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New Ships Bring New Choices to the Caribbean
The Caribbean is the world’s most popular cruise destination, enjoyed by millions of cruise travelers each year. With the diversity of the islands of the Eastern Caribbean and the coastal "sun and sand” destinations of the Western Caribbean, it’s easy to understand why.
Many major cruise lines sail the Caribbean, so cruise travelers have always had a fine choice of ships and itineraries. Recently, some new ships have come on the scene to offer greater choice than ever before.
Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, the groundbreaking Oasis of the Seas, is completing its first summer in the Caribbean. This 5,400-passenger ship, the largest cruise ship afloat, has a lush onboard park, a lounge that travels vertically through the decks, an AquaTheater and innovative stateroom designs.
The new Epic from Norwegian Cruise Line launched its first Caribbean cruise on July 10. The 4,100-passenger Epic is also noted for innovative staterooms, including 128 "studio” cabins for solo cruisers. This ship also offers exceptional entertainment, including shows by the Blue Man Group and the Second City comedy troupe.
In December, accommodations for another 5,400 passengers will hit the waters of the Caribbean when Allure of the Seas, the sister ship of the Oasis of the Seas, is unveiled.
While the new ships provide ever-greater choice in Caribbean cruises, don’t expect to see major discounts due to the added capacity. Given their newness, the Oasis, Allure and Epic currently command premium prices. And, industry executives say that prices for Caribbean cruises on other ships are beginning to rise as the economy continues to recover from the recession.
Still, recovery in the cruise industry, as in the overall economy, should remain steady but slow. As a result, many cruise lines are still offering attractive incentives to book Caribbean cruises, including free upgrades to balcony cabins and shipboard credits (money you can spend onboard).
It also appears that the cruise lines are turning their attention from the building of new ships to the refurbishment of existing ships. Royal Caribbean has announced that it will add several amenities introduced on the Oasis of the Seas (such as a cupcake stand, outdoor movie screens and Broadway-style shows) to some of its older ships. So, cruise fans can expect to find a few new tricks on some older ships in the Caribbean.
For more information on the latest in Caribbean cruising, talk with your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.