Back home after 10 days in the Norwegian fjords, and there’s plenty of news to catch up on from the world of cruising.
- Royal Caribbean have started to crank up the publicity machine for Allure of the Seas, sister ship to the giant Oasis of the Seas, which will debut in Fort Lauderdale in November. Hot on the heels of the announcement that the main production show on board will be Chicago – matching Hairspray: The Musical on Oasis – comes news that Allure’s 5,400 passengers will be able to enjoy 3-D movies in the ship’s Amber Theatre. The technology will be added to Oasis, and also Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas, in 2011. The Boardwalk area of Allure will have a Mexican taco restaurant – Rita’s Cantina – in place of the Seafood Shack on Oasis
- More details have emerged about the two new Princess ships which are to be built in Italy’s Fincantieri yards, and contrary to some expectations, they will be bigger than any vessels in the line’s 17-strong fleet. The new ships, costing about £500 million each and to be delivered in 2013 and 2014, will be 141,000 tons and carry 3,600 passengers – about 20 per cent bigger than their latest ship, Ruby Princess.
- Carnival have announced that their newest ship will be named Carnival Breeze. She will be a sister to Carnival Dream, which debuted in New York last November, and Carnival Magic, which will be introduced on Mediterranean itineraries next May.
- Norwegian Epic, which will be this year’s most significant launch, is to be named by country music star Reba McEntire. She is a big fan of cruise ships, and was invited after NCL boss Kevin Sheehan met her on board Norwegian Gem when she was on holiday with her family. Epic’s naming ceremony will be held in New York on July 4, after a two-day visit to Southampton on June 22 and 23.
- Seabourn Sojourn, at 32,000 tons a rather smaller vessel than the 153,000-ton Epic, is to be named on the River Thames at Greenwich by supermodel Twiggy. The June 6 ceremony will be followed by a fund-raising gala in aid of the Breast Cancer Haven.