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Cruise Report: New and improved

Scenic Cruises has announced the commission of a seventh ship for its European fleet. Scenic Jewel will undertake its inaugural voyage in 2013 along the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers from Amsterdam to Budapest, Hungary.

On May 31 in Monfalcone, Italy, Carnival Cruise Lines took delivery of the new 130,000-ton, 3,690-passenger Carnival Breeze, the 24th vessel in the line’s fleet. Following a summer schedule of 12-day Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona, Spain, Carnival Breeze will reposition to Miami for year-round Caribbean cruises beginning Nov. 24.

Also in May, Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Millennium became the fourth and final Millennium Class ship to complete the line’s $140 million “Solsticizing” process, incorporating many of the venues and experiences available on its Solstice Class ships.

Similarly, Royal Caribbean International’s Grandeur of the Seas has completed a $48 million, bow-to-stern revitalization in Cadiz, Spain, including the addition of five new dining venues, technological upgrades, a poolside LED screen, new furniture, carpet, upholstery and staterooms, plus a new aerial entertainment offering in its six-deck Centrum.

American Cruise Lines has announced that its new paddle wheeler, Queen of the Mississippi, has received its Coast Guard certificates and has left Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Maryland six weeks ahead of schedule. The vessel’s first public cruises will begin in early August from New Orleans. And Uniworld Boutique River Cruises will introduce three new ships in Asia for 2013, in Vietnam and Cambodia along the Mekong River and in China along the Yangtze River.

Itinerary News

Groundbreaking ceremonies for the Caribbean’s newest destination, the $65 million Amber Cove Cruise Center, were held May 14 in the Dominican Republic at the project site on the Bay of Maimon, located near Puerto Plata in the country’s North Coast. The new facility, which represents one of the largest cruise industry investments ever made in the country, is scheduled to open in 2014. The two-berth complex will be able to accommodate up to 8,000 cruise passengers and 2,000 crew members daily.

The SeaDream Yacht Club has introduced 2013 Amazon pre- and post-voyage Land Adventures to Machu Picchu. SeaDream II will sail the Amazon River beginning Feb. 10, offering eight different Amazon voyage options in 2013. The line has also announced that SeaDream I will be transiting the Panama Canal to spend several weeks sailing along the coast of Costa Rica in 2013 for the first time.