Cruise ship vacations is growth area in the industry and it is no longer a matter of choosing the right destinations. Now, the selection of the right ship can add to your experience of the best onboard amenities and activities.
Cruise lines have been engaged in a war of one-upmanship providing celebrity chefs, 4D theatres, and even “virtual balconies” for interior cabins. Of course, AlphaLuxers will only be seen in penthouse staterooms!
The cruise ships are getting larger too; the current largest is Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas; at almost 227,000 tons and with 18 decks, it provides accommodation for nearly 5,500 passengers and 2,300 crew. A bigger sister ship at 230,000 tons, Symphony of the Seas, will go into service in April 2018.
Here are some of the extravagant amenities on-board cruise ships today.
ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES
Passengers on Royal Caribbean’s Quantum Class ships can take a complimentary 15-minute spin in North Star — a glass observation capsule that Guinness World Records has declared to be the “Highest Viewing Deck on a Cruise Ship.”
The 14-passenger pod goes up 300 feet in the air and rotates out over the sides of the ships, offering unique and exhilarating views in port and at sea. Private North Star flights are also available.
Computerised Numeric Control Bartender
On some Royal Caribbean cruise ships, a Robot Bartender receives your drinks order via an electronic tablet and swings into action, mixing up 2 drinks per minute and up to 1,000 drinks a day.
Ultimate Abyss: the largest dry slide at-sea.
On Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas cruise ships, guests walk into the mouth of a “creature” for the thrill of plunging 10 stories – in the dark – on the Ultimate Abyss as the tallest dry slide at-sea.
NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINES
On the new Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Norwegian Bliss due in May 2018, passengers will be able to play Space-themed laser tag or race electric cars at up to 30 mph on a 1,000-foot long, two-level race track; the “largest race track at sea”. The electric race cars are silent, but each driver will have exhilirating engine sounds piped into their helmet headsets.
Why not try a real F1 car? CXC Simulations, manufacturer of advanced racing simulators for personal and professional use, converted Formula 1 Williams FW31, once driven by Nico Rosberg, for use as a racing simulator on Norwegian Joy cruise ship.
The 3,850-passenger Norwegian Joy cruise ship will home port in Shanghai and Tianjin. In addition to the Formula 1 simulator, the Norwegian Joy will also have four CXC Simulation Motion Pro II simulators which utilise Virtual Reality integration.
The MSC Divina and sister ships also have a driving simulator but not one made from a car that the World Champion has driven.
Viking Star and sister ships Viking Sea, Viking Sky and Viking Sun, are less than a third the size of the latest megaships from Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line. They are designed to mix on-board elegance with a focus on more destination time onshore. Each ship has a Viking Heritage Exhibit.
Viking Cruises reinvented the spa experience by drawing upon the holistic wellness philosophy of Nordic culture.
To stimulate your circulatory system visit a ‘snow grotto’ where snowflakes gently descend from the ceiling through chilled air, then invigorate yourself in the sauna, following ancient Nordic tradition.
SCENIC RIVER CRUISES
Scenic’s all-inclusive river ship cruises include complimentary beverages, personal butlers, and a long list of other extras.
Each sports an on-board cooking school (with a cheese and wine cellar) and a therapeutic salt lounge.
The bricks are supposed to create the energizing micro-climate of negatively-charged ions found in salt caverns. We reported on salt room treatment on AlphaLuxe before.
Complimentary water sports equipment and amenities on the Crystal Esprit yacht include paddle boards, jet skis, and kayaks. For an extra fee ($599/per person for 30 minutes), guests can join a pilot inside a 3-person pressure-controlled submersible.
Star Clippers’ five-masted, 439-foot Royal Clipper looks like an old-fashioned sailing ship. Inside, are modern navigation systems, fancy accommodations and amenities, such as three swimming pools and supervised mast-climbing. The health club, spa, and Captain Nemo Lounge have underwater glass portholes.
The even newer Flying Clipper will go into service in Fall 2018 with an 18-foot deep dive pool that spans the depth of two decks, with glass sides so passengers are able to watch the divers in the water.
When it comes to vacationing, these extravagant cruise ships offer all the fun of the fair and more. The sea is like your oyster; it’s almost like Disneyland out there.
But wait, Disney Cruise Line currently operates four ships: Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream, and Disney Fantasy. Three more ships will join the fleet in 2021, 2022, and 2023.
Author’s Biography: Melvyn Teillol-Foo (MTF)
Dr Melvyn Teillol-Foo is a contributor on AlphaLuxe web-zine.
He is also a moderator on PuristSPro.com horology discussion fora. He blends his scientific medical objectivity from the pharmaceutical industry with purist passion, in his musings about watches, travel, wine, food and other epicurean delights.
His travelogue ‘Lazing’ and feasting ‘Grazing’ series of articles have now passed into “mythic legend” on the original ‘ThePuristS.com’ website. Those were the halcyon days when he was “rich and famous” that he remembers with bittersweet fondness.
Dr Teillol-Foo is a quoted enthusiast on the watch industry, appearing in feature articles and interviews by Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Sunday Times (London), Chronos (Japan), Citizen Hedonist (France) and other publications. He has authored articles for magazines like International Watch (iW) – both U.S. & Chinese editions, ICON (Singapore), August Man (Singapore), Comfort (China) and The Watch (Hong Kong).