These space-efficient ships, featuring multi-purpose rooms and flexible dining and show schedules, were designed post-2008 once cruise lines realized they'd have to offer the same services and save more on fuel.
The current generation of new cruise ships — designed before the 2008 economic bust but not delivered until 2010 or later — is just starting to feel comfortable to many of us. But a whole new generation of vessels designed after 2008 and reflecting the new economic realities is right around the corner.
These next-generation ships will start arriving as soon as April 2013, with three cruise lines introducing new models by June. These new ships are bigger than average, but not the biggest, and their facilities are somewhat more compact. But most importantly, they embody a new ethos, striving to provide the kind of cruise experience that gives passengers what they want but still keeps the cruise lines profitable.