(Update May 25, 11:15 a.m. EST: Royal Caribbean has announced that Mariner of the Seas will be deployed to China in 2013, joining Voyager of the Seas. Mariner will take the place of Legend of the Seas, which will move to Europe next summer, and will sail three- to 12-night cruises from China and Singapore.)
(10:25 a.m. EST) -- Royal Caribbean has announced its final line-up of ships in Europe for the summer of 2013. But following a series of bullish announcements earlier this year about a massive increase in capacity and a much wider choice of cruises from the U.K., the line is actually cutting back elsewhere in Europe, with nine ships heading across the Atlantic next summer as opposed to 11 for this year.
Brits should have nothing to complain about, with the 137,308-ton, 3,114-guest Adventure of the Seas, the154,407-ton, 3,634-passenger Independence of the Seas and the 90,090-ton, 2,112-passenger Brilliance of the Seas all sailing from UK ports in 2013.
Elsewhere, Liberty of the Seas and Serenade of the Seas will sail from Barcelona, while Navigator of the Seas and Splendour of the Seas will operate out of Italian ports. The latest news adds to the list Legend of the Seas sailing from Venice and Rome; and Vision of the Seas homeporting in Copenhagen and Stockholm, bringing the total to 276 sailings on 58 European itineraries for 2013.
Jewel of the Seas won't return to Europe next summer; it'll be cruising the Caribbean instead. Grandeur of the Seas will be operating out of Baltimore; and the deployment of Mariner of the Seas, in Europe this year, is yet to be revealed.
Although confidence in cruising from Europe may be on the wane, Royal Caribbean appears to have renewed enthusiasm for the Caribbean, having today announced its biggest-ever collection of ships in the region – 15 in total – for winter of 2013/14.
--by Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributing Editor