Cruises

Luxury Vessels Court Incentives

By Kate Mulcrone
September 1, 2012

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While the cruise industry recovers from the impact of the Costa Concordia disaster earlier this year, a bevy of new ships is steaming out of port, ready to host incentive groups. With inventory running high and prices dropping, incentive cruises offer exceptional value. 

Viking River Cruises recently embarked on an ambitious $250-million fleet development program, with six of the line's trademark long ships launching in 2012. Each ship features 95 staterooms and suites, as well as signature indoor/outdoor terraces with retractable floor-to-ceiling glass doors. They sail eight-, 10-, and 15-day European itineraries.

May also saw the debut of Oceania Cruises' Oceania Riviera, which can accommodate up to 1,250 passengers. It features a Canyon Ranch Spa Club, a French bistro from Jacques Pepin, and a hands-on culinary center developed with Bon Appetit magazine.

Celebrity Cruises is finishing construction of the Celebrity Reflection, which is expected to debut in October. With room for 3,046  passengers, it boasts an expanded deck and 72 more staterooms than Celebrity's four other Solstice-class ships, as well as more restaurant and theater seating and sun lounges. Spa-themed AquaClass suites include the services of a spa concierge, access to the Mediterranean-themed restaurant Blu, custom toiletries, and on-demand wellness programming. The Reflection also boasts a 96-seat ballroom.

Currently under construction in Germany is the Norwegian Breakaway, scheduled for delivery next April with the capacity to host up to 4,000 guests. When completed, it will be the largest ship in the world to call New York City home. Group venues include a three-story sports complex and The Haven, a "ship-within-a-ship" deck with suites and villas and private butler service. Food Network star Geoffrey Zakarian is developing an onboard seafood restaurant, Ocean Blue. It will sail seven-day itineraries to Bermuda beginning in May 2013.

With Silverseas' acquisition of Canodros S.A., an Ecuadorian tourism company operating in the Galapagos Islands, the line's capacity will expand beyond the polar regions. In September 2013, Canodros' all-suite Galapagos Explorer II, with a capacity of 100, will be refurbished and later rechristened and officially added to the Silverseas fleet.

Costa Cruises' newest ship, the Costa Fascinosa, debuted in Venice this May with capacity for 3,780 passengers. It boasts a Samsara Spa, a pool area with a giant movie screen and sliding glass roof, and a Grand Prix driving simulator. It sails seven-night itineraries departing from Venice and Bari, Italy.
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