(10:40 a.m. EST) -- More good news for U.K. cruisers: Royal Caribbean has announced that it will almost double its capacity out of Southampton with the addition of the 137,308-ton, 3,114-guest Adventure of the Seas.
The ship arrives in May 2013 and will be based in Southampton alongside the 154,407-ton, 3,634-passenger Independence of the Seas, which by then will be in its sixth summer season from the British port. The news comes hot on the heels of announcements by both Carnival and Royal Caribbean's sister line, Celebrity Cruises, about increased capacity from the U.K. for 2013.
Royal Caribbean first based a ship in Southampton in 2005 with the 2,435-passenger Legend of the Seas; since then, larger and larger ships have been calling the port home. Year-round cruising, however, has been less than successful: This year, having dabbled for two seasons in winter voyages to the Canary Islands, the line pulled Independence of the Seas from Southampton for the chillier months and put the ship in the Caribbean.
Adventure of the Seas will sail a series of 7-, 12-, 13-, 14- and 16-night cruises to the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Iceland, the Baltics and the Canary Islands, mixing it up with Independence's summer schedule, which also includes voyages of varying length to Norway, the Med and the Canary Islands.
--By Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributing Editor