Cruising Europe 2010
By Ralph Grizzle
The North American cruise industry has reaffirmed its faith in Europe by placing much of its crop of new ships in 2010 on the Continent.
The largest North American brand newbuilds, the 150,000-ton Norwegian Epic and the secondOasis-class ship, will be based in the Caribbean. But much of the rest of the industry’s new tonnage will be based in Northern Europe and the Mediterranean, at least for its inaugural season.
The third ship in Celebrity Cruises’ Solstice-class series, Celebrity Eclipse, will launch service this summer out of Southampton. Holland America Line’s new ship, the Nieuw Amsterdam, is slated for a summer delivery, and will spend its maiden season in the Mediterranean. It is one of six Holland America ships based in Europe this year.
Queen Elizabeth, Cunard Line’s new ship, will begin its cruising life in both the Mediterranean and Northern Europe from Southampton. Seabourn Cruises’ second Odyssey-class ship, Seabourn Sojourn, will enter service in London this June, and will spend its summer in Europe as well.
Europe is also getting more tonnage from Alaska, which has lost several ships for the 2010 season, as cruise operators cite the high cost of doing business there.
Richard Meadows, Holland America Line’s executive vice president of marketing, sales and guest programs, said in a statement that it was increasing its Europe presence in response to increased demand. “Our guests are finding a cruise to be the best value for their money in Europe, and interest in Mediterranean and Northern European itineraries continues to grow,” Meadows said.
This is also the year that Disney Cruise Line will spend its first summer in the Baltic, with the Disney Magic offering four, 12-night Northern European Capitals itineraries, roundtrip Dover, England, with calls at Oslo, Copenhagen, Warnemunde, Germany, (for Berlin), overnighting in St. Petersburg, then cruising to Helsinki (alternating with Tallinn, Estonia), Stockholm and back to Dover.
Crystal Cruises has new itineraries on the books, including a new seven-day British Isles cruise.
Competitor Silversea calls on Le Verdon, near Bordeaux on the west coast of France. Prince Albert II will sail from Lisbon, Portugal on April 28, with stops in Leixoes (Oporto), Portugal; La Coruna, Spain; Bilbao, Spain; overnight in Bordeaux, France; Nantes, France; Saint-Malo, France; Guernsey, Channel Islands; Honfleur, France; and ending in Portsmouth, England on May 10.
Regent is dedicating more beds to Europe for 2010. Regent Seven Seas Voyager will continue to offer Northern Europe sailings.
Princess Cruises has quite a lot of diversity on the books next year, with 39 European itineraries, 96 departures and visits to more than 130 destinations. For the 2010 season, Princess added 11 destinations, including seven maiden calls and four where Princess ships are returning after an extended absence. Ocean Princess will kick off a series of new seven-day Interlude itineraries that include Scandinavia, Norway or Ireland and Scotland.
Celebrity shuffled ships for the coming summer. Constellation takes over Century’s 2009 itineraries, sailing 12-night Scandinavia and Russia. Also, on May 9, Constellation will sail a new, one-time, seven-night Norwegian Fjords voyage roundtrip out of Amsterdam. And she will offer a one-time, 12-night cruise to the Arctic Circle on June 21, roundtrip out of Amsterdam. Celebrity also is revisiting Hamburg, Germany, last visited in 2002.
Azamara Cruise Club sends both ships to Europe for the third consecutive summer, with a total of 93 ports visited throughout 39 sailings. Azamara will visit nine European ports for the first time in 2010, including Liverpool, England. Azamara also will offer 53 overnight stays in 13 ports across 33 of its 39 sailings. Fourteen sailings include more than one overnight stay. Overnight stays will be offered in St. Petersburg, Russia; Stockholm, Sweden; Edinburgh (Leith), Scotland; and London (Greenwich), England.
Additionally, the line will stay overnight in four European ports for the first time in 2010, including Bordeaux, France and Berlin (Warnemunde), Germany. Azamara’s Europe sailings will be based out of six turnaround ports, including Copenhagen, Denmark.
Royal Caribbean will base Independence of the Seas year-round in Southampton, England, the company’s first ship to homeport full-time in the U.K. In 2008, Brilliance of the Seas became the first Royal Caribbean ship to operate year-round in Europe, sailing out of Barcelona.
Holland America Line will make 11 maiden calls, including Isle of Man, United Kingdom. Also new for 2010: Eurodam and Westerdam will offer departures from Rotterdam and Dover that will feature the Baltic, Norwegian Fjords and Northern Europe.
Seabourn will call at new ports in 2010, including Szczecin, Poland; Torshavn, Faroe Islands; and Trondheim, Norway.