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The Largest Cruise Lines’ Latest Perks

The largest cruise lines in the business keep adding new and exciting features, so you'll never be bored at sea.

The largest cruise lines offer a massive number of things to do on ship, from dinner and dancing to surfing on a wave pool or taking a yoga class. The possibilities are nearly endless.

Even if you’re a first-time cruiser, you likely know that ships these days offer just about anything you could imagine (robot bartenders? Check.) Here’s a sampling of areas in which cruise lines have upped their game.

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Cuisine

On-board restaurants by celebrity chefs are definitely a trend, and Royal Caribbean’s Jamie’s Italian, by British chef Jamie Oliver, is one of the more successful partnerships. There are branches on the Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas, and some of Royal Caribbean’s newer ships like Harmony of the Seas. The menu features an appetizer of cheeses, pickles and cured meats, and a range of pasta dish entrees, made with fresh homemade pasta.

Entertainment

Cruise lines offer a wide variety of entertainment for guests, some of which are destination-centric. Synchronized swimmers, acrobats, “Dancing With the Stars” contestants, ice skaters, stand-up comedians and other acts will take the cruise ship stage to impress guests of all ages. Elsewhere in the largest cruise lines, Norwegian’s ships offer some of the best entertainment at sea. The Breakaway, for example, has the Broadway show “Rock of Ages,” the dinner show “Cirque Dreams” (complete with aerialists), a Second City comedy troupe and live music in the Fat Cats Jazz & Blues Club. Not quite ready to call it a night? Hit the Bliss Ultra lounge for some late-night dancing.

largest cruise ships

Spa

Celebrity has teamed up with Canyon Ranch, one of the best destination spas in the country, to bring Canyon Ranch SpaClub to many of its ships, including Solstice and Equinox. Expect daily fitness classes, a state-of-the-art gym, steam and sauna areas and a wide range of treatments, including seaweed wraps, hot stone massages and Asian remedies including reiki.

Outdoor sports

Believe it or not, the largest cruise lines these days can offer full-court basketball on their sun decks. Might be a tough pickup game if the court is rocking from the swells, but the sheer experience of shooting and dribbling on the deck of a giant ship is worth the story. Some ships feature full sports complexes, with activities like tennis to rock climbing, that allow passengers to work fitness into their vacation without it feeling like a chore. Windstar even includes water sports – passengers may paddleboard, waterski, wakeboard and kayak on a water sports platform, so they can have the best of both worlds while aboard the ship.

On-ship libraries

For the book lovers and introverts, the largest cruise lines also offer tastefully appointed libraries, with shelves full of great literature and the latest potboiler paperbacks. They offer a great place to chill and get away from the hustle and bustle of the wider ship, or a spot to grab a book and head out on one of the deck chairs to enjoy the fresh air along with your cracklin’ story. Oceania Cruises’ sister ships – Regatta, Insignia, Nautica and Sirena – feature old English-style libraries with fireplaces, wing-backed chairs, dome ceilings and over 2,000 books apiece. Though most people might not take a cruise to sit down with a book, these libraries offer a reading experience like no other.

Just like a Fitbit

Some of the largest cruise lines are getting highly advanced with wearable bands that guests can keep on their wrist and open their stateroom doors, pay for drinks and food and even play games at the ship’s casino. The device is also meant to speed up the check-in process, with cruise line companies like Carnival sending the Bluetooth-operated devices to passengers in the mail up to a month before the cruise.

Giant water parks

Just like on land, cruise goers can enjoy the thrill of a massive water slide on some of the ships from the nation’s largest cruise lines. To attract even more adventurous cruisegoers, some cruise line companies are adding new elements to elevate the thrills for their guests. Visual effects, trap doors beneath your feet, two-person rafts, music and video games, and multi-story towers are just some of the innovations these water parks are introducing. MSC Seaside will include a slide with transparent loops that hang over the side of the ship. Water parks at sea provide a unique experience that water parks on land haven’t quite caught up with yet.

Which of these innovations are you most excited about? Tell us in the comments below!

Click here to learn more about each cruise line, its fleet of ships and to book your cruise with AAA. 

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