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Ten new ships will join major cruise lines this year. And Disney Cruise Line is preparing to move its fleet from California to Florida.
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BY GARY A. WARNER
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Relax, it's 2013.
No Olympics. No U.S. presidential election. No fiscal cliff. No party-pooper Mayan apocalypse hanging over the end of the year.
Just about every way you measure it, 2013 has the makings of a more laid-back, prosperous and enjoyable 12 months than 2012. What better way to relax than taking a vacation from it all?
Here are a few highlights and odd items to pique your interest and hopefully whet your wanderlust:
NEW CRUISE SHIPS, SHIFTS
Ten new ships will join major cruise lines this year, and three are behemoths: The 139,400-ton MSC Preziosa arrives in March, the 146,000-ton Norwegian Breakaway in April and the 141,000-ton Royal Princess in June.
These floating cities with multiple pools, restaurants and playgrounds are popular with passengers, but they are drawing a backlash in ports as diverse as Venice and Hawaii for overwhelming the local scenery. The Norwegian Breakaway will carry more than 4,000 passengers.
Disney recently announced that 2013 will be the last year it sails out of Los Angeles--next year it moves its fleet to Florida.
Newly elected Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto wants to fight the drug cartels, but with a less militaristic approach than the one that has led to tens of thousands of civilian casualties and crippled the country's image among tourists. Still, Americans go.
The Lyndon B. Johnson presidential museum in Austin, Texas recently unveiled a multimillion-dollar overhaul. The new George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas is slated to open on this year's anniversary of 9/11.
New Orleans will celebrate "Super Gras," a combination of the Feb. 3 Super Bowl in the city and the ongoing Mardi Gras celebrations that culminate with "Fat Tuesday" on Tuesday. The Year of the Snake sets off Lunar New Year celebrations from Hong Kong to San Francisco to New York on Feb. 10.
EUROPEAN CULTURE CITIES
Marseilles, France, and Kosice, Slovakia, are the European Union's "Cities of Culture" for 2013, drawing arts, drama and musical performers from around the continent for year-long events. The United Kingdom has named Derry (or Londonderry, if you're a hard-core unionist) in Northern Ireland as its first "city of culture." The town once synonymous with the bloody Catholic-Protestant violence of "the Troubles" will have a chance to show the world a creative side.