There are a staggering 20 new cruise ships for 2013.

Most of them are niche ships, aimed for the European market.

One such ship, which is the first to roll out will be the 2,192 passenger AIDAStella in mid-March.

The AIDA line targets the German-speaking market and will tour Northern Europe and the Baltic Sea.

Most of the new cruise ships launching in 2013 will be like the Viking Bragi and Viking Skadi. They are 190 passengers vessels that are designed to cruise up and down the rivers of Europe. Viking is deploying 10 of these ships — half of the total new cruise ship population for this year.

Besides the AIDASrella, the other ocean going cruise ships include the MSC Preziosa, the Norwegian Breakway, the Europa 2 and the Royal Princess.

Just the 4,028 passengers Breakaway and the 3,600 passenger Royal Princess are serving the North American market.

The Royal Princess is the first new ship for its line in five years and it is 20 per cent bigger than anything Princess currently has.

Besides sailing the Med, it will also do an Eastern itinerary. Its maiden voyage will be June 16.

Double miles

American Airlines is offering an up to double miles bonus for purchasing AAdvantage frequent flyer milers. The more you buy, the more you bonus miles are awarded. The maximum purchase is 60,000 miles — plus you’ll get an additional 30,000 — for $1,650 plus a $35 transaction fee.

Is it a deal? Depends on what you use them for. If you can get a ‘free’ ticket or two tickets with your purchased miles cheaper than what you would normally pay, then yes.

Early boarding

Southwest Airlines, the parent company of AirTran, is allowing people to purchase an early boarding pass for $40. The airline has a first-come, first-served seating policy meaning, who is in line first gets first choice of seats on the plane as there are no assigned seats when you buy your tickets.

It can lead to a cattle-call rush when boarding is announced, which many fliers hate. AirTran passengers can expect those fees when it is fully absorbed into Southwest. n