This Week in Cruise - Lines Show Off New and Renovated Ships

More cruise lines are embracing modern technology to foster interest in travelers, with the latest development coming from American Cruise Lines, who is now allowing visitors to its website to have a glimpse at the company’s newest vessel, the 150- guest Queen of the Mississippi, through a new virtual tour. The tour gives visitors a 360-degree look at various staterooms and public spaces aboard Queen of the Mississippi, including the Paddlewheel Lounge and the dining room. Virtual tours of the lines' other ships are currently in development. Alongside the tour, American Cruise Lines also added maps, images and videos to the descriptions of several of its U.S.-based itineraries.

In other news, cruisers were able to get some more real-life views of Norwegian Cruise Lines' Norwegian Breakaway as it floated out of Meyer Werft’s covered building dock II in Papenburg, Germany where the 146,600-ton ship has been under construction since September 2011. The 4,000-passenger ship's signature hull artwork is designed by pop icon Peter Max. Norwegian Breakaway is the first ship to depart building dock II bow-first. The ship will now move into the final phase of construction, with delivery taking place in 52 days.

On the itinerary side of the industry, Celebrity Cruises began releasing information on its World Tour 2014-15. Each block of itineraries opens for bookings over a period of four weeks, with details becoming progressively more available as the World Tour fills out. Destinations cover each of the seven continents, and include 14-night voyages to Africa, Asia, South America and Antarctica, a 12-night Australia voyage, 11 nights in the Mediterranean and seven-night sailings roundtrip from Seattle to Alaska.