Monday Mantra – What’s new in cruise?

What’s new in cruise?…What’s new in cruise?…What’s new in cruise?…

A Perfecta Trifecta

Cruising rolls out three new beauties in less than a month.

There’s a whole lot of ship going on. This month, it seems as though the cruise industry is having more christenings than St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Let’s start with Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ all-suite 56,000 grt, 750-passenger Seven Seas Explorer, touted by the line as the world’s most luxurious ship. Well, with caviar on the buffet, Versace china, and accommodations that include a 3,875-square-foot, two bedroom, two-and-a-half bath Regent Suite that features a custom-built $250,000 Steinway piano, an in-suite spa with sauna, two heated ceramic lounges, and a 900-square-foot balcony, yeah, I’d have to agree. Seven Seas Explorer was christened on July 13 and, with digs like that, I’m surprised that Regent appointed its first female captain to Seven Seas Mariner and not Seven Seas Explorer. Because, seriously, with all that super-fancy stuff on board, I’d sure prefer a woman running the show who can tell the difference between luxury linens and a “bed in a bag.”

Now let’s look north…WAY north…to Hurtigruten, the world’s premier Nordic cruise line, and the July 6 christening of its 335-passenger, 7,344 grt ms Spitsbergen. Modern and environmentally friendly, ms Spitsbergen will sail to Greenland, Iceland, the Shetland Islands, and Arctic Canada. Fascinating places, all, but, as mom would say, bring a sweater. I love checking out Hurtigruten itineraries because they look like Amtrak schedules except for the strange consonant pairings in the city names — Kjollefjord, anyone? Seven or eight ports in a day isn’t surprising since these vessels carry freight and locals all over Norway while letting you and me experience the awesome, drug-free hallucination that is Northern Lights.

The July 11 christening of Crystal Mozart ushered in the advent of Crystal’s luxury river cruising (as opposed to the other segments of its major expansion into ocean cruising, air travel, yachts, residences, and who knows what’s next … railroads, rocket ships, Segways?). This one is very near and dear to my heart, as I sailed the lovely Mozart in her previous life with Peter Deilmann Cruises. That was an experience — the purpose of my trip was to present an award to the distinguished Peter Deilmann, “probably” at a dinner, I was told. As it turned out, I had I to do it on stage, speaking in front of about 150 people. Bartender? Make that a double! Under Deilmann, Mozart was full of elegance and old-world charm. Add the Crystal touch and maybe that signature mushroom soup, and I’d cheerfully attend Berlitz courses, perform The Marriage of Figaro, and fry up some schnitzel just to experience a Crystal Mozart sailing.

So let’s all welcome these fabulous new ships to the world of cruising! They give us three exciting new options to consider when planning our vacation — and make it that much more difficult to decide which sailing to book.

Judi Cuervo is a New York City native who fell in love with cruising in 1976 during her first sailing aboard Carnival Cruises’ Mardi Gras. Twenty years later, she began her freelance cruise writing gig and, since that time, has covered mass market, ultra-premium, riverboat and expedition ships for regional, national and international publications as well as cruise websites.