Who doesn’t remember watching “The Love Boat” on Saturday nights, or the resurrected episodes on cable TV? Those early images of cruising still resonate with many. The original Love Boat was part of the Princess Cruises’ fleet, and today the company continues to add ships.
Princess Cruises’ Royal Princess, with a capacity of 3,600 passengers, will debut in June and will introduce some of the most exciting new amenities in the cruise industry. Royal Princess is the first of two new-generation ships for Princess. The second ship will be Regal Princess and will debut in spring 2014.
Some new features found aboard Royal will be the over-water SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed enclosed walkway on the ship's starboard side extending more than 28 feet beyond the edge of the vessel, and the similarly-unique cantilevered SeaView bar.
Also on her top decks, Royal Princess will feature a new adults-only pool surrounded by seven private cabanas that appear to be floating on the water, two additional pools, an expanded version of Princess' signature adults-only haven, The Sanctuary, and the popular poolside theater, Movies Under the Stars.
Other interesting amenities include a television studio with an interactive daily show. Royal will continue the tradition of the Princess fleet with home-made food selections, exceptional service, adult-only areas and more. The ship will offer itineraries to the Mediterranean this summer, and then she sails to the Caribbean from Florida. Visit www.princess.com to learn more.
"With the launch of Royal Princess in June, we’re excited to introduce a new prototype that is an evolution of our classic style of ships, including some new areas and expanded spaces, while still staying true to the signature features that have become emblematic of the Princess experience,” said Jan Swartz, executive vice president, Princess Cruises. For those who may not want to wait until June, or who want to experience a classic Princess experience, try another ship in her fleet, like the Caribbean Princess, which has enjoyed a thorough renovation and now boasts Princess’ signature amenities, including the ever-lively Piazza and specialty restaurants.
My family experienced all Caribbean Princess had to offer aboard a winter 2102 holiday cruise. Family activities shine, and multigenerational travel is really a specialty of the line. Many groups on board were celebrating reunions, marking special anniversaries, and hailed from many parts of New Jersey. There are two specialty restaurants on board, family-friendly production shows nightly, and a jam-packed daily schedule of fun sure to create a memorable and relaxing vacation experience.
Despite Carnival Triumph’s recent engine fire that resulted in losing power on board for several days, the cruise industry overall continues to move forward with a commitment to safety, industry representatives say.
“We believe consumers are well aware that cruising is one of the safest, most affordable and enjoyable vacation experiences available today as every aspect of the cruise experience is heavily regulated and monitored under both national and international maritime law,” said David Peikin, director of public affairs with the Cruise Line International Association, said. “The safety of our passengers and crew is our highest priority — nothing is more important to our industry.” Peikin said the Cruise Line International Association’s mission is to promote policies and practices “that foster a safe and secure environment for the millions who sail on cruise ships every year — a focus that is reflected in the cruise industry’s exceptional safety record.”
Three new ships
In addition to Princess, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Breakaway, with a capacity of more than 4,000 passengers, will be based in New York City and incorporates several of the Big Apple’s themes in her offerings, including classes from the Radio City Rockettes, a Broadway show production of Rock of Ages, and special lounges and restaurants reminiscent of New York. An aqua-park and rock climbing adds some adventure to the cruise. “The New York area is not only one of our top markets, but also my hometown,” said Norwegian Cruise Line Chief Executive Officer Kevin Sheehan. “I am thrilled that our next generation freestyle cruising ship, Norwegian Breakaway, will call such a dynamic region her year-round home. There is great support in the surrounding communities for cruising and we know the tri-state area consumers are already excited about her upcoming arrival and her inaugural summer itinerary, cruising to the beautiful island of Bermuda, a much sought-after summer destination.”
Norwegian Breakaway will arrive in her year-round homeport of New York City in early May. The ship will begin weekly summer seven-day cruises to Bermuda on May 12. Check out www.ncl.com to learn more.
With the introduction of Celebrity Reflection in 2012, Celebrity Cruises has completed the launch of their Solstice class of ships, begun in 2008, with a ship launched each year since. On Reflection, there are larger suites than other ships in her class including the Reflection Suite, whose main bedroom's shower is a show stopper.
Through April, Reflection sails the Caribbean, she next sails the Mediterranean through October, and then returns to the tropical Caribbean for the remainder of 2013. Visit www.celebritycruises.com for more information.
In 2012, Carnival Breeze was launched and represents the newest “Fun Ship” offering new innovations and a wide variety of dining, activity and entertainment choices. It sails year-round to the Caribbean from Miami.
The new 3,690-passenger vessel’s highlights are a Hasbro game show attraction; a piano bar; interactive movie theatre; expanded sports and spa areas; WaterWorks area with slides, twists and water-play area for tots; and a seaside theatre allowing ‘dive-in’ movies. Also, new is Guy’s Burger Joint – fresh-made burgers, hand-cut fries and innovative toppings created in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri. Visit www.Carnival.com for more information.
Often, the price-point of new ships may discourage some travelers.
Lisa Lee, a travel specialist with Wanderlust Travel in Raritan in Somerset County, said there is a ship out there to match a traveler’s budget, taste and itinerary.
“Some of my clients tend to the newer ships, they want the bigger, better ships,” she said.
But, she said, new ships often are more expensive. “There are great deals out there, but not usually on the new ships as much,” she said. She is excited for the launch of both Norwegian Breakaway and Royal Princess. “Breakaway looks great with lots to do and people are very excited and same for Royal Princess — more things to do, more family activities then before,” Lee added.
For those not looking for the newest and greatest of the fleets, she said a ship that has been upgraded is a good option. Lee said do your research, and find a travel agency that can present options.
Other cruising advice from seasoned travelers and professionals, fly in a day early. In the popular port of Fort Lauderdale try the Embassy Suites Hotel, where guests can start the day with a complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast and savor drinks and snacks at the nightly Managers Reception. Visit www.ftlauderdale.embassysuites.com. In Miami, an affordable and convenient pre-cruise option is Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Miami Airport & Convention Center, www. Doubletree.com, where friendly shuttle drivers transport guests to and from the airport, there’s an adjacent mall with shops and restaurants, a large pool and hot tub, and an on-site full-service restaurant to grab a meal before a cruise.
For more cruise news & articles go to http://www.cruisecrazies.com/index.html
By Erica Lamberg, the Daily Record
Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more