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September 3, 2007

Inaugural Cruises

There is always something special about being on board a cruise ship during the inaugural season. These cruises sell out quickly. So if you are dreaming of a cruise at this time book early.

Thirty-seven (37) new cruise ships are on order, to be put in service at various times over the next five years. This is the highest number in more than a decade. Over the next 16 months, eight ships will make their maiden voyages, six new vessels and two relaunched under new names:

Fall 2007

October 8 Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Cruise Line, 2,384 passengers:

The all-new cruise ship will feature a mood-lit bowling alley and entertainment complex, 11 bars and lounges and12 restaurants. A large number of adjoining cabins will make this ship ideal for large groups and families.

October 26 Azamara Quest, Azamara, 710 passengers:

Briefly known as the Celebrity Quest, the Azamara Quest will fit with the Royal Caribbean subsidiary's emphasis on luxury and comfort. All staterooms will feature a complimentary butler, daily fruit baskets, fresh-cut flowers, personal stationery, Elemis bathroom products and plush European bedding.

December 11 Queen Victoria, Cunard Line, 2,014 passengers:

The latest edition to Cunard's royal family of ships, the all-new Queen Victoria will showcase an indoor/outdoor winter garden, multi-tiered grand lobby, private box seats in the Royal Court Theatre, two-story library with more than 6,000 books, and nightlife options ranging from a traditional English pub to upscale champagne bar.

2008 Launches

February 16 Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Cruise Line, 2,816 passengers:

Built last year and formerly known as the Pride of Hawaii, the Norwegian Jade will offer 12 international restaurants, including French Mediterranean, Asian fusion, Japanese Teppanyaki, Sushi and Sashimi and an American steakhouse. Nightlife options include ten different bars and lounges, plus Broadway-style shows in the Stardust Theatre.

July 5 Eurodam, Holland America Line, 2,044 passengers:

The all-new Eurodam is the cruise line's largest ship ever built and represents the cruise line's next class of premium vessel. The ship's 11 passenger decks include a Pan-Asian restaurant and lounge with spectacular views, new Italian restaurant, elegant boutiques, atrium bar area, reconfigured show lounge with theater seating and a photographic and imaging center.

July 13 Carnival Splendor, Carnival Cruises, 3,006 passengers:

Built to be Carnival's largest and most innovative ship to date, the Carnival Splendor will feature the cruise line's signature Seaside Theatre, a retractable sky dome and two-deck spa. Guests who stay in "spa staterooms" receive private access to the spa and other special amenities. Younger passengers will enjoy an onboard water spray park; teen club and 5,500 square-foot children's play area.

November 15 Ruby Princess, Princess Cruises, 3,080 passengers:

The all-new Ruby Princess greets guests with a dramatic piazza-style atrium, featuring an array of cafes and eateries along with a host of street performers. In addition to three main dining rooms, the ship features several specialty restaurants Princess' signature Sabatini's Italian trattoria; Crown Grill, serving steak and seafood; and The Sanctuary for adults only. Onboard amenities include the Lotus Spa, Movies Under the Stars and a wedding chapel.

December 14 Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Cruises, 2,852 passengers:

A new level of luxury is found on the Celebrity Solstice, the first of the line's new Solstice class of ships. 85 percent of the staterooms feature private balconies, in addition to flat-screen televisions, plenty of storage and spacious bathrooms. The new "AquaClass" of veranda staterooms provide guests with unlimited access to the AquaSpa relaxation center; Persian Garden, a unique aromatherapy steam room and complimentary dining in Blu, an exclusive specialty restaurant.

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