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New Cruise Ships Calling Miami Home

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By: Liz Cepeda

Cruising life doesn’t mean you just coast on by.

True, loyal passengers spend lots of time keeping up to date on the latest perks their favorite cruise lines have unveiled for them to enjoy. We like to make things simple for Miami vacationers and have compiled the most recent cruise line news hitting PortMiami.

Carnival Horizon

Carnival Cruiseline's newest ship, the Carnival Horizon, a state-of-the-art Vista-class ship that is nothing short of perfection, will arrive in Miami to kick off a year-round schedule of six- and 8-day Caribbean cruises beginning September 2018. Prior to the beginning of the schedule, Carnival Horizon will offer a special two-day cruise to Nassau from September 20-22, 2018.

This amazing cruise ship can carry 3,936 guests in style with accommodations varying from Havana Staterooms and Suites to Family Harbor Staterooms, Cloud 9 Spa Staterooms and other very affordable options. These rooms are so nice, you won’t want to leave them, but alas once your tummy grumbles you will inevitably hit the galley for this ship’s incredible dining options. Enjoy the Seafood Shack for rustic favorites like Crab Cake Sliders, Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse for top choice steak cuts, the Chef’s Table for a one-of-a-kind meal you can only have on board an amazing vessel like this one, and many more.

Make sure to head over to the Sportsquare for Carnival Horizon’s unique and exciting aerial attraction – the SkyRide an exhilarating open-air amusement ride. This adrenaline rush can only be described like riding a bike on an 800-foot-long track speeding up to 25 miles per hour, all while high above the deck and even higher above the sparkling blue sea.

Carnival Vista

PortMiami is home port for Carnival Cruise Line's innovative and "fun ship" the Carnival Vista, sailing on six to eight-day Caribbean Cruises from Miami. Carnival Vista takes cruising to new heights in fun with this majestic 3,934 passenger cruise ship - literally in the case of the SkyRide, an adrenaline pumping suspended open-air cycling experience also found on the soon to launch Horizon.

The Carnival Vista also offers the world's first ship based IMAX Theater, an expanded water park featuring a colorful "Kaleid-O-Slide" a raft-riding water tube slide, and the RedFrog Rum Bar that includes the cruise line's first on-board brewery in partnership with Miami’s Concrete Beach Brewery. Your only complaint will be that you don't have enough time in one trip to do all the things onboard that you want to, but that's okay - you can always take two trips to enjoy it all.

The ship also offers new scenic and family-friendly room types from balcony staterooms and spa cabins to deluxe ocean-view accommodations featuring two bathrooms and five berths - perfect for families. So whether you’re a family looking for fun in the Family Harbor cabins or cruisers looking for the privacy of the new Havana Cabanas with their private patios and direct access to the exclusive Havana Bar and pool, there is something for everyone onboard this ship.

Celebrity Equinox

The beautiful and elegant Celebrity Equinox sails out of PortMiami on 24 alternating eastern and western Caribbean sailings and seven one-off itineraries, taking 2,850 passengers on elegant voyages that take your breath away with chic and spacious accommodations, ten dining venues, the Canyon Ranch SpaClub, fine shopping, and other amenities - some not available on any other ship in the Celebrity fleet.

The Celebrity Equinox is made for the Caribbean traveler who loves the finer things in life. Wine lovers will especially love Cellar Masters, a wine bar where you can enjoy vintages recommended by the onboard sommeliers. The main dining room boasts a two-story glass wine tower holding 1,800 bottles ready to be brought to your table. If you aspire to be a true wine enthusiast be sure to take a wine class while onboard.

As Celebrity's dedicated Caribbean ship, it's summer year-round. Its Solstice Class ship amenities fit the feel as well, with a real grass lawn on the top of the ship and a Lawn Club Sunset Bar complete with faux fire pit. There's even a living tree suspended in the atrium and the words "Here Comes the Sun" shine as you head up to a two-pool deck where you can find the adults-only Solarium.

MSC Meraviglia

MSC Meraviglia is a 4,500 passenger cruise ship masterpiece - the fourth largest cruise ship in the world and the largest for the MSC cruise line. After two seasons in Europe, this ship will head to PortMiami, as its home in 2019. MSC has always emphasized the "Mediterranean way of life" on its ships, but the Meraviglia adds a few atypical touches that up the ante like the 12 distinct restaurants that include a teppanyaki restaurant and American steakhouse. Cruisers will also have the opportunity to see the first ever Cirque du Soleil at sea.

The ship is also the most technologically advanced in the fleet and includes the debut of MSC for Me app to store all your personal details and preferences and let you make reservations onboard and shore excursions. The ship also has RFID wristbands which will eventually replace cruise cards and allow you entrance to your cabin and make onboard purchases. You’ll feel like your cruising in the not so distant future.

MSC Seaside

The MSC Seaside is a 4,134 passenger cruise ship and the first MSC ship built for the North American market. This incredible ship is the namesake of the line's Seaside Class and brings a plethora of new entertainment, a variety of specialty restaurants, larger MSC Yacht Club facilities, family and penthouse-style suites, as well as an expanded kids club to PortMiami.

Billed as "the ship that follows the sun," the MSC Seaside aims to work that theme into everything and Miami is truly its inspiration with the unique waterfront boardwalk and seafront promenade lined with places to eat, drink, shop, swim and sunbathe. There is a Miami Beach Sundeck that offers breathtaking sea views. Connected to the top deck by two panoramic elevators you will also find the South Beach Pool. A stunning four-deck atrium sits at the center of the ship and giant LED screens showcase plant life and jellyfish on a rotating basis. In front are small balconies for musical and acrobatic performances.

Curious to see all the hype? Watch the recent MSC Seaside naming ceremony.

Norwegian Bliss

The Norwegian Bliss, the brand's newest and most innovative ship will set sail for Miami in winter 2018, after her inaugural summer season in Alaska. Beginning November 2018, Norwegian Bliss will sail 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruises each Saturday from PortMiami, featuring stops in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas.

Accommodating 4,000 guests, the ship's custom design will offer a wide variety of accommodations ranging from staterooms designed for solo travelers, family-friendly connecting staterooms, ultra chic suites and more. The crown jewel of its features will be an incredible 180-degree Observation Lounge located at the front of the ship, spanning 20,000 square feet. Floor-to-ceiling windows will be the perfect spot from which to take in the stunning sunset views of the Caribbean islands and recreate everyone’s favorite Titanic scene, safe and sound and definitely iceberg free.

Norwegian's signature ship-within-a-ship concept, The Haven by Norwegian, with exclusive key-card access, will offer a secluded paradise with 80 luxurious suites with butler service and a private concierge, as well as many other amenities.

Norwegian Escape

Norwegian Cruise Line’s 4,248 passenger Norwegian Escape is home-ported in Miami year-round, and cruises to the Eastern and Western Caribbean. Eastern Caribbean itineraries take in idyllic islands like St. Thomas, Tortola and Nassau in the Bahamas. Western Caribbean itineraries include Mexico’s Cozumel and Roatan in Honduras are complemented by a call at Harvest Caye, Norwegian’s newest island experience. In the spirit of its lush destinations, the signature artwork on the hull was designed by renowned artist and ocean conservationist Guy Harvey.

In addition to family ocean-view staterooms that accommodate up to five guests, Norwegian Escape’s accommodations include Studios, designed and priced for solo travelers; and many options for families, multi-generational groups, spa enthusiasts and more.

Nightlife onboard includes outposts of several popular land-based outlets, including the first-ever Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant and 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar at sea, a music venue and outdoor bar on The Waterfront that features live nightly performances. The District Brew House, a hip, urban craft beer hall featuring an exclusive partnership with Miami’s own Wynwood Brewing Company, will serve up more than 24 draft beers. Wine-lovers can nestle in The Cellars, A Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar, features an array of immersive wine experiences, focusing on tasting, education, and the enjoyment of wine. Norwegian Escape also features Miami’s oldest and most legendary bar, Tobacco Road.

Norwegian Escape’s recreation spaces include the largest ropes course at sea leading a wide array of activities. This three-story multiplex of heart-pounding challenges complete with two planks and five Sky Rails featuring zip tracks that allow guests to soar through the air. Norwegian Escape’s Aqua Park is the largest at sea and includes a new tandem Aqua Racer slide, complete with a clear acrylic section to further enhance the thrill of this adventure ride. It also offers an expanded Kids’ Aqua Park with an enclosed slide, rope climb fun zone and spray cannons. The Splash Academy youth center includes dedicated play spaces for specific age groups so parents can rest assured kids won’t be bored while they enjoy sipping on some libations. The Norwegian Escape also offers the line’s first nursery for cruisers two and under.

Norwegian Encore

Norwegian Cruise Line marked January 31, 2018 the start of construction for its newest ship the Norwegian Encore, the latest addition to its fleet will sail the Caribbean from Miami seasonally beginning fall 2019. Sailing with 4,000 guests, the Norwegian Encore will sail weekly seven-day Caribbean cruises each Sunday from PortMiami. The Norwegian Encore will be the seventeenth ship in the Norwegian fleet and the line’s fourth and final ship in the Breakaway Plus Class, described as the best class in the brand’s history.

Regent Seven Seas Explorer

Regent Seven Seas Cruises is considered the world's most inclusive luxury cruise line and the Seven Seas Explorer is a 738 passenger cruise ship that proves it. The fares include spacious all-suite and all-balcony accommodations, round-trip air, highly personalized service, acclaimed cuisine, fine wines and spirits, Wi-Fi, sightseeing excursions in every port, all gratuities, and a pre-cruise luxury hotel package for those guests staying in concierge and higher suites. Billed as the “most luxurious ship ever built”, expect the best of the best as you enjoy one of the highest crew-to-guest ratios, discover new cuisines in the Culinary Arts Kitchen, pamper yourself in the Canyon Ranch SpaClub or dive into the pool or even a good book. You will feel pampered no matter what you choose.

Royal Caribbean's PortMiami Expansion

Royal Caribbean International, the world's second largest cruise company, is building a new terminal (named "Terminal A") at PortMiami at a cost of more than $247 million. The terminal is expected to be completed and operational by late Fall of 2018, doubling the number of annual passengers at PortMiami to approximately 1.5 million. With a 400 meters long berth, it will be able to accommodate Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas as well as their sister ships, which are the largest cruise vessels in the world. The fourth ship in the class will be delivered in 2018.

Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas

The world's new largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas, will sail from PortMiami starting in Fall 2018. Her arrival will coincide with the opening of Royal Caribbean's new state-of-the-art Terminal.

With 18 decks, 2,175 crew members and 2,775 total staterooms, she will be able to accommodate 6,780 passengers. This grand floating resort will include all the amenities Royal Caribbean is known for, plus so much more.

Royal Caribbean Empress of the Seas

Royal Caribbean's Empress of the Seas cruises from PortMiami to such fun-filled ports of call such as Nassau and CocoCay, Bahamas; Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico; Key West and now Havana, Cuba.

This 1,602-passenger ship has been refurbished to include among other amenities, a rock-climbing wall; new pools and whirlpools; a spa; the Chops Grille Steakhouse; a newly reimagined lounge; and the Adventure Ocean youth program. The ship's revitalization is evident in some spaces more than others, like the new Boleros - the beautiful, Cuban-themed lounge with colorful decor and paintings depicting Cuban culture.

Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages has selected PortMiami as its home port for its first cruise ship which will set sail in 2020. The cruise line's three new mid-size ships are slated for delivery in 2020, 2021 and 2022. Each ship will feature 1,430 guest cabins to host more than 2,800 guests. Embarking from PortMiami, Virgin Cruises plans to offer a range of seven-day Caribbean itineraries, with Sunday sail dates. Virgin’s founder, Sir Richard Branson, aspires to create a cruise line that will redefine cruising.

More About Cruising out of Miami

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