Royal Caribbean ships to visit Europe in 2009
Frankfurt - US cruise line Royal Caribbean International (RCI) has planned eight cruises to Europe in 2009, one more cruise than in 2008.
The Vision of the Seas will head first to Europe with stops in Oslo, Stockholm and - a first for RCI - Copenhagen, according to RCI's Frankfurt offices.
The company plans to send 70 cruises to 87 harbours in northern and eastern Europe and the Mediterranean in the coming year.
Once again, RCI's biggest ship will be the 339-metre Independence of the Seas, which has 3,634 beds in double occupancy rooms, providing space for 4,375 passengers - more than any other cruise ship.
The Independence was christened on April 30 in Southampton and will sail from there this summer to Madeira, Tenerife, Lanzarote, Lisbon, southern Spain, Barcelona, Rome and Sardinia. The excursions last 10 to 14 nights and can be booked until October.
The Independence is the sister ship of the Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas which were launched in 2006 and 2007 respectively. Both those ships cruise in the Caribbean only.
The Independence ship will sail to the other side of the world for the 2008/09 winter season, heading to Florida and the Caribbean.
"But it will come back to Europe in summer 2009," said an RCI spokeswoman in Frankfurt.
On board, passengers will be able to enjoy the same luxuries found on the Freedom and the Liberty, including the Flowrider, a device which streams 132,500 litres of water a minute, letting surfers glide from one deck to another.
There are also whirlpools. Situated 34 metres above deck, they provide a clear view of the ocean. There is also an ice-skating rink and a climbing wall. The ship will also offer heated swimming pools.
With the addition of the Independence, the RCI fleet, constructed in Turku, Finland, has now grown to 21 ships.
The Navigator of the Sea and Voyager of the Sea will ensure that there are at least two more ships available from the 311-metre Voyager class, which have a capacity for 3,114 passengers.
The Navigator is to be based is Malaga in Spain. (dpa)