What's New for 2012?
There's a dizzying array of cruise choices for 2012 with something to please every type of traveller. The cruise industry continues to dazzle us with innovation and luxury aboard their impressive ships. Here's a roundup of what's in store for 2012.
Riviera's main dining room
Photo: Oceania Cruises
Our preferred cruise lines have some exciting new ships entering service in 2012:
- Riviera Oceania Cruises April 24, 2012 - Athens
66,084 tons 1,250 guests
Luxurious contemporary style and country-club ambience with six open-seating gourmet restaurants, hands-on cooking school and Canyon Ranch Spa are just some of the outstanding features. Sister ship of Marina.
- Celebrity Reflection Celebrity Cruises October 12, 2012 - Amsterdam
126,000 tons 3,052 guests
The fifth of the award winning Solstice Class ships will introduce AquaClass Suites and a new Lawn Club Grill. Sister ship of Celebrity Solstice, Eclipse, Equinox and Silhouette.
- Voyager Voyages of Discovery November 16, 2012 - Istanbul
15,369 tons 550 guests
While not newly built, the vessel will be extensively renovated before sailing as the line's second ship, offering destination focused sailings in Europe, the Caribbean, Central and South America.
- mv/Moana Paul Gauguin Cruises December 2012 - TBA
The second ship acquired by the line will emerge from major renovations next December to be deployed in the Mediterranean, Caribbean and Latin America.
Celebrity Reflection's Lawn Club Grill
Photo: Celebrity Cruises
- Viking River Cruises - Europe
Viking Freya, Viking Idun, Viking Odin, Viking Njord (March, 2012)
Viking Embla, Viking Aegir (Summer 2012)
The Viking Longships feature larger staterooms, suites and verandas, the Aquavit indoor/outdoor terrace, quiet engines, organic herb garden.
- Avalon Waterways - Europe
Avalon Visionary & Avalon Vista (May, 2012)
128 & 164 guests
The Panorama Suites of the two new "Suite Ships" have wall-to-wall windows which slide open to convert your suite into an open air balcony.
- Avalon Waterways - Vietnam & Cambodia
Avalon Angkor (September, 2012)
This smaller riverboat is able to sail all the way from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap, Cambodia for intensive Mekong River cruises.
- Uniworld - Vietnam & Cambodia
River Saigon (January 2012)
The 30 deluxe staterooms have French doors which open onto the promenade deck. Panoramic restaurant, lounge with library, sun deck, massage room.
Viking River Cruises' new longship
Photo: Viking River Cruises
Special Event Sailings
- Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee - Cunard Line will celebrate the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's reign with a Royal Rendezvous on June 5, 2012. Cunard's three liners will meet in their homeport of Southampton, England to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee then depart on voyages with special celebrations on board.
- Solar Eclipse - This rare occurrence will only last for four minutes but you can observe it in the middle of the South Pacific aboard Celebrity Millennium. Depart from Honolulu on November 2, 2012 and you'll be in a prime location to witness the Eclipse during the leg from Fiji to New Zealand. Experts will be on board to enrich your knowledge of this unique event.
- Floriade 2012 - World Horticultural Expo - Once every 10 years this floral extravaganza takes place in The Netherlands. Participate in the "Theatre of Nature" with Avalon Waterways, Uniworld and Viking River cruises. Azamara Cruises can also take you there on a special "Chelsea Flower Show, Floriade & Belgium" sailing, May 17.
- Annual Special Events - You'll be set to enjoy some fascinating and fun special events when you cruise with our preferred lines to the Rio Carnival, Baltic White Nights Festival, the Hague Jazz Festival, Edinburgh Tattoo and Monaco Grand Prix.
- Solar Eclipse - This rare occurrence will only last for four minutes but you can observe it in the middle of the South Pacific aboard Celebrity Cruises' Millennium. Depart from Honolulu on November 2, 2012 and you'll be in a prime location to witness the Eclipse during the leg from Fiji to New Zealand. Experts will be on board to enrich your knowledge of this unique event. Another option is Holland America Line's Solar Eclipse sailing aboard Oosterdam round-trip from Sydney November 7, 2012 which calls at ports in Queensland and New Caledonia.
Crystal Cruises Goes All Inclusive
Enhancing its already expansive host of luxury services and amenities, effective spring 2012, vacations on Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity will include complimentary fine wines and premium spirits throughout the ship, open bar service in all lounges, and pre-paid gratuities for housekeeping, bar and dining staff including butler service and specialty restaurant staff.
Learn with a pro on a golf cruise.
Cunard's New Weddings at Sea
Cunard Line made the exciting announcement that they will offer weddings across its fleet starting in spring, 2012. Wedding package details will be released this month.
More Theme Cruises
Focus on your special interest during theme cruises around the globe. Everything from Emerging Artists to golf; NFL Legends to Wine & Food Festivals; music to wellness are available in 2012. Next year there are more than ever to choose from, including these four programs:
- Celebrity's Wine Immersion in Europe sailings
- Crystal Cruises' 25 "Experience of Discovery"® theme cruises
- Oceania's nine "Signature Sailings"
- Regent Seven Seas' "Spotlight on" sailings.
The opportunities are amazing aren't they? And these are just some of the amazing new offerings for 2012! Which exciting cruise experience do you want to enjoy next year?
By Susan Milne