MSC Splendida

Until the debut of MSC Meraviglia in June 2017, the 3,959-passenger Splendida was one of the biggest in the fleet. In common with its siblings, MSC Fantasia, Divina and Preziosa, it offers fun-filled, informal cruising in dazzling surroundings that include Swarovski crystal studded staircases that cost 3,500 euros per step.

Aside from the peaceful haven of the 71-suite Yacht Club — a separate «ship-within-a ship» where passengers pay premium fares for an exclusive experience — the atmosphere on Splendida is lively and exuberant, which also means pretty noisy at times. This is due to the fact that many passengers are from Italy and naturally more outgoing than Brits and North Americans. That said, Splendida has a really inclusive feel, with a very friendly atmosphere. Reflecting the typical Mediterranean lifestyle, most young children onboard stay up late and will be out and about with their parents — attracting none of the stern

Aside from the peaceful haven of the 71-suite Yacht Club — a separate «ship-within-a ship» where passengers pay premium fares for an exclusive experience — the atmosphere on Splendida is lively and exuberant, which also means pretty noisy at times. This is due to the fact that many passengers are from Italy and naturally more outgoing than Brits and North Americans. That said, Splendida has a really inclusive feel, with a very friendly atmosphere. Reflecting the typical Mediterranean lifestyle, most young children onboard stay up late and will be out and about with their parents — attracting none of the stern glares they might get on more traditional ships.

Basic cruise prices cover the cabin and meals, although there are upgraded packages such as the Aurea Experience that includes priority boarding, anytime dining, drinks, access to the private sun deck and thermal suite and cabin perks such as a bathrobe and slippers. For those who want to cruise without piling on the pounds, Splendida recently debuted the new Wellness Package, which includes a personalised fitness programme, daily gym class, and dietary advice. Passengers can also book — in advance or onboard — a range of drink deals that range from water, beer and coffee packages to wine with meals or an all-inclusive package covering all drinks onboard that is priced at 26 euros per day for adults and 12 euros for children, and has to be booked for the whole cruise.

Splendida has 14 public decks connected by 25 lifts, with a wide range of bars and public areas and it never feels overly crowded (aside from in the main buffet at certain times of the day). There are some gorgeous public spaces, such as La Piazetta, which resembles a quaint Italian square, and the central hub of the soaring atrium, with its sweeping, glittering staircases, crystal-studded piano, water feature and glass-sided lift. Although passenger flow around the vessel is generally very good, some of the layout is rather confusing; particularly the entrances to the two main dining rooms where a section of the two decks on each side are closed to passenger access. Also, when you’re orientating yourself with the ship the penny eventually drops that there is no Deck 17 (this is considered an unlucky number in Italy).

Splendida places an emphasis on being an «eco-ship», with various energy saving, water recycling and waste management systems in place. MSC was the first company to receive the 7 Golden Pearls environmental award for its Fantasia-class ships from the international Bureau Veritas testing and certification organisation.

Although English is the main on board language, the entertainment has to be geared to appeal to multinational audiences, which means it is mostly visual with dancers, bilingual singers and acrobats rather than comedians and specialist acts dependant on communication with the audience. For the same reason there is no cinema or movies under the stars. Information on ports of call can be found on the in-cabin TVs and daily newsletters, and there are no port talks or lectures.

MSC sails throughout the year in the Mediterranean and offers seasonal itineraries in northern Europe, the Caribbean, Cuba, South America, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.

MSC Splendida Cabins

There are 1,637 cabins in seven categories (Interior, Oceanview, Balcony, Family, Suites, Family and Executive Suites and Royal Suites) spread over nine decks, and 80 per cent have private balconies. Within the various categories there are additional options, such as Ocean View cabins with two additional beds that pull down from the ceiling and are accessed by ladders, which are ideal for families. There are also 41 wheelchair accessible cabins with large bathrooms equipped with grab handles and other facilities for passengers with mobility issues.

Decor in cabins throughout the main ship is mostly a muted blue and cream, or orange and cream combination, which is easy on the eye. Staterooms in the «ship-within-a ship» Yacht Club feature rich brass and lavish wood-effect finishes. The Yacht Club also has the largest cabins on Splendida, and all cabins benefit from 24-hour butler service.

All cabins have double beds which can be converted into twins, two bedside tables with reading lights and a master light switch. Two pillows, one soft and the other slightly harder, are provided for each passenger and further options are available from the cabin steward on request. Other standard amenities in all cabins include a mini-bar, telephone, wall-mounted flat-screen TV (with programmes in different languages, films and onboard information), hair dryer (fixed inside the dressing table/desk drawer), safe with room for a laptop, and space for suitcases beneath the bed. The voltage is 110V and 220V with European two-pin sockets, so travellers from outside mainland Europe will need to bring adapters. Cabin lighting is good and there is ample storage, with drawers and shelves in the dressing table/desk unit and in the bedside tables. Full length wardrobes provide a mix of fixed and removable coat hangers with drawers and open shelving units opposite.

Bathrooms have a good amount of shelving for storage, plus cupboards beneath the basin. There are fixed non-branded bottles of shower gel and shampoo — no conditioner or lotion is provided — in showers that have clingy curtains. There are two soap dishes in the shower to stow your own toiletries, plus a retractable washing line.

It should be noted that, as with all large ships, there are variations in cabin design and outlook. For example, some cabins have views restricted by lifeboats, some balconies are shaded by the overhanging deck above, and others have metal balcony walls, rather than a clear wall, which means views are obscured when you’re sitting down. So check carefully when booking.

Interior: There are 294 Interior Cabins which range in size from 139 square feet to 258 square feet, with the largest cabins adapted for wheelchair users. The cabins have a large mirror behind the bed and on one wall, which creates an illusion of space, and in addition to the dressing table/desk and stool, have a separate round table and an easy chair.

Oceanview: The 93 Ocean View Cabins measure 129 to 312 square feet and have a porthole, which is situated over the bed head. They have a table and two chairs and some have pull down beds to accommodate up to four people.

Balcony: There are 1,143 Balcony Cabins that range in size from 182 to 452 square feet. At the foot of the bed is a very large floor-to-ceiling mirror that’s almost the width of the bed. There is a sofa, large enough for three, opposite the dressing table/desk unit and an oval table. Balcony furnishings comprise two rattan chairs and a table, which is large enough for a room service meal. Some of these cabins are interconnecting and, whilst they are great for families and groups of friends, it should be noted that having a door in the wall decreases the soundproofing considerably so it’s not so good if you are next door to complete strangers. Light sleepers might want to take ear plugs.

Suite: There are 36 standard Suites, some with a balcony and some with a panoramic sealed window, that range in size from 266 to 505 square feet. They have a separate living area, with a sofa, two chairs and a table, and a bathroom with a bathtub.

Special: The ship’s remaining suites are located within the Yacht Club on Decks 15 and16 and all have butler service. Each of the suites is fitted with Myform Memory mattresses and comes with a pillow menu, Egyptian cotton bathrobes, bedding from the luxury Italian company Mascioni and marble bathrooms, all with a shower and bathtub. There is a complimentary mini-bar and goodnight treats from the Italian chocolatier Venchi.

The 66 Deluxe Suites feature one room, measure 279 to 419 square feet, and all have balconies. Extra amenities include a coffee maker and bathroom with a bathtub. There are three Executive and Family Suites, which can sleep up to four and range in size from 484 to 570 square metres and have panoramic sealed windows in the bedroom and lounge area.

The largest suites on the ship are the pair of two-room Royal Suites, situated in a prime forward position on either side of Deck 16. They each measure 559 square feet with a 172-square-foot wrap around balcony with a hot tub, dining table and loungers. The balcony can be accessed from both the bedroom and bathroom, and other in-room perks include a coffee machine.

 

 

MSC Splendida Dining

Two main dining rooms and two buffet restaurants are the pulse points of the free dining scene on MSC Splendida. At breakfast, lunch and dinner, there’s a Heinz 57 varieties’ choice of cuisine. All free dining spaces can get a pretty busy, but waiters are efficient, friendly, and organised.

La Reggia (Deck 5 and 6): The largest of the two main dining rooms, La Reggia is spread over two decks and can be accessed on both levels in addition to having an internal staircase. It seats 626 on the lower level on Deck 5 and 529 on Deck 6. Despite what many passengers seem to think, both of the main dining rooms serve exactly the same food, albeit in a different ambiance. Passengers will be allocated to one or other restaurant at the beginning of the cruise. There are a few tables for two, but the majority are larger tables for up to nine. Passengers will be allocated a dinner table for the whole cruise, where they will be seated as far as possible, with people who speak the same language. At breakfast and lunch waiters fill up tables as passengers arrive, so you will probably end up with a table of different nationalities.

La Reggia is open for breakfast from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. (times can vary slightly depending on the time of arrival in port) and lunch from noon to 2 p.m. In the evening it operates a traditional cruise ship dinner set up with two sittings at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. For passengers who have booked the Aurea Package, which includes open dining, they can eat at any time between 7 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. A children’s menu is available at every meal.

Looks-wise, it is a handsome gold coloured room, set off by the glittering staircase in the middle, but tables are fairly tightly packed. During the two dinner sittings it is busy (more so at the first), but the friendly waiters do a sterling job of getting food orders out quickly and will always accommodate anyone who might want, for example, a couple of starters or an additional dessert. It is much quieter during breakfast and lunch.

Breakfast features a buffet, with a wide selection of hot and cold dishes, fruit, yoghurt and pastries, plus an a la carte menu with items such as eggs Benedict, omelettes, pancakes and French toast served at the table. Tea and coffee is also served at the table and waiters walk around with trays of pastries. Freshly squeezed orange juice is available at an additional charge of 3.90 euros.

Lunch follows a similar format, with a salad bar and range of hot and cold items available from the buffet, including soup and a daily carvery item. A la carte items served to the table might include vegetable curry, chicken thighs in a devilled sauce or a Cuban sandwich.

In the evening passengers can expect some themed menus, such as a Mediterranean night featuring a variety of cuisine from Italy and beyond. This could include Spanish tapas, Greek spinach and feta cheese pie or bouillabaisse fish soup to start, followed by moussaka, paella, or Moroccan-style couscous. To follow there will be items such as Turkish baklava or chocolate profiteroles. On other nights appetisers might include beef consomme, asparagus soup or tomato, mozzarella and aubergine rolls, followed by mushroom risotto, squid ink pasta or beef with green peppercorn sauce. Typical desserts are dark chocolate mousse, lemon sponge cake plus a no added sugar option such as poached pear in honey cinnamon syrup. At every dinner there is always fresh fruit and a cheese plate. At dinner, there are also two main courses available for a fee, which are T-bone steak with a glass of red wine for 18 euros or Canadian lobster tails with a glass of Prosecco for 21 euros.

It’s worth a mention that the bread served with all meals is freshly baked onboard and absolutely delicious.

Villa Verde (Deck 6): Decorated in an opulent blue and green colour scheme, the ship’s second main dining room seats 766 and is situated aft, accessed by stairs from Deck 7 (which can be confusing at the start of the cruise). It occupies a better location than La Reggia, with panoramic views of the sea from large picture windows, which gives it a more open feel.

It is not open for breakfast and operates the same lunch and dinner times as La Reggia, and serves the same menu.

La Piazetta (Deck 6): Open for pastries, sandwiches, ice cream and other light bites from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Sports Bar (Deck 7): Hamburgers and hot dogs are available from 4 p.m. to midnight.

Bora Bora (Deck 14): The main buffet, offering casual dining, is open 24/7 for self-service coffee, tea, water and ice, and moves from breakfast through lunch and dinner — with other items in between — without a break. Breakfast is served from 7 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., lunch from 11:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. and dinner from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The pizzeria is open from noon to midnight and fruit and salad is available from noon to 10 p.m.

The buffet is conveniently located next to the Aqua Park, making it easy for passengers to pop in and out whenever they’re feeling peckish. Seating is mainly at tables, although there are also a number of counters with bar-style stools. It’s a huge space — taking up around a third of Deck 14 — and the size, and choice of food, can seem overwhelming the first time you visit, particularly on busy embarkation day and at the peak breakfast period when there can be queues out of the door and you may have trouble finding a table. It is also fairly noisy and hectic at busy times. Many people unwittingly end up sitting in the neighbouring Pago Pago buffet as the two areas blend into each other and seem like one vast area, particularly during breakfast and lunch.

The breakfast buffet includes the usual favourites, with all manner of eggs, along with sausages, bacon, cereals, fruit, yoghurt and cold cuts. At lunch and dinner every food station is geared to a particular type of food or cuisine, such as fresh fruit, salads, cooked items, Mediterranean cuisine, burgers, a children’s corner and so forth. The choice is huge. One area is devoted to healthy foods linked to the new Wellness Package, although of course anyone can have them. A standout feature from lunchtime onwards is the pizzeria, where chefs continually cook a range of thin-crust pizzas in a traditional pizza oven. There are meat and veggie options, along with a daily wholemeal pizza. Also showcasing the line’s Italian heritage is the excellent pasta station.

Although they have to rush around when Bora Bora is packed during the main mealtimes, members of the buffet staff are very friendly and efficient and do a great job of keeping on top of drinks orders and clearing and cleaning tables.

Pago Pago (Deck 14): Running on from Bora Bora, the smaller Pago Pago buffet occupies a position at the aft of the ship and is the place to go to try and avoid the crowds. Open at the same times as Bora Bora, it also offers complimentary 24-hour tea, coffee water and ice along with a smaller selection of hot and cold food than the neighbouring space. There is really a free-flow of movement between the two eateries as passengers wander around looking for what takes their fancy, and many diners sit in Pago Pago if they can’t find anywhere to sit in Bora Bora. Heed the advice of the waiters and head right to the back of the ship and you will invariably find empty tables.

L’Olivio (Deck 15): This beautiful a la carte restaurant occupies a prime position overlooking the Playa Del Sol swimming pool and aft of the ship. It is reserved solely for Yacht Club passengers, and included in the price of their fare. Opening times can vary depending on shore excursions, but are generally 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. for breakfast, 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch and 7 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. for dinner.

The elegant room has the feel of a pavilion, with green and gold chairs, arched trellises beside the windows and draped curtains. There are plenty of tables for two, or diners can choose to sit together at larger tables. All the meals are waiter served and there is no buffet. Breakfast consists of freshly squeezed juice, healthy options such as yoghurt, cereals and fruit, cold cuts, and a range of hot items including grilled herrings, waffles, eggs Benedict, omelettes and all the main constituents of a full English breakfast. There is also an express breakfast, for passengers who might be heading out on a shore excursion, where fried eggs, grilled sausages, grilled ham, mushrooms and hash browns, fruit juice and toast are brought to the table together.

For lunch, typical starters include salmon tartare, mozzarella and tomato salad or mussel and potato soup, followed by wholemeal pasta with fresh tuna, grilled sea bass, pork fillet in a mustard crust, and a vegetarian dish. Always available items include Caesar salad, pasta with tomato sauce or a burger. Desserts might be carrot cake or almond cream and blueberry tart, and there is always a cheese plate, fresh fruit, and ice cream.

At dinner passengers are served a glass of Prosecco while they peruse the menu. The food is exceptional — beautifully presented with very attentive service — and will include starters such as smoked goose breast or tomato tartare, followed by risotto with monkfish and seafood, braised lamb shank in herb sauce or a vegan legume casserole. Typical desserts include apple crumble, and there is always a cheese plate and ice cream. A choice of quality wines by the glass is included with lunch and dinner, or wine lovers can choose to buy a bottle from the wine menu.

Top Sail Lounge (Deck 15): Overlooking the front of the ship, this area is also reserved for Yacht Club passengers and situated in the same area as the cabins. It is open 24 hours for sweet and savoury snacks, set on a small, central buffet table. At breakfast time a range of cold dishes are available, such as cereals, fruit, yoghurt, pastries, smoked salmon and rollmops. Sandwiches are added to the lunchtime selection, along with hors d’oeuvres in the evening. The highlight of the day is full afternoon tea, served by the butlers at 4 p.m., when tables are spread with white clothes and cakes stands of delicate cucumber sandwiches, scones and sweet treats are brought to the tables. To complete the daily institution, passengers can choose from a selection of loose leaf teas which are freshly brewed for each table.

Fee Dining

Fee dining is limited on MSC Splendida and amounts to one quirky Mexican eatery and a couple of ice cream and sweet snack bars.

Santa Fe Tex Mex (Deck 7); a la carte: The ship’s only speciality restaurant is the bright and colourful Mexican restaurant. Decorated with giant cacti, a horse-drawn cart, retro Mexican photos and tables, resting on giant horseshoes, it’s a fun lunch and dinner venue for all ages rather than somewhere for a romantic meal. Staff are very cheerful and efficient, and happy to make recommendations to guide you through the menu (as well as helping the uninitiated fold the perfect burrito).  Tasty appetisers, all priced at 5 euros, include tacos, nachos, quesadillas, and burritos, with mains such as fajitas, chili con carne, or a larger plate of assorted starters costing 8 euros. Steaks include rib-eye for 18 euros or tenderloin for 22 euros. Desserts, all 4 euros, are mango cream, orange flan or chocolate tart.

Not surprisingly, the restaurant serves the best margaritas on the ship, with eight options ranging from a classic margarita to mango, strawberry or coconut flavoured ones. They all cost 6.75 euros, and the drinks menu also includes other Mexican favourites such as tequila sunrise, for 6.70 euros, plus Sol and Dos Equis beers for 4.70 euros. There are also other international beers and wines starting from 22 euros a bottle. The restaurant is open from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. to midnight.

Bar del Riccio (Deck 14); a la carte: Situated at the side of the Aqua Park, this gelateria is open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and serves delicious Italian ice cream, home-made onboard, and priced from €2.

Nutella bar and HappyPuppy stand (Deck 14); a la carte: Also in the Aqua Park is a Nutella crepe bar and adjacent slushy iced drinks stand. Crepes cost 3.30 euros and a drink with a souvenir cup is 4.50 euros, 2.80 euros for refills.

Room Service: Continental breakfast from room service is delivered free to cabins on request and is available from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Snacks are available 24 hours a day and there is a charge of 3 euros for one dish and 5 euros for two, plus an additional fee of 4.90 euros for a fruit basket. The menu includes soup, salads, wraps, sandwiches, a cheese plate and desserts. In-cabin pizza delivery is also available at the times set out in the daily programme, which is usually 8 p.m. to midnight. They cost from 5 euros for a pizza marinara to 9 euros for the MSC classic pizza topped with mozzarella cheese, ham, rocket and parmesan. Drinks are available from the mini-bar in every cabin, including still and sparkling water for 1.55 euros, fruit juice and fizzy drinks at 2.80 euros, beer for 4.70 euros and miniature bottles of spirits for 5.70 euros. The mini-bar is also stocked with snacks including peanuts and mixed nuts, priced at 2.70 euros each. Larger bottles of water are also available in the cabin for 2.50 euros

Gurkemeie K2 PLUSS

MSC Splendida Entertainment

The Strand Theatre is an impressive split-level venue located at the front of the ship on Deck 6 and 7.  The theatre can seat 1,200 passengers in the lower auditorium and 400 upstairs, with all seats providing an unobstructed view of the stage (the first in the MSC fleet to feature LED screens). Due to the broad mix of international passengers, the shows are mostly variations of song and dance routines, with singers often embracing several languages during each song, along with acrobats and magicians. The shows might not be that varied, but they are all slick and colourful, in particular a Spanish-themed performance featuring guest flamenco artistes and the vibrant Nature show with some exciting acrobatics.

Shows generally last 45 minutes and are performed twice a day, usually at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., to accommodate passengers on both dinner sittings.

There is no bar service in the theatre, but passengers are welcome to take drinks through and the closest bar is La Prua piano bar located next to the entrance to the theatre on Deck 7. This upper level of the theatre also has a raised area at the back of the auditorium with eight tables, each with four seats, that can be swivelled to face the stage. This is a good spot for people who want to enjoy a drink while they watch the show.

The theatre is also used for bingo, children’s shows and as the meeting point for excursions.

Daily Fun

On week-long roundtrip Mediterranean sailings from Rome (Civitavecchia) there are no sea days, and MSC Splendida calls at a different port each day, often arriving in the morning which provides plenty of time to explore. A variety of trips are on offer, ranging from traditional city sightseeing tours to bike excursions and special family-themed excursions. Parents going on trips can also leave children aged three to 11 in the Mini Club.

For those staying onboard there is plenty to keep them occupied, with a host of free daily activities listed in the Daily Planner left in cabins every night. Starting with an al fresco morning stretching class in the Aqua Park at 9:30 a.m., typical daily events include dance lessons (usually several per day), trivia quizzes, napkin folding and cookery demonstrations, arts and crafts such as making paper flowers, meetings for card players, pool parties and various sporting challenges including ping pong, table soccer, mini-golf and squash tournaments.

There are games arcades on Deck 6 and 18, and the Virtual World area on the topmost deck also houses the most thrilling attractions onboard — an F1 simulator and 4D cinema which are both open from 10 a.m. to noon and 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily, and are available at an extra charge. The bright red full-size racing car facing a video screen mimics the excitement of driving on a track and a choice of six 4D films, including some especially for younger children, are available in the adjoining cinema. There are two small bowling alleys in the Sports Bar on Deck 7.

At Night

The non-stop fun continues after sunset with activities including more dance lessons, bingo, karaoke, talent contests, big-screen sports coverage and themed parties, such as a white night and glow party. On one of the gala nights there is also the chance for ladies to indulge «An Officer and a Gentleman» fantasies by dancing with some of Splendida’s senior officers. There is excellent live music throughout the ship, with venues including the atrium and various bars. Talented performers include a pianist, guitarist, acoustic duos, singers and a band. The large Royal Palm Casino, minimum age 18, is located forward on Deck 6 with slots available from 5:30 p.m. and tables from 6:30 p.m. One side of the casino is a smoking area. The Club 33 Disco is situated on Deck 16.

MSC Splendida Bars and Lounges

There is a total of 19 bars and lounges onboard, with 13 inside (including the Top Sail lounge that is only available for passengers staying in the Yacht Club) and the remainder outside (including one for the Yacht Club). An extensive drinks menu of cocktails (around 6.75 euros), non-alcoholic mocktails and kids’ cocktails (4.50 euros), wines (from 5 euros a glass), mixed drinks such as gin and tonic (6.50 euros), beer (from 2.95 euros) and soft drinks (from 2.50 euros) and coffee (from 1.45 euros) is available in each bar and prices are the same throughout the ship, with the exception of the special mixologist cocktails in La Prua and premium wines in L’Enoteca.

Splendida Bar (Deck 5): Serving early morning coffee through to post-dinner drinks, this bar is situated at the side of the atrium and well located to watch evening musicians, including the pianist tickling the ivories on the crystal-studded piano. Open from 6 a.m. until 1 a.m.

L’Aperitivo (Deck 6): Overlooking the atrium, this bar is in a busy location and is another great place to listen to live music and indulge in a spot of people watching. Open from 5 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.

La Piazetta (Deck 6): It’s hard to believe you’re on a ship in this delightful midship setting that resembles an Italian square, with its ornate tiles and chairs and tables surrounding a central fountain. Serving coffee and drinks, it is open from 6 a.m. until 2 a.m.

The Cigar Lounge (Deck 6): This smoking lounge serves drinks from 5 p.m. until 12:30 a.m. and is open throughout the day for passengers who want to smoke indoors. Cigarettes and cigars are sold on the ship.

Royal Palm Casino (Deck 6): The ship’s second indoor location where smoking is allowed, the bar is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 8 p.m. until late.

L’Enoteca (Deck 7): This atmospheric area with its barrel-shaped chairs and wine racks embedded in the walls serves premium wines. It is also used for tutored wine tastings where six samples, served with snacks, cost 12.90 euros. The bar is open from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.

L’Espresso Coffee Bar (Deck 7): If you need a caffeine hit then this is the place to go. The cafe serves all manner of coffees from espresso and cappuccino to frozen coffee, chocolate flavoured coffee and coffees with a nip of alcohol. Open from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m.

The Aft Lounge (Deck 7): This lively lounge bar is situated right at the back of the ship and has a stage and dance floor. It is also used for events such as theme parties, cocktail receptions for repeat passengers and talent nights. Open from 5:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.

The Purple Jazz Bar (Deck 7): This is another of the ship’s most popular bars, particularly for couples who want to dance to live music in the evening. It is also used for dance classes, trivia sessions and karaoke. Open from 5:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.

La Prua Piano Bar (Deck 7): This sophisticated and intimate bar next to the upper auditorium of the Strand Theatre features live music and in addition to the main drinks menu the bar staff also mix up special molecular cocktails priced from 7.50. Open from 5:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Sports Bar (Deck 7): Used to screen sports and football games — with the ambience very vocal during the latter — the bar is open from 4 p.m. to midnight.

L’Equatore (Deck 14): Serving the covered pool area, the bar is open for coffee from 8 a.m. and serves drinks until 9 p.m.

Tartaruga Bar (Deck 14): This bar serves the Aqua Park and gets particularly busy during pool parties. Open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (weather permitting).

Aurea Spa Bar (Deck 14): This peaceful lounge is part of the spa complex and serves protein shakes, smoothies and healthy drinks linked to the colour coded Wellness Package, such as yellow for healthy skin, purple for deep cleansing and green for relaxation. Open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Movida Bar (Deck 15): This quiet bar serves the Playa del Sol pool at the back of ship and is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (weather permitting).

Top Sail Lounge (Deck 15): This bar is situated in the exclusive lounge for Yacht Club passengers and starts serving coffee at breakfast time and remains open until late in the evening. Note: Standard passengers who want to experience the high life in the Yacht Club can pay 80 euros per day for access to the amenities of the Top Sail Lounge and pool deck (excludes L’Olivio restaurant).

Club 33 Disco (Deck 16): The bar in the nightclub is open from 11 p.m.

The One Bar (Deck 18): Situated on the Yacht Club’s private outside deck, the bar is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (weather permitting).

Top 18 Bar (Deck 18): For passengers who pay to get into the Top 18 sun deck, the bar is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (weather permitting).

MSC Splendida Outside Recreation

Pools

The main pools are on Deck 14, where the covered L’Equatore pool leads to the Aqua Park — the main outdoor hub. The covered pool, which has three hot tubs, is the quieter of the two. It is surrounded by tables and chairs, with loungers on the mezzanine deck overlooking the pool. On sunny days the Aqua Park is the main gathering spot and is a very lively area with piped music playing throughout the day and night, along with live music events such as themed pool parties, including a fun Snow Party complete with a snow cannon. The main pool, which is 5ft 10in deep, is surrounded by decking, smaller splash pools, spraying fountains, water jets and two whirlpools. (Two more whirlpools are situated immediately above on Deck 15). The area nearest to the pool is surrounded by plenty of loungers, and tables and chairs are situated under a covered area at both sides of the ship. There is a smoking area in the Aqua Park.

A children’s pool, for youngsters who are out of nappies, is located on Deck 15. Adults in search of peace and quiet can head to Playa del Sol, a lovely area overlooking the stern of the ship on Deck 15 that few passengers seem to discover. The mosaic-tiled pool area, which has a hot tub is surrounded by loungers, tables and chairs.

Yacht Club passengers have their own private pool and hot tub situated in a prime spot at the front of the ship on the uppermost Deck 18.

The L’Equatore pool is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and the Aqua Park, and other outdoor pools, are open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Whirlpools are open from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Recreation

The Tobago waterslide, with a minimum age of eight for users, is located on Deck 15 and is generally open twice a day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. There is a shuffleboard area on Deck 16 plus a squash court and area for outdoor games.

Sun Decks

Far away from the lounging areas around the pools is the quiet for fee sanctuary Top 18, which, as the name implies, is situated at the top of the ship on Deck 18. This private sun spot, with a bar, showers and complimentary fruit skewers, has loungers (including novel ones shaped liked leaves) that cost 10 euros per day, 5 euros for the afternoon or 40 euros for the cruise. There are also gorgeous cocoon-like rattan day beds, which offer shade and accommodate two people, which are priced at 30 euros for a day, 15 euros for the afternoon or 100 euros for the cruise.

MSC Splendida Services

Two large 24-hour reception and guest services’ desks are located midship on Deck 5. Nearby is a business centre, which can also be used for private meetings and small receptions. Next to the business centre is the Cyberlibrary, open 24 hours, and with four terminals available for passengers. It also contains a library with books, mostly novels, in various languages and a quiet reading area.

There is Wi-Fi throughout the ship, with good connectivity throughout our cruise. Unlike the majority of cruise lines which charge by the minute MSC offers three different packages based on individual requirements, which is much better than seeing precious minutes tick away when service is slow or patchy. The Streamer Package costs 22.90 euros per day 69.90 euros per seven-day cruise, and provides full internet access for up to four devices, including audio and video streaming, with maximum bandwidth priority and a limit of 340 MB per day or 1.5 GB per cruise. The Surfer Package, suitable for browsing web, e-mails and social networks, costs 11.90 euros per day or 34.90 euros per seven-day cruise for up to two devices with a limit of 170 MB per day or 800 MB per cruise. The Social Package, for keeping in touch via social networks and chat apps, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, costs 4.90 euros per day or 19.90 euros per seven-day cruise for one device. The amount of data used is shown at every log in and Wi-Fi extensions are available onboard at a reduced price. Passengers who book prior to cruising receive 20 per cent more data allowance.

The shore excursion office is located midship on Deck 6, along with a selection of shops including a mini mall selling everyday essentials and boutiques.

The large walk-through photo library is located above on Deck 7, along with an art gallery and another shopping arcade including a perfumery and shop selling MSC logowear and branded souvenirs.

There is no guest launderette, but a very efficient next day or express (same day) dry cleaning and laundry service is available, along with an ironing only service. Dry cleaning ranges from 2.30 euros per item of underwear to 13.80 euros for a man’s suit, and laundry ranges from 1.73 euros per item of underwear to 9.09 euros for a dress. A special laundry service is also available for baby clothing (see MSC Splendida for Families).

 

MSC Splendida Spa & Fitness

The large, tranquil Aurea Spa complex, open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., is located forward on Deck 14 and has a total of 15 treatment rooms that include two for couples and three for Thalassotherapy treatments. Unlike spas on many of the large ships, which are managed by external spa chains, the Aurea is run by MSC and specialises in Balinese spa treatments which offer something a little bit different from the norm. For example, a Balinese Holistic Massage combines stretching followed by Shiatsu techniques using pressure points and then a full body massage with oils. Some treatments are also linked to the colour coded Wellness Package, such as an anti-cellulite treatment for deep cleansing, herbal massage for the skin and lymphatic drainage therapy for purity.

In common with most cruise ship spas, treatments are pricey. A 45 or 85-minute holistic massage is priced at 110 euros or 169 euros respectively and Balinese massages for 30, 45 or 55 minutes are priced at 70, 99 and 126 euros respectively. As always, there are typically deals and discounts available early in the cruise and on shore days. The spa uses its own Aurea products and others such as the Italian brand Collistar. Thankfully there is none of the intensive sales pitch that often comes at the end of an onboard treatment, and the therapist simply pointed out that products were available. Again, look out for discounts on selected items.

The spa, which has changing rooms and showers for men and women, also has a small thermal area, comprising a unisex sauna, steam room and a relaxation room overlooking the sea with rattan loungers and cushioned chairs. It is available for an extra fee, with day passes costing 29 euros per person, 39 euros for two, or 99 euros per person for the duration of the cruise. The thermal suite operates during the same opening times at the spa, and for passengers who prefer to go ‘au naturel’, access without a swimming costume is allowed from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. daily (although the use of a towel is recommended).

The «spa doctor» offers a range of treatments such as acupuncture, Botox and other cosmetic therapies, such as an anti-cellulite toning session for 90 euros and acupuncture for 78 euros.

Next to the spa reception is the Aurea Spa Bar, open to anyone, which can be used as a relaxation area before and after treatments.

The Jean Louis David salon, part of a well-known hairdressing chain in mainland Europe, is located at the entrance to the spa complex. It offers cutting and styling services for men and women, again using a variety of different products rather than one particular brand. Services include a cut and style for 27 euros, 40 euros for a colour and 25 euros for a men’s cut and finish. Beauty services include manicures for 49 euros and a full make up for 30 euros.

Fitness

The spacious fitness centre, adjoining the spa on Deck 14, stretches across the width of the ship and overlooks the bow. The panoramic views are impaired by sloping shaded screens on the outside deck, nevertheless it’s still a great spot to work out. Open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., the gym is very well laid out with Technogym equipment that includes 10 treadmills along with bikes, cross-trainers and other aerobic apparatus. Dedicated gym enthusiasts might find the 25-minute time limiter on the aerobic machines slightly frustrating. It is designed to stop people having to wait to use equipment at peak times, however they gym never seemed overly busy and there were always spare machines. To carry on using the equipment at quiet times users simply have to restart the machine after it stops automatically when the time is up. There is also a wide selection of weight resistance equipment, free weights, a stretching area that is also used for classes and an area in the main gym for spinning classes on 10 stationary bikes. Some fitness classes, such as yoga sessions and spinning, carry a fee which is typically 10 euros, and specialist equipment such as the Power Plate costs from 15 euros for a 20-minute session. One-to-one sessions are also available, such as personal training, which cost 35 euros for one hour. In 2017 Splendida debuted a new Wellness Programme, bookable in advance as part of the cruise fare, which includes a full «body MOT» and personalised daily fitness programme downloaded on a memory stick which participating passengers then plug into aerobic machines to record progress. In front of the gym is a small enclosed deck area which is a nice place to cool off or do some stretching.

Outside, there’s a squash and general sports court on Deck 16, and a jogging track on Deck 15 that circles above the pool area on Deck 14.

MSC Splendida for Families

MSC is a family-owned Italian company and Italians love children, therefore it’s no surprise that Splendida is incredibly family-friendly. Children two and under travel free and there are low fares for youngsters up to the age of 18 who share a cabin with their parents. In addition, there are discounted deals for single parent families. Splendida has packed complimentary kids’ club programmes and separate dedicated facilities for youngsters of all ages, plus children’s menus in every restaurant. Although babysitting isn’t provided, the Kids Around the Clocks service offers supervised late-night play and napping while parents take the night off. It is usually available between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. and costs 10 euros for three hours. That said, in Mediterranean countries children are not tucked up in bed as the same time as youngsters in the U.K., so seeing children up and about with their parents very late at night — after resting during a traditional afternoon siesta — is the norm rather than the exception. This is definitely a ship where parents won’t get any stern looks or glares when their children are having fun.

Kids

Children younger than three can join Baby Time, with an accompanying adult, for play sessions every morning, afternoon and evening. Times are generally 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 7p.m. to 11 p.m. This area on Deck 15 is housed in the Il Polo Nord — The North Pole — which has a wide variety of toys and games. It can also be used by other youngsters up to the age of 12. MSC offers a baby laundry service which washes the clothes of babies and children, up to the age of six, in a separate machine using a sanitising programme and gentle detergents to clean at temperatures as low as 30 degrees C. For parents with younger children, items such as bottle warmers, pushchairs and bouncers are available to hire, and day-to-day baby necessities are sold in the shop.

The Mini Club, based on Deck 15, is for children aged three to six, and offers sessions from 9 a.m. to noon and 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. This is a mix of indoor and outdoor activities such as playing with Lego, puzzles, dance, circus games, karaoke and themed evenings such as a pirate night and carnival night. Happy Dinners offers a speedy children’s dinner for Mini Club members, where the youngsters are served their meals while the grown-ups enjoy their starters. The children are then escorted to the Mini Club by the entertainment staff while the adults sit back and have a leisurely dining experience. This is a free service.

The Junior’s Club, on Deck 15, is for seven to 11-year-olds and has the same opening hours as the Mini Club. Similarly, it offers age appropriate sessions covering everything from arts and crafts, sports, theme nights and the popular web series starring Kelly & Kloe (also shown in the Mini Club) where youngsters have the chance to become Kelly & Kloe stars themselves by taking part in a casting session and making a video of their performance to take home as a souvenir, for 19.90 euros.

The waterslide, the Tobaga, on Deck 15 is for children aged eight and over and it is normally open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Next to it is a children’s swimming pool for youngsters of all ages who are out of nappies.

All children up to the age of 11 are issued with an electronic bracelet for the duration of the cruise, which shows their name and cabin number and enables kids’ club staff to contact parents quickly if necessary.

In common with the rest of the ship, members of the kids’ club are multilingual, but language is never much of a barrier as far as children are concerned and parents are often amazed at how quickly youngsters from different countries start playing and communicating with each other.

Teens

Teens are divided into two age groups, 12 to 14 and 15 to 17, called Young Club and Teens Club respectively. They have their own I Graffiti area on Deck 15 and a teens’ area next to the games arcade on Deck 16. Opening hours are generally 9:30 a.m. to noon and 8 p.m. to midnight, and there is plenty of space for chatting, playing computer games or simply chilling. Various activities are arranged throughout the day for each group, including sports, challenge games, karaoke, themed parties, and a nightly disco. They can also go to the Generation Dinner in the buffet restaurant with members of the entertainment team, which is a free service.

Teens can also use the Tobago waterslide on Deck 15, which is generally open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

A prepaid Teen Card is also available, which doubles as a cabin key and offers under-18’s the opportunity to buy items onboard. Available to buy in 30 euro and 50 euro amounts, it cannot be used to buy alcohol or tobacco.

Annonse:

MSC Preziosa

Of the 1,751 cabins, nearly 65 percent (1,106) have balconies, offering a good standard of privacy with high dividing screens. The cabins are divided into nine categories, ranging from 392 inside cabins to 113 oceanview cabins with portholes and 97 suites in different sizes and price grades.

Cabin sizes range from 129 square feet for an Ocean View and 139 square feet for an Inside Cabin to 570 square feet for one of the three Executive & Family Suites on the stern of Deck 12. The two Royal Suites, also aft on Deck 16, are 559 square feet. A total of 45 cabins cater to disabled passengers, including two suites.

A standout feature is the Yacht Club, an exclusive «ship within a ship» that offers 69 cabins, a 24-hour concierge, butler service, a private dining room, bar, lounge, sun deck and pool — albeit a small one — and separate elevator to the spa.

All cabins have bathrooms with showers — plus bathtubs in the Royal, Executive & Family and Deluxe Suites — and are decorated in a light, contemporary style. There are fixed, non-branded bottles of shower gel and shampoo (no conditioner) in the walk-in shower cubicle, which has a door rather than a curtain, and fixed liquid soap dispenser by the sink. Although there are soap dishes, bar soap is not provided.

There was plenty of storage space in our balcony cabin, but the plastic coat hangers were flimsy, and we broke two just trying to hang up clothes. Some passengers might also find the floor-to-ceiling mirror at the foot of the bed, and as wide as the bed, slightly disconcerting. In standard cabins, you don’t get extras like chocolates and hors d’oeuvres that are associated with more expensive suites. However, bathrobes are provided, and the choice of soft, firm, down or synthetic pillow fillings is a nice touch. All cabins include digital TV’s, safes, Wi-Fi and for-fee mini-bars

MSC Preziosa Cabins

Of the 1,751 cabins, nearly 65 percent (1,106) have balconies, offering a good standard of privacy with high dividing screens. The cabins are divided into nine categories, ranging from 392 inside cabins to 113 oceanview cabins with portholes and 97 suites in different sizes and price grades.

Cabin sizes range from 129 square feet for an Ocean View and 139 square feet for an Inside Cabin to 570 square feet for one of the three Executive & Family Suites on the stern of Deck 12. The two Royal Suites, also aft on Deck 16, are 559 square feet. A total of 45 cabins cater to disabled passengers, including two suites.

A standout feature is the Yacht Club, an exclusive «ship within a ship» that offers 69 cabins, a 24-hour concierge, butler service, a private dining room, bar, lounge, sun deck and pool — albeit a small one — and separate elevator to the spa.

All cabins have bathrooms with showers — plus bathtubs in the Royal, Executive & Family and Deluxe Suites — and are decorated in a light, contemporary style. There are fixed, non-branded bottles of shower gel and shampoo (no conditioner) in the walk-in shower cubicle, which has a door rather than a curtain, and fixed liquid soap dispenser by the sink. Although there are soap dishes, bar soap is not provided.

There was plenty of storage space in our balcony cabin, but the plastic coat hangers were flimsy, and we broke two just trying to hang up clothes. Some passengers might also find the floor-to-ceiling mirror at the foot of the bed, and as wide as the bed, slightly disconcerting. In standard cabins, you don’t get extras like chocolates and hors d’oeuvres that are associated with more expensive suites. However, bathrobes are provided, and the choice of soft, firm, down or synthetic pillow fillings is a nice touch. All cabins include digital TV’s, safes, Wi-Fi and for-fee mini-bars.

MSC Preziosa Dining

With nine dining venues, including a buffet that’s open nonstop for 20 hours a day from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m., passengers won’t go hungry. The main restaurants are the two-deck Golden Lobster on Decks 5 and 6, with seating for 1,155, and the panoramic 766-seat L’Arabesque, aft on Deck 6. Both operate two dinner seatings and offer identical menus.

Breakfast and lunch are served in the ship’s main restaurants and self-serve buffet restaurants, the adjoining Inca and Maya on Deck 14, which offer all-day dining and the option of a more casual setting for dinner. Continental breakfast from room service is delivered free to cabins on request, but there is a charge of €3 ($4) for one dish and €5 ($6.50) for two from the main room-service menu that’s available around the clock. In-cabin pizza delivery is also on offer for €7 ($9), which includes a drink.

We ate breakfast and lunch in the buffet, which offers a good spread of mainly Mediterranean and fast-food fare, such as pasta, pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers and sandwiches, with a salad bar and smaller stations for ethnic dishes, including curries. Dinner in L’Arabesque, which can be a five- or six-course affair, depending on how many dishes you choose, was rather disappointing. While adequate, the food was not particularly fancy in terms of presentation. Courses seemed rushed, and the wine service was rather haphazard, with waitstaff acknowledging empty glasses but not returning to replenish for some time, if at all. In fairness, this could have been down to teething problems on a new ship with new staff at the start of the season, but there was definitely room for improvement.

Similarly, in the buffet restaurant, there was a feeling the team hadn’t really gelled. Some staff couldn’t have been more helpful, while others barely made eye contact, let alone smiled.

We didn’t get to sample Eataly, an alternative venue that debuted on Preziosa. MSC has teamed up with the Turin-based chain that champions gourmet Italian food and the leisurely «slow food» movement, which encourages leisurely dining, to open the first two Eataly restaurants at sea. Situated on Deck 7, the minimalist 115-seat Eataly and sophisticated evening-only Ristorante Italia offer a la carte dining, where you pay for every item you order, as opposed to the alternative dining surcharge levied by other cruise lines.

Gurkemeie K2 PLUSS

MSC Preziosa Activities

During the day, there are shore excursions and onboard activities. During our stay, these included dance classes, a ten-pin bowling tournament and an ice-carving class. Don’t expect any in-depth cultural lectures, as the accent is more on fun than on information.

By night, party animals have many choices. This is not a ship where the majority of passengers are tucked up in bed well before midnight. The main entertainment venue is the 1,600-seat two-story Platinum Theatre on Decks 6 and 7. The emphasis is on visual shows that will appeal to an international audience, and we watched a colorful take on «Alice in Wonderland» with fantastic Cirque du Soleil-style acrobats.

There are 20 bars, including the new Diamond Bar that’s one of the quieter venues and two outside pool bars. Others include the Green Sax jazz bar, chic El Dorado piano bar and the large Safari Lounge that hosts smaller shows and has a dance floor. Night owls can dance into the wee hours in the Galaxy Lounge disco or see if lady luck smiles in the large casino, with slots and gaming tables. The casino is one of the areas on the ship where smoking is allowed, which can come as a bit of an unpleasant surprise to nonsmokers used to ships where smoking is banned in public areas.

MSC Preziosa Public Rooms

The soaring atrium, with its sweeping, glittering staircases, water feature and glass-sided elevator, is the focal point midship on Deck 5. There’s for-fee Wi-Fi available throughout the ship, and passengers who have not brought a tablet or laptop can use the Cybercafe next to the reception desk on the same deck.

Most of the public rooms are on Decks 6 and 7, connected by pillared and invariably ornate walkways dotted with sculptures and works of art. On Deck 6, there’s a shopping plaza that includes a duty-free mini-mall, perfumery, sweet shop, accessories store and an outlet selling upmarket sunglasses. Deck 7 has a jewelry and logowear shop, an art gallery and a photo shop. The latter is a particularly attractive area with large black and white photographs of Italy in years gone by.

Preziosa has MSC’s signature Mediterranean fragrance of fig and almond scents diffused through air-conditioning ducts throughout the ship. While some might turn up their noses and view it — or, in reality, sniff it — as upmarket air freshener, we didn’t really notice or find it overpowering.

A laundry service is available, but there are no self-service laundries.

MSC Preziosa Spa & Fitness

Occupying a prime spot forward on Deck 14 is the Aurea Spa, including a new thermal area with a sauna, steam and frigidarium ice room that’s not featured on other Fantasia-class ships. The spa has 14 sea-facing treatment rooms and offers an extensive range of Balinese-inspired massages and beauty treatments that range from €8 ($10) for hair-straightening and facial-waxing to the Ultimate Deluxe Thermal Ritual, a four-hour session that adds up to an eye-watering €480 ($615) per person or €770 ($987) per couple.

The large, adjoining fitness center, with panoramic views over the bow, has Technogym running machines, cross-trainers and other aerobic equipment, as well as weight resistance equipment, free weights and an area in the main gym for spinning classes on stationary bikes. Some fitness classes, yoga sessions and personal training sessions incur extra fees.

Outside are a jogging track and two swimming pools, plus an indoor pool with a retractable glass roof. The largest of these pools is the Aqua Park pool on Deck 14, which has water jets and cascades. Scattered across the ship are 10 whirlpools. There’s also a fourth pool exclusively available for Yacht Club passengers.

Secrets the Cruise Lines Don’t Tell You

Cruise ship life can be a little mysterious. Your choices aren’t always spelled out in black and white. The more you cruise, the more you pick up on the unofficial secrets the cruise lines don’t tell you — which give you more options, let you save money and generally allow you to have a better time onboard.

Maybe it’s knowing what your cabin steward is able to bring you or what the off-the-menu items are at the bar or dining room. Or perhaps it’s a tip to getting a good deal on an onboard purchase.

But why wait to figure these things out the hard way — possibly after you’ve missed your chance? We trawled through all the great advice on Cruise Critic’s Message Boards to bring you some of the worst-kept cruise secrets … at least among our readers who love to share. But whether you’re a first-time cruiser or an old sea dog, you may find there’s something here you didn’t already know.

Carnival Freedom - Posh Dining Room

Carnival Freedom - Posh Dining Room

Food Secrets

  • You are not limited to one of each appetizer, entree and dessert in the main dining room. You can order two entrees or three desserts if you choose. You can also order appetizer-sized portions of entrees as starters or order a few appetizers for your main meal. It’s a great way to try new foods you’re not sure you’ll like (escargot, anyone?).
  • Room service is generally free, except for service charges on certain lines. Celebrity’s late-night orders bear a $3.95 fee, while all orders on Royal Caribbean (excluding Continental breakfast) and Norwegian (excluding morning coffee, Continental breakfast and orders placed by Haven Suite passengers) cost $7.95. Meanwhile, Carnival and Holland America offer for-fee room service menus in addition to their complimentary menus. It’s recommended you tip your delivery person, but in-room dining is not the splurge it is at a hotel.
  • Speaking of breakfast, you may have more options than just the buffet and main dining room. On Norwegian, it’s no secret that O’Sheehan’s offers tasty made-to-order omelets and corned beef hash, yet many cruisers still don’t know about it. Carnival’s BlueIguana Cantina and Royal Caribbean’s Johnny Rockets (on Oasis-class ships) are other alternative breakfast venues. Check your daily newsletter to see which restaurants are open in the morning.
  • Most people dine in the main dining room or buffet on the first night of the cruise, and many haven’t discovered the specialty restaurants yet. If you book an alternative dining venue for the first night of the cruise, you may get a discount on select lines (like Celebrity Cruises) or have an easier time getting a reservation for a popular venue. Carnival Cruise Line passengers who dine in the steakhouse on the first night get a free bottle of wine.
  • Specialty coffee at the designated coffee shops onboard comes with an extra fee, but the pastries, sandwiches and other food at these venues are often free. While some specialty items (like chocolate-covered strawberries) will have a charge, don’t assume all the small bites do. Some bars — such as Celebrity’s Martini Bar — also offer complimentary snacks; all you have to do is ask.
  • Like ice cream? Cruise lines will charge for branded licks like Ben & Jerry’s and Celebrity’s gelato. However, there’s always a free version — whether soft-serve machines on the Lido Deck or hard-serve stations at the buffet. And do your reconnaissance — Cruise Critic members report that soft-serve machines on either side of the deck can have different flavors.
  • On embarkation day, most people head straight to the buffet to have lunch and wait for their cabins to open. It’s a mob scene. But many cruise ships have alternative venues open — the main dining room or a mini-buffet in the solarium or atrium area. Ask a crew member or check your daily newsletter to find an alternative for a calmer first meal. For example, on Princess Cruises, the International Cafe, Pizzeria and Grill also are open; on Royal Caribbean ships, Sorrento’s, the Solarium and Park Cafes, Giovanni’s Table, Cafe Promenade and Starbucks are open on the afternoon of embarkation.
  • Don’t know which night to make specialty dinner reservations? The main dining room menus are planned for the week, and the purser’s desk often has access to those menus. Ask to see them so you can decide which nights are less appealing and which you don’t want to miss, and plan your cruise accordingly.

 

Pina Colada

Drink Secrets

  • There’s no «open beverage» rule onboard. You can bring drinks from a bar or buffet to your cabin or elsewhere on the ship and no one will bat an eye. (Same goes for food.)
  • It’s often cheaper to buy a bottle of wine than a few glasses — but what do you do if you don’t finish the bottle? Cruise ship waiters can mark the bottle with your room number and save it for another night, even for dinner in another onboard venue.
  • Groups of beer drinkers can save by ordering buckets of beer. You get four or five beers in a souvenir bucket at a per-beer cost slightly cheaper than ordering individual bottles.
  • On most lines, soda is not free — but iced tea in the dining room usually is. Save on soda by buying a soda card, offering a set price for unlimited soft drinks.
  • Most cruise lines prohibit passengers from bringing beer and liquor onboard, but do let you bring a bottle or two of wine or Champagne. Some lines (such as Holland America and Princess) also let you bring a reasonable amount of nonalcoholic drinks onboard — which helps save on pricy shipboard sodas and bottled waters. Royal Caribbean and Norwegian passengers are prohibited from bringing any nonalcoholic beverages onboard, while Carnival only allows limited amounts of soda and juice as long as the drinks are in cans or cartons (and not glass containers).
  • Enticed by all those special drinks in a souvenir glass? You can refill those glasses at a discount — or ask to have the drink of the day in a regular glass to save money. Also watch your daily program for drink specials or happy hours with reduced-price beverages.

Gurkemeie K2 PLUSS

Carnival Cloud 9 cabin

Cabin Secrets

  • Most cabins are made of metal… and therefore they’re magnetic. Bring along some magnets (or buy some as souvenirs) and you can keep all your cocktail party invites, alternative dining reservation notices and daily planners hung up on the walls and doors.
  • Inside cabins have no natural light. At all. Turn your TV to the bridge cam station, turn off the sound and — voila! — you’ve got an instant nightlight and a way to see if the sun is up.
  • Spa cabins can often be a smart financial decision for avid spa-goers. For example, Carnival’s Cloud 9 Spa balcony cabins include access to the thalassotherapy pool, steam room and sauna. The extra you’d pay for the cabin (above a regular balcony room) is often less than what you’d pay for a cruise-length spa pass.
  • With all of the electronics we tote around with us these days, most people find cruise ship outlets to be insufficient. You can bring your own charging station or power strip (check to see if these are legal on your cruise line), but you may also want to ask your cabin steward. Sometimes there’s an extra outlet hidden behind the TV or under the bed.
  • Picky about your bedding? Some lines will provide egg crate mattress toppers, top sheets and alternative pillow types by special request. Feel free to ask, before or during your cruise.
  • Cabin designers are pretty smart about creating as much storage space as possible. Do a little exploring or ask your cabin steward for a tour. You may be surprised to find extra storage under the bed or couch, inside an ottoman or behind a mirror.
  • If you’re feeling queasy, don’t run out to a pharmacy before making some calls. Room service can bring you green apples and bland crackers (crew members swear by the apple remedy), and often you can get seasickness meds from the purser’s desk for free.

Rock of Ages

Entertainment Secrets

  • Casino frequenters can get a hole punched in their room card and a free lanyard from the casino staff for easy play without forgetting your card in the slot machines.
  • Many lines offer free minutes if you sign up for an internet package on the first day of the cruise.
  • Cruise ship spas often offer discounts for first-day and port-day treatments. Stop by the spa, or check your daily newsletters to find out about deals.
  • If the port talk is at the same time as your massage, don’t worry. Presentations and audience-participation shows are often re-broadcast on the ship’s channel on your in-room TV. You can still catch the recording if you miss the live show.
  • Use of the showers, saunas and stream rooms not located in fancy thermal suites is free. Showering in the spa can often mean access to more clean towels, fancy toiletries and bigger shower stalls — and prevents fights over who gets cabin bathroom access first. Using the free saunas is also a great remedy for that inevitable vacation head cold that stuffs you up.
  • If you want to see one of the big-name shows on Royal Caribbean or Norwegian (like «Mamma Mia» or «Rock of Ages»), but tickets are sold out, don’t fret. Many people reserve the free tickets but don’t show up, so if you get in line prior to showtime, cruise ship staff will let you in if seats are available.

 

Tamarind on Holland America

Cruise Line-Specific Secrets

  • Celebrity’s buffet secrets include delicious ship-made hard-serve ice cream (for free) in the buffet and made-to-order waffles with a choice of toppings. You can also order a cup of candy toppings with no ice cream if that’s your treat of choice.
  • On Holland America, lunch is discounted to $10 at the Pinnacle Grill, and free chocolate truffles make an appearance in the Explorer’s Lounge each evening.
  • Royal Caribbean’s Cafe Promenade offers high-quality coffee without the price tag. It’s no Starbuck’s, but it’s a step above what you’d find at the buffet.
  • The North Star on Royal Caribbean’s Quantum-class ships offers amazing views any time you go, but you’ll get the best views on sea days. That’s because the enclosed, glass capsule — which can rise to 300 feet above sea level — is often restricted from extending out over the side of the ship while in port.

 

 

 

Best Family-Friendly Cruise Ship Cabins

The Havana Suite on Carnival Vista

Choosing the right cabin is tricky under any circumstance — choosing the perfect room (or set of rooms) for a large family or one with young children is even harder. Can you find a room with a bathtub for your little one without splurging on a suite? Can you fit a crib in your cabin if you’re also using the sofa bed? Should your family of five squeeze into one room or book two adjoining cabins? Are any staterooms designed with actual families in mind?

With cruise lines introducing new cabin types with every new ship, it’s hard to keep track of what your family’s options even are. On the plus side, there are now options for every family group, from connecting room configurations to standard cabins with family-friendly amenities to spacious family suites that can fit five, six, eight or more.

 

To ensure your whole family can rest easy at sea, we’ve broken down the family lodging options aboard the most popular cruise lines into two types: designated family cabins (rooms or suites intended for families) and family-friendly staterooms (which anyone can book, but may have space and amenities useful for family groups). Read below to find the perfect cruise cabin for your whole crew. And for more advice on choosing the best cabin, read our tips on booking a cruise room for the whole family.

The Royal Loft Suite with Balcony on Oasis of the Seas

Royal Caribbean

Known for high-adrenaline activities, including rock climbing, zip-lining, surf and skydiving, Royal Caribbean is catering to families with a wider range of activities and cabin categories (37 on some vessels) aboard its newer Quantum- and Oasis-class ships.

Family Cabins

Royal Caribbean has some of the biggest family cabins in the industry, with multiple configurations.

Family Interior Staterooms:

Available on Freedom- and Oasis-class ships, these windowless rooms accommodate up to six people, with two twin beds that convert to a king, a double pullout sofa and two Pullman-style bunk beds. The Family Interior Stateroom is the least expensive option for up to six passengers.

Family Ocean View Staterooms:

Available on Radiance-, Voyager-, Freedom- and Oasis-class ships, these cabins feature a picture window and accommodate up to six people, in the same bed configurations as the Family Interiors. These cabins are in the front of the ship, which means you’ll feel more motion and may not be best for family members prone to seasickness. Oasis-class ships also feature 290-square-foot Family Ocean View Staterooms with Balconies, which also sleep up to six.

Family Connected Junior Suite with Balcony:

A new suite configuration that debuted in 2014 aboard Quantum of the Seas, it’s made up of three different categories of staterooms — a junior suite, a superior balcony stateroom and a studio cabin (which can actually sleep two) — that connect to accommodate up to 10 passengers. This is a great choice for single relatives who want to travel with the family, yet have their own space.

Royal Family Suite:

If you have more money to spend, these 560- to 580-square-foot two-bedroom suites (available aboard Voyager-, Freedom-, Oasis- and Quantum-class ships) hold eight people — two bedrooms with two twin beds that can be pushed together for a king bed and a living area with a sofa bed that pulls out to a double bed. Two Pullman-style beds pull out from the wall and serve as upper level bunk beds. There’s a veranda and two bathrooms, one with a bathtub and one with a shower.

Loft Suites:

The newer Royal Caribbean ships feature stunning two-story Loft Suites that, while not specifically geared to families, can sleep up to six with one or two bedrooms and sofas that convert to double beds. Plus, they have two bathrooms, one on each level. Aboard Oasis of the Seas, for example, the Royal Loft Suite (the largest of all lofts) connects to the adjacent Crown Loft Suite to create an enormous living space that can sleep 10.

Aqua Theater Suites:

Oasis-class ships keep families entertained with suites that overlook the Boardwalk area and AquaTheater water-based performance venue. Inside, the suite can sleep up to eight with two bedrooms, one with additional Pullman beds, and a convertible sofa; it is also has two bathrooms (one with tub), and a living and dining area. Outside, a wraparound balcony features lounge and dining areas and uncrowded viewing of the shows and scene below.

Presidential Family Suite:

This lavish suite fits 14 aboard Quantum of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, Independence of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas. These suites include four bathrooms (two masters and two bedrooms with twin beds convertible to kings and pull-down bunks), spacious living and dining areas, and huge balconies with alfresco dining tables, hot tubs and wet bars.

Family-Friendly Cabins

Standard cabins hold a maximum of four people, but Royal Caribbean’s Quantum-class ships have many connecting cabins, about 25 per deck, of different configurations — quads that connect to quads or quads to doubles. Royal Caribbean has plenty of different suite configurations that sleep four if you

simply want more space. One interesting addition aboard inside cabins on Navigator, Quantum and Anthem of the Seas is the «virtual balcony» — window-size TV monitors playing a live feed of what’s happening outside.

Nice Touches

  • Royal Caribbean’s partnership with Dreamworks means that Dreamworks movies and TV programming play on in-cabin TVs.
  • Complimentary Pack ‘n Plays and minifridges can be delivered to the cabin.
  • Diaper bags can be ordered for an additional fee, filled with diapers, wipes, diaper cream and a changing pad. They are delivered to your cabin (you can also order baby food and packs of diapers). With increasing fees for carry-ons and luggage, this is a huge perk if you’re flying!
  • In-room baby-sitting for children older than 1 year old is available for $12/hour during the day and $19/hour at night.

 

The Haven 2-Bedroom Family Villa on Norwegian Getaway

Norwegian Cruise Line

The laid-back line famous for «Freestyle» cruising, meaning relaxed dress codes and dining whenever and wherever you want, has also seen an increase in families onboard. Norwegian Cruise Line‘s newest ships feature kid-size furniture in the buffet restaurants, and plenty of larger and connecting cabins.

Family Staterooms

Norwegian’s newest ships — Escape, Breakaway and Getaway — feature more staterooms that fit five, more connecting rooms and more studios for the single relative who wants to join in the family fun.

Family Inside:

These windowless cabins sleep up to four with two lower beds converting into a queen and two Pullman bunk beds. The one bathroom is outfitted with a shower. All family staterooms are located on Deck 12, near the Splash Academy kids club, and most of the staterooms can be turned into connecting rooms.

Family Oceanview:

Most Norwegian ships sleep four in this category, but aboard Escape, Getaway and Breakaway, this cabin sleeps five people, with two lower beds that convert to a queen, a double sofa bed and a Pullman-style bed that drops down from the wall. Family Staterooms are located near the kids clubs, teen club and kids pools. (You’ll be thankful not to have to walk across the entire ship with your toddler!) The sleeping area is separated from the living area by a small closet. Family Oceanviews generally come with a bathtub.

Family Balcony:

These cabins sleep up to four with two lower beds converting into a queen and a single sofa bed and one Pullman bed. The bathroom is shower-only. Look for these near the kids club on Deck 12.

Family Mini-Suite with Balcony:

Similar to the Family Balcony but with more space, this Mini-Suite sleeps four and includes a nicer bathroom with a bathtub.

Family Suite:

These suites fit up to eight aboard Pride of America and six on the Dawn-class ships. Aboard Pride of America, Family Suites include a living room with two lower beds that convert to a queen and a double sofa bed, a separate bedroom with two lower beds that convert to a queen, and additional bedding for two more passengers. There are two bathrooms with showers and two TVs. Family Suites aboard the Dawn-class ships have only one bathroom, but it has a bathtub and a shower. Some of the family suites come with a balcony, but not all. All suites on Norwegian ships include the added perk of butler and concierge service.

Two-Bedroom Family Suite:

These suits are available on Jewel- and Dawn-class ships, as well as Pride of America. Each family suite has a living area, dining area, a separate bedroom with a queen-size bed, as well as a separate children’s bedroom, a luxury bathroom with bathtub and a second bathroom with toilet, sink and shower. There’s also a roomy balcony.

The Haven:

The Haven is Norwegian’s exclusive-access suite area, which features a private pool and sun deck and, on some ships, a dining area and lounge. It’s found on all ships except for Dawn-class ships and Pride of America. The Haven’s Family Villas are like two-bedroom apartments at sea, accommodating up to six people each. Aboard some ships, including Norwegian Jewel and Norwegian Pearl, there’s an additional Three Bedroom Garden Villa within the Haven that sleeps eight. Other Haven suites may not be designated for families, but can sleep four to six, or can be connected with adjacent suites for humongous living areas.

Family-Friendly Cabins

Standard cabins hold a maximum of four people. Certain cabins aboard Norwegian Dawn, Star, Sun and Jewel feature dividing curtains, to give Mom and Dad privacy after the kids have gone to sleep. Breakaway and Getaway have many connecting cabins of different configurations for larger families.

Nice Touches

  • Nickelodeon channel plays on cabin TVs.
  • Complimentary Pack ‘n Plays are available on request.
  • A week’s worth of diapers and wipes can be delivered to your cabin for an additional charge.
  • Cabins offer ample storage space, including functional box-shaped seats that double as storage.
  • Cabins have minifridges to store your own snacks and drinks

 

 

Gurkemeie K2 PLUSS

Family Harbor Lounge on Carnival Vista

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival is considered one of the most affordable options for families. Its «Seuss at Sea» programs bring Dr. Seuss characters and decor to the kids clubs and ship activities, including a Green Eggs and Ham character breakfast.

Family Staterooms

Carnival isn’t known for over-the-top luxurious suites, but families on a budget will be glad to find almost 200 quint cabins aboard the newer Dream, Magic and Breeze.

Family Ocean View Staterooms:

An affordable option for families of five, these outside cabins are available on Carnival’s Dream-class (Dream, Magic and Breeze) and Conquest-class ships (Glory, Valor, Freedom), as well as Carnival Splendor. These 230-square-foot staterooms have a large picture window, but no balcony. Family Ocean View Staterooms have two twin beds, two upper bunk beds and a single sofa bed. Note to parents: The two regular twins cannot convert into one queen-size bed if both bunk beds are used, as it would block ladder access to one bunk. Also note that Family Ocean View Staterooms aboard the Dream-class ships feature two bathrooms, one with a shower and the other with a junior tub. Family Staterooms aboard the Conquest-class ships have only one bathroom.

Family Harbor:

Carnival Vista (debuting in 2016), first in the line’s Vista class, is also first with a brand new cruising concept — the dedicated family zone. It’s a space exclusively for families, with its own suites, staterooms and a lounge just for guests staying in the family cabins. The Family Harbor Suite fits five and has a partition divider between the main bedroom and the sitting area with its pullout sofa. Family Harbor Suites have two bathrooms, a full one with a shower, sink and toilet, and the second bathroom with only a sink and shower/tub combo. The lounge is designed as the ultimate family hangout with large-screen TVs, games and complimentary breakfast and snacks. A special family concierge will assist family cabin passengers in planning excursions and making reservations both onboard and ashore.

Family-Friendly Cabins

Carnival ships have hundreds of connecting cabins of varying configurations. In addition, the line offers quad configurations on select inside, oceanview and balcony cabins. Standard staterooms are large compared to industry standards; inside cabins offer 185 square feet of space, and balcony cabins offer the same plus a 35-square-foot balcony. Those balconies can provide priceless relaxation space, as children are napping or watching TV.

Ocean View Quad Cabins include 220 square feet of space, with a split bathroom layout; one bathroom has a tub, toilet and vanity, while the other has a shower, toilet and vanity. There are no designated Family Staterooms aboard Carnival Liberty and Carnival Conquest. The only «quint» cabins available are two luxurious Captain’s Suites, which come with VIP check-in and priority dining assignment, allowing you the flexibility of changing your dinner time once onboard. These are the largest suites in the fleet (650 square feet aboard Liberty and 840 square feet aboard Conquest) and feature a bathroom with junior tub and shower and a private veranda.

Nice Touches

  • Flat-screen cabin TVs have Cartoon Network, as well as pay-per-view movie options.
  • Complimentary Pack ‘n Plays are available upon request.

Family Harbor Lounge on Carnival Vista

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival is considered one of the most affordable options for families. Its «Seuss at Sea» programs bring Dr. Seuss characters and decor to the kids clubs and ship activities, including a Green Eggs and Ham character breakfast.

Family Staterooms

Carnival isn’t known for over-the-top luxurious suites, but families on a budget will be glad to find almost 200 quint cabins aboard the newer Dream, Magic and Breeze.

Family Ocean View Staterooms:

An affordable option for families of five, these outside cabins are available on Carnival’s Dream-class (Dream, Magic and Breeze) and Conquest-class ships (Glory, Valor, Freedom), as well as Carnival Splendor. These 230-square-foot staterooms have a large picture window, but no balcony. Family Ocean View Staterooms have two twin beds, two upper bunk beds and a single sofa bed. Note to parents: The two regular twins cannot convert into one queen-size bed if both bunk beds are used, as it would block ladder access to one bunk. Also note that Family Ocean View Staterooms aboard the Dream-class ships feature two bathrooms, one with a shower and the other with a junior tub. Family Staterooms aboard the Conquest-class ships have only one bathroom.

Family Harbor:

Carnival Vista (debuting in 2016), first in the line’s Vista class, is also first with a brand new cruising concept — the dedicated family zone. It’s a space exclusively for families, with its own suites, staterooms and a lounge just for guests staying in the family cabins. The Family Harbor Suite fits five and has a partition divider between the main bedroom and the sitting area with its pullout sofa. Family Harbor Suites have two bathrooms, a full one with a shower, sink and toilet, and the second bathroom with only a sink and shower/tub combo. The lounge is designed as the ultimate family hangout with large-screen TVs, games and complimentary breakfast and snacks. A special family concierge will assist family cabin passengers in planning excursions and making reservations both onboard and ashore.

Family-Friendly Cabins

Carnival ships have hundreds of connecting cabins of varying configurations. In addition, the line offers quad configurations on select inside, oceanview and balcony cabins. Standard staterooms are large compared to industry standards; inside cabins offer 185 square feet of space, and balcony cabins offer the same plus a 35-square-foot balcony. Those balconies can provide priceless relaxation space, as children are napping or watching TV.

Ocean View Quad Cabins include 220 square feet of space, with a split bathroom layout; one bathroom has a tub, toilet and vanity, while the other has a shower, toilet and vanity. There are no designated Family Staterooms aboard Carnival Liberty and Carnival Conquest. The only «quint» cabins available are two luxurious Captain’s Suites, which come with VIP check-in and priority dining assignment, allowing you the flexibility of changing your dinner time once onboard. These are the largest suites in the fleet (650 square feet aboard Liberty and 840 square feet aboard Conquest) and feature a bathroom with junior tub and shower and a private veranda.

Nice Touches

  • Flat-screen cabin TVs have Cartoon Network, as well as pay-per-view movie options.
  • Complimentary Pack ‘n Plays are available upon request.

Disney Fantasy - Inside Cabin

Disney Cruise Line

Considered by many to be the gold standard among family cruise lines, Disney pioneered the simple addition of the privacy curtain (dividing the sleeping and living room area) and the family-friendly bath-and-a-half concept — a sink and toilet in one and shower/tub combo and sink in the other. This goes a long way in getting everyone out the door and reducing the number of daily arguments.

Disney «quint» cabins range from 200-square-foot family staterooms that feature Pullman-style pullout bunk beds to the luxurious 1,000-plus-square-foot concierge-level Royal Suite, with private veranda and separate master bedroom.

Family Staterooms

Every cabin on a Disney ship could be considered a family cabin, but some are specifically flagged as family-focused accommodations.

Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom with Veranda:

Five fit into this 300-square-foot stateroom with balcony. There’s a queen bed, double convertible sofa and upper pull-down bunk bed.

Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom:

The balcony-less version of the Deluxe Family Ocean View Stateroom (found only on Disney Dream and Fantasy) offers 241 square feet of space and one or two round portholes, deep enough for built-in window seats. There’s a queen bed, single convertible sofa, wall pull-down bed and upper pull-down bunk bed in cabins that sleep five; some only sleep three or four without the pull-down beds.

Concierge Family Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah:

All Disney ships now offer larger family suites that offer additional perks — priority boarding and tender service, 24-hour concierge, access to a private sun deck and delivery of entire meals from the restaurants via room service. The Concierge Family Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah measures 306 square feet (including the balcony) and sleeps five with a queen bed, double convertible sofa and upper pull-down bunk bed.

Family-Friendly Cabins

Many cabins that sleep five and up are not actually designated Family Cabins. For example, Concierge Royal Suites, the fleet’s largest staterooms, accommodate five aboard Disney Dream and Fantasy, and up to seven passengers aboard Magic and Wonder. One Bedroom Suites with Verandas are 620 square feet with a balcony and two full bathrooms, one with a whirlpool tub. It sleeps five in a master bedroom with a queen bed and a living area with a double pullout sofa and a single bed that pulls out of the wall.

Disney ships feature some 500 connecting cabins. Larger families and groups traveling together will find ample quint and quad cabins that connect to doubles and triples.

And if you’re a family of just three or four on a budget, Disney has worked its magic on interior cabins. These 184- to 214-square-foot cabins feature «Magic Portholes» aboard Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. These are flat-screen TVs made to look like a porthole window, which display views of what’s happening outside (as seen by cameras mounted on the exterior of the ship). Kids will particularly love the occasional Disney character that pops up on the screen.

Nice Touches

  • All cabins feature Disney’s bath-and-a-half, with most having a bathtub in one of the bathrooms.
  • Complimentary crib or Pack ‘n Play, bottle warmers and diaper pails for in-cabin use are available on request.
  • Beds are elevated to provide more storage.
  • Room service will deliver kids menu items, including macaroni and cheese and Mickey ice cream bars, as well as pureed food for babies.
  • «Babies Travel Light» add-on package allows parents to pre-order baby supplies and have them delivered to the cabin.
  • Disney Channel and Disney movies are available on stateroom TVs.
  • Bathroom amenities feature Disney characters.

 

The Family Oceanview Balcony Cabin on Celebrity Eclipse

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity‘s 11 ships serve a more upscale crowd and are known for having more sophisticated cuisine, amenities and activities than its sister line, Royal Caribbean. Yet its terrific kids programs still make it a hit with families.

Family Staterooms

Celebrity’s staterooms are considered some of the most spacious at sea. The line’s well-designed family staterooms provide plenty of privacy and space.

Family Veranda Stateroom:

These spacious 575-square-foot suites are available on all Solstice-class ships. These are the only staterooms that fit five. They have two bedrooms, a large veranda, one bathroom and a living area with a pullout double sofa. The master bedroom has a queen bed and the second bedroom has a single bed. This is a particularly nice setup for a family with kids of different ages. The smaller child can sleep in the second bedroom, while older kids stay up and watch TV. Family Verandas can connect to Double Ocean View Cabins. These cabins have one bathroom with a shower. The Family Veranda Staterooms on the Millennium ships (Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Millennium, Celebrity Summit, Celebrity Infinity) are smaller, only 271 square feet, but they feature a whopping 210-square-foot veranda for your own front porch at sea (opposed to the standard 38-square-foot veranda). These staterooms include two lower beds that convert to a queen, floor-to-ceiling sliding-glass doors, a sitting area with two sofa beds that convert to full-size beds and a privacy partition between the two sleeping areas. Aboard Millennium, Family Veranda Staterooms fit five, have one bathroom with a shower, but unlike the Solstice class ships, they do not connect with any other cabins.

Family-Friendly Staterooms

Most Celebrity ships have, on average, 60 to 80 connecting rooms with a variety of configurations. All room categories on Celebrity ships, from Inside to Ocean View, Veranda and Suite class, can hold four passengers, except for the Aqua Class. Typically, a room for four would have a king and a double pullout sofa. These rooms have one bathroom with a shower. Suite category rooms and higher would also have a full-size bathtub.

Nice Touches

  • In-room baby-sitting for up to three children is available for an additional fee.
  • Kids menus are available via complimentary room service.
  • Complimentary Pack ‘n Plays are available on request.

The Family Oceanview Cabin on Koningsdam

Holland America

Holland America known for its older clientele is checking in to the multigenerational travel trend. Its newest ship, Koningsdam (debuting in 2016), will be its first to offer cabins that sleep five.

Family Staterooms

Holland America’s current fleet does not offer any designated family cabins; Koningsdam will offer the first.

Family Ocean View Stateroom:

Koningsdam’s 32 quint staterooms range from 222 to 231 square feet and feature two bathrooms, one with a bathtub and shower. Two lower beds convert to a queen, and there’s a double pullout sofa and one upper Pullman-style bunk bed.

Family-Friendly Staterooms

On average, 4 to 5 percent of Holland America cabins connect to other rooms. The newest ship, Koningsdam, will offer 150 connecting cabins. In addition, many rooms sleep three or four, and often you can find discounted cruise fares for additional passengers sharing a cabin.

Nice Touches

  • Complimentary Pack ‘n Plays are available on request.
  • Complimentary room service can be delivered 24 hours/day and includes kid-friendly foods like hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken fingers.
  • In-room baby-sitting is offered for $8/hour for the first child and $5/hour for each additional child.
  • Complimentary video games and game players (Xbox or Wii) can be checked out for use in room.

Allure Caribbean Atlantis Gay Cruise 2017

All-new for 2017, Atlantis presents the largest and most extravagant gay cruise

in history on the awe-inspiring Allure of the Seas – the biggest ship in the world! There’s never been an Atlantis cruise like this, reinvented for a new generation with fantastic parties, awesome new entertainment, thrilling original activities, and more fun than you ever imagined for 5400 guests from around the world. Starting at an incredible $899!

he World’s Most Incredible Ship

Everything you know about cruising changes when you set foot on the spectacular Allure of the Seas. She’s the most amazing ship for a gay cruise with more ways to entertain, amuse, enlighten, pamper, challenge, tantalize, and thrill than you could possibly imagine. Where else will you find:
• 5 Theaters with over 20 different shows
• 5 Distinctive dance spaces ranging from massive to intimate
• 13 tantalizing restaurants and cafes
• 4 inviting pools on the world’s largest and highest open-air deck
• 7 unique “neighborhoods” to meet friends, explore, play, and relax
• An ice rink, rock wall, zip line, sports court, and two FlowRider surf simulators

All creating the perfect setting for the most fantastic Atlantis cruise in history!

So is Allure too big? That’s a matter of personal taste, but if you want to experience the most feature-rich, best reviewed, and most talked about ship in history, then Allure is for you.

Amazing Spaces. Incredible Places.

Seven distinct “neighborhoods” span Allure’s seventeen decks, offering a series of unique experiences and original ways to play. Stroll the lush gardens of Central Park, ride the carousel on the open-air Boardwalk, have a laugh with our gay comics or a dance in the Entertainment Court, or take in the warm Caribbean sun on the world’s largest outdoor pool deck. Maybe try a few things you never imagined at sea: fly our spine-tingling zip line, marvel at the high-diving show in the AquaTheater, enjoy a drink at The Rising Tide bar, or learn to surf on twin FlowRider surf simulators 150 feet above the ocean.

Atlantis Gay only Caribbean cruise

Three Perfect Shores

The sun never stops shining on our three gorgeous beach destinations. From gay-central Ft. Lauderdale, we’ll spend a fun-filled day at sea as we head to the breathtaking island of Cozumel to discover some of the world’s best diving and snorkeling sites. Next, we’ll visit the fascinating port of Costa Maya, gateway to previously inaccessible Mayan treasures and home to an authentic Mexican village. Join an excursion or simply spend the day on a relaxing powder-white sand beach, margarita in hand of course.

After a relaxing day at sea, we’ll sail to our private island paradise of Labadee. This exclusive destination offers pristine beaches, breathtaking scenery, and spectacular water activities including an Aqua park, Mountain Zipline, sports park, private cabanas, and even a roller coaster through the hills!

Atlantis Gay cruise entertainment

A City of Entertainment

Atlantis creates stellar shows with phenomenal entertainers from the gay community and beyond and Allure lets us take things to a whole new level. The main three story theater hosts a full Broadway production of Mamma Mia!, a brilliant acrobatic and flying musical called Blue Planet, Atlantis original shows, and a superstar guest artist. Or two.

Gurkemeie K2 PLUSS

And that’s just the beginning. Studio B features a fantastic ice show and original Atlantis entertainment. And the AquaTheater offers a dazzling water show that’s simply a wonder of acrobatics, high-diving, and dance set against the ocean’s night sky.

Atlantis caribbean Gay cruise parties

Dance. Dance. Dance.

The best parties in the gay world take place at sea, and with five incredible dance venues Allure gives you bigger and better parties than ever before. The massive AquaTheater hosts the biggest afternoon t-dances (and a few special events) in our most spectacular venue yet, surrounded by massive LED screens, world-class sound, views from the balconies and rock walls, and the ocean all around you.

 

At night we’ll transform the massive open-air Solarium into a technical marvel, featuring a wrap-around video wall, sensational laser effects and dazzling lighting to illuminate the night sky. With two stories of dancing, there’s never been a bigger venue for the largest gay cruise!

And there’s still more, starting with special events in the Promenade. Studio B hosts some incredible indoor events and outrageous after-hours parties along with a few surprises. There’s alternative music in Blaze, and retro-classics in the art-deco themed Dazzles. On Allure, you’ll always find a musical style you love!

Atlantis Gay cruise dining

Dining for Friends. And Friendly Dining.

From quick bites between events to leisurely multi-course meals with friends, Allure offers more tantalizing dining choices than any ship we’ve ever sailed. The elaborate three-story main restaurant invites you to enjoy freshly prepared seasonal cuisine. Grab a chair and a salad in Central Park at the Park Café. Or sit down over sushi at Izumi. There’s always a fresh pizza waiting for you at Sorrento’s, and Café Promenade never stops serving delicious sandwiches and other treats.

And for something special, start at the top with Michelin-starred chef Michael Schwartz’ multi-course dinner at Park 150. Or gather some friends over family-style Italian at Giovanni’s Table. A perfect steak awaits you at Chops Grill, and there’s no better Mexican food at sea than at Sabor on the Boardwalk.

Of course, there’s never a dress code or assigned seating on Atlantis so you’ll always feel comfortable in our casual, friendly dining environment.

Atlantis Gay cruise activities

New Ways to Play

Days at sea offer endless options, starting with an entire deck dedicated to sports and activities. Join a game of water polo in the sports pool, climb one of the two challenging rock walls, soar through the air on the zip line, or play volleyball on the full-size court. There’s even ice skating! For something truly original, check out our FlowRider surf simulators 150 feet above the ocean!

Staying active is easy in the first-rate, fully-equipped gym, featuring the latest in cardio and weight-training equipment. And runners will love the wrap-around track with fabulous ocean views!

Atlantis Gay Only Caribbean Cruise

Everything You’ve Ever Wanted. And More.

The Atlantis experience is a vacation filled with magical moments in a community that simply doesn’t exist anywhere else. And there’s no better place to create more fun for everyone than on the awesome Allure of the Seas. While we all love bigger, the real joy is in the variety of experiences that you’ll discover with friends old and new.

Our new low fares start at an incredible $899, making it easier for everyone to join in the celebration! Be a part of the largest gay community at sea as we sail the awe-inspiring Allure of the Seas for the biggest Caribbean cruise in Atlantis history.

Caribbean gay cruise 2017 on Allure of the Seas

Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas

The awe-inspiring Allure of the Seas combines innovation and imagination on the largest ship ever built. In seven incredible neighborhoods you’ll discover amazing experiences like the oceanside AquaTheater, Starbucks®, Broadway hit musical Mamma Mia!, 3D movie theater, zip line, twin FlowRiders, designer stores, and so much more. There’s something for everyone to discover on the world’s most spectacular and best-designed ship.

With 28 ultra-modern loft suites and 2700 spacious staterooms, this 17-deck marvel proves that the impossible, is possible. You have to see it to believe it, and won’t believe what Atlantis does to create a truly legendary experience.

Gay Caribbean Allure cruise

Distinctive Neighborhoods

Allure revolutionizes ship design with seven completely original “neighborhoods” for your enjoyment. Ok, since one of these is the “Youth Zone,” we’ll only really be using six… Take a look!

Action Everywhere

There’s always something to keep you entertained on the world’s largest ship. From our four-story twin rock-walls to the exciting Flowrider surf simulators you’ll discover sports and activities that you simply won’t find on land. Fly on a zip-line 110 dizzying feet above the boardwalk or cool off with a few figure eights around our ice rink. Join into a game of volleyball or basketball on the largest sports court at sea, or simply relax in one of our hot tubs that overlook the ocean from the side of the ship.

The massive pool deck features four distinctive areas, including our own “beach” pool and a sports center. And the fitness center rivals any top club you’ve ever seen.

Atlantis Caribbean gay cruise dining

An Abundance of Great Dining

There are so many ways to dine on Allure that the only problem is deciding where to enjoy it all. The magnificent three-story main restaurant features an ever-changing menu of culinary delights, all in a casual setting with no assigned dining times or tables. As with all Atlantis cruises you’re always welcome to dine whenever you desire. And of course there’s never a dress code!

For a casual bite, try one of the following great options:
• Park Café – Casual breakfast and lunch in the middle of Central Park
• WipeOut Café – Grab a quick bite between fun on the Sports deck
• Café Promenade – 24-hour light snacks
• Sorrento’s Pizza – Authentic made-to-order pizza
• Starbucks * – Does it really need an explanation? The only one at sea!
• Solarium Café – Fresh, healthy, and marvelously delicious breakfasts and lunches.
• Johnny Rockets* – The original hamburger with great views of the Boardwalk
• Windjammer Marketplace – Casual buffet with a menu designed just for Atlantis

Atlantis gay cruise special dining

If you’re looking for a more leisurely or special meal, check out one of these original specialty restaurants:
• Chops Grill – The best steak on the high seas in our original steak house
• Giovanni’s – Authentic trattoria-style Italian eatery in Central Park
• 150 Central Park – Original and sensational tasting-menu gastronomic experience
• Samba Grill – Energetic and delicious Brazilian churrascaria
• Izumi – Sushi and other Japanese delights
• Sabor – Original Modern Mexican cuisine

Please note that all specialty restaurants and those marked with an asterisk (*) have an extra charge.

Allure of the Seas stateroom

Simply Gorgeous Staterooms

When you do finally come home to rest, you’ll find one the most modern and well-designed staterooms on any ship. Every room features large interactive LCD televisions, pillow top mattresses with high-quality linens, private bathrooms, and the personalized service that makes Royal Caribbean one of the favorites for Atlantis year after year.

For something truly remarkable, take a look at the two-story Loft Suites, featuring floor-to-ceiling windows, a huge living room, and massive balcony. Other suites throughout the ship feature spacious accommodations in a variety of formats to accommodate any taste and budget. All suites (Grand and above categories) offer access to the fabulous and exclusive Concierge Lounge featuring evening canapés and cocktails, a private breakfast, and the services of our expert Concierge team.

MSC Preziosa :-)

MSC Preziosa :-)

 

Offering the utmost in comfort, service and advanced, environmentally-friendly technology, the 13th addition to the MSC Cruises fleet completes the flagship MSC Fantasia class.

MSC Preziosa Facts and Statistics

  • Cruise Line MSC Cruises
  • Year Built 2013
  • Ship’s Class/Group Premium
  • Tonnage 139,072
  • Passengers (Max Occupancy) 4345 Passengers
  • Number of Crew 1370
  • Country of Registry Panama

A modern Mediterranean masterpiece

Travel the world in luxury «eco-ship» MSC Preziosa, while enjoying the pleasures of the Mediterranean lifestyle.

The classic design and detailed craftsmanship in our vessels include an genuine stone plazas and spectacular features as elegant Swarovski crystal staircases and a magical infinity pool.

Award winning favorites like MSC Aurea Spa with relaxing beauty and wellness treatments. And then we have the isolated luxury MSC Yacht Club, a ship-to-ship with exclusive suites, butler service, private facilities and private decks – all of which offer privileged access to the pleasures of world on board, including a large casino and theater in Broadway -size. Discover services that are exclusive to MSC Preziosa, as the delicious Eataly slow food gastronomy, sundeck only for adults complete with spa treatments, and Tiki bar for children and adolescents.

From fun and games at Doremi Castle Aqua Park for children, Vertigo, the longest water slide at sea, award-winning with a «Best Innovation» (best innovation) of Cruises International in 2013. There are many facilities for children and adolescents.

Restaurants (included)buffet Restaurant
2 main restaurants
Pizzeria
MSC Yacht Club restaurant (only fpr guests in the MSC Yacht Club)

Speciality Restaurants (surcharge)

Tex Mex restaurant
Restaurant Galaxy
Golden Lobster
L’Arabesque
La Locanda
Eataly Restaurant
Ristorante Italia
Maya & Inca
La Palmeraie
Sports and Bowling diner

Bars and lounges

Preziosa bar
Phoenician space
Safari salon
The green sax
Diamond
El dorado
Il cappuccino
Saphir
Turquoise

Spa, relax and sport

Aqua Park
running track
Fitness center
MSC Aurea Spa
shuffleboard
Solarium

Entertainment

4d cinema
Library
bowling
children Area
Disco
Formula 1 simulator
Photo Handler and photo gallery
shopping Area
Casino
candy Shop
Bridge table
Duty Free Store
Teen Disco
Wireless Internet
videogames

 

Gurkemeie K2 PLUSS

inside cabin

Size: 13-14 m2 without window

The interior staterooms are equipped with either a double bed or two twin beds. Some of the cabins also have bunk beds that can accommodate 3-4 people.

Interior: TV, telephone, minibar, private bathroom with shower and toilet, dressing table / work table with mirror, air conditioning and safe. Internet connection is possible to own PC (charges apply).

Outside cabin with a sea view

Size: 13-14 m2 with window

Note that some of the cabins have restricted views, ie with lifeboat front window.

The outside cabins are equipped with a double bed or two twin beds. Some of the cabins also have bunk beds that can accommodate 3-4 people.

Interior: TV, telephone, minibar, private bathroom with shower and toilet, dressing table / work table with mirror, air conditioning and safe. Internet connection is possible to own PC (charges apply).

Balcony Ocean View

Size: 17 to 22 m2 with private balcony

Note that some cabins in Bella tab may have framed balcony and partially restricted views.

Cabins with balconies and sea views is equipped with a double bed or two twin beds. Some of the cabins also have sofa beds and / or bunk beds that can accommodate 3-4 people. Note that some cabins are balcony framed.

Interior: TV, telephone, minibar, private bathroom with shower and toilet, dressing table / work table with mirror, air conditioning and safe. Internet connection is possible to own PC (charges apply).

Aurea Suite with panoramic window

Size: 21 to 29 m2

A Aurea Suite is equipped with a double bed or two twin beds. Some of the suites also have a sofa bed that can accommodate 3-4 people.

Interior: TV, telephone, minibar, private bathroom with tub and toilet, dressing table / work table with mirror, air conditioning and safe. Internet connection is possible to own PC (charges apply).

Aurea Suite with Balcony

Size: 37-47 m2

A Aurea Suite with balcony is equipped with a double bed or two twin beds. Some suites have a sofa bed that can accommodate 3-4 people.

Interior: TV, telephone, minibar, private bathroom with tub and toilet, dressing table / work table with mirror, air conditioning and safe. Internet connection is possible to own PC (charges apply).

MSC Yacht Club Deluxe Suite with Balcony

Size: 26-32 m2

An MSC Yacht Club Deluxe Suite is equipped with a double bed or two twin beds. Some suites have a sofa bed that can accommodate 3 people in total.

Interior: TV, telephone, minibar, private bathroom with tub and toilet, dressing table / work table with mirror, air conditioning, console the Nintendo Wii and safes. Internet connection is possible to own PC (charges apply).

MSC Yacht Club Executive and Family Suite with panoramic window

Size: 45-53 m2

An MSC Yacht Club Executive and Family Suite with panoramic window is equipped with a double bed and / or two single beds. Some suites have a sofa bed that can accommodate 3 people in total.

Interior: TV, telephone, minibar, private bathroom with tub and toilet, dressing table / work table with mirror, air conditioning, console the Nintendo Wii and safes. Internet connection is possible to own PC (charges apply).

MSC Yacht Club Royal Suite with Balcony

Size: approx 32 m2 with 16 m2 balcony

An MSC Yacht Club Royal Suite with balcony is equipped with a double bed or two twin beds. Some of the suites also have a sofa bed that can accommodate 3 people in total.

Interior: TV, telephone, minibar, private bathroom with tub and toilet, dressing table / work table with mirror, air conditioning, console the Nintendo Wii and safes. Internet connection is possible to own PC (charges apply).

MSC Cruises price categories

MSC has four different price categories for guests to choose from – Bella- and Fantastica experience, Aurea experience and MSC Yacht Club. In each category, it is possible to choose between standard inside and outside cabin and balcony staterooms.

Bella experience

What’s included:

✓ inside / outside / balcony cabin

✓ Full board

✓ Buffet open 20 hours a day

✓ Entertainment and a packed program of daily activities

✓ Access to the pool, fitness center with panoramic views and outdoor sports facilities

✓ Choice of cabin number (subject to availability)

✓ Choice of meal times (subject to availability)

✓ Earn MSC Club points to enjoy even more benefits on the next cruise

Further advantages against payment:

✓ Breakfast in cabin

✓ 24-hour room service

✓ Access to private sundeck

✓ Special events for children

fantastica

All benefits at Bella experience as well:

✓ Ability to choose among the best cabins available

✓ Ability to change your order *

✓ Braille stateroom

✓ 24-hour room service

✓ Priority in choice of dining times

✓ 50 percent discount on fitness groups (eg yoga) and personal trainer (subject to availability)

✓ Special events for children

✓ Earn MSC Club points to enjoy even more benefits on the next cruise

* Change of name, change the departure date

Further advantages against payment:

✓ Access to private sundeck

 

AUREA experience

What’s included:

✓ All Gris Simo All-inclusive package (unlimited serving of including house wine, beer, liquor and specialty coffees. Mineral water in the cabin and products from the minibar and premium products are not included.

✓ Free Spa Package for every person, including:

Access to Thermal Area throughout the cruise
Balinese massage
Solarium
welcome cocktail

✓ Lugar with free wellness products, bathrobe and slippers

✓ Free access to the exclusive sun deck

✓ Priority boarding and baggage service (only on embarkation day)

✓ Free choice of mealtime in a dedicated area in the restaurant

✓ Earn MSC Club points to enjoy even more benefits on the next cruise

MSC YACHT CLUB

What’s included:

✓ Butler Service available 24 hours a day

✓ all-inclusive breakfasts and dinners in the private MSC Yacht Club restaurant

✓ As much drink as you want in all MSC Yacht Club areas and free minibar

✓ Private elevator to the MSC Aurea Spa

✓ Dedicated priority check-in / check-out

✓ access to exclusive areas (eg lounge with luxury buffet, sundeck, pool bar)

✓ Concierge service 24 hours a day

✓ Ability to change your order *

✓ Private restaurant with free mealtime (within the restaurant opening hours)

✓ Earn MSC Club points to enjoy even more benefits on the next cruise

* Change of name, change the departure date, more flexible cancellation

Wellness (from summer 2017)

What’s included:

A real pampering experience aboard customized health and fitness. In addition to everything included in «Bella» and «Fantastica» then offer «Wellness» From the summer of 2017:

✓ Welcome Kit in the cabin

✓ Exclusive Wellness activities in countries (the offer varies depending on the cruise length and destination)

✓ Separate Wellness program for both indoor and outdoor activities

✓ 1 sports drink pr. day in the minibar

✓ Free access to water in bars, restaurants, buffets and stateroom

✓ A selection of fresh and healthy food and beverages in restaurants and buffets

✓ Health Check with the ship’s doctor

✓ Analyses and tests with personalized Technogym a Master Trainer

✓ Cleaning service of your training clothes

✓ Internet access to Technogym App

✓ 1 group photo with all participants in the Wellness Group

 

Just a few onboard highlights in a long list of Celebrity Reflection

Celebrity Reflection® is our newest marvel. She boasts an expanded deck, 72 additional staterooms overall, more seating in the main and specialty restaurants, more sun lounges on the pool deck, and more seats in the theatre. Celebrate the flavorful joys of outdoor grilling in the new Lawn Club Grill. Enjoy more than 20 delicious options in the Main Restaurant. Unwind in your own cabana-style haven, The Alcoves, on the Lawn Club. And check out all the new spa innovations in the enhanced Canyon Ranch SpaClub®. Your vacation time is precious. Time aboard Celebrity Reflection will make the most of it.

Celebrity Reflection Facts:

Occupancy :
3046
Tonnage :
126000
Inaugural Date :
Oct 12, 2012
Length :
1047 ft
Beam :
123 ft
Draught :
27 ft
Cruise Speed :
24 kts

Sushi on Five

Our modern luxury take on traditional sushi and Japanese favorites, paired with imported sakes and beers. The extensive menu is created by our Master Sushi Chef, Yoshikazu Okada, a fourth-generation sushi chef.

Reflection Suite

The Reflection Suite-our fleet’s first two-bedroom suite-is located in a private area accessible only to guests carrying a special SeaPass® card. You’ll sleep on a premium Reverie® Dream Sleep System™ mattress you can customize, experience the luxury of European-style butler service, and shower in a spectacular sea view bathroom with cantilever, all-glass shower.

 

 

 

 

Signature Suite

In a spacious Signature Suite, you’ll relax in airy, high-ceiling rooms with floor-to-ceiling glass doors and windows, sleep on a premium Reverie® Dream Sleep System™ mattress you can customize, enjoy the European-style butler service, and relax on a veranda with lounge seating. Located in a private area accessible only to guests carrying a special SeaPass® card.

Canyon Ranch SpaClub

Relax and rejuvenate in our serene spa at sea. Experience the unique services of Canyon Ranch in a breathtaking setting—aboard Celebrity’s modern luxury ships. Enhance your vacation with a complete wellness and lifestyle program that increases resilience, restores serenity, and helps you feel rejuvenated.

Lawn Club Grill

Fire up your culinary passion. The bright and modern Lawn Club Grill celebrates the flavorful joys of outdoor grilling. The highlight of dining at the Lawn Club Grill is the opportunity to serve as your party’s «Grill Master,» by being paired with a Celebrity chef to assist in preparing the menu for your table over custom-built, ventilated grills.

Gurkemeie K2 PLUSS

 

Qsine

Qsine® is a uniquely unordinary experience with elements of surprise and delight. Our concept behind Qsine was to give you something you’ve never experienced before on land or sea. Leave any preconceived notions behind. Dig in and try new things. It’s time your palate got a wakeup call. Our iPad® menus are fun, interactive, and full of surprises.

The Alcoves

A cool, cabana-style private retreat on The Lawn Club for two to four guests. By day, filtered sunlight and breathtaking ocean views. By night, ambient lighting for drama and star status. Alcoves are even equipped with Wi-Fi. Rental fee applies.

Michael’s Club

A premium, private lounge for those in Reflection, Penthouse, Signature, Royal, and Celebrity Suites, as well as for Captain’s Club Zenith members. This luxurious club features a large-screen TV, reading areas stocked with magazines, newspapers, and books, plus a continental breakfast. Complimentary drinks are available throughout the day and canapés are served with evening cocktails. Michael’s Club is available 24 hours a day with selected service hours from the Michael’s Club Concierge.

 

Feel like cruising to the other side of the world?

Norwegian Star blends the relaxed Freestyle Cruising concept with cruises to the Baltic capitals, The Caribbean and Transatlantic. Onboard Norwegian Star features 15 delicious dining options, 11 bars and lounges, a sprawling spa, an always-exciting casino, plus tonnes of fun for kids of every age. So whether you’re exploring Northern Europe, sipping Piña Coladas in The Caribbean, or crossing the Atlantic, this ship offers it all.

 

Balcony

Experience it all. Floor-to-ceiling glass doors open to your own private balcony. Or unwind inside in well-appointed and stylish accommodations.
  • Aft-Facing Balcony

    Aft-Facing Balcony

    Facing aft gives you exclusive access to the most exhilarating – and unforgettable – views. Open your floor-to-ceiling glass doors and enjoy it all from your private balcony.

    • Accommodates: 3
    • Total Approx. Size: 203 – 262 sq. ft.

    DECKS 8,9,10

    LOCATION Aft

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  • Family Balcony

    Family Balcony

    Share spectacular views with those you love, all from your private balcony. Plus you can connect multiple staterooms to each other, making it easy to spread out yet stay together.

    • Accommodates: 3
    • Total Approx. Size: 203 sq. ft.

 

  • DECKS 8,9

    LOCATION Forward, Aft

    CATEGORY icon

  • Mid-Ship Balcony

    Mid-Ship Balcony

    Stay mid-ship and stay closer to the action. When it’s time to retreat, open floor-to-ceiling glass doors onto your private balcony. Now that’s a holiday that runs on your speed.

    • Accommodates: 3
    • Total Approx. Size: 203-220 sq. ft.

    DECKS 9,10,11

    LOCATION Mid

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Gurkemeie K2 PLUSS

 

 

Balcony

Floor-to-ceiling glass doors open to a private balcony with sweeping views. So enjoy beautiful sunrises, breathtaking sunsets and a cozy and comfortable room designed with you in mind.

  • Accommodates: 3
  • Total Approx. Size: 203-303 sq. ft.
  • DECKS 10,9,8

    LOCATION Forward, Aft Forward

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  • Guarantee Balcony

    Guarantee Balcony

    A Guarantee stateroom ensures a Balcony stateroom or better! We’ll assign the stateroom number for you closer to the sail date. Please note that your stateroom may be on any deck and the view from your balcony may be fully obstructed or partially obstructed.

    Promotional rates and offers are excluded on this category (BX).

    • Accommodates: 3
    • Total Approx. Size: 203 sq. ft.

    DECKS 8,9,10,11

    LOCATION Forward, Mid, Aft

    CATEGORY icon

 

Bottoms Up! A Guide to Cruise Line All-You-Can-Drink Packages

First it was a trend — now it’s here to stay: Mainstream cruise lines have embraced all-inclusive drinks packages. Found somewhere between the ubiquitous soda packages and the included-in-your-fare booze of luxury lines, these programs let cruisers pay one base price that covers most of their nonalcoholic and alcoholic drinks onboard. But will high prices and annoying fine print persuade travelers to go it a la carte, or will the freedom to sample brightly colored cocktails and wines of unknown provenance be too appealing to ignore?

See below for a line-by-line guide to available packages, followed by some Cruise Critic member reactions to the new and not-so-new programs.

Azamara Club Cruises

Ships: Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest

Package Details: Although Azamara Club Cruises includes select standard spirits, beers and a changing daily selection of red and white wines by the glass in its cruise fares, the line also has nine for-fee all-inclusive beverage packages. Options include the Premium Water Package ($8.95 per person, per day), Beer Package (26 brands, $14.95 per person, per day), Premium Liquor Package (90 brands, $15.95 per person, per day), Top Shelf Liquor Package (120 brands, $18.95 per person, per day) and Ultimate Liquor Package (140 brands, $21.95 per person, per day). Beer and liquor packages also include a 25 percent savings on premium wines by the glass, as well as all the beer selections that come with the beer package. There are also three wine packages: Wine by the Glass (13 wines, $29.95 per person, per day), Wine Lover Package (all bottles of wine valued at $50 or less, $180 to $350 for five-, seven-, 10- and 12-bottle packages) and Wine Connoisseur Package (all bottles of wine valued at $51 to $75, $315 to $630 for five-, seven-, 10- and 12-bottle packages). All packages feature more choices and more premium brands than the complimentary offerings.

Fine Print: Packages can be pre-purchased (through Azamara Club Cruises or your travel agent) or bought onboard throughout the length of your cruise. Charges begin the day you purchase the package. Packages are not refundable once purchased and cannot be downgraded to a lower-tier package. You can only order one drink at a time. You can order drinks through room service as part of your package.

 

Carnival drinks

Carnival

Ships: All ships, except Carnival Spirit and Carnival Legend

Package Details: The Cheers! program has been rolled out to all ships in the Carnival Cruise Line fleet, with the exception of those sailing in Australia. The cost for the program is $49.95, per person, per day, if purchased in advance and $54.95 per person, per day, if purchased once onboard. The package allows cruisers to select from mixed drinks, beer, wine and spirits valued at $50 or less each, up to a 15-drink maximum per day. Additionally, the package includes soda, nonalcoholic cocktails, energy drinks, specialty coffees and teas, most bottled water, PowerAde, Vitamin Water, coconut water and Honest Tea. The program also includes a 25 percent discount on bottles of wine and Champagne, beverage classes and seminars, and cocktails that cost more than $50.

Fine Print: If one adult in a cabin purchases the package, all adults over 21 years old in that cabin must also purchase it. Participants can order only one drink at a time, there is a five-minute wait time required between drink purchases, and all bottles and cans are served opened. The package does not apply to drinks in souvenir glasses. A 15-percent gratuity is added to the cost of the package, and due to state laws, the package is not available until the second day of all sailings leaving from ports in New York, Alabama and Texas. Cheers! applies to onboard beverages only; it cannot be used on Carnival’s private island, Half Moon Cay. The package is not available on two-night sailings or chartered sailings, and it must be booked for the entire duration of the voyage.


Celebrity

Ships: All ships except for Celebrity Xpedition

Package Details: Celebrity Cruises was a forerunner when it comes to packages; it first introduced its alcohol packages in 2009. The line has gone package crazy with classic and premium nonalcoholic packages ($18 and $22 per person, per day, respectively), as well as packages for wine, soda, bottled water and even in-room bar setups. The line now offers three all-inclusive drink packages. The Standard Package ($45 per person, per day) includes any drink (beer, wine, cocktails) up to $6 per serving. This includes soda and bottled water. Additionally, the package includes a 10 percent discount on wines purchased by the bottle.

The Classic Package, starting from $55 per person, per night, includes soda, fresh-squeezed and bottled juices, premium coffees and teas, non-premium bottled water; all beers (priced up to $6 each); spirits, cocktails and frozen drinks up to $8 per serving; and wine by the glass up to $9 each.  The package also includes a 15 percent discount on wines by the bottle.

The Premium Package, priced from $65 per person, per day, includes soda, premium bottled water (Evian, Perrier and San Pellegrino), specialty coffees and teas, nonalcoholic frozen drinks and smoothies, Red Bull, specialty water from Vitamin Water, all beers, and spirits, cocktails and wine by the glass up to $13 per serving. The package also includes a 20 percent discount on wines by the bottle.

Fine Print: An 18-percent service charge is added to package prices. Packages must be bought for the entire sailing and refunds are not allowed; however, packages can be purchased onboard up until two nights are left in the cruise, at prorated prices. Packages do not include drinks purchased from the mini-bar, room service or Enomatic wine dispensing machines. Ordered packages can be modified or canceled online or by phone up to four days prior to the sailing date.

Costa

Ships: Fleetwide

Package Details: Costa Cruises‘ All-Inclusive Beverages package includes a selection of alcoholic beverages (including beer and wine), soft drinks by the glass and coffee. The cost is 24.99 euros per person, per day, including service charges, and is available to adults 18+. A youth version of the package (for ages 4 to 17 years — see the fine print) costs 15.99 euros per day, including service charges, and includes soft drinks by the glass. It must be booked in combination with the All-Inclusive adult package.

Fine Print: Mini-bar products and premium brands are excluded from the package. All passengers, even kids (ages 4 and up), traveling together with the same booking number or who choose to dine together, must purchase the package.


Holland America drinks

Holland America Line

Ships: Fleetwide

Package Details: For $44.95 per day with advanced purchase, or $49.95 when you purchase onboard, Holland America’s Signature Beverage package allows cruisers to indulge in up to 15 beverages a day — choosing from a variety of wine, beer, spirits, cocktails (including nonalcoholic), sodas and coffee for an entire sailing. Each drink must cost less than $8. If one passenger in a cabin opts for the package, anyone who is 21-plus years old in the same cabin is required to purchase it as well. Items from the mini-bar, in-room dining and beverages on Half Moon Cay are excluded from the package.

Fine Print: An additional 15 percent service charge is not included in the base price.

MSC Cruises

Ships: All ships sailing in the Mediterranean and Caribbean

Package Details: MSC Cruises offers multiple beverage packages, including:

Premium Packages: The More-For-Less Premium Adult All-Inclusive (Caribbean sailings, $61 per person, per day) and Allegrissimo Premium Adult All-Inclusive (Mediterranean sailings, $53 per person, per day) packages each include the entire bar list, all beers, wine by the glass, premium spirits and cocktails, in-cabin mineral water and mini-bar access, energy drinks, soda, fruit juice, tea, coffee and hot chocolate, as well as items from the onboard Gelateria and Pastry Shop. This package is valid in all onboard bars, lounges and restaurants. (Drinks are not included in specialty restaurants as part of these packages, but a 20-percent discount is offered to package-holders.) Children’s packages are priced at $31 and $25 per person, per day, respectively, and they include all nonalcoholic beverages — including milkshakes, smoothies and mocktails — and items from the Gelateria and Pastry Shop.

Note: In summer 2017, these packages will be combined into one, called the All-Inclusive Premium Drink Package.

Standard Packages: The More-For-Less Classic Adult All-Inclusive (Caribbean, $45 per person, per day) and Allegrissimo Adult All-Inclusive (Mediterranean, $31 per person, per day) packages offer wine by the glass, all beers, soda, fruit juice, mineral water, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, spirits and cocktails (excluding premium brands), and ice cream (cone or cup). This package is valid in all onboard bars, lounges and restaurants. (Drinks are not included in specialty restaurants as part of these packages, but a 20-percent discount is offered to package-holders.) These packages do not include energy drinks, premium liquors, in-cabin mineral water and mini-bars, or items from the Gelateria and Pastry Shop. The kids’ versions of these packages cost $23 and $14.50 per person, per day, respectively. They feature ice cream and all nonalcoholic beverages, including milkshakes, smoothies and mocktails. They exclude in-cabin mineral water and mini-bar soft drinks. Drinks ordered as part of the standard packages in this category must cost less than $7.50 each.

Note: In summer 2017, these packages will be combined into one, called the All-Inclusive Classic Drink Package.

Cheers: Offered on all sailings, Cheers packages for adults ($20 to $22.50 per person, per day) and kids ($11 to $12.50 per person, per day) allow for unlimited beverages during lunch and dinner in the main dining rooms and self-serve buffets. Featured items for adults are house wine selections, draft beer, mineral water and soft drinks. The children’s version includes soft drinks and mineral water. These packages are not valid for drinks or discounts on drinks in alternative restaurants.

Note: In summer 2017, Cheers will be renamed the Mealtime Restaurant Drink Package.

Fine Print: If one person in a cabin purchases a package, all others in the cabin must purchase a package. If 21 or older (18 or older on cruises not departing from the United States), an alcohol package must be purchased; for passengers younger than 21 (younger than 18 on non-U.S.-based sailings), the equivalent children’s package must be purchased. Packages must be purchased for the entire duration of each voyage. Advance package purchases must be completed no later than seven days prior to sailing; packages can also be purchased onboard on the first and second days of each voyage. There is no per-day limit to the number of drinks a package-holder can order. The above listed packages do not include cigars, bottles of wine or Champagne, or drinks in souvenir glasses.

Gurkemeie K2 PLUSS

Norwegian fishbowl drinks

Norwegian Cruise Line

Ships: All ships except for Pride of America. Norwegian Sky includes a free Ultimate Beverage Package for all passengers.

Package Details: Norwegian has two beverage packages, available on all ships. The «Corks and Caps Package» costs $59 per person, per day, (plus an 18-percent gratuity) and includes a selection of fountain soda and juices, beer and wines by the glass ($15 or less). The «Ultimate Beverage Package» costs $79 per person, per day, (plus an 18-percent gratuity) and includes everything in the «Corks and Caps Package» plus liquor and cocktails (all drinks $15 or less). You can use your beverage package at all onboard bars, lounges and restaurants, and on the line’s private island.

Fine Print: The Ultimate Beverage Package is only available for purchase ahead of time on sailings of five days or more, and for purchase onboard for sailings of three or four days; the package is not available for sailings of two days or less. An 18-percent gratuity is added to your package price. Only one drink is allowed per passenger per order. All passengers sharing a cabin or using the same payment method (i.e., kids you stuck in the inside cabin across the hall) must purchase the beverage package. For kids two and up, that means buying the soda package instead. The package does not include room service, buckets of beer, super and ultra premium brands, wine or liquor by the bottle, mini-bar purchases, freshly squeezed juice, canned soda or energy drinks, specialty coffee or bottled water. Passengers looking to purchase this package onboard during the dates of March 1 through April 15 will only be able to purchase on embarkation day.

 


Oceania Cruises

Ships: Fleetwide

Package Details: Oceania Cruises offers two all-inclusive beverage package options. House Select, which costs $39.95 per person, per day, includes unlimited Champagne, house wine and beer with dinner and lunch. (Interestingly, it’s available when ordering room service, but it does not cover mini-bar drinks.) The second package, Prestige Select, is pricier — $59.95 per person, per day — and includes beer and premium house wine (from a selection of red and white vintages that change daily), most beverages on the bar menu and room service beverages during regular operating bar hours. Mini-bar selections are not included. Oceania already includes in cruise fares items like soft drinks, bottled water and specialty coffees.

Fine Print: Package prices include gratuities and can be prebooked online or through a reservations representative. They can also be purchased onboard at any time during the cruise (with prices prorated for days remaining). You can upgrade from Package A to B during the voyage, but you can’t downgrade. Refunds aren’t allowed.

Princess Cruises

Ships: Fleetwide (different packages are available on Australia-based ships)

Package Details: Princess Cruises‘ package costs $56.35 per day, per day plus a 15-percent gratuity, and includes all cocktails, spirits, beer and glasses of wine up to $10. All nonalcoholic drinks served in cans or bottles, as well as mocktails and shakes are included, as are all coffee, tea, espresso and specialty drinks and any food items such as crepes and gelato included with the coffee card. Each purchaser of the package also receives a 40-percent discount on all bottled wine less than $100.

Additionally, Princess offers beer packages, by brand, that includes five bottles for the price of four: Dos Equis ($22.27), Heinekin ($24.15), Budweiser ($26.45) and Bud Light ($26.45). The price includes the service charge. Beer packages are not available on Diamond Princess, Emerald Princess or Golden Princess when itineraries begin/end in Australia or New Zealand.

Fine Print: Princess cruisers may purchase the package on seven-night or longer cruises. All passengers traveling in the same stateroom do not have to purchase the package.

Royal Caribbean

Ships: All ships with three-night or longer itineraries offer the all-inclusive package.

Package Details: Royal Caribbean has one alcohol-inclusive beverage package on offer. The $55 per person, per day Deluxe Beverage package includes premium coffee and tea, bottled still and sparkling water, fresh-squeezed orange juice, house and premium cocktails (up to $12 value), frozen cocktails, beers, premium wine by the glass (up to $12 value), nonalcoholic cocktails, fountain sodas with a souvenir Coca-Cola cup, a 40 percent discount on wine bottle purchases up to $100 and a 20 percent discount on wine bottle purchases more than $100. For drinks over $12, a $12 credit will be applied to the price of the drink.

Prices do not include an 18-percent gratuity that will be applied to each individual drink order.

Fine Print: The drinks package is available on all two-night or longer sailings and must be purchased a minimum of four days before the cruise ends. Only passengers who intend to use a package need to buy it. Package users may only order one item at a time for individual consumption. There is no daily limit on how many items a person may order.


Windstar

Ships: Fleetwide

Package Details: Windstar‘s package is only sold by the cabin and costs $116 per cabin, per day, plus a 15-percent gratuity. The price includes taxes. The package entitles passengers to unlimited cocktails (including some top-shelf brands), regular and sparkling wines by the glass (priced at $12 or less), beer, mini-bar selections and room service drink orders. (Windstar includes nonalcoholic beverages, such as coffee drinks and soda, for everyone in its cruise fares.) Bottles of wine and Champagne are not included.

Fine Print: The package is valid for all passengers sharing a cabin or suite. It must be purchased in advance or on the first day of the cruise, for the entire length of the sailing. Package holders are entitled to purchase certain ultra-premium liquor brands for $1.15 per cocktail.


Mermaid’s Tail on Regal Princess

Reader Reactions

Are drink packages a good addition to cruising or a bad one? Cruise Critic readers — not surprisingly — have a wide range of opinions on the subject. Proponents are all about the value proposition these packages offer, especially for people who buy a lot of beverages onboard. Says Docalbe, «I try to cruise once a year and bar tab is always over $1,500. $50 is ok with me ($450)…. Not that I’m a lush….» And disan points out that «the main thing is it just makes the experience a little more mindless and isn’t that what a cruise is all about? More fun and less to think about.»

Opponents either don’t see the value or worry about the consequences of unlimited booze. Judi Stein O’Brien posted this Facebook comment: «I can’t see how that’s worth it…we must be cheap drunks! This past cruise we drank and partied pretty hard, rented a tux, paid for a specialty restaurant for 2, various small souvenirs, internet, etc., and our total bill for 2 people for 7 days was less than what this package would cost us.» Others take a more extreme view, like Fred Couch, who says on Facebook, «Some people will drink themselves silly just to get their money’s worth. Just a terrible idea.»

Reader Paula Winchester rebuts that argument. «Those of you saying it would cause too many drunks? Really? Those people are already drinking on the ship with or without the package.»

Still others are on the fence, acknowledging that whether the packages are a good deal have much to do with your ordering habits and the cruise itself. Kathy says, «I do like the idea…and yes on days at sea a great idea…but on port days…could be a waste. I would definitely do this if it could be done on a day by day basis.» Member chillyw concurs, «There’s just no way I’m going to drink 8-9 drinks EVERY DAY.» (Unfortunately for them, a daily package isn’t on offer. Yet.)

And several readers have had some enlightening comments about how to get the most out of the packages.

«Not only did we get our money’s worth and more, there were other perks that we didn’t anticipate,» posts boyerd about Celebrity’s package. «Aside from no slips to sign etc., often around the pool when a frozen drink started melting the staff would ask if they could just make a new one. We tried many different types of drinks esp. martinis that we might not have bought otherwise. If we tried a new drink and didn’t like it, it was replaced with another drink of our choice without question…. We told our assistant waiter the first night about the specialty coffee and we had it served with our dessert every night…no hassles. It really added to the vacation atmosphere that we enjoy!»

Cadburysmom had a strategic plan for her Celebrity drinks package. «I waited until halfway through my Eclipse Baltic cruise to get the package,» she reveals. «More sea days towards the end and the Solstice-class ships offer a much more interesting variety to taste with the Martini and Molecular bars as well as the coffee/tea bar.»

RSVP

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RSVP Vacations’ entertainment staff works all year to bring you some of the finest, gay-positive entertainment. Powerful vocalists, Broadway favorites, and some really hot newcomers have performed on our main stage. But that’s just one of the many venues we fill with everything from hot new comedians, compelling one-man (or woman) shows, enriching or inspirational speakers, exciting cabaret acts, and the best of current gay and mainstream movies. There’s always so much happening on an RSVP cruise that you’ll want to do it all. Don’t worry, though…there’s usually more than one opportunity to see everything.

 

 

 

 

 

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menus and unparalleled service. Maybe you prefer the many choices of the casual dining buffet. You can even order room service at any time of the day or night; it’s included!

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