5 new cruise ships to watch for in 2014

A new year means new ships, so we've scoured the roster of 2014's most anticipated debuts to give you a sneak peek at next year’s five biggest wave-makers. From an innovative megaship complete with wow-factor amenities (bumper cars! skydiving!) to a brand-new, close-to-home cruise line's smaller but shiny new vessel, these five cruise ships are sure to grab headlines.

Quantum of the Seas

Royal Caribbean's much-anticipated Quantum of the Seas will mark the first in a new class of "quantum" ships for the cruise line when it rolls out in November 2014. The 4,180 passengers aboard can expect tricked-out cabins (even windowless inside cabins will be outfitted with "virtual balconies," courtesy of floor-to-ceiling LCD screens projecting ocean views). It will also feature plenty of first-at-sea diversions like bumper cars, a skydiving simulator and even a "North Star" observation pod that reaches over the ship's side for bird's-eye views over ports and the sea.

The Quantum of the Seas will cruise from Bayonne, N.J., on 7- to 12-night itineraries to the Bahamas and Caribbean. Rates from $1,049/person.

Norwegian Getaway

Come January, the 4,028-passenger Norwegian Getaway—sister ship to 2013's buzziest newcomer, the Norwegian Breakaway—will pull into its year-round Miami homeport for a series of Eastern Caribbean itineraries. Among the ship's standout attractions: a whimsical hull designed by Miami pop artist David "LEBO" Le Batard; a staggering 27 dining options, including a magic-themed dinner-show venue complete with special effects; an ice bar; a pirate-themed Nickelodeon Kids’ Aqua Park; and entertainment options including two Broadway shows and the first-ever Grammy experience at sea, featuring performances by Grammy winners and nominees.

The Getaway will sail 7-night Caribbean itineraries from Miami. Rates from $679/person.

Regal Princess

Princess Cruises' new Regal Princess will debut in May as the sister ship to the Royal Princess, which was famously christened by Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, back in June. Its 3,560 passengers can expect innovative features like the cantilevered "SeaWalk" (a top-deck, glass-bottomed platform extending over the vessel's edge); a Princess Live! Television studio; and a special chef's-table dining experience. Plus, all outside staterooms come trimmed with balconies.

Regal Princess will sail 12-night Mediterranean cruises between Venice and Athens (rates from $1,999/person) from May through October, then move to Fort Lauderdale for 7-night Caribbean sailings for the winter season (from $799/person).

Costa Diadema

Italy-based Costa Cruises is prepping for the October launch of what will be the cruise line's largest vessel to date and its new flagship: the 3,724-passenger, 132,500-ton Costa Diadema. Look for onboard highlights like split-level, beachfront resort-inspired public rooms touting ocean views; a large cabana-speckled open-air promenade; an expanded spa; and new palate-pleasing venues highlighting Bavarian-style beers, wine-tasting, Japanese cuisine, and more.

The Costa Diadema will sail 7-night Mediterranean itineraries from Barcelona, Rome and Savona, Italy. Rates from $799/person.

Pearl Mist

Soon-to-debut Pearl Sea Cruises—a long-delayed cruise line that is set to ply close-to-home waterways—is slated to roll out its flagship 210-passenger Pearl Mist this June. The intimate, upscale vessel will feature private balconies in every stateroom, a sports deck with a putting green, and a glass-enclosed dining room, along with a selection of exclusive shore excursions in destinations like the Great Lakes, New England and Canadian Maritimes.

Choose from a dozen scheduled 7- to 14-night itineraries including Great Lakes, Canadian Maritimes, St. Lawrence Seaway, New England and Caribbean, sailing between June and October. Rates from $3,955/person.