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Copyright © 1995-2004 
Linda Coffman


New Ships for 2004

With Pride of America, NCL continues a trend it started last year—utilizing its hull as a canvas to illustrate attributes of the ship.

by Linda Coffman

A Dozen Vessels Launch

2004 is beginning with a bang for the cruise industry as January's launch of Queen Mary 2 draws near. She's said to be the largest, longest, and tallest liner ever built. Also the most expensive! If you didn't receive your invitation to join Queen Elizabeth at the QM2 christening, you won't have to miss the festivities. You can still tune in and attend with Mary Hart on television's 'Entertainment Tonight' on January 6, 7, and 8.

America's first ocean-going U.S. Flagged cruise ship in nearly 50 years will feature a vibrant artistic interpretation of the Stars and Stripes combined with the United States' national bird—the Bald Eagle—on the hull of Norwegian Cruise Line's new ship, Pride of America. Splashed with stars and stripes in striking red, white and blue, the eagle artwork, will run on both sides of the hull in a dynamic celebration of America.

"Pride of America signifies the Best of America and we wanted to celebrate the Stars and Stripes and the country's greatest American emblem the Bald Eagle," said Colin Veitch, NCL's president and CEO. "This artwork will certainly set the tone for the Best of America theme running throughout the Pride of America. Once our guests are inside, they will enjoy the diverse regions of America from Alaska to Texas to New Orleans to Washington, D.C and of course Hawaii."

Princess Cruise Line wins the prize hands-down for the most ship launches for the year—three new vessels—and the biggest ships to enter service in 2004. All three new Love Boats are in the 113,000 to 116,000 ton range.

Not all "launches" in 2004 are brand-new and the year will see the re-launch of a former Renaissance Cruises' R-ship when Insignia joins Oceania Cruises' fleet.

New for 2004 are...

  • Cunard Line's flagship Queen Mary 2 debuts in January as the largest, longest, and tallest liner ever built. The 2,620-passenger liner will sail transatlantic voyages between Southampton and New York.
  • Carnival Cruise Lines introduces the 2,124-guest Carnival Miracle in February and the 2,974-passenger Carnival Valor in December. Carnival Miracle boasts indoor and outdoor promenades, an upscale supper club, and a high percentage staterooms with private verandahs. The 110,000-ton Carnival Valor will feature 22 bars, three restaurants, four swimming pools, a 214-foot-long water slide and a 14,500-square-foot spa.
  • Oceania Cruises' second ship, the 30,200-ton, 684-passenger Insignia, debuts in April.
  • Royal Caribbean International's 2,100-passenger, 90,090-ton Jewel of the Seas debuts in April. In addition to the highest percentage of balcony staterooms in the Royal Caribbean fleet, the ship features a rock-climbing wall, Seattle's Best coffee house, Italian restaurant and steakhouse, self-leveling pool tables, indoor Solarium, and expansive kids' facilities.
  • Holland America Line's 1,848-passenger Westerdam debuts in April. The ship features a large number of verandah cabins.
  • MSC Italian Cruises' 1,760-guest Opera enters the fleet in April. The 60,000-ton vessel is the sister ship to the Lirica, which entered service in 2003.
  • Princess Cruises adds three ships to the Love Boat fleet. The 113,000-ton, 2,670-passenger sister-ships Diamond Princess and Sapphire Princess debut in March and June, respectively. The line's largest ship, the 116,000-ton, 3,100-guest Caribbean Princess, debuts in April. It features a poolside movie screen, as well as 900 cabins with balconies. All three ships offer Personal Choice Cruising and other signature Princess hallmarks.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line's NCL America brand introduces the first new ocean-going passenger ship in nearly 50 years to sail under the American Flag in July. The 2,146-passenger Pride of America will sail seven-night inter-island Hawaii cruises, and boasts eight dining venues, more than 660 balcony staterooms, state-of-the art entertainment lounges, three swimming pools, and the largest dedicated meeting facilities at sea.
  • Costa Cruises' new 105,000-ton Costa Magica enters the fleet in November. The 2,720-guest vessel has 458 staterooms with verandas, 11 bars, four restaurants, a theater extending over three decks, and three swimming pools.

Which ship to pick for your next cruise? It's getting more and more difficult to choose... life's decisions should all be so pleasant!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who visited in 2003. Your feedback is gratifying!

Wishing calm seas, blue skies, and happy cruising to one and all! J

Photo Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

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