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Cruise News

New cruise ships offer big savings  Dec 28, 2008

The downturn in the economy hasn't stopped the cruise industry. Over a half-dozen new ships will be launched in 2009, complete with the prerequisite bells and whistles. Cruise-loving travelers have a bevy of decked-out ships to choose from at bargain-basement prices.

The plummeting cruise prices offer a unique opportunity for vacationers. "In retrospect, I'm so glad I postponed my cruise last year," said Cynthia Gailor, a nurse from Columbia. "I'm now booked on a brand new ship at almost half the cost."

Of all the ships scheduled to launch in 2009, Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas is getting the most buzz. "Hands down, Oasis of the Seas is the most exciting ship of 2009," said Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor-in-chief of "It's the title holder of "biggest ship ever" by a whopping 40 percent over the next biggest. It also has features that have never been done on cruise ships before."

With a passenger capacity of 5,400, Oasis of the Seas will feature seven neighborhoods that include an open-air Boardwalk complete with antique carousel as well as an aqua theater for swimming and diving performances, and Royal Caribbean's version of Central Park with real trees, lawn and flowers.

Not to be outdone, other cruise lines are upping the ante with their own new sailing creations. Celebrity Cruises just launched the Celebrity Solstice, which is chock full of imaginative features like a half-acre of real grass for bocce or croquet and a glass-blowing show. "We hope our guests will be elated with the extraordinary service, design, dining and entertainment," said Celebrity's president and CEO Dan Hanrahan.

Luxury cruisers will want to watch for Seabourn's Odyssey, which is slated to set sail in 2009. The 450-passenger yacht will maintain Seabourn's famous industry highest crew-to-guest ratio. "The Odyssey's launch is highly anticipated since it's the first new design of a luxury ship in years," said Brown.

Bargain-hunters will find -- even on many of the new ships -- that fares for less than $100 per person per day for cabin, meals in the main dining room and most activities are common. "I'm tickled about my upcoming cruise on the Solstice," said Gailor. "Old cruise-ship pricing for a brand new ship is not half bad."

New cruise ships offer big savings
Highly anticipated Seabourn Odyssey is the first new design of a luxury ship in years/Courtesy Photo

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