The Official Guide to New Cruise Ships

By The Cruise Web, Inc.

Rendering of the Royal Princess at Night - Photo courtesy of Princess CruisesIf you’re a die-hard cruiser, you are probably well aware of all the growth in the industry and all the new ships that are rolling out. If you are a casual cruiser, you are in for a shock because cruise lines are now adding many more ships to their fleets, and these ships are jam-packed with interesting and innovative features.

We’ve compiled a handy overview of all the newest ships, including their key features and an exciting itinerary.

Royal Princess
Christening Date: June 13, 2013
Godmother: Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge (a.k.a. Kate Middleton)
It’s been five years since Princess  introduced a new ship. With such a long wait, they are making sure to get every detail right on the Royal Princess, which is their largest ship to date with 1,780 passenger cabins and room for 3,600 passengers. The Regal Princess, the Royal Princess’ future sister ship, will have many of the same features and will debut in June 2014.

Key Features:

  • SeaWalk, a glass bottom walkway where you will hover 128 feet above the ocean
  • Four water and music shows with dancing fountains, movie screens and live performers
  • A tea tower and tea sommelier to help you make your own personal blend of tea

Featured Itinerary: Grand Mediterranean – Barcelona to Venice (12 days)

678 Ocean Place on the Norwegian BreakawayNorwegian Breakaway
Christening Date: May 8, 2013
Godmother: The Rockettes
The Norwegian Breakaway takes the cruise line’s concept of Freestyle Cruising to another level with 27 different dining options, more than 10 different entertainment options and a variety of cabins, from The Studios for solo passengers to suites for larger families. The ship has 2,014 passenger cabins and can hold 4,000 passengers.

Key Features:

  • Aqua Park: the top deck is dominated by five water slides, a kiddie pool where SpongeBob SquarePants stands at watch and plenty of deck chairs for those looking to lounge
  • Rock of Ages: this Broadway hit is produced in all its unadulterated glory on the ship, offering several performances per cruise
  • The Waterfront: an outdoor walkway that resembles a boardwalk where you can have a nice al fresco meal, listen to the music from Fat Cats Jazz & Blues Club and get a great view of the sea

Featured Itinerary: Bahamas and Florida – Roundtrip New York City (7 days)

Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas
Christening Date: November 2014
Godmother: Kristin Chenoweth
Royal Caribbean hopes to break the mold with Quantum of the Seas. Both the Quantum of the Seas and her sister ship, Anthem of the Seas, will have features never before seen at sea. However, since the ships are still months away from their debuts, not all the details have been revealed. Expect Quantum to fit up to 4,180 passengers onboard in the 2,090 passenger cabins.

Key Features:

  • The North Star: a mechanical arm with a jewel-shaped capsule where passengers will be taken over the side of the ship for amazing views of the sea
  • SeaPlex: a multi-use area on the ship where passengers can go head-to-head in bumper cars or strap on a pair of roller skates and take a spin around the rink
  • Virtual Balconies: 80-inch TV screens mounted on the walls of interior staterooms to provide passengers with a view of the ocean via live feeds of the ship’s surroundings

Featured Itinerary: Caribbean and Bahamas – Roundtrip Cape Liberty (7 to 12 days) – Official itinerary to be announced

Getaway Hull Rendering - Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise LineNorwegian Getaway
Christening Date: January 2014
Godmother: To Be Announced
The Getaway will share a lot of the same features with the Breakaway (her sister ship), but will also have many of her own unique features. While the Breakaway, which is based in New York, has hull artwork featuring NYC buildings and the Statue of Liberty, the Getaway’s hull has a big bright sun representing the summer heat of Miami, where this ship will homeport.

Key Features:

  • A GRAMMY showcase: an area onboard where you can find memorabilia from musicians and catch a live performance from a GRAMMY nominated artist
  • The Illusionarium: a theatre where magic shows will take place. This space features a 30-foot in diameter video screen on the ceiling
  • Legally Blonde The Musical will be shown in the Getaway’s theater

Featured Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean – Roundtrip Miami (7 days)

Celebrity Reflection pool deckCelebrity Reflection
Christening Date: December 1, 2012
Godmothers: Four women affected by breast cancer: Jovanka Goronjic (AquaSpa manager on Celebrity Constellation), Megan Mathie (glassblower on Celebrity Solstice), Helen O’Connell (manager of Celebrity’s community relations) and Rosey Rodriguez (RCCL employee)
The Celebrity Reflection is the last in Celebrity Cruises’ Solstice Class. She offers many of the same features of these sleek modern ships, such as Qsine, the innovative specialty restaurant, and the cabana-style alcoves for complete relaxation, but she also retains her own character.

Key Features:

  • Lawn Club: where you can feel the grass under your feet while sailing on the ocean, perfect for picnics and croquet
  • Enhanced AquaSpa: On the Reflection, the spa also includes an Infrared Sauna, Aromatic Steam Room, Cold Room and Sensory Showers
  • Cantilevered Shower: In the Reflection Suite, Celebrity built a state-of-the art shower that juts out over the ship with glass windows and a glass bottom for amazing views

Featured Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean – Roundtrip Miami (7 days)

MSC Preziosa
Christening Date: March 23, 2013
Godmother: Sophia Loren
This Italian cruise company takes their country’s culture and puts it into their ships, using local resources and featuring Italy’s most acclaimed features (we’re talking food) on all their ships. The Preziosa is no different. This ship boasts 1,751 cabins with room for up to 3,502 passengers.

Key Features:

  • Vertigo: an exciting waterslide that takes passengers through twists and turns with a see-through section that extends over the side of the ship for a thrilling view of the ocean
  • Eataly: a minimalist restaurant that serves Italian dishes, sells Italian products and even gives information about the Italian cuisine
  • Sports & Bowling Diner: an American-style space on the ship to grab a burger and play a game of 10-pin

Featured Itinerary: Mediterranean – Roundtrip Barcelona (7 days)

Rendering of the Viking Star - Photo courtesy of Viking CruisesViking Star
Christening Date: May 2015
Godmother: To Be Announced
Viking Cruises is venturing into the oceans and building upon their established river cruising brand. This will be the cruise line’s very first ocean ship and she is being custom built to include only veranda staterooms for 928 passengers. This ship will also have a sister ship, but she has yet to be named.

Key Features:

  • A pool with a retractable roof.
  • A Nordic-inspired spa with a snow grotto and sauna
  • Larger than average staterooms, the smallest being 270 square feet

Featured Itinerary: Beginning in 2015, the Viking Star will cruise in Europe

Explorer Suite on the Viking Aegir - Photo courtesy of Viking CruisesViking Longships
Christening Dates: Various throughout 2013 and 2014
Godmothers: Various
Viking took a bold step this year christening 10 ships in one day. The cruise line also plans to christen 12 more Longships in 2014. These Longships are all very similar and are being added to meet the tremendous demand of travelers who are catching on to the beauty of a river cruise in Europe.

Key Features:

  • Two Explorer Suites on all ships that have private wraparound verandas
  • The Aquavit Terrace which features an indoor area that can be arranged to be an outdoor space if the weather is nice
  • Organic herb gardens on the ships’ sun decks

Featured Itinerary: Rhine Getaway – Basel to Amsterdam (8 days)

Avalon Artistry II - Photo courtesy of Avalon WaterwaysAvalon Suite Ships
Christening Dates: Various
Godmothers: Various
Starting in 2011, Avalon Waterways started rolling out their eight Suite Ships. It started with the Avalon Panorama in 2011, this year they have christened the Avalon Expression and the Avalon Artistry II and there are three more ships set to join the fleet in 2014. The ships are 80 percent suites, most of them with 52 suites and 12 staterooms, making for intimate experiences on the beautiful rivers of Europe.

Key Features:

  • Floor-to-ceiling Panorama windows in each suite that open up to bring your balcony into your stateroom
  • Suites are 30 percent larger than the average river ship stateroom
  • Avalon brings local entertainers, chefs and artisans onboard to entertain while sailing

Featured Itinerary: Romantic Rhine – Southbound from Amsterdam to Basel (8 days)

Rendering of the Queen Isabel - Photo Courtesy Uniworld Boutique River Cruise CollectionUniworld’s Queen Isabel
Christening Date: March 22, 2013
Godmother: Andie MacDowell
Uniworld has added one more gem to its fleet of elegant and ornate boutique ships: the Queen Isabel, which will sail the Douro River in Portugal. This ship can hold up to 118 passengers and is designed with blue, cream and gold shades and a heavy use of Toile fabric.

Key Features:

  • Heated swimming pool
  • Sun deck featuring solar panels for sustainable energy
  • This ship has eighteen 215 sq. ft. junior suites and two 323 sq. ft. suites on the top deck with full balconies

Featured Itinerary: Portugal, Spain and the Douro River Valley – Lisbon to Porto (11 days)

You have lots to look forward to with all these new ships to experience. Which ship entices you the most?
The Cruise Web, Inc.
The Cruise Web, Inc.

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1 Heather { 05.22.13 at 12:10 pm }

I cannot believe all the options these new ships have! I can’t wait for the Royal Princess and check out the Sky Walk- looks kind of scary! And the Quantum of the Seas- bumper cars, the North Star, and the sky diving simulator…wow!

2 j day { 05.22.13 at 2:02 pm }

Can you tell me what cruise line offers the most casual setting and does not have formal dinner nights? Thank you in advance.

3 Margot Proctor - The Cruise Web { 05.22.13 at 6:31 pm }

Hi J Day,

The most casual setting with no formal evenings would be the “Free Styling” of Norwegian Cruises. As mentioned in this blog they have a new ship sailing from New York called the Breakaway. Also on most ships they have specialty restaurants that you can go to on the formal nights for a small extra fee of $25.00 – $35.00 per person. This way you can opt out of the formal nights.

4 P. Cantilina { 05.22.13 at 9:30 pm }

We would like to have more ships, all year long, going out of the Bayonne, and NYC ports. Senior’s do not like to fly, but they do like to cruise, and they can afford cruising, but dislike flying because of all the hassles!!!!!

5 Richard { 05.23.13 at 4:58 am }

The Royal princess. What does the cruise include, dinner & breakfast ? the entertainment ? Drinks ? i,m sorry but i,ve never been on a cruise . Richard

6 Rob { 05.23.13 at 4:59 am }

Unfortunately, all these much larger ships do not have proportionately larger open deck areas to accommodate the big increase in the number of passengers. Knowing the difficulties I’ve had in finding a sun lounge available after 9am on these giants I’m now only interested in cruising on smaller ships.
I’m sorry to say my experience has been, in spite of the new “attractions” on offer, bigger isn’t necessarily better.
It’s just more crowded and noisier.

7 Debbie Yordy - The Cruise Web { 05.23.13 at 11:43 am }

Hello P. Catilina!
Great news, the Breakaway sails out of NYC and that the brand new Royal Caribbean ship, the Quantum of the Seas, will be sailing from Bayonne when it debuts next year. Let me know if I can look into a cruising option for you, I can be reached at 1-800-377-9383 xt 411 or via email at

8 George Sweeney-The Cruise Web { 05.23.13 at 12:07 pm }

Hello, Richard!
I’m happy to hear that you are considering taking your first cruise! Princess has a fantastic reputation and they do not disappoint. Your meals and the entertainment are included in the cost of the cruise. There is a ton of information available to you online and it can be overwhelming. I’m here to help! Please feel free to contact me at 1-800-377-9383, ext. 412 or e-mail me at for more information!

9 Rob { 05.23.13 at 1:27 pm }

In reply to comment no. 5 (Richard) a good site to check out for first time Princess cruisers is -
Most cruise lines offers are similar. However, there are different standards and themes across the cruising industry so do your own research before booking. For example, Disney caters especially for families and children while many of the 3 day cruises out of Florida are “booze cruises”. On Princess all food and entertainment is included in the ticket price, some exceptions being alcohol, specialty dining options, plus spa treatments and shore excursions, all of which are optional. Cruising represents excellent value for money you will find, thus it’s huge increase in popularity over the last 10 years.

10 The Cruise Web Team { 05.23.13 at 2:37 pm }

I’m sorry to hear you’ve had trouble finding a deck chair on some larger ships, and it’s true a big ship with lots of features isn’t for every cruiser. Small ships are definitely an attractive proposition too and I think that’s one of the great appeals of river cruises, because the ships afford passengers an intimate experience. We’d love to help you find a great ship that is just the right size for you, so feel free to give us a call at 1-800-377-9383 when you are ready to discuss your next cruise.

11 Tom { 05.29.13 at 4:39 pm }

Can you tell me which cruise ships offer the most fun for an 11 year old? Most notably water slides along with additional frills and fun.

12 The Cruise Web Team { 05.29.13 at 5:15 pm }

Tom, that’s a great question and it would really depend on the 11-year-old, but there are many ships out there these days offering tons of activities for kids. The Norwegian Breakaway is a great choice because it does have a huge ropes course and five water slides, along with a partnership with Nickelodeon. Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas both have fun features for kids (and adults alike) like the AquaTheater, ice skating rink and zip line. They also have DreamWorks characters onboard. Here’s a run down of a lot of the kid friendly features at sea:
We’d love to help you further, so feel free to call us at 1-800-377-9383 to speak with one of our consultants.

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