Boom in new ocean cruise liners to meet growing public appetite

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FORT LAUDERDALE (WCAX) The innovative new Celebrity Edge cruise ship begins its first seven day journey this Sunday. It's one of more than a dozen ocean cruise liners launching this year and many more are on the way.

This isn't your grandparent's cruise ship. With the flick of a switch, you see one way the new celebrity edge cruise ship is different. Many rooms come with floor to ceiling windows that open halfway, and there's more space inside.

"These rooms bring the outside in or the inside out, however you want to look at it," said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, Celebrity Cruises President & CEO.

There's also a French bistro with projected animation that turns your table into entertainment.

And you'll find new technology on the outside of the ship. It's what Celebrity calls the magic carpet -- a movable platform on the side of the ship that takes guests to the edge. It can transform from a restaurant to a launching dock for excursions depending on where it's positioned.

This is the first newly designed ship from Celebrity in 10 years, but it has plenty of competition. Upscale Seabourn Cruise Line launched Ovation in May, Carnival's Horizon debuted in April and the world's largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas, arrived at its new Miami terminal last month.

"Different people want different experiences, they want different activities," said Richard Fain, Royal Caribbean Cruises President & CEO.

And the number of cruise ship passengers has gone from nearly 18 million in 2009 to a projected 30 million next year. That's driving demand for more ships -- and more are on the way -- including three from the new adults only Virgin Voyages Cruise Line.

"We have 111 ships on order right now which is between now and 2027," said Megan King with the Cruise Lines International Association.

And with only about 3 percent of Americans currently cruising every year, industry insiders see potential for bookings to swell as more people discover life on the high seas.