Royal Caribbean International has announced its largest deployment in Europe with seven ships in 2008. Passengers will be able to choose from four- through 14-day cruises, and Royal Caribbean started taking reservations for 2008 on March 14, 2007.

"Our increased capacity in Europe reaffirms Royal Caribbean's strong commitment to the region, which has shown tremendous growth in the recent years," said Adam Goldstein, president of Royal Caribbean, in a prepared statement. (But the cruise line is also going to Europe for better yields than it can get elsewhere, particularly in the Caribbean.)

Further underscoring Royal Caribbean's deployment strategy will be the summer (2008) sailings of the new 3,600-passenger Independence of the Seas from Southampton, catering mainly to British passengers, according to the cruise line.

The Independence will sail 14-day cruises to the Western Mediterranean starting in mid-May. There will also be I 0- and 11-day sailings to the Canary Islands.

In addition, the 2002-built, 2,000-passenger Brilliance of the Seas will launch year-round service from Barcelona, offering 10- and 12-day cruises, beginning in April (2008).

The Brilliance will be marketed to both Europeans and Americans.

Celebrity Cruises has also announced its 2008 program for Europe with four ships - the Century, the Constellation, the Galaxy and the Summit.

The season will run from the end of April to December. In addition, the 710-passenger Celebrity Quest of the Celebrity Expeditions brand will also sail in Europe from May through November. Offering 14- day cruises, according to Celebrity, the smaller ship will introduce 25 new European ports for the brand, including overnight stays.