New London Gets Big Cruise Ship

New London has been growing in popularity as a cruise ship port of call, and this year it will get its biggest ship yet – Royal Caribbean’s 3,114-passenger Explorer of the Seas. This thing is so big passengers need a GPS to navigate between buffets.

Explorer is scheduled to stop in New London on Sept. 1, 15 and 29 and Oct. 13 during nine-night New England and Canada cruises out of Bayonne, N.J., according to the Connecticut Cruise Ship Task Force. It is also scheduled to call at New London twice during July 2008.

The task force is definitely on a roll. It recently announced six visits to New London by Holland America and Princess ships next year, and one stop by the German luxury cruiser, the MS Bremen of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.

As of Tuesday night, Royal Caribbean hadn’t announced the changes to Explorer’s schedule and the online itineraries still showed the ship in Newport, R.I., on the dates now assigned to New London. A little rivalry here, perhaps? First the casinos, now the cruise ships?

If you want onto one of these cruises, the trip that leaves New Jersey on Oct. 12 and stops in New London on Oct. 13 looks like the most economical. An inside cabin can be had for $886 per person, double occupancy, taxes and fees included.

This ship, launched in 2000, has lots of bells and whistles, including an ice-skating rink, a rock-climbing wall and a nine-hole miniature golf course.

If there are no further changes, the itinerary will be

12-Oct Cape Liberty Cruise Port, New Jersey 5:00 PM
13-Oct New London, Conn
14-Oct Cruising
15-Oct Halifax, Nova Scotia
16-Oct Saint John, New Brunswick
17-Oct Bar Harbor, Maine
18-Oct Portland, Maine
19-Oct Boston, Mass
20-Oct Cruising
21-Oct Cape Liberty Cruise Port, New Jersey


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