New cruise ships for 2009

2009 has brought a wealth of new and soon-to-debut cruise ships that are dazzling experienced cruisers as well as those sailing for the first time.

A sister ship to the fabulous Celebrity Seolstice, the Celebrity Equinox has the same innovative features. These include the Lawn Club, a country club-style outdoor space with real, growing grass for croquet, golf and picnics; the Hot Glass Show, the first glass-blowing studio at sea; and a choice of 10 restaurants that offer everything from Asian fusion to classic French cuisine. The ship will first sail the Norwegian Fjords and a “best of Europe” itinerary before repositioning to Ft. Lauderdale to sail the Caribbean.

 The eagerly anticipated Oasis of the Seas from Royal Caribbean promises many incredible firsts at sea, including an onboard zip line, a water-based outdoor theater and loft-style staterooms. Each of seven “neighborhoods” on board will have a distinct theme and feeling: for example, the Boardwalk will bring the uninhibited fun of Coney Island to mind, while Central Park will be an incredible indoor/outdoor space adorned with real grass and trees. Set to debut in November, the ship will alternate sailings to the Eastern and Western Caribbean.

For a new experience in luxury cruising, Silversea Cruises’ elegant new Silver Spirit will debut in December.  The cruise line promises that the ship will provide more balconies, dining choices and amenities than any other ship in its fleet. The all-suite accommodations will include sitting areas, walk-in closets and marbled baths with full-size bathtubs. Nearly all suites will have their own private teak wood verandahs, plus attentive service from a stewardess or butler. The Silver Spirit’s inaugural season will include a wide variety of destinations in the U.S., Mexico, South America and Europe.

The Yachts of Seabourn welcomed Seabourn Odyssey to the fleet in June. The 450-passenger ship has one of the highest space-per-guest ratios in the cruise industry, the largest spa on any luxury cruise vessel and nearly one crew member per guest. The ship is sailing the Caribbean until it embarks on Seabourn’s first world cruise, a 108-day voyage departing January 5, 2010.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises introduced two new river cruise ships this spring. The River Beatrice, which sails on Europe’s Danube, has French balconies in the majority of its staterooms so that guests can enjoy expansive views. The River Tosca cruises the exotic Nile and has 42 lavish suites equipped with French balconies, flat-screen televisions and iPod docking stations. Both ships have sun decks, fitness centers and 24-hour tea and coffee bars – the Tosca even has a pool, a rarity on a river cruise ship.

No less than four swimming pools – including one with a retractable roof – make MSC’s Splendida stand out. Each evening, the 150 fountains in the AquaPark pool splash to the accompaniment of synchronized lights and music. Of the ship’s 1,637 staterooms, 99 spacious suites are part of the MSC Yacht Club. Guests in this VIP area enjoy luxurious amenities and 24-hour butler service. The Splendida is currently sailing the Mediterranean and will also travel along Europe’s Atlantic coast.

 September will bring the launch of the Carnival Dream. The ship will feature several new types of staterooms, including “cove” balcony staterooms located closer to the waterline and staterooms that can accommodate five guests – ideal for many families. The Piazza, an indoor/outdoor café area, is designed as a comfortable oasis by day and a lively entertainment venue by night. The Dream will begin service by sailing Mediterranean cruises, then will reposition to Port Canaveral for seven-day Caribbean cruises.

 To find out how you can sail on one (or more) of these fabulous new ships, talk with your personal cruise expert at Cruise Holidays of Mission Viejo 949-215-6700 or 888-203-3012.

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