Cruises: Getting There is Half the Fun
By Alfredo Ayala
The best part about taking a cruise vacation is that getting to your destination is half the fun. Ships today are huge, modern and luxurious vessels that offer more entertainment, activities and culinary options than ever before.
Where to actually cruise to is almost an afterthought, as your ship becomes its own all-inclusive resort between ports of call. From movies and nightclubs to water sports and spa treatments, cruises have something to fit everyone, from the youngest to the oldest of passengers. So come on board and see what some of the top cruise lines have to offer.
For travelers seeking a Caribbean destination, Celebrity's 5 Night Western Caribbean Cruise departs from Miami and stops in Roatan, Honduras and Cozumel, Mexico. With two full days at sea on the Century, this ship has a ton of amenities to keep passengers entertained. Movie lovers will rejoice with two onboard theaters showing first run films and full production shows. You might also catch a cabaret act or comedian at Rendezvous Square, head to the Crystal Room for dancing and hit up the Fortunes Casino if you are feeling lucky.
For more athletic endeavors, the Century features a fully-equipped fitness center and deck sports, including a golf simulator, shuffleboard and jogging. If swimming is your thing, check out the Century's two outdoor pools. There are also four whirlpools to relax in, along with the full-service Aqua Spa.
Once you have worked up an appetite, choose from casual options like the Island Café and Gourmet Bites or the formal Grand Restaurant, serving the award-winning cuisine of Master Chef Elizabeth Blau. The Century also features the Mast Bar, overlooking the main pool, Sky Bar overlooking the ship's aft, Martini Bar, and Coya Café Milano for fine coffees and wines. There is also complimentary 24-hour room service, which includes gourmet pizza delivery.
If cruising to a tropical island is not your cup of tea, perhaps a 5 night cruise through Europe on Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas ship is more your style. Departing from Barcelona, this cruise stops in Malaga, Palma de Mallorca, Ajaccio, and Provence. But as the commercial says, you'll find your real "lust for life" while enjoying Adventure of the Seas' numerous amenities, like its rock climbing wall, ice skating rink and 9-hole mini golf. Or how about some laps in one of the ship's 3 outdoor pools? If you would rather indulge in a cocktail, float up to their swim-up bars instead. Then there are the deck sports like ping pong, basketball, volleyball, shuffleboard and jogging. Or, get physical in the ship's state-of-the-art fitness center.
Once the kids have gone to bed, adults can get the party started at the Adventure of the Seas' numerous clubs and bars. Check out a show at the Lyric Theater or hit the Imperial Lounge for dancing and cabaret. The 360 Sports Bar is the perfect place to catch a game, or you can enjoy a cigar at the Connoisseur Club. For travelers seeking their Vegas fix, the Casino Royale has slots, blackjack, craps and roulette if you're willing to roll the dice.
When it comes to the time for food, that time can really be any time at all with the ship's complimentary 24-hour room service. Or, check out one of the vessel's many restaurants and bars. There are the Olympus, Gotham & Metropolis dining rooms for three-tiered seating and sit-down meals. Or try the Windjammer or Island Grill for more casual dining. If cruising through Europe has you hankering for pasta, check out Portofino for a romantic dinner. Other drinking and dining options include Johnny Rocket's Diner, The Aquarium Bar, Palace Arms, and the Champagne Bar.
Cruise travelers seeking a destination that explores the wonders of nature will enjoy Norwegian Cruise Line's 7-Night Alaska Cruise on their Norwegian Pearl ship. This cruise departs from Vancouver and stops in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Prince Rupert, BC, Canada.
The Norwegian Pearl is a brand new ship that boasts a rock climbing wall, bowling alley, Broadway-style shows, a state-of-the-art fitness center, waterslides, pools, hot tubs, and kid and teen activities. There are also 11 bars and lounges for hanging out and 12 different places to eat. Food choices include Asian dishes at Lotus Garden, tapas at Mambos, French cuisine at Le Bistro and steak at Cagney's.
Accommodations on the Norwegian Pearl are stunning. Choose from the opulent Courtyard or Garden Villas or their family-friendly connecting staterooms and suites.
With so many different destinations to choose from and state of the art ships with more amenities than you can imagine, cruise vacations are a much hipper option than they once were. The old idea of passengers being trapped on a ship just waiting to get to their next port of call is over. With cruises today, getting there is half the fun.
Alfredo Ayala is a freelance writer who writes about several topics including discount cruises.
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Views expressed in the article are those of the author and are not necessarily the opinions of CaribbeanChoice, its staff or members.