More Australians than ever are choosing to cruise – in 2018 more than 1.35 million Aussies took to the seas, and it’s easy to see why. We’ve checked out what’s new in cruising and there’s no doubt there’s a cruise to suit any and every taste, whatever floats your boat.
For a family of thrill seekers – Symphony Of The Seas
Want a family holiday where entertainment 24/7 is guaranteed? Then the biggest ship at sea, the 5500-guest Symphony Of The Seas should be the one to book. What’s on offer across the 18 decks? Let’s start from the top with the tallest slide at sea, named the Ultimate Abyss. There’s also the sea’s largest laser tag arena where the family can gear up for an epic glow-in- the-dark battle. Another fun family game is Escape The Rubicon where you must band together in a custom-built escape room to solve a collection of puzzles before time runs out. Head to the AquaTheater for high-diving performances, or for something a little cooler, there’s an ice-skating theatre performance. There are restaurants galore including the new delicious taco stand called El Loco Fresh, and be sure to order a cocktail from a robotic bartender – shaken not stirred.
For those who love pampering – Norwegian Bliss
If your idea of a spa escape sounds like the perfect holiday, then consider booking into The Haven on Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship Norwegian Bliss. The suites-only private retreat, which has its own sundeck and pool alongside a 24-hour butler service, also has a secret entry to the award winning Mandara Spa. Start off with a visit to the Spa Snow Room where a flurry of powdery snow offers the cold part of a hot and cold treatment – it’s part of a well-designed thermal suite. There’s also dry salt therapy, spa steam rooms, tropical showers, and an array of treatment rooms. Travelling with others that aren’t quite as enamoured with spas as you are? There’s much more on offer, including a large go-cart track, a pool with two slides, 18 restaurants and 12 bars. www.ncl.com.au
For adults only – Viking Ocean Cruises
Keen to escape for a bit of couple time, just you and your partner – to rekindle that spark – or planning a special anniversary? We’ve found the perfect line. Viking Ocean Cruises is a cruise line dedicated to adults only with a focus on cultural enrichment. Their tagline boasts “no casinos, no formal nights, and no passengers under 18 years old”. Don’t expect giant slides or surf parks here; just sit back and be pampered amid beautiful design, featuring light woods, woven textiles and an abundance of natural light. Their newest ship, Viking Orion, the line’s fifth, has as a new feature, a planetarium-like theatre called the Explorers’ Dome where talks are held including presentations by the resident astronomer. All ships feature balcony staterooms, eight restaurants, two pools, and a huge Nordic-inspired spa complete with snow grotto. The Viking Orion arrives in Australian waters in December.
For foodies – Majestic Princess
If you love exceptional quality gastronomy and savour dinners with great wine pairing and good conversation, consider a cruise on the Majestic Princess. The 3560-guest ship features 13 dining options including two restaurants with menus designed by Michelin star chefs – Harmony by Chef Richard Chen and La Mer by Chef Emmanuel Renaut. Not only this, the design of the restaurants by renowned architecture firm Jeffrey Beers International, adds to the opulence. It’s all part of the Princess experience. After dinner head to the Princess Theatre which is hung from the deck above so every seat in the house has a perfect sight line to the stage. The show, Fantastic Journey, is the most technologically advanced at sea – Majestic Princess is the rst ship to use drones during a production. And if you really want to treat yourself after an incredible meal and show, go shopping! Majestic Princess boasts the largest retail shopping space at sea, with over 1000 square metres of luxury brands including Bvlgari, Burberry, Cartier, Fendi and many more.
For interior design lovers – Celebrity Edge
Love watching House Rules? Enjoy home magazines? Love to stay in new boutique hotels? This is the cruise for you. Celebrity Cruises are raising the bar in modern cruising with the new 2918-guest Celebrity Edge which sets sail in December. Expect ultra-modern design by renowned London-based designer, Kelly Hoppen. Think suites with private plunge pools, grey wash wood finishes, Eames lounge chairs, and velvet soft furnishings. Staterooms offer an open flow with an ‘infinite veranda’, a floor-to-ceiling window that can retract to create a glass railing together with folding French doors if a balcony is desired. And Celebrity’s Design Ambassador, Nate Berkus noted the spacious Penthouse Suites look like something he’s seen in the high-end real estate listings in New York or London. Other highlights include hot tubs mounted above the outdoor pool and the Magic Carpet bar and lounge elevated above the top deck.
For entertainment lovers – P&O Pacific Explorer
Want to see a Broadway-worthy production for just $10? Do you love live entertainment that’s slightly risqué? Book onto P&O’s Pacific Explorer and head to their Black Circus theatre. It costs just $10 to experience the adults-only Love Riot production (with a cocktail thrown in) directed by Scott Maidment, who was one of the masterminds behind Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour. This 90-minute show has a mix of acrobatics, dance and comedy plus more than a touch of raunch! Make a night of it by purchasing The VIP Love Riot package, which includes a five-course degustation dinner and the show for $29. Afterwards head for an Archie Rose Distilling Co nightcap to temper all that adrenaline in the Bonded Store bar.