Royal Caribbean dazzles with new class of ships

QUANTUM LEAP: The big announcement from Royal Caribbean International came Tuesday, and it did not disappoint.

RCI unveiled details about its next generation of ships, Quantum class, and the company lived up to its promise of “prepare to be wowed.”

Skydiving! Bumper cars! Virtual balconies!

Quantum of the Seas, the first ship in the class, will debut in fall 2014. The 4,180-passenger ship will homeport in Cape Liberty, N. J., sailing seven- to 12-night itineraries for the winter season.

For many, the ship will be the destination.

The 18-deck Quantum will feature RipCord by iFly, which allows passengers to experience the thrill of skydiving in a controlled, simulated environment.

The bumper cars will be part of a huge sports and entertainment complex, which also will include roller skating and a circus school with flying trapeze.

The ship boasts 2,090 of the “most advanced staterooms ever,” including 373 virtual balcony staterooms. These interior cabins will offer real-time views of the ocean — no more claustrophobia!

Family-connected staterooms are designed for multi-generational families, allowing three different stateroom categories to connect, yet provides private bedrooms and bathrooms for all.

Quantum of the Seas also will offer 28 studio staterooms for single travelers, and 34 wheelchair-accessible cabins.

But the most distinguishing feature is the North Star. A jewel-shaped glass capsule, it rises more than 300 feet into the air, and swings out over the ocean to give guests 360-degree views.

Ready to sign on?

Bookings will be available to members of RCI’s Crown & Anchor Society loyalty program starting May 27. The general public may book beginning June 4.

More surprises are to come, RCI promises. Keep up with the latest on the new ship at or follow the cruise line on Facebook.

They had me at flying trapeze.

SUMMER CRUISING: A lot of cruise lines sail off for Alaska, Europe or beyond in the summertime, leaving South Floridians with fewer choices to get away to the Caribbean.

Don’t pack your bags just yet, but in 2014, Princess will offer summertime cruising from Florida for the first time in four years.

Caribbean Princess will be sailing from Port Everglades from May to September, offering 13 three-, four- and five-day cruises, along with a dozen seven-day voyages. Ports of call will include St. Thomas, San Juan and Grand Turk on Eastern itineraries, and Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and Cozumel on Western. Seven-day cruises — and some of the shorter ones — will visit the line’s exclusive paradise on Princess Cays.

A three-day getaway is planned for Memorial Day weekend 2014, with a stop at Princess Cays.

Booking is now open for these cruises. Visit for more information.

DISNEY BUZZ: Disney Cruise Line has something up its sleeve! Expect an announcement next week. A cruise line representative says, “Our current focus at Disney Cruise Line is on our existing fleet. We are excited about an announcement … but it is not about building more ships.” Stay tuned.

BOYS OF SUMMERS PAST: American Queen Steamboat Co. has two baseball legends cruises in the lineup this summer. A nine-day journey begins July 19 in St. Louis, sailing to Cincinnati. Guest speakers are Al Clark, Ron Blomberg and Art Shamsky. The cruise is hosted by Dan Schlossberg. Fares start at $2,495.

The second cruise sails from Cincinnati to Pittsburgh July 26 and features Al Clark, Jay Johnstone and Fritz Peterson, with Bruce Campbell hosting. Cost of the seven-day trip starts at $1,820.

Included free on American Queen Steamboat Co. cruises: shore excursions; wine and beer with dinner; cappuccino, espresso, specialty coffees, bottled water and soft drinks; and a night at a luxury hotel.

For more information, visit

ROYAL SENDOFF: The excitement over Princess Cruises’ newest ship kicked into high gear with the naming of the godmother for Royal Princess.

Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge (we fondly call her Kate!) will name the ship in a June 13 ceremony in Southampton, as part of a week-long inaugural celebration to welcome the vessel into service.

Royal Princess will sail Grand Mediterranean cruises throughout the summer before sailing to Fort Lauderdale in late October. After an inaugural five-day cruise from Port Everglades, the ship will sail seven-day Eastern Caribbean voyages through April 2014.

More information and video previews of the ship are available at

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