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May is the month for new ships

SmarterTravel

When Costa’s Costa Serena debuts on Saturday, it will be the fourth [% 2290080 | | new ship %] to do so this month. Perhaps May is a popular time for ship christenings because it’s the beginning of the Europe cruise season (where most of these ships are sailing). Or, perhaps it’s because spring is when people think of new beginnings. Whatever the reason, here’s the lowdown on cruise line May birthdays.

Costa took delivery of the Costa Serena on May 15 and the inaugural ceremonies will take place on May 19. If you’re not one of the VIPs invited to the event, you can virtually attend through Second Life, a three-dimensional virtual community. You can also virtually tour the ship, which boasts 1,500 cabins, one of the largest spas at sea, four swimming pools (two under a retractable dome), a race-car driving simulator, and menus by Ettore Bocchia, a Michelin restaurateur. The ship’s decor is themed around Greek and Roman mythology.

MSC Cruises’ MSC Orchestra was christened on May 14 in Civitavecchia, the port of Rome. The ship can hold 2,550 guests at double occupancy and offers balconies on 80 percent of outside cabins. The ship features the latest shipboard technology, such as interactive television (book shore excursions on your TV!), Wi-Fi and Internet access in all cabins and public areas, and a huge poolside LED screen. The Orchestra will sport five restaurants and 10 bars.

The Emerald Princess made its debut on Mother’s Day, and on-screen mother-daughter duos Florence Henderson and Susan Olson (aka Carol and Cindy Brady) and Marion Ross and Erin Moran (aka Marion and Joanie Cunningham) were on hand to do the naming honors. Princess’ newest ship is a sister to the Crown Princess and includes highlights such as the adults-only Sanctuary sundeck, casual dining venues, and a piazza-style atrium.

Sharing the title of world’s largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas arrived in the U.S. on May 3. As I [% 2360289 | | reported %] last week, the Liberty has all the amenities for which Royal Caribbean is famous: onboard surfing, ice skating, boxing, and rock climbing. The ship will sail eastern and western Caribbean itineraries.

Other new-to-you ships now cruising the earth’s waters include the Azamara Journey (operating under a new Celebrity brand) and Princess’ Royal Princess. These ships were formerly the R6 and R8 ships in the Renaissance line, but have been refurbished to the standards of their new owners.

If you’re sad that new-ship season is over, take heart. Norwegian’s Norwegian Gem and Cunard’s Queen Victoria will make their debuts this fall. Stay tuned.

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