February 6, 2002
As Royal Caribbean’s Viking Serenade winds up its long relationship with the cruise line this month -- the 40,132-ton, 1,512-passenger ship, now eclipsed by 142,000-ton, 3,114 behemoths like Voyager, Explorer and Adventure of the Seas, is leaving the fleet -- it isn’t going far. The ship is going to be part of a new joint venture between Royal Caribbean and UK tour operator First Choice: Viking Serenade, to be renamed “Island Cruises,” is the cornerstone, will be aimed at European travelers looking for casual cruising in the Mediterranean and Americans seeking the same kind of atmosphere in the Mexican Riviera. That’s after Viking Serenade undergoes a $10 million renovation that includes a British pub, among other things. Viking Serenade’s departure means there are no Baja Mexican cruises on Royal Caribbean ships until next October, when it repositions Vision of the Seas there for 3- and 4-day trips.