The past year has been one of monumental change for the South Florida cruise industry.
With the arrival of Royal Caribbean International’s 5,400 passenger Oasis of the Seas — the world’s largest cruise ship — at Port Everglades last fall and sailings beginning this December of its equally large sister ship, Allure of the Seas, Port Everglades is poised to overtake the Port of Miami as the world’s largest cruise port in two years.
But Royal Caribbean isn’t the only line with fancy new ships on the horizon.
Cruise lines in North America will be debuting 12 new ships this year. And the Port of Miami also will be capturing a prize: Norwegian Cruise Line’s innovative 4,200-passenger Epic, which will arrive in July.
As Martha Brannigan writes in today’s cover story, Epic Turnaround (page 14), this ship also has a ground-breaking design.
It will include a ship within a ship with the top two decks reserved for premium-paying customers who will enjoy fancy suites and villas — and exclusive access to amenities such as their own pool, sauna, fitness center, lounge, restaurant and steam room.
Open to all passengers are innovations such as an ice bar where the temperature is kept at 17 F or lower and patrons are given faux fur coats and gloves to keep from getting as frosty as their drinks.