Touch of class: The luxury Pearl Mist will cruise New England, Canada and The Great Lakes before heading to the Caribbean in 2015. *Photo supplied by Pearl Sea Cruises
Touch of class: The luxury Pearl Mist will cruise New England, Canada and The Great Lakes before heading to the Caribbean in 2015. *Photo supplied by Pearl Sea Cruises

There are three ‘mega’ cruise ships scheduled to launch in North America for 2014.

The first to pull away from port will be the Norwegian Getaway in February. It’s the sister ship to the Breakaway and will be based out of Miami all year round. 

David ‘LEBO’ Letard designed the hull artwork and it will have a south Florida feel to it. 

So instead of New York items like small versions of the Statue of Liberty, you’ll get the Sugarcane Bar, which is an island-themed tiki bar. 

Prices generally tend to be more affordable on Norwegian than Royal Caribbean and some inside cabins over the spring break were going for around $700 for a week’s cruise — a steal considering that it is a busy time for the cruise lines. The Getaway holds just over 4,000 passengers.

The *Regal Princess is expected to start sailing in May. She is the sister ship to the Royal Princess, which was launched out of Southampton, England in June. 

One of the highlights is the SeaWalk, a cantilevered glass enclosed walkway that extends 28 feet over the ship’s edge. It will be sailing in the Caribbean and the Med and carries 3,600 passengers.

Last, but not least, is Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas, which should start in November. 

It will do Caribbean and Bahamian itineraries, but is also expected to make stops in Bermuda. 

The ship will have the first bumper cars at sea as well as a north star, a glass capsule that extends over the side of the ship and can rise above sea level.

There is one smaller cruise launching in the US for June 2014 and that is the Pearl Mist from Pearl Seas Cruises. 

The intimate ship will have just 200 passengers. Every stateroom will have a balcony. 

The luxury ship will cruise New England, Canada, and, because it is smaller, The Great Lakes before heading to the Caribbean in 2015. 

You can expect to pay a luxury price as seven-day cruises start at $4,000 for the ‘cheap’ cabins. 

There are two mega ships slated for Europe this year — The Tui Cruises’ Mein Schiff 3 (2,500 passengers) and the Costa Diadema in October (3,700 passengers). 

AA-US Airways

If you belong to either American Airlines or US Airways frequent flier programmes, you should have received an e-mail this week announcing some of the first changes for the merger. You’ll now be allowed to redeem Dividend Miles with American or AAdvantage rewards with US Airways.

I don’t fly enough, but your miles with either airline will count towards Elite stats with the programme of your choice. 

US Airways Dividend Miles members can now access the 35 Admirals Club locations across the globe. 

As a head’s up, US Airways will exit the Star Alliance on March 30, 2014. Membership with the Oneworld Alliance begins on March 31. 

The complete merger between the two airlines is expected to take an additional 18 to 24 months.

Fairmont 

I had the opportunity to stay at the Southampton Fairmont in December and took advantage of being a part of its President’s Club. The perk? Free WiFi. The recent Regulatory Authority survey shows that 23 per cent of residents can’t live without the Internet for a day so saving $15 bucks will allow you to save a bit of money. 

* We had a typo and had Royal princess when it should have been the Regal Princess.