000-ton Queen Victoria, is being billed as a sister
ship to the Queen Mary 2, but since the Victoria is being built on
the hull of a Holland America Vista-class vessel, the ships will
likely be quite different.
Hull aside, the
2,000-passenger vessel appears to be a winner so far, with its
first two cruises sold out and with the world cruise that follows
filling up fast.
New features on the
ship include a three-story theater with private viewing boxes, a
three-tiered lobby with a sweeping staircase and a two-story,
6,000-book library, the largest at sea.
contact reporter Johanna Jainchill, send e-mail to [email protected].