Call it the end of an era (sort of, anyway): Carnival Legend will be the last ship to debut in 2001 when it's released from its shipyard in Finland on December 12. That brings to 15 the number of brand new ships that launched this year, the expansion-madness perhaps highlighted by Norwegian Cruise Line's twin-premiere of its Norwegian Sun and Norwegian Star, which were honored nose-to-nose at the port of Miami this fall.
15 may sound like a lot but it's actually two short of anticipated new ship launches. Royal Olympics' Explorer, held up at the shipyard due to a disagreement between cruise line and ship builder, is now slated to launch next spring -- a full year late. And The World of ResidenSea, the condo-owning vessel that holds unofficial title as most-unique-concept to actually make it to completion, has been postponed twice and is now slated for a late winter release.
And if it seems that the world of cruising is now over-saturated it's important not to forgot how many ships have, at this point, been yanked out of service due to financial concerns or fallout from the crisis of September 11. Among them range everything from Renaissance Cruise's whole fleet to most of American Classic Voyages (save for the historic Delta Queen) to small, specialty ships in major lines such as Princess' Pacific Princess (which will lay up this winter) and Radisson Seven Seas' Song of Flower.