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
, 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
, 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,
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.