Carnival may be the world’s largest cruise line, but this year it’ll be rival Royal Caribbean that steals the spotlight in the industry with a major new ship.Royal Caribbean in November will debut the 4,180-passenger Quantum of the Seas, the first of its much-awaited Quantum Class of vessels (click through the carousel above for a sneak peek).
Also welcoming a major new ship this year is Norwegian Cruise Line, which on Friday will christen the 4,028-passenger Norwegian Getaway, a sister to the 9-month-old Norwegian Breakaway. Rival Princess will follow in May with its own second-in-a-series, the Regal Princess (sister to the 8-month-old Royal Princess).
PHOTO TOUR: Inside the new Norwegian Getaway
Italy-based Costa Cruises, meanwhile, is adding its largest ship ever in November. The line caters to an international clientele, including Americans, with announcements in English as well as other languages.
Meanwhile, an entirely new small-ship cruise line, Pearl Seas Cruises, will debut in June with a single, 210-passenger vessel.
In all, that adds up to five new oceangoing cruise ships from lines that market to North Americans in 2014.
Major lines that won’t have a new ship in 2014 include Carnival, Holland America and Celebrity. But for two of those lines, at least, it’s only a temporary lull. Holland America and Carnival both have announced plans for new ships to debut in late 2015 and 2016, respectively. Read more about plans for new Carnival, Holland America ships.
Of the biggest mass-market lines, only Celebrity currently has no plans for expansion. Celebrity just finished rolling out its five-ship Solstice class series in 2012. Take a tour of Celebrity’s newest vessel, the Celebrity Reflection.
With the peak period for cruise bookings — aka Wave Season — now underway, USA TODAY offers the following guide to 2014′s new oceangoing vessels (click on the ship names below to go to a full page on each of the newcomers that offers details on on-board features, home ports, itineraries and pricing).
In addition to the oceangoing vessels listed below, there are more than two dozen new river ships under development for 2014 from river lines such as Viking, Avalon and AmaWaterways. We’ll have a full report on them soon.
Cruise Log Guide to New Ships of 2014 (oceangoing vessels)
Page 1: Norwegian Getaway (Norwegian Cruise Line)
Maiden voyage: Jan. 16
Page 2: Regal Princess (Princess Cruises)
Maiden voyage: May 20
Page 3: Pearl Mist (Pearl Seas Cruises)
Maiden voyage: June 25
Page 4: Costa Diadema (Costa Cruises)
Maiden voyage: Nov. 5
Page 5: Quantum of the Seas (Royal Caribbean)
Maiden voyage: November
Cruise fans, have you booked one of the new ships of 2014? Share your thoughts in the comment area to this story.