If you haven't cruised in a while, you might want to take another look at what the industry has to offer. Cruises aren't just water slides and unlimited buffets anymore. While those favorites remain on some ships, there are new and more unique amenities to keep you entertained while at sea. Whether because of the ports you'll visit or the latest onboard amenities, cruise lines will give you more than one reason to consider a cruise as your next vacation. The next time you give into wanderlust, consider these cruise options.
One of Royal Caribbean's newest ships, the Odyssey of the Seas, set out on its maiden voyage in July 2021. This ship offers those in its over 2,000 guest rooms some pretty unique amenities for a ship. Enjoy laser tag, bumper cars, and the RipCord® by iFLY® skydiving simulator. Then, when you're tired from flying, take in your surroundings on an observation deck 300 feet above sea level. This ship boasts a Guinness World Record for the tallest viewing deck on a cruise ship.
The Magic Carpet on the Celebrity Apex. Photo courtesy of Celebrity Cruise Lines
The Celebrity Edge series by Celebrity Cruises is a series of modern ships. While there may be fewer family activities, luxury abounds, and the ship aims to be a destination in and of itself. Eden is one such space where ship architects created an indoor-outdoor space incorporating glass, plants, and open-air spaces.
The second and newest ship in the series, Celebrity Apex, debuted in 2020. Debuting soon, Celebrity Beyond℠ is coming in 2022. These ships feature the Magic Carpet, a "cantilevered, floating platform" that climbs "13 stories above sea level." Whether serving as a bar or music venue, this multi-use, industry-first space offers incredible views.
Topping off the luxury experience for select guests is The Retreat. This experience is included with choice suites and consists of a private restaurant, sundeck, and a personal retreat host to guide your experience. The Retreat is unique and a totally different experience from what others on the same cruise ship are experiencing. Travelers also enjoy free Wi-Fi, drinks, and an exclusive lounge.
The Retreat on Seabourn Encore. Photo courtesy of Seabourn
Dwarfed by the above two ships, the Seabourn Ovation has only 300 suites on board. This intimate setting is a bonus, in and of itself. If you still want more privacy, the Seabourn offers a Retreat of its own. This space, not included in the base fare, features just 15 private cabanas. Guests spending the day at the Retreat enjoy cabanas designed as outdoor "luxury living rooms" and have access to spa treatments as well. A concierge is available to help stock your cabana and plan other activities.
Hurtigruten. Photo courtesy of Grafissimo/iStock.com
This cruise line is more enticing for its ports of call than for its ships. Still, the vessels painted in a Norway flag livery offer a range of accommodations. At the height of the options, cruisers enjoy rooms with views, double beds, and separate seating areas. You really sail with Hurtigruten, though, for an immersive experience in nature.
One twelve-day cruise stops at over 30 ports, twice each. Some stops are brief; however, along the way, you'll have a chance at nine hikes and over 70 excursions. In addition, onboard education opportunities are arranged by the ship's Coastal Experts. Regardless of cruise length, Hurtigruten offers a one-of-a-kind way to see the Nordic coast, sail the Arctic, and have a chance at seeing the Northern Lights.