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The Ultimate Printable Cruise Packing List
The Ultimate Printable Cruise Packing List

New Cruise Ships in 2013

Colleen McDaniel
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Little in the cruising world gets us as amped as a new ship does. Sure,

cruise ship refurbs

are all the rage these days, with numerous lines making major changes to existing vessels. But the new ship is the breeding ground for innovation, the first chance to see something really fresh and interesting.

For fans of something a little smaller -- but luxuriously grand -- Hapag-Lloyd's Europa 2 will debut with some of the largest cabins and balconies at sea, cutting-edge technology and eight gourmet restaurant options.

The Mega-Ships: U.S.

The Low-Down:

The much-heralded Breakaway will be the first of at least three in the line's Breakaway class. At 146,600 tons, the 4,028-passenger ship is slightly smaller than NCL's most recent new build --

Norwegian Epic

, which launched in June 2010. Still, fans of Epic's large-scale entertainment offerings, including Blue Man Group, are salivating over Breakaway's headlining Broadway show, "Rock of Ages." And Broadway is in keeping with Breakaway's New York theme. The ship, which will sail year-round from Manhattan, has an unmistakable NYC vibe. The Rockettes will serve as Breakaway's godmothers, the hull will feature a New York theme designed by pop artist Peter Max, and Sabrett hot dogs and Brooklyn Lager will be served onboard.


Bermuda, Bahamas, Florida (

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Ship & Launch:

Royal Princess

, June 10

Princess' famous Piazza (pictured) will grow; Royal Princess' will be 50 percent larger than any of the line's other versions. The area will also introduce new venues, including a for-fee seafood bar and gelateria. Located just aft of the Piazza, Princess Live! is a TV studio/intimate performance venue that seats 280 passengers. The daily morning broadcast will be filmed here -- with a studio audience -- and passengers can participate in cooking demos, game shows, murder mysteries and trivia at the venue.

The Low-Down:

AIDAstella is the seventh and final ship in Germany-based (though Carnival Corp.-owned) AIDA Cruises' Sphinx class, and it shares the fleet's casual spirit. At 73,000 tons, and carrying 2,194 passengers, AIDAstella has 14 decks, seven restaurants and 12 bars, including an onboard brewery and a wine bar. Upcharge alternative dining options include a sushi restaurant and a steakhouse.

It is a new ship, but it will be awfully familiar to passengers who have cruised the other ships in MSC's Fantasia class. This 3,502-passenger, 139,400-ton Preziosa is the fourth and final ship in the class. As with its sister ships, Preziosa will offer three main restaurants, a disco, casino and a Balinese-inspired spa. It also will feature MSC's signature Yacht Club, which provides passengers ship-within-a-ship luxury and exclusivity -- and a personal butler. There are, however, a handful of new features. Preziosa will feature the Doremi Castle Aqua Park, which will include sprays, fountains, water pistols and water valves for kids. More daring passengers can try out Vertigo, which is more than 42 feet high and 394 feet long, making it the longest waterslide in cruising. Finally, the ship will introduce the Top 18 Exclusive Solarium, a for-fee adult-only space featuring spa service, bar menu and complimentary fruit skewers.

MSC Preziosa Cruise Fares:

Small Ships: Europe

The Low-Down:

Hapag-Lloyd is chartering the 39,500-ton Europa 2 through 2025. The ultra-luxury ship, which can accommodate 516 passengers, has gone stylish and spacious with its new ship, which features huge cabins (from 300 square feet and up) and enormous balconies (from 75 square feet). All cabins have balconies, tubs, tablet PCs, portable phones and Nespresso machines. Europa 2 also has an extensive spa facility that has four different saunas, a whirlpool and an ice fountain.


Mediterranean, Asia

Ship & Launch:

Le Soleal, July

The Low-Down:

Ponant Cruises' Le Soleal launches this year, joining sister yachts

Le Boreal



. The 264-passenger Le Soleal will debut in the Arctic. The luxury ship offers two restaurants: the Gastronomic Restaurant, the ship's main dining area, and the Grill Restaurant, a more casual restaurant that serves a buffet lunch. It also has three lounges, a theater, fitness room and massage rooms. The Arctic itinerary sets Le Soleal apart: Cruising from Greenland, passengers will see the glacier of Disko Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The itinerary also promises to be chock full of nature -- think arctic wolves, whales, polar bars and musk oxen. Plus, stargazers will adore the up-close view of the aurora borealis.

The Riverboats: Europe

The Low-Down:

To say that Viking River Cruises is making a splash in 2013 is an understatement: An unfathomable 10 new "Longships" are set to hit the Rhine, Main and Danube this year. All have been designed by the same team -- Yran & Storbraaten -- and are nearly identical. The Longships each carry 190 passengers and offer five classes of cabins. Suites each feature two rooms, with a French balcony off the bedroom and a full balcony off the living room. Onboard, passengers can hang out at the Aquavit Terrace, an indoor-outdoor space with retractable floor-to-ceiling glass doors.

The Low-Down:

AmaWaterways continues to expand with two new ships debuting in 2013. First up is the 106-passenger AmaVida, which will cruise Portugal's Douro River, a departure for the usual European river itinerary. Douro itineraries take passengers through historic ports, fishing villages and wine regions -- AmaVida even offers several wine-themed cruises with vineyard stops and wine tastings. AmaVida's cabins range from 161 square feet to 323 square feet. Passengers onboard AmaVida can lounge on the ship's sun deck, take a dip in the pool or visit the fitness center and spa. Wi-Fi is available throughout the ship.

Ship & Launch:

AmaPrima, April 3


Danube, Main, Rhine, Dutch, Belgian waterways

Ship & Launch:

Avalon Artistry II

, April 11



Ship & Launch:

Avalon Expression, May 6

The Low-Down:

Avalon Expression is the fifth ship in Avalon Waterways' Suite Ship class. The 166-passenger (443 feet) ship has four decks and six categories of cabins, ranging from 172 square feet to 300 square feet. Standard amenities include private bathrooms with showers that have glass doors, flat-screen TVs, complimentary Wi-Fi access and L'Occitane bath amenities. Other ship features include a hair salon, whirlpool, Open-Air Bistro for outdoor, grilled lunches and expanded fitness area.



The Low-Down:

The 169-passenger Jewel will be

Scenic Tours

' fifth riverboat. The line calls its vessels "space ships" because of the comparatively high space ratio. Cruises on Scenic Jewel will be nearly all-inclusive: Fares will include unlimited drinks, butler service, meals, gratuities and excursions. While Scenic Tours' roots are Australian, the line caters to all English speakers as well.

Updated November 14, 2019

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