Here’s a quick look at what’s new this week in cruising, and how it could impact your next trip.
The world's largest ship, Harmony of the Seas, is now officially the 25th ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet. The $1 billion, 5,479-passenger ship left the STX France shipyard this week en-route to Southampton, U.K. for a series of preview cruises. Besides having a population the size of a small town -- in addition to passengers there's a crew of 2,100 onboard -- the behemoth ship has a thrill slide with a 100-foot drop, robotic bartenders, and a Central Park with more than 52 real trees. After an inaugural season out of Barcelona, Harmony of the Seas will homeport in Fort Lauderdale beginning in November.
Marilyn Monroe fans will want to hop on board Cunard's Queen Mary 2 for the August 9-16 transatlantic crossing as the world celebrates what would have been the star's 90th birthday. The ship will host highlights from the world’s largest Marilyn Monroe memorabilia collection.
Passengers cruising the Mediterranean on Carnival Cruise Line's new, 3,954-passenger Carnival Vista this week are sampling the first batches of three types of beer actually brewed on the ship and available nowhere else. The RedFrog Pub & Brewery is the first brewery on a North American ship. There are two copper-topped glass kettles at the pub entrance plus eight fermenting tanks visible behind glass. If you want to learn more about the brewing process, you can book a behind-the-scenes tour ($12.95) conducted by the onboard brew master.
Prog-Rock goes to sea this winter when iconic bands Yes, Kansas, and others participate in a Cruise to the Edge from Tampa to Cozumel on Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas. The four-day sailing embarks Fort Lauderdale on February 7, 2017.
Carnival Corp.'sFathombrand has committed to seven-day cruises from Miami to both the Dominican Republic and Cuba (on alternating weeks) through December 2017. Officials said demand for the social impact cruises is growing.