Royal Caribbean International today unveiled its 2012 Europe cruise and cruisetour season, upping the ante from its 2011 lineup of 11 ships to 12 for 2012, which will again include two Freedom-class ships, the largest and most groundbreaking in the line’s fleet to sail European waters. Amsterdam will debut as a homeport, for a total of 12, with ships calling at 101 ports in 34 countries on itineraries ranging from three to 16 nights. Serenade of the Seas will make its European debut from Barcelona. Brilliance of the Seas will operate on a new series of Northern Europe itineraries out of the new homeport of Amsterdam and Copenhagen.
Mariner of the Seas will add new Holy Land vacations and seven-night Western Mediterranean cruises from Rome; and Vision the Seas will also sail on Holy Land sailings as well as a roster of Northern Europe itineraries. Liberty of the Seas will ofer new five-night Western Mediterranean itineraries. Independence of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas and Grandeur of the Seas will sail on a wide-ranging roster of Mediterranean vacations; Voyager of the Seas and Splendour of the Seas will operate on Greek Isles and Turkey cruises; and Jewel of the Seas will focus on Scandinavia and Russia vacations. Itineraries sailing on Adventure of the Seas, Grandeur of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas, are now open for booking.
“Every year Royal Caribbean surpasses its previous Europe offerings to continue to exceed the expectations of vacationers,” said Betsy O’Rourke, senior vice president of Marketing, Royal Caribbean. “In 2012 the line’s ships will add 23 more ports in seven additional countries, giving vacationers the opportunity to tailor-design their cruise experiences on itineraries that are as short as three nights or as long as 16.”
In addition to the 12 homeports from which guests can choose from, Royal Caribbean is also offering eight “interports” -- where guests can board itineraries en route -- creating 20 options for embarkation and disembarkation, including Toulon, Marseille and LeHavre, France; Genoa, Messina (Sicily), and Bari, Italy; Valencia, Spain; and Kusadasi (Ephesus) Turkey. Maiden calls will be made at Arhus, Denmark; Klaksvik, Faroe Islands; and Kenes (Lofoten), Norway.
Serenade of the Seas’will make its European debut on 12-night alternating cruises in the spring, summer and fall roundtrip from Barcelona, with one of the itineraries featuring an overnight in Venice and the other offering port calls in Greece and Turkey. Brilliance of the Seas’ new sailings, roundtrip from Amsterdam and Copenhagen, include a mix of Norwegian Fjord and Arctic Circle sailings of 12 nights through mid July. Its other offerings feature seven-night “Scandinavia & Russia” sailings roundtrip from Copenhagen from late July through early September.
Mariner of the Seas will return to Europe for its second season with new 12-night Holy Land itinerary roundtrip from Rome, available in May, September and October, which will offer overnights in Jerusalem and Alexandria, Egypt. Its new seven-night itineraries roundtrip from Rome, are available from June through mid-September. Liberty of the Seas’ Features new five-night spring sailings from Barcelona will call at Cannes (France)/Monte Carlo; Rome; and Palma de Mallorca, Spain The ship will also operate on seven-night itinerary from June through September.
For the third consecutive year, Liberty of the Seas’ sister ship, Independence of the Seas will be positioned year-round in Southampton, primarily operating on an alternating series of 14-night sailings, “Mediterranean Treasures” and “Italian Mediterranean” programs. Three 10- and 11-night Canary Islands itineraries will be available in October and November. The ship will also offer one three-night sailing, overnighting in Paris (LeHavre) in May; and a four-night cruise spending the night in Cork, Ireland.
Liberty of the Seas and Independence of the Seas will be the only vessels in Europe exclusively featuring amenities that have revolutionized the cruise industry, such as the FlowRider surf simulator, the H20 Zone water park, a boxing ring, cantilevered whirlpools, and the four-bedroom, four-bathroom Presidential Family Suite that sleeps up to 14. With eight restaurants and more than 15 bars and lounges, each of the two ships offer guests one-of-kind vacation experiences found on no other ship in Europe.
Vision of the Seas, meanwhile, will add two new six-night Norwegian Fjord cruises from Oslo. The ship will sail Northern European waters from April 29 to September 7, offering 14 different itinerary options. Itineraries, which will range from four to 12 nights, will explore ports in Scandinavia, Russia, the Norwegian Fjords and British Isles. A 12-night Arctic Circle sailing on August 9, roundtrip from Copenhagen, will cruise the Arctic Circle.
From May through September, Adventure of the Seas will continue on its pattern of seven-night Western Mediterranean itineraries roundtrip from Malaga, Spain. At the end of the season the ship will operate on a series of five seven-night Canary Islands sailings, also from Malaga. Sister ship Navigator of the Seas begins its European season with an eight-night itinerary on April 14 from Barcelona to Spain, where, through November 18, it will offer seven-night Mediterranean sailings.
Grandeur of the Seas’cruise schedule will include seven-night Western Mediterranean sailings that will operate from June 2 to October 10, roundtrip from Palma de Mallorca. Voyager of the Seas, meanwhile, will spend the bulk of its Europe season sailing out of Venice, but will shift from seven-night itineraries to 10- and 11-night cruises, with itineraries including overnights in Istanbul and Kusadasi.
Splendour of the Seas will return to its schedule of seven-night “Greek Isles and Turkey” and “Greek Isles” sailings for the bulk of its season, sailing roundtrip from Venice from late April through early November. Jewel of the Seas will continue to operate on its 12-night “Scandinavia & Russia” cruises from May 15 to August 19 roundtrip from Harwich, England. It will also feature one new cruise on June 20, a “Fjords & Iceland” itinerary, roundtrip from Harwich.
To add even more depth and breadth to their Europe vacations, Royal Caribbean is offering six cruisetours, which enables guests to couple sailings with escorted land tour options to create packages in conjunction with six of the line’s ships. Options include four nights in Madrid and Barcelona, available on Serenade of the Seas; five nights in Venice, Florence and Rome, available on Mariner of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas; three nights in glamorous Lake Como and Venice, available on Voyager of the Seas; four nights in Paris and London, available on Jewel of the Seas; and four nights in Turkey’s Istanbul and Cappadocia, a region filled with ancient, underground cities, available on Vision of the Seas.