Royal Caribbean International has announced some major (and also some minor) changes in itineraries and ship deployments for 2004. Among those decisions making big waves:
*The 140,000-ton Voyager of the Seas will spend next spring/summer in New York and offer an interesting blend of itineraries – alternating five-night Canada/New England voyages with nine-night Western Caribbean trips. The idea (beyond offering trips to destinations from New York not already covered by other cruise lines) is to encourage passengers to book back-to-back trips.
*Royal Caribbean adds Baltimore to its list of seasonal home ports; that Mid-Atlantic city is becoming increasingly popular as a port of embarkation and debarkation. Grandeur of the Seas, which will sail from Baltimore from July – October, will offer seven-night Western Caribbean sailings as well as 10- and 11-night Caribbean cruises. There will be two Canada/New England trips, as well.
*Just like last year, Royal Caribbean will have three ships in Alaska next summer. What's different is that Vision of the Seas, which has the Vancouver-to-Seward (and reverse) assignment, will add a new port to the itinerary. This ship will call at Icy Strait, an Alaskan version of a Caribbean private island; it has got an historic area and is also a prime wildlife-spotting site.