I continue to be addicted to the sea, and I blame it on being born in Miami Beach and having lived on an island (and on a creek)* for the first few years of my life. And as it turned out that island is now a stone’s throw from the Port of Miami, with it’s gazillion ships.
And I can blame my addiction to cruise ships as a cross being my hotel upbringing and the above. My grandfather Saul (the same one mentioned in my last blog) ran the dining room and I believe all the F&B at the di Lido Hotel in Miami Beach. It’s now the Ritz Carlton in what is known as South Beach.
So here’s a bit on what’s new for 2010. And with the extraordinary pricing in place for the rest of the year this really is the year to cruise. But hurry – some top cruises in October are already on a waitlist.
Silversea Cruises launches the 540-passenger, 36,000 ton vessel, it’s first new build in almost 10 years. There are now a total of 6 ships, including the adventure vessel Prince Albert II. Highlights include 270 suites from 312 to 1668 square feet., almost all with a balcony. It’s Art Deco style is similar to its sister ships. There are even production shows such as Aquarius and Rocketman, based on Elton John. [why do I feel this is a baby boomer plot?] There’s also an 8300 square foot spa. And six restaurants, all part of the price with the exception of La Champagne from Relais & Chateau and an exclusive Japanese venue. There’s also a supper club, modeled on the Rainbow Room in NYC.
Watch out for this ship coming this summer, right on the heels of Seabourn Odyssey which was just launched. Should be really one of the top ships, if not the best, sailing the seas. And the minimum suite configuration is 295 square feet. Charlie Palmer dining. This is my best bet.
Launching in January of 2011 this will be a departure from their existing ships which all originated with Renaissance Cruises. Features include the Bon Appétit Culinary Center – the “only hands-on cooking school at sea” it is claimed, and their Artists Loft, “the most extensive studio at sea featuring instruction in watercolors, oil painting, scrapbooking, arts & crafts and …”. There is a Canyon Ranch SpaClub, ten dining venues, including 2 specialty restaurants and Las Reserve, for wine tastings and pairing dinners. And apparently a gourmet burger joint, too. Oceania has a great niche for a 4.5 star product at a consistently great value.
Cunard is launching this 90,000 ton vessel in 2011. More in my next blog about Queen Victoria’s maiden call in San Francisco.
* Hibiscus Island and Indian Creek