Royal Caribbean International unveiled its 2012 Europe cruise and cruise-tour season, upping the ante from its 2011 lineup of 11 ships to 12 for 2012, which will again include two 154,000-ton Freedom-class ships. Also noteworthy is the introduction of eight “interports,” which allow passengers to board in places other than the 12 official homeports.
Amsterdam will debut as a homeport, bringing the total to 12, with ships calling at 101 ports in 34 countries on itineraries ranging from three to 16 nights.
Serenade of the Seas will make its European debut from Barcelona. Brilliance of the Seas will operate a new series of Northern Europe itineraries out of Amsterdam and Copenhagen. Mariner of the Seas will add new Holy Land vacations and seven-night Western Mediterranean cruises from Rome. Vision the Seas also will sail to the Holy Land sailings as well as some Northern Europe itineraries. Liberty of the Seas will offer new five-night Western Mediterranean itineraries.
Independence of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas and Grandeur of the Seas will sail on a range of Mediterranean cruises. Voyager of the Seas and Splendour of the Seas will operate Greek Isles and Turkey cruises. Jewel of the Seas will focus on Scandinavia and Russia vacations. Itineraries are open for booking now on Adventure of the Seas, Grandeur of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas.
In addition to the 12 homeports, Royal Caribbean is also offering eight “interports” -- where guests can board itineraries en route -- creating 20 options for embarkation and disembarkation. The interports are Toulon, Marseille and LeHavre, France; Genoa, Messina (Sicily) and Bari, Italy; Valencia, Spain; and Kusadasi, Turkey.
Maiden calls will be made at Arhus, Denmark; Klaksvik, Faroe Islands; and Kenes (Lofoten), Norway.
Serenade of the Seas will make its European debut on 12-night alternating cruises in the spring, summer and fall roundtrip from Barcelona, with one itinerary featuring an overnight in Venice and the other offering port calls in Greece and Turkey. Brilliance of the Seas’ new sailings, roundtrip from Amsterdam and Copenhagen, include a mix of Norwegian fjord and Arctic Circle sailings of 12 nights through mid-July. Its other offerings feature seven-night “Scandinavia & Russia” sailings roundtrip from Copenhagen from late July through early September.
Mariner of the Seas will return to Europe with a new 12-night Holy Land itinerary roundtrip from Rome, available in May, September and October, which includes overnights in Jerusalem, Israel, and Alexandria, Egypt. Its new seven-night itinerary roundtrip from Rome is available from June through mid-September.
Liberty of the Seas’ new five-night spring sailings from Barcelona will call at Cannes/Monte Carlo, Rome and Palma de Mallorca, Spain. The ship will also operate a seven-night itinerary from June through September.
For the third consecutive year, Independence of the Seas will be positioned year-round in Southampton, primarily operating on an alternating series of 14-night sailings, “Mediterranean Treasures” and “Italian Mediterranean” programs. Three 10- and 11-night Canary Islands itineraries will be available in October and November. The ship will also offer one three-night sailing, overnighting in Paris (LeHavre) in May, and a four-night cruise spending the night in Cork, Ireland. Vision of the Seas will add two new six-night Norwegian fjord cruises from Oslo. The ship will sail Northern European waters from April 29 to Sept. 7, offering 14 itinerary options. Itineraries of four to 12 nights long will explore ports in Scandinavia, Russia, the Norwegian Fjords and British Isles. A 12-night Arctic Circle sailing on Aug. 9, roundtrip from Copenhagen, will cruise the Arctic Circle.
From May through September, Adventure of the Seas will continue on its pattern of seven-night Western Mediterranean itineraries roundtrip from Malaga, Spain. At the end of the season the ship will operate five seven-night Canary Islands sailings, also from Malaga. Sister ship Navigator of the Seas begins its European season with an eight-night itinerary on April 14 from Barcelona to Spain, where, through Nov. 18, it will offer seven-night Mediterranean sailings.
Grandeur of the Seas’ schedule will include seven-night Western Mediterranean sailings that will operate from June 2 to Oct. 10, roundtrip from Palma de Mallorca. Voyager of the Seas, meanwhile, will spend the bulk of its Europe season sailing out of Venice, but will shift from seven- to 10- and 11-night cruises, with itineraries including overnights in Istanbul and Kusadasi.
Splendour of the Seas will return to its schedule of seven-night Greek Isles and Turkey and Greek Isles sailings for the bulk of its season, sailing roundtrip from Venice from late April through early November. Jewel of the Seas will continue to operate 12-night “Scandinavia & Russia” cruises from May 15 to Aug. 19 roundtrip from Harwich, England. It will also feature one new cruise on June 20, a “Fjords & Iceland” itinerary, roundtrip from Harwich.
Royal Caribbean is offering six cruise-tours, which combines sailings with escorted land tours in conjunction with six ships. Options include four nights in Madrid and Barcelona, available on Serenade of the Seas; five nights in Venice, Florence and Rome, available on Mariner of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas; three nights in Lake Como and Venice, available on Voyager of the Seas; four nights in Paris and London, available on Jewel of the Seas; and four nights in Turkey’s Istanbul and Cappadocia, available on Vision of the Seas.