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Cruising’s continued growth

Avalon Waterways
has announced that Patricia Schultz, author of the international bestseller “1,000 Places To See Before You Die,” will christen its new Avalon Expression May 6 in Cochem, Germany. Similarly, Valerie Wilson, chairman and CEO of New York-based Valerie Wilson Travel, Inc., will serve as godmother of AmaWaterways’ new 164-passenger AmaPrima in a ceremony in Vilshofen, Germany, August 6. Another new vessel, the 106-passenger AmaVida, will make its debut for the company March 26 in Porto, Portugal.

Interestingly, five of Scenic Cruises’ six European “Space-Ships,” ranging in age from only 18 months to four years, are being nearly completely rebuilt to match new ship specifications by “removing and redoing everything except walls, ceilings and wet cells.” And Tauck has announced that it will welcome two new ships into its European river fleet next year in order to launch four new cruise itineraries.

On the High Seas
Paul Gauguin Cruises christened its new Tere Moana December 29 in Marigot, St. Martin. At 330 feet long and 46 feet wide, the vessel accommodates 90 guests with a staff of 60. Windstar Cruises’ $18 million fleetwide renovation project, which began in December 2011, is now finished. Windstar has also announced that it will return to French Polynesia with weeklong Wind Spirit voyages in the summer of 2014, marking the first time that it has had a ship sailing from Tahiti since 2002.

Catering to the needs of time-strapped travelers, Crystal Cruises has added 26 five- to eight-day “Getaways” throughout Europe from April to November this year. Tauck has announced a new 16-day land and sea exploration of Hong Kong, Vietnam and Singapore featuring an 11-day cruise aboard the new 264-passenger Le Soléal, scheduled to launch this summer in Italy. And Cruise and Maritime Voyages will enter the Australian cruise market late this year with the introduction of the 600-passenger Astor.

Princess Cruises has added several new “Exotics” options for spring 2014 in South America on Crown Princess and in the South Pacific aboard Pacific Princess. Also in 2014, Diamond Princess will be joining Sun Princess for cruise programs from three different homeports in Japan: Tokyo (Yokohama), Kobe, and Otaru, near Sapporo on Hokkaido.

Carnival Cruise Lines has created a virtual tour of Carnival Sunshine, the comprehensive, $155 million transformation of Carnival Destiny scheduled for completion this April that is adding numerous dining, bar, entertainment and outdoor venues. The virtual tour can be accessed at

Holland America Line recently completed the addition of the line’s casual Italian restaurant Canaletto and transformed the Lido Terrace into an enclosed Wintergarden aboard its Prinsendam.

Canaletto is now on all 15 ships in the Holland America Line fleet Royal Caribbean International (RCI) took a major step this February in the development of the line’s next generation of vessels when the initial steel was cut for the first of two “Project Sunshine” ships in Papenburg, Germany. The two new ships will be named Quantum of the Seas, set to debut in fall of 2014, and Anthem of the Seas, due to follow in spring of 2015.

Also, RCI’s  Legend of the Seas has emerged from a monthlong, $50 million drydock in Singapore with an array of new features and facilities for its current Asia and upcoming summer Europe seasons. The Vision-class Legend is the most recent ship in the RCI fleet to receive Oasis-class amenities in a bow-to-stern revitalization, adding such enhancements as the specialty dining offerings first introduced on Oasis of the Seas.