The 30th Cruise Shipping Miami conference, the premier event for the global cruise industry and its largest annual gathering, produced a lot of news this week, with several lines reserving big announcements for the event. Here are the week’s top highlights.
Some of the bigger announcements this week centered on Miami.
Norwegian Cruise Line made it official that its newest and biggest ship, the 4,200-passenger Norwegian Escape, will be homeported in Miami. Scheduled to set sail in November 2015, the new-class ship will tout environmental awareness, with a hull design by renowned marine artist and conservationist Guy Harvey/ The artist himself helped unveil the design at a press conference, waxing poetic about the sailfish on the bow, the whale shark on the side, and other sea creatures featured in the undersea theme.
Costa Cruises announced it would do the Caribbean in Italian style with a second ship cruising out of Miami to the Caribbean next winter. It’s the first time since 2009 the line will have two ships in the region. Costa Mediterranea will sail on weeklong itineraries, while Costa Luminosa will do 10-day cruises.
Windstar Cruises, which takes ownership of the first of three 212-passenger sister ships the line purchased from Seabourn in April, revealed new names for its other Star-class ships. After this year’s Star Pride, which will do its first season in Europe, the line will introduce Star Legend and Star Breeze next year. The new ships will help launch new routes including to Northern Europe and Iceland in 2015, said Windstar CEO Hans Birkholz.
AmaWaterways, which is launching two new 164-passenger river ships in Europe this year, next year, and the year after, revealed names for its 2016 ships – they are AmaViola and AmaOdessa.
Seabourn tapped hospitality design icon Adam D. Tihany to work on its newest, as-yet-unnamed ship, which will launch in 2016. He’s designed for Le Cirque and created the gorgeous dining rooms with soaring wine towers on the Celebrity Cruises’ Solstice-class ships. He’s also working on Holland America Line’s Pinnacle-class ship due in February 2016.
For Seabourn, he’ll be doing the whole ship – in a style we’re told will hearken back to the luxury line’s elegant roots (in other words, don’t expect the same W Hotel-ish look of Seabourn’s Odyssey-class ships).
Princess Cruises said Diamond Princess, currently undergoing a $30 million rehab in dry dock in Singapore, would see the addition of a Japanese bath and garden complex and sushi restaurant. The ship is based in Japan for a second season beginning this spring, with cruises that are attracting both Japanese and Americans, officials said.