Innovations in cruise ship design and features have cruise travel agents – and their clients buzzing. Cruise Holiday’s Cruise Trends Survey for 2011 asked expert cruise agents to name the most exciting recent cruise ship innovations. Their answers may make it a bit more difficult – but a lot more exciting – to select a ship for your next cruise.
1. The sheer size of Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas topped the list of the most exciting recent cruise ship innovations. With 16 decks and 2,700 staterooms that can accommodate 6,360 guests, the Allure is massive. But, a groundbreaking design that divides the ship’s public spaces into seven distinct neighborhoods makes the ship feel welcoming, not overwhelming.
2. The “Studio” staterooms on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Epic are compact, but have a contemporary, comfortable design (and price) that’s perfect for solo cruisers. Guests in the ship’s 128 studios also have access to their own gathering space, the Studio Lounge.
3. The Allure of the Seas’ partnership with DreamWorks’ Animation SKG places the film studio’s beloved characters – including Shrek, Fiona and Puss in Boots from Shrek – around the ship to meet and greet passengers, lead deck parades and attend special events.
4. (tie) Celebrity Cruises’ Eclipse features the iLounge, where guests can try out iPods and accessories and use MacBook workstations to check their e-mail.
4. (tie) On the NCL Epic, incredible entertainment is provided by the famed Blue Man Group and the Second City comedy troupe.
6. The Eclipse features a new dining experience, Qsine, which puts a fun, gourmet twist on traditional comfort foods. It’s an interactive experience, with touch screen menus, spring rolls served on actual springs, and “do-it-yourself” dishes like make-it-yourself guacamole.
7. Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam pays tribute to New York City through its multi-million-dollar art collection. You’ll see New York’s Hudson River and famous skyline in the prints that line the corridors; the atrium chandelier is actually an abstract sculpture of Manhattan’s skyline; and, don’t miss the “big apple” metal sculpture on deck.
To experience some of these cruise ship innovations for yourself, contact a Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.