Get Away With Fran

August 27, 2009

New ship cruise news from Germany, Finland and France or Disney, NCL and Royal Caribbean


Lots of stuff happening in shipyards in Europe where several lines are building their biggest, newest, and perhaps most-anticipated (and certainly most publicized) new ships.

First to Papenburg, Germany, where Meyer Werft is building the new 128,000-ton Disney Dream, which will carry up to 4,000 parents and kids (or 2,600 passengers double occupancy) on adventures to the Caribbean, beginning in 2011. The keel has been laid for the latest Disney Cruise Line vessel, which means construction has begun and rabid Disney fans can officially start salivating.

Not a lot of details about the ship yet, but you can be sure Disney has some amazing tricks up its sleeve. Speaking of which, on its Europe cruises this summer guests with big bucks will be offered the unique shore excursion option of flying by private plane from Warnemunde, Germany (one of the ports of call on the line’s new Northern Europe route) to Papenburg to see the Disney Dream under construction. Cool, huh?

On to France, where NCL has its 4,200-passenger, 153,000-ton Norwegian Epic┬ábeing built at STX Europe in St-Nazaire. The news on this ship is you can now book passage on the ship’s first transatlantic sailing – or at least get on┬áthe waitlist thereof (and get first priority for a cabin once the sailing date is set). Call your travel agent or the cruise line direct at 866-234-7350.


The Epic’s inaugural season in the Caribbean next year is also for sale, at rates from $699 per person. The first Caribbean cruise is in July, 2010. This is the ship that has Blue Main Group onboard performing, funky wavy wall cabins (and villa suites overlooking a pool), cool nighttime spots including an ice bar (brrrr) and 20 dining optins.

And now on to the world’s largest cruise ship, the 5,400-passenger Oasis of the Seas, under construction at STX Europe, in Turku, Finland, and set to debut this fall. I alas was not invited on the latest press jaunt to see the progress, but my pal Gene Sloan at USA Todayis reporting the ship looks as big as it sounds. He gets to look at progress onboard the 225,000-ton ship today.

This is the ship that will have a Central Park complete with forest – trees, flowers, a spice garden and three gardeners doing the tending. Other cool features include an amusement park complete with merry-go-round, a deck-top zipline (which I can’t wait to try), a bar that rises three decks, a swimming pool that at night will host aerobic diving shows and so much more I can’t mention it all here. Let’s just say this is the most exciting ship in quite some time – and it’s 40% larger than any other cruise ship afloat.

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