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June 8, 2009

Royal Caribbean unveils 2010-11 caribbean schedules; much-anticipated debut of industry's largest cruise ships

Royal Caribbean recently unveiled its 2010-11 year-round Caribbean sailing schedule, comprised of 243 sailings on five ships. Itineraries, ranging from 5-9 nights, will include visits to 25 Caribbean ports of call with a virtually unlimited number of activities onboard and on-shore for people of all ages and interests.

Oasis of the Seas/ Allure of the Seas
A new era in the cruise industry begins this November, with the debut of the Oasis of the Seas. Along with Allure of the Seas, scheduled for launch in 2010, these two vessels will be the largest cruise ships in the industry. The Oasis of the Seas will alternate between seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries. It also will sail two special holiday cruises. The Allure of the Seas' inaugural season will mirror the alternating Caribbean itineraries of its sister ship.

Both ships feature Royal Caribbean's new neighborhood layout, featuring seven themed areas that offer different experiences for guests based on their interests. The ships will feature the industry's first handcrafted carousel. Nine decks above, the first zip-line at sea will whisk guests from end-to-end on a thrilling aerial adventure. The AquaTheater amphitheater, another industry first, will offer pool activities by day and a unique performance and entertainment venue at night.

Serenade of the Seas
This ship will begin year-round service in the region starting April of next year. Departing from San Juan, Puerto Rico, the ship will sail two alternating seven-night Southern Caribbean itineraries. No port of call will be repeated on the two voyages, enabling vacationers the option of combining two consecutive cruises for an extended 14-night Southern Caribbean tour. One itinerary features calls to Curacao, Aruba, Dominica and St. Thomas, while the other visits Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maarten and St. Croix.

Freedom of the Seas/ Liberty of the Seas
Starting in May 2010, these two ships will continue alternating seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries. In January 2011, the Liberty of the Seas will begin alternating between six-night Western and eight-night Eastern Caribbean schedules. Both of these ships feature the cruise line's FlowRider surf simulator, H2O Zone water park, ice skating rink, eight restaurants and 15 bars and lounges and more.

Launch of new Queen Elizabeth in 2010 puts three ultra-luxury Cunard ships at sea
With the introduction of the Queen Elizabeth in late 2010, ultra-luxury cruise line Cunard will once again be sailing three ships in the industry's youngest fleet at sea. The following summarizes the trio's sailing plans for next year and early 2011:

Queen Elizabeth
The Queen Elizabeth, named after Cunard's original ship of the same name that debuted in 1938, will debut in October 2010. The cruise line says it will reflect her predecessor in interior grandeur, decor and style, but with modern amenities. Shipboard activities will reflect those of the era of the first Queen Elizabeth.

Its maiden voyage season will include an inaugural two-week cruise of Spain, Portugal and Atlantic islands. Leaving Southampton, England the ship will stop in Lisbon, Vigo and Seville, Spain; Gran Canaria, Tenerife and La Palma in the Canary Islands; and Madeira. The new ocean liner will then embark on a series of celebratory inaugural voyages, including 14-day cruise to the Mediterranean region; an 18-day Aegean sailing; a five-day cruise to Rotterdam, Brussels and Cherbourg; a 13-day Iberia/Atlantic islands voyage and a 22-day Caribbean Cruise.

Queen Victoria
The Queen Victoria will spend most of next year in Europe, sailing to the British Isles before repositioning in Venice for cruises between Venice and Rome or Barcelona. These cruises will feature the ship's first-time overnight stays in Venice, Istanbul and Barcelona. During winter 2011, the Queen Victoria will be based in the Americas, where it will traverse the Panama Canal en route from New York to Los Angeles over 17 days. From there, the ocean liner will embark on two new 14-day cruises to Hawaii, including a maiden call at Nawiliwili (Kauai).

Queen Mary 2
Considered the grandest ocean liner in the world, the Queen Mary 2 will continue her reign of the Atlantic next year with 21 Transatlantic crossings between New York and Southampton, Cherbourg or Hamburg. "Grand" voyages also will be offered, enabling guests to combine a Transatlantic crossing with a cruise to the Mediterranean region. Next summer, the Queen Mary 2 also will offer guests the chance to add a "getaway" sailing to Northern Europe from Southampton and Hamburg, including maiden calls in the North Cape and Tromso, Norway.

Cunard calls the Queens Room "a new take on the traditional Cunard ballroom, with artwork depicting views from royal palaces and photography of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family."

The Garden Lounge, with its vaulted glass ceiling, will be a place where guests enjoy supper clubs and dance under the stars, Cunard said.

The Games Deck, named after the same deck on the original Queen Elizabeth, will offer paddle tennis, croquet and bowls (a game similar to bocce).

The Britannia Club, a restaurant that debuted on the Queen Mary 2, will feature a private room with single-seating dining for guests in the top balcony staterooms. The Queen Elizabeth's other dining options will include the Queens Grill, Princess Grill and two-tiered Britannia Restaurant.

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