Everything is big in Texas, as the saying goes, and when it comes to cruising, that means vast growth potential from a region with a strong economy, wide drive market, good airlift and plenty of cruise rookies. Lines are raising the stakes by sending more and bigger ships.

European deployment is the key driver of Royal Caribbean's profitability with 'extremely strong demand' pushing up yield, while Alaska is performing well, too, Michael Bayley, president and ceo of Celebrity Cruises, said Thursday.

MSC Divina, which became MSC Cruises' first ship to sail year-round from the US, is going back to the Mediterranean in a year's time, for the summer season. The ship will sail seven-night cruises with the option to embark at Civitavecchia (Rome) or Barcelona, May 16 through Oct. 3, 2015.

Royal Caribbean is sending its most innovative ship to China based on the strength of that market, not weakness in the Caribbean, and Quantum of the Seas will establish the company as the leader in Asia, Adam Goldstein said Thursday.

For 2015, its third season in Japan, Princess Cruises will deploy Diamond Princess but not Sun Princess, which is going to Australia. The line will also introduce cruises as short as three nights to appeal to local travelers seeking a quick get-away.

With Royal Caribbean due to report first quarter earnings and update its guidance on Thursday, followed by Norwegian Cruise Line on April 28, brokerages like William Blair and UBS are forecasting stronger pricing in Europe. This springs from Europe's improving macroeonomic picture, reduced 2014 capacity and the continued recovery from ship incidents in 2012 and 2013.

Carnival Cruise Lines unveiled a new marine-themed children's program hinged on the wonders of the sea. Camp Ocean, for ages 2 to 11, will replace Camp Carnival.

Carnival Legend, currently based in Tampa, has gone into drydock at Grand Bahama Shipyard in preparation for her maiden extended season Down Under from September 22.

Crystal Cruises said it is nurturing the trend of multi-generational travel and family groups by adding connecting staterooms.

Some 1,500 mainly Asian passengers explored the new restaurants, entertainment and refreshed accommodations of Legend of the Seas on a two-night sailing from Singapore to Malacca following the ship’s $US50m revitalization at Sembawang Shipyard.

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