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News roundup from the mainstream lines

SmarterTravel

If you’ve spent the last few weeks feeling bereft of cruise news, I’m back to remedy the situation. Here’s a roundup of the latest news from Carnival, Costa, easyCruise, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean.

Carnival

[% 11986 | | Carnival %] plans to increase the number of Europe cruises in 2009. The Carnival Liberty will sail 12-night northern Europe cruises from May through August (twice the number the Carnival Splendor will sail this year). It will then transition to the Mediterranean for fall cruising. The Carnival Freedom will continue to sail 12-night “Grand Mediterranean” and Mediterranean and Greece sailings between May and October. Reservations are now available for all 2009 Europe cruises.

On the other side of the world, Carnival will offer three new weeklong Caribbean itineraries on the Carnival Pride between April and August 2009. The ship will sail one western and two eastern Caribbean itineraries on a rotating schedule.

Costa

In March 2009, [% 10816 | | Costa %] will send a second ship to Asia. The Costa Classica will join the Costa Allegra for 60 cruises in the region. If you’d prefer to go to an exotic location this year, the Costa Marina has recently begun sailing Indian Ocean cruises out of Mauritius.

Plus, look for updated furniture, carpets, curtains, and TVs on four Costa ships. The Costa Victoria, Costa Marina, Costa Concordia, and Costa Classica have all recently emerged from dry dock, where they received routine maintenance.

easyCruise

The newest member of the [% 2346822 | | easyCruise %] fleet, the easyCruiseLife will sail its maiden voyage on April 19, 2008. The new ship will carry more than 500 passengers and will feature a pool, bar, restaurant, spa, sun decks, and shops. The inaugural itinerary features six Greek islands on a seven-night voyage.

Norwegian

[% 12025 | | Norwegian %] has launched “Freestyle 2.0,” a campaign to enhance its onboard experience. On the dining side, NCL plans to increase the number of nights lobster is served, feature a signature dish in each restaurant, open alternative restaurants for lunch on sea days, expand its room service menu, and provide free sparkling wine to everyone on embarkation day. All staterooms will receive upgrades to bedding, linens, and amenities, and guests in upper-category rooms and suites will receive exclusive privileges. Plus, the line plans to enhance its educational and health and wellness programs. All upgrades will be implemented by this summer.

Royal Caribbean

[% 15420 | | Royal Caribbean %] has joined forces with TUI AG to offer a new cruise line to the German market. TUI Cruises will launch in early 2009 with a renovated ship, but plans include the introduction of two new ships in 2011 and 2012.

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