Yesterday’s arrival of the Costa Deliziosa in Dubai for the ship’s naming ceremony officially kicked-off the 2010 new cruise ship frenzy – which is shaping up to be just as exciting (if not more) than last year. Shortly after the Costa Deliziosa set sail, AIDA cruises christened the AIDAblu in Hamburg which will be sailing the waters of Northern Europe. By the end of April, the cruise industry will see five major ships debut – and that’s only the beginning. The major cruise contenders have a total of 13 ships on the drawing board for 2010, and the rapidly growing river cruise industry is introducing three newcomers from both AMA and Avalon Waterways.
While most of the ships are “sisters” to previous newcomers, there are a few attention-getters that are stealing the spotlight this year. NCL is promoting the Norwegian Epic, its largest ship to date which is slated to set sail in June. The ship is already making headlines with its unusual amenities like the first ice bar at sea, private lounge access, and studio suites for solo travelers. In addition, the three-mast sailing ship, the Sea Cloud Hussar will launch this fall carrying 136-passengers throughout the Mediterranean.
On the radar of the “sister ships” due out this spring is the 2,518-passenger MSC Magnifica – which begins cruising Europe this March – followed by the April 7 launch of P & O Cruises’ Azura which strays from the family-friendly Ventura (Azura’s sister) by offering guests a more upscale experience. The last of the fresh batch of first-quarter ships will be the Celebrity Eclipse, the third ship in the Solstice class which sails out of Southampton at the end of April.
Stay tuned for more updates as they develop, or check out our selections for the Top Ten Cruises in 2010.