The next couple of weeks are big in the U.S. cruise world: Three major new ships will make their way across the pond for the first time. Together they will bring next-level amenities, including wild waterslides, swanky seafood restaurants, and the first floating brewery in North America. Plus, one happens to be the world's largest ship.
Here's what to expect:
The Carnival Vista has its own brewmaster who creates three types of beer onboard. The 3,954-passenger ship also has the first IMAX Theatre at sea, an elaborate waterpark, and SkyRide, a recumbent bike you ride hanging above an open deck. The ship has the fun and casual Carnival style we love, but it feels slightly fancier than earlier models. Welcome additions include an outdoor Seafood Shack and improved accommodations for families. Carnival Vista will be christened in New York on Friday and sails from its new homeport of Miami beginning November 27.
Harmony of the Seas
Royal Caribbean's mammoth 6,000-plus-passenger Harmony of the Seas arrives in its new year-round homeport of Fort Lauderdale this week and will be christened on November 10. Onboard you can see an excellent live production of the musical "Grease" or freak yourself out on the Ultimate Abyss, a crazy slide that plunges from Deck 16 to Deck 6. Thrill-seekers will also want to check out the Perfect Storm, three slides that are part of Royal Caribbean's first waterpark. Don't disembark without ordering a drink prepared by a robot at the Bionic Bar.
Embarking next week from Fort Lauderdale is Holland America Line's largest ship ever, the 2,650-passenger Koningsdam, which brings a new and appealingly contemporary look to the line's traditional fleet. Awesome spaces include a stunning, two-deck main pool area and Music Walk, where passengers can enjoy blues (B.B. King's Blues Club), pop (Billboard Onboard), or classical music (Lincoln Center Live). There's also an excellent new seafood specialty restaurant, Sel de Mar (a-la-carte pricing applies). The ship cruises to the Caribbean through March before returning to Europe.