If you’ve ever wondered how it would feel to break in a brand-new cruise ship, the next year will present you with a golden opportunity. Ten golden opportunities, actually.
According to the cruise ship specialists at Vacations to Go, ten new ships are scheduled to hit the world’s oceans between now and July 2011.
They range from monstrous mega-ships with every on-board distraction imaginable to ultra-luxury vessels with suites for all but room for no more than 450 passengers (some of the newest mega-ships house that many folks on one deck).
Themes, regions and prices run the gamut. The Caribbean, the Americas, the Mediterranean. Asian cruises, transoceanic crossings. The Panama Canal.
Want to go old-school and relive the elegant era of the grand ocean liners? Want to get your spa life on, or your daily workout in? Want to climb rock walls and fly on zip lines with an ocean view? These ships have got you covered.
Want a ship that will entertain both you and your kids? Want to throw on a flowered shirt, throw back a few umbrella drinks and go buck-wild? Want to slip on that little black dress you’ve worked so hard to fit into and go deep-sea fishing, so to speak?
Yep, that, too.
What does all this mean to the cruise lines? It means capacity for more than 29,000 additional passengers — at a time when the global cruise fleet is already glutted with existing cabin space and recently added ships. One of the newest and most luxurious, Seabourn Sojourn, just made her first sailing a week ago.
The cruise lines ordered all these new ships, a commitment in the billions of dollars, back when the economy was booming and people were really getting into cruising. But it takes a few years to build one of these — and a few years was all the time needed for the booming economy to go bust.
To have any hope of making their money back, much less a profit, the cruise lines desperately need to fill all these ships and keep them filled, which means they may be in the mood to offer some serious discounts.
At the same time, inaugural sailings are really popular with the cruise fanatics out there, recession or no recession. So if getting a whiff of that “new ship smell” is something that appeals to you, you need to start making plans.
Just remember our Number One rule here at IBIT:
DO YOUR HOMEWORK!
In this case, that means checking with the cruise line of your choice to see what’s on offer for the dates you want, then going to a travel agency, online or otherwise, that specializes in cruising to see if they’ve got a better deal on the same ship for the same days.
They nearly always do.
Vacations to Go in particular has discounted cruise ship prices that are pretty hard to beat. I know; I’ve used them before. But do compare their offerings with others. Just do an online search of the term “cruises.” You’ll find yourself with a virtual boatload of choices.
Anyway, here they are, along with their scheduled debut dates:
Norwegian Epic, Norwegian — June 24, 2010 — 4,200 passengers
Nieuw Amsterdam, Holland America — July 4, 2010 — 2,104 passengers
Queen Elizabeth, Cunard — October 12, 2010 — 2,092 passengers
Allure of the Seas, Royal Caribbean — December 1, 2010 — 5,400 passengers
Marina, Oceania — January 22, 2011 — 1,258 passengers
Disney Dream, Disney — January 26, 2011 — 4,000 passengers
Carnival Magic, Carnival — May 1, 2011 — 3,690 passengers
Seabourn Quest, Seabourn — June 20, 2011 — 450 passengers
Costa Favolosa, Costa — July 7, 2011 — 3,000 passengers
Celebrity Silhouette, Celebrity — July 23, 2011 — 2,850 passengers