Royal Caribbean International plans to deploy a record eight ships in Europe for the 2009 summer and fall seasons. Itineraries range from four to 14 nights aboard Independence of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas, Legend of the Seas, Splendour of the Seas, and Vision of the Seas. All told, the line plans 70 itineraries to 87 ports of call in 32 countries. Itineraries will explore the Mediterranean Sea, Northern and Western Europe and a variety of transatlantic sailings. Bookings are open for the 2009 Europe cruises and cruise-tours for all ships except for Vision of the Seas, which will open in April. Cruise-tours allow passengers to combine a cruise with land journey, city tours and hotel stays ranging from three to five nights prior to embarkation. A tour director escorts each group to landmarks and attractions in Europe's popular cities, including Paris, London, Madrid, Barcelona, Stresa, Verona, Venice, Florence and Rome. Air and ground transfers, hotel reservations, tours and some meals are included.
In 2009, Independence of the Seas returns to Southampton, U.K., for its second Europe season, offering 14-night Western Mediterranean, 10- and 11-night Western Europe and Canary Islands, and four-night British Isles itineraries. Navigator of the Seas will sail from homeports of Malaga, Spain, a new homeport for Royal Caribbean; Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy; and Barcelona. Voyager of the Seas is also homeporting in Barcelona through November 2009. In November and December 2009, Brilliance of the Seas will operate a new Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean itinerary roundtrip from Barcelona, featuring the Greeks Isles and calls at Port Said and Alexandria, Egypt. Vision of the Seas will operate Scandinavian itineraries from Copenhagen, Denmark, another new homeport for the cruise line; Oslo, Norway; and Stockholm, Sweden. Jewel of the Seas will operate 12-night Scandinavia and Baltic voyages, featuring an overnight in St. Petersburg. Jewel will also sail one 12-night itinerary that combines the British Isles and Norwegian Fjords, which includes a call at Geiranger, Norway, one of the highest rated ports by previous guests. Vision of the Seas will also offer 10- and 11-night Holy Land itineraries from the new homeports of Athens and Istanbul.