Despite the economic ills that
have thrown the industry into
a nasty, but temporary slump,
a number of exciting new
products have recently been
introduced or will come on
line in 2009. Overall, it promises to be a
lively year for the travel business. Here’s
what our editors expect in the way of intriguing additions to travel and tourism
sort & Casino, CityCenter’s 61-story, 4,000-room resort
• Capella Hotels and Resorts. The new luxury brand
founded by longtime Ritz-Carlton chief Horst Schulze,
is opening a half dozen hotels in 2009. Three Capella
resorts will open in Mexico in the next few months,
followed by hotels in Telluride, Colo.; Singapore; and
— Jeri Clausing
• CityCenter. MGM Mirage will debut its 76-acre,
$9.2 billion “urban metropolis.” The 18 million-square-foot project includes Vdara, a 57-story condo hotel with
1,543 residences; two residential high-rises; a Mandarin
Oriental with 400 hotel rooms and 227 residences; The
Harmon Hotel, Spa & Residences, with 207 condominium residences and 400 hotel rooms; and the Aria Re-
• The world’s biggest ship. Royal Caribbean International has been here before — twice, in fact — so the
line should be comfortable introducing the 5,400-pas-
senger Oasis of the Seas. Though the ship seems impossibly large, Royal Caribbean Cruises’ CEO, Richard
Fain, likes to point out that the same was said of the
3,114-passenger Voyager of the Seas in 1999 and the
4,300-passenger Freedom of the Seas in 2006.
The Oasis will really be a 2010 ship, but considering the amount of hype it has generated, and with the
onus on Royal Caribbean’s sales team to fill it in this
bedraggled economy, people will be talking and thinking about the Oasis for all of 2009.
• New European ships. 2009 will be the year of the
Italian newbuilds, as MSC Cruises and Costa Cruises
will debut two ships each. MSC’s largest ship ever, the
133,500-ton MSC Fantasia, actually comes out at the
end of this month, but it will begin sailing in 2009.
The Fantasia, named on Dec. 18 in Naples, will be
joined by its sister ship, the Splendida, in Barcelona
Costa plans a double naming ceremony for the 3,780-
passenger Costa Pacifica and the 2,826-passenger Costa
Luminosa in Genoa, Italy, on June 5.
• New luxury ships. Seabourn Cruises’ new ship, the
Odyssey, will be the industry’s first luxury newbuild in
years. Silversea’s newbuild, the Silver Spirit, is slated to
debut at the end of 2009.
• Home port homecomings. Citing the economy and
high airfares, cruise lines will be pulling their ships back
to U.S. homeports in 2009 at a rate not seen since 9/11.
Royal Caribbean canceled the Radiance of the Seas’
scheduled season in South America in 2009 and 2010,
saying it would keep the ship in San Diego for Mexican
Carnival Cruise Lines will keep the Carnival Liberty
in Miami to operate year-round Caribbean cruises, forgoing its scheduled European operations in summer
Even small ship operator Cruise West said that with
travelers looking “closer to home for their next getaway,”
it has decided to put the Spirit of ’98 on a summer 2009
itinerary along the Columbia and Snake rivers in the
Pacific Northwest, instead of its originally scheduled
season in Alaska.
• New leadership. In fall 2008, NCL put a new man at
the helm, President and CEO Kevin Sheehan. In 2009,
we’ll see what new ideas he comes up with as he steps
into Colin Veitch’s very worn shoes. Expect Sheehan, a
numbers guy from Cendant, to work to bring black ink
to NCL’s balance sheet and to expand its marketing to
court traditional cruisers for a return to the Freestyle
• Amenities. Expect some wow-factor introductions.
The Oasis of the Seas will boast the first onboard zip-line and carousel. And the Oasis has revealed a series
of onboard neighborhoods, such as Central Park with
real trees and cabins that overlook it, and the Boardwalk, which will feature an Aqua Theater, old-fashioned
games and a hot dog stand.
The recently debuted Celebrity Solstice touts the first
real grass lawn at sea, and that ship, like MSC’s newbuild, jumped on the spa-cabin bandwagon launched
by Costa in 2006.
A rendering of the Seabourn Odyssey, which will launch in June.
— Johanna Jainchill