While the number of shipbuilds has slowed in recent years, in the next 12 months we will see the launching of a range of exciting new ships in 2012/13.

Costa Cruises has suffered some savage blows in recent months with the sinking of Costa Concordia in January and the engine room fire on Costa Allegra on February 27. But the cruise line will be hoping to get a new lease on life with the release of its new ship Costa Fascinosa in April. Equally, MSC Cruises and Hapag-Llyd Cruises will be hoping their shiny new offerings will rekindle our love affair with cruising and help to put recent events behind us.

The 114, 500-ton, 3,000-passenger Costa Fascinosa, the fifth in Costa Cruises Concordia class, has been designed by cruising’s well-known architect, Joe Farcus, along the theme of ‘things that fascinate’. According to Costa, this means “celebrities, movie stars and exotic places synonymous with allure and seduction”. Concordia-class elements will feature, including the Asian-themed Samsara Spa and a pool area that has a giant movie screen and sliding glass roof, while the lido deck will take on a ‘Gone with the Wind’ theme amid raised whirlpool tubs and waterfalls.

Fascinosa will cruise the Mediterranean and debut with two pre-inaugural cruises: a five-night sailing from Venice to Savona visiting Dubrovnik and Capri, and a four-night cruise from Savona to Venice with stops in Corfu, Greece and Cattaro, Montenegro.

The legendary Sophia Loren will christen MSC Cruises 139,400-ton, 3,478-passenger, Fantasia-class MSC Divina in a ‘Grand Ball’ ceremony in Marseille on May 26. A veritable floating mount Olympus, 13 of the ship’s 18 decks will be named after Greek mythological figures. Think Zeus, king of the gods and ruler of Mt Olympus; Aphrodite, goddess of love; and Apollo, god of music. An infinity pool in the ‘beach zone’ at the aft of the ship will provide an unusual view of the ship’s wake.

MSC Divina will ply routies in the East Mediterranean and debut with a six-night cruise from Marseille to Venice on May 27.

Other notable ships to launch this year include Carnival Cruise Line’s 3,690-passenger Carnival Breeze and Oceania Cruise’s 1,250-passenger Riviera, both in May, and Celebrity Cruises’ 3,030-passenger Celebrity Reflection in October.

Also highly anticipated is Hapag-Lloyd’s 516-passenger Europa 2, which is due to be launched in the New Year. Sister ship to the high-ranking Europa, Europa 2 is being marketed as a lifestyle-oriented, casual alternative to luxury cruising and impressively will offer more space per passenger than any other cruise ship. All passengers will stay in balcony suites that are a minimum of 28 square metres. The ship will also feature a large spa and fitness area with the culinary variety of eight restaurants and six bars spread across the ship.

Europa 2’s itineraries are to be released sometime this month.