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Copyright © 1995-2001 
Linda Coffman

Logo Design by
  SBeck Art

2001 ~ The Cruise Year in Review &
A Peek At What's Ahead in 2002

by Linda Coffman

2001 - Year End Recap

In the midst of explosive industry growth, who would have thought that  cruise lines would founder? I certainly couldn't have predicted the demise of Renaissance Cruises and American Classic Voyages. 

On the flip side, 2001 saw the launch of incredible new tonnage... Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruises unveiled new versions of their "destination" vessels, ships with a bit of something for everyone, designed to compete with the world's most well-equipped land resorts.

Norwegian Star in MiamiTo compete even more effectively, Norwegian Cruise Line continued to roll out ships and a new concept--"Freestyle" cruising. Want it YOUR way? No problem. And Princess put the "i" in cruising with "Personal Choice" dining. Eat when you want, where you want, and with whom you choose. Choice is the latest buzzword afloat and Carnival Cruise Line entered the fray the only way they could, introducing four dinner seatings, instead of the tradition two. (Photo--Norwegian Star in Miami)

Along with all the new capacity at sea, as well as the travel dip following September 11th, fares have never been lower. Cruises are now within the budget of nearly everyone. And it's more affordable than ever to "move on up" to a luxury cruise product that you've always wanted to try, but which was just out of reach. Granted, not all fares have gone to rock bottom; however, enough have to make it a good time to secure an affordable booking.

One choice that disappeared was the Renaissance fleet. Laid up around the world, the question is, "what about those lovely ships...?" What's going to happen to them? Happily, they will no doubt be incorporated into the fleets of other cruise lines--they are PERFECT for the Bermuda itinerary of, say, Princess (who will retire the Pacific Princess next year). Sadly, it's unlikely the eight R-class vessels and two yacht-like Renaissance ships will ever again sail under the same house flag.

As for the fate of the All-American fleet of American Classic Voyages... that's another uncertainty. One thing's for sure, though. The two new ships on order will not be launched as planned, if ever. 

An intriguing development in ship design is size. Yes, size still matters and cruise lines are swinging back and forth between bigger and biggest... and not quite so big. Along with new vessels of over 100,000 tons, Royal Caribbean and Carnival are still introducing what were mega-liners in the past--ships in the 85,000+ ton range. While Holland America will incorporate the tiny (by today's standards) Prinsendam into her fleet in 2002, her recent new ships have been mid-sized but are creeping into the mega-size range.

Immediately following the terrorist attacks on September 11th, cruise lines realized even the lowest fares wouldn't tempt everyone to board an airplane for the traditional air and sea vacation. For the time being, travelers want to stay closer to home. If passengers won't go to Europe or Asia, the cruise lines will bring the ships to them. Thus, "drive in" cruising is the rage. Holland America Line boasts of 360 sailings within a half-day's drive of 40 percent of North American households, adding Seattle and Port Canaveral for a total of 15 U.S. and Canadian home ports. Look for your favorite ships to sail from Baltimore, New Orleans, Mobile, Tampa, and other closer to home embarkation ports. 

What's Ahead in 2002

So far, 2002 is shaping up to be a very good year for choice. If I had to dip into my bag of predictions, I would look for a "Renaissance Princess" in the new year. Or, possibly a return to hands-on passenger shipping by the distinguished Chandris family of Greece. Most definitely, additional embarkation ports will be introduced. Hopefully, the piers in New York City will re-open as planned.

And what of the proposed Royal Caribbean/P&O Princess Cruises merger? Will Carnival Corp's bid stall or sink it? It will probably simply end up costing more... regulators will likely have the final say-so on who merges and ends up with the "world's largest" cruise line.

Following are the scheduled new fleet additions for 2002. Most are brand-new, although a few are re-launches (Prinsendam and the SeaDream yachts-like ships) and one (Olympic Explorer) is a delayed delivery. 

Carnival Conquest - 110,000 tons, 2,976 passengers, November 2002
Carnival Pride - 88,500 tons, 2,124 passengers, debut December 2001
Carnival Legend - 88,500 tons, 2,124 passengers, August 2002
Celebrity Constellation - 91,000 tons, 1,950 passengers, May 2002
European Stars - 58,600 tons, 1,500 passengers, April 2002
HAL Zuiderdam - 85,000 tons 1,848 passengers, September 2002
HAL Prinsendam - 38,000 tons, 758 passengers, June 2002
Norwegian Dawn - 91,000 tons, 2,200 passengers, October 2002
Coral Princess - 88,000 tons, 1,950 passengers, October 2002
Star Princess - 109,000 tons, 2,600 passengers, March 2002
RCI Brilliance of the Seas - 88,000 tons, 2,100 passengers, July 2002
Royal Olympic's Explorer - 25,000 tons, 840 berths, February 2002
SeaDream Yacht Club SeaDream I - 4,260 tons, 116 passengers, debut Dec 2001
SeaDream Yacht Club's SeaDream II - 4,260 tons, 116 passengers, March 2002

Stick around... it's going to be an interesting year. As in 2001, I'll be passing along all the cruise news you want to read.

On land or at sea -- HAPPY NEW YEAR!Finally, I'd like to thank everyone who has stuck by me and the launch of my web site this year. I created in February 2001 as a source of cruising information that wasn't available all in one spot on the Internet. It has been gratifying to hear from so many cruise travelers since then and I'm happy to report that my Maiden Voyage year has been a success. I want to thank my friends for all their help--Anita Potter for coming up with such a catchy site name, Bob Hoover for site development assistance, and Stan Beck for the Cruise Diva logo. Other supportive friends deserve thanks and hugs... they are too numerous to list, but you know who you are, gang! J

Wishing ~ calm seas, blue skies, and a bright cruising future to one and all!

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Norwegian Star Photo Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line