Brand new cruise ships will be in the news in the coming weeks as Princess Cruises Regal Princess comes to the United States for its naming ceremony and Royal Caribbean's innovative Quantum of the Seas makes its crossing from England to New Jersey for its inaugural season and christening.
Regal Princess has been sailing a Mediterranean season since May and will be in Fort Lauderdale on November 5 for its big festivities. The ship's godparents are the cast members of the classic TV show Love Boat, and dozens of stars who made appearances on the show will be on hand for the event that also kicks off the 50th anniversary year for the Princess Cruises line.
Quantum of the Seas will makes its transatlantic eight-day voyage November 2 from Southampton, England, to Cape Liberty in Bayonne, N.J., where godmother Kristin Chenoweth will lead the festivities.
Quantum of the Seas will offer a skydiving simulator, "Dynamic Dining" (a choice of themed dining venues instead of a traditional main seating room), a high-tech interactive entertainment space, robot bartenders and what Royal Caribbean says will be the fastest Internet speeds at sea.
I sailed on the 3,500-passenger Regal Princess in May. It is a fantastic ship, with great decor and wonderful food and service. It's probably my favorite ship I've been on out of 25 total sailings. Regal Princess will be sailing Caribbean itineraries out of Fort Lauderdale.
I hope to get onto the 4,180-passenger Quantum of the Seas one of these days to give you a review of the ship, which will be sailing to the Bahamas out of New Jersey for six months before heading to its permanent homeport in China.
Elsewhere . . .
Costa Cruises also will be christening a new ship, Costa Diadema, on November 7 in Genoa, Italy. The ship will sail seven-day itineraries in the Mediterranean.
Norwegian Cruise Line announced that its new ship, the 4,200-passenger Norwegian Escape, to launch from its year-round Miami homeport in November 2015, will feature a Tobacco Road bar onboard. The bar celebrates the famed Miami tavern of the same name.
Cruisers now can get information from the U.S. Department of Transportation website, which has been updated to include cruise industry regulations and consumer rights when booking a cruise vacation.