Royal Caribbean's fleet and capacity is exploding. The line announced that it has moved ahead with plans for the fourth ship in the Oasis class. The Royal Caribbean executives unveiled the news at a keel-laying ceremony for the third Oasis ship at STX France's shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France.
Oasis IV would be delivered in 2018, and Harmony of the Seas -- the third Oasis-class ship and the largest in the world -- is due in 2016. These massive ships expand the class of the world's two largest cruise ships, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.
Newbuilds also are under way for Quantum of the Seas (launching in November 2014) and Anthem of the Seas (coming in 2015). A third Quantum-class ship, Ovation of the Seas, is scheduled to launch in 2016. These revolutionary Quantum-class ships feature the line's "Dynamic Dining" concept of multiple smaller dining venues with no traditional main dining room and activities such as North Star and a skydiving simulator, as well as bumper cars.
All told, more than 23,000 in additional passenger capacity is in the Royal Caribbean pipeline with these five mega-vessels. These plans point to the cruise line's optimistic outlook for global demand for cruise vacations -- especially in China -- and also put Royal Caribbean on course, if no ships are taken out of the fleet between now and then, to become the largest cruise line in the world, surpassing Carnival. If all currently revealed plans hold, Royal Caribbean would have 26 vessels in the waters in 2018 to Carnival's 25.
Crystal Cruises is off and running with a great way for active cruisers to see the sights. The luxury line this month begins its Site Running excursion program that consists of escorted jogs through European towns and villages to see the sights while you're ashore.
Run these spots . . .
Dubrovnik's River Ombla and the old train route to Brgat village -- a path usually only traveled by locals -- before hopping on the city's cable car for a ride to UNESCO World Heritage Site of Old Town Dubrovnik.
From Greenock, Scotland, along the inclines, declines and worn paths surrounding Loch Lomond, known as the Queen of Scottish lakes, set among the rolling green hills of the Highlands.
Among St. Petersburg, Russia's gilded Baroque architecture, across the Neva River to Vasilievsky Island, past Peter the Greatâs lush summer garden, then to Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood.
Beside Amsterdam's tree-lined canals, through pedestrian-only areas like the Waterlooplein flea market and past iconic spots like Anne Frank House and museums such as the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh.
From Monte Carlo, on a rolling path along the French Riviera, around Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat peninsula and through the village of Villefranche-sur-Mer to Beaulieu-sur-Mer before taking a swim in the Mediterranean Sea.
Around the Cork town of Cobh, Ireland, filled with colorful row houses, a hill-top, neo-Gothic cathedral, and magnificent harbor views.
Through old Bordeaux -- a UNESCO World Heritage Site only accessible by foot -- past landmarks including the medieval Cailhau Gate, Napoleon and Chaban-Delmas Bridge crossings, the world's first American consulate, and other cathedrals, theaters and monuments.
What better way to mitigate those calorie-filled feasts onboard your sailing?
Travel fit. Travel happy.
Thanks for reading,