Here’s a quick look at what’s new this week in cruising, and how it could impact your next trip…
- Superstar Pitbull christened Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Escape in Miami by smashing a bottle of champagne and singing hits like Don't Stop the Party. In doing so, he earns the title of coolest cruise ship godfather ever -- as witnessed by us and a few thousand other invited guests. The 4,200-passenger ship, which starts cruising the Caribbean from Miami later this week, wows with features including an extravagant Aqua Park, cool craft beer hall, and retro dinner theater tribute to the "Brat Pack" and movie director John Hughes. The Escape is Norwegian Cruise Line's first Breakaway-Plus ship, a touch bigger and a tad fancier than the line's Miami-based Norwegian Getaway and New York-based Norwegian Breakaway.
- This week, the New York area becomes the official launch pad for Royal Caribbean International's high-tech, 4,200-passenger Anthem of the Seas, doing year-round cruises from Bayonne, N.J. to the Caribbean. Robot bartenders, bumper cars, and a simulated skydiving experience are part of the fun.
- Fancy ocean line Crystal Cruises dipped, not a toe, but an entire foot into what it calls "true luxury" river cruising, ordering up four swanky 110-passenger river ships and purchasing an existing 160-passenger German ship (which will get a luxury redo). The first Crystal River Cruises debut on the Danube in 2016.
- Take a Windstar cruise to Costa Rica and Panama in March and you can pal around with Animal Planet's Jeff Corwin, who also hosts the Ocean Mysteries series on ABC. Corwin will be on hand to talk about animal conservation on Isla de Coiba, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on Panama's Pacific coast. The one-week cruise on the 212-passenger Star Breeze embarks March 5.