Cruise lines used Cruise Shipping Miami as a launch pad this week for a host of product announcements.
Here's what's new.
A first for Costa
Costa Cruises will have two ships cruising out of Miami on Caribbean itineraries next winter, the first time since 2009 the Italian line has had two ships in the market.
The 2,114-passenger Costa Mediterranea will sail new seven-day itineraries—the details are still being finalized—while the 2,260-passenger Costa Luminosa will continue with its alternating 10-day eastern and western Caribbean sailings.
Costa officials said the cruises have been a hit with passengers looking for an "international experience" in the Caribbean.
An artful hull
Norwegian Cruise Line introduced famed marine life artist and conservationist Guy Harvey as the designer of the hull art for the Norwegian Escape, the line's new-class, 4,200-passenger ship set to debut fall 2015.
Norwegian CEO and President Kevin Sheehan also announced that Norwegian Escape will join Norwegian Getaway, homeporting year-round in Miami.
Escape will cruise the eastern Caribbean with port calls in Tortola, St. Thomas and Nassau, beginning in November 2015. Bookings open later this month.
Appearing at a press conference, Harvey showed off a design themed on the undersea world of South Florida with a sailfish on the bow, coral reef fish at the stern, frigate birds flying and a whale shark on the side of the hull.
The cruise line's deal with the artist includes promoting the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, which raises funds for scientific research and ocean conservation.
Documentaries produced by the foundation will be shown on stateroom TVs and there will be products for sale onboard with proceeds going to the foundation's efforts.
"I am very honored indeed," Harvey said of the project. "The whole ship is going to carry the flag of conservation to the Caribbean countries the ship visits."
Ballroom at sea
Men who cruise without a partner will soon be able to dance with an Ambassador Hostess onboard select sailings of the Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity.
The female counterparts to the line's popular male Ambassador Hosts will make their debut on three transatlantic "Ballroom at Sea”-themed cruises in 2014 and 2015. It's an industry first, according to the the luxury line.
Meanwhile, new Crystal President and COO Edie Bornstein Rodriquez told media that her goal is to grow the line, preferably with new builds.
"It's not a question of if, but when, and hopefully in the next six months or so maybe we'll have some good announcement t bring forward," Bornstein said.
Windstar names names
Windstar Cruises revealed names for the two ships that will join its fleet next year as part of the line's acquisition of three sister ships from Seabourn.
The 212-passenger ships, currently sailing as Seabourn Legend and Seabourn Spirit, will under new owner Windstar be renamed Star Legend and Star Breeze.
Transferring to the fleet in May 2015, the ships will get a "Windstar transformation" including the addition of a Yacht Club and AmphorA restaurant, and then do their inaugural seasons in Europe. New itineraries include Northern Europe and Iceland as well as Mediterranean cruises.
Windstar takes delivery of the Star Pride, currently sailing as the Seabourn Pride, next month. The ship debuts Europe itineraries in May.
Watch this space
MSC Cruises, which recently launched the 3,500-passenger MSC Divina year-round out of Miami, has big plans for the North American market.
Rumored to soon make another significant investment in new ships, the Italian-style line is in the process of doubling its U.S. sales force with an eye towards expansion.
Richard Sasso, president of MSC Cruises (USA), said there will be more MSC ships cruising from U.S. ports, and not necessarily just out of South Florida.
On the river
Fast-growing river line AmaWaterways has two 164-passenger river ships debuting in Europe this year and two more in 2015.
It is currently naming names for the two the line will debut in 2016. They are AmaViola and AmaOdessa, AmaWaterways president and co-owner Rudi Schreiner.
Look for Seabourn's new build to have a classy yet relaxed elegance that's a bit different than the three Odyssey-class ships.
The line has contracted hospitality design icon Adam D. Tihany to work on its newest ship to launch in 2016.
Tihany's projects include restaurants as Le Cirque in New York, hotels including South Africa's One & Only Cape Town and the contemporary dining rooms on Celebrity's Solstice-class ships.
For Seabourn, he'll have the whole 604-passenger ship to play with. The as yet unnamed ship is due in mid-2016.
The wow factor
"He has the ability to deliver something that's unique that fits the brand identity," John Delaney, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Seabourn. He hinted that Tihany's design concept will "harken back" to the roots of the luxury brand.
"We want to wow our guest but in a Seabourn, elegant, very beautiful way," Delaney said.
In other Seabourn news the line hired expedition expert Robin West, who led its Antarctica expeditions, to the new position of expedition manager. While Seabourn isn't planning to move into the expedition cruise market, the idea is to add more adventure-type excursions on some itineraries, Delaney said.
Diamond in the rough
Princess Cruises has sent its 2,670-passenger Diamond Princess into dry dock in Singapore for a $30 million makeover. The ship refurbishment will include the addition of a Japanese bath and garden complex and a new sushi restaurant.
The ship will be deployed to Japan for a second season in the spring.
While the line is targeting Japanese passengers, Americans are also booking the cruises, said Princess Cruises president Jan Swatrz. Sailings provide an easy and economical way to see Japan, she added.