World's Largest Cruise Ships

by Aefa Mulholland Subscribe to Aefa Mulholland's posts Posted Apr 8th 2010 04:57 PM

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Worlds Largest Cruise Ships

When it comes to vacations on today's bumper crop of enormous cruise liners, it's the ship -- not the shore -- that entices passengers on board. With breweries, big tops, and Broadway shows, the behemoth vessels taking to the waves in 2010 push the boat out in terms of attractions, amenities, and activities. "At this stage every ship's got a climbing wall," says Johanna Jainchill, senior cruise editor of Travel Weekly. "Now an amenity has to be earth shattering -- it has to be something that no one's ever seen." These days, onboard activities such as wave pools are taken for granted, surpassed by two-story Wii screens and 84-feet-long zip lines. "Passengers now expect a variety of restaurants and choices of entertainment," says Monty Mathisen, web editor of Cruise Industry News. "Ten years ago most ships had a couple restaurants at the most, now you have Oasis with 24, and Norwegian Epic with 20."

Read on for the ships making the biggest splashes in 2010.

Worlds Largest Cruise Ships

The ship casting the biggest shadow -- the longest, tallest, widest, heaviest, most expensive cruise ship ever to set sail -- is the gargantuan Oasis of the Seas. This beautiful behemoth weighs in at a staggering 225,282 tons, is 1,187 feet bow to stern, and looms 20 stories high. At full capacity the Oasis of the Seas can easily carry 6,300 passengers and 2,300 crew. The list of amenities is astounding -- 24 eating options, 37 bars, 37 cabin classes, and 2,700 staterooms that include 28 luxe, two-level loft suites. With high-dive spectacles and lightshows taking place in the 18-feet-deep pool (the deepest pool at sea), 30-mile-an-hour surf simulators, an ice rink, nine-hole golf course, seven "neighborhoods," and a vast 27,000 square feet atrium with 12,175 plants and 56 trees, there seems little need for this city at sea to leave dock. And if you can take your eyes off the on-board sights, ship seminars scan from scuba certification to scrap booking to stargazing. www.royalcaribbean.com

Worlds Largest Cruise Ships

Norwegian Cruise Line's 4,200-passenger "Epic will be hitting the water in July 2010. This 1,080-foot-long ship will be NCL's largest and most revolutionary vessel to date, with a slew of social spots including sake, martini, and whiskey bars, and the first true ice bar at sea -- a wintry wonderland constructed entirely of ice and maintained at 17 degrees. Other number ones range from the largest private villa complex at sea, and the Mandara Spa, at 31,000 square feet, the largest spa on a cruise ship, to the first rappelling wall on the water, six bowling lanes, and Aqua Park's Epic Plunge -- the largest bowl tube slide at sea. A stellar entertainment bill sees Blue Man Group, The Second City comedy troupe, and the acrobats of Cirque Dreams and Dinner sashay on board. Standout venues such as the Spiegel Tent big top round out the entertainment options. Perhaps the most revolutionary feature, however, is the introduction of Epic's solo Studio cabins -- an entire category of accommodation designed specifically for single travelers. www.epic.ncl.com

Worlds Largest Cruise Ships

Set to take the cruise industry by storm is P&O Cruises' 3,092-passenger Azura, launching April 7, 2010. The U.K.'s latest superliner offers 11 restaurants, including Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar's fine dining Indian eatery, Sindhu; 12 places to drink; and a two-tier, 800-seat theatre that will see shows from London's West End entertain the crowds. Other places to gather include the Sea Screen alfresco cinema and the Planet Bar -- home to a 66-feet-wide floor-to-ceiling audiovisual wall. An outdoor spa terrace, The Retreat, and an ocean-view gym are on hand to keep cruisers in shape. This is the second new ship in 2010 (the other being the Norwegian Epic) offering solo, boutique-style cabins -- Azura appeals to the singles crowd by doing away with the dreaded "single supplement." www.pocruises.com

Worlds Largest Cruise Ships

The seventh ship from Germany's AIDA Cruises, the 827-feet-long AIDABlu's big claim to fame is that it is home to the first ever brewery at sea. Christened in Hamburg in February 2010 by designer Jette Joop, AIDABlu's brews come from a working microbrewery operated by famed German brewers, Hovels. Practically an Oktoberfest on the waves, the 130 gallons of light, dark, seasonal, and ship-specific concoctions brewed daily star at AIDABlu's on-board beer hall and beer garden. The 2,050-passenger ship also boasts a 28,000 square feet spa to help with the aftereffects of sampling too many pints in the beer hall -- and a 4D cinema for when daylight hurts hung-over eyes too much. www.aida.de

Worlds Largest Cruise Ships

Due in Southampton, England, on April 20, 2010, the eagerly awaited, 2,850-passenger Eclipse promises the most luxurious spa afloat, called Aqua Spa, as well as a whole class of Aqua staterooms on the same deck. A healthy eatery, Blu, is conveniently positioned alongside to prevent spa guests from going wild at the buffets. Those who do choose less calorie-conscious cuisine will find a more British slant than on other Celebrity ships -- Eclipse will feature British classics including Beef Wellington and mushy peas. A two-story wine tower looms above the chandelier-lit Dining Room and wine tasting is offered in the elegant, Napa-inspired Cellar Masters. Other unique features in this 1,033-feet-long, 122,000-ton vessel include glassblowing classes and the first official Apple Reseller at sea, where guest can learn how to use Macs, iPods, and various Apple programs at a café equipped with a fleet of shiny MacBook Pros. www.celebritycruises.com

Worlds Largest Cruise Ships

The latest ship from the world's fourth largest cruise operator (after Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and NCL), Magnifica embarked on her maiden voyage in March 2010. Weighing almost 100,000 tons and measuring 964-feet, Magnifica can carry 3,605 passengers at full capacity, along with a crew of 1,027. Perhaps the most impressive feature on this luxury liner is the Magrodome -- an all-weather pool with a retractable roof, perfect for when a chill mistral blows across the Mediterranean. Two Turkish baths, thalassotherapy treatments, a 4D cinema, bowling alley, billiards hall, and 17 bars and lounges are other reasons to consider bounding on board. www.msccruisesusa.com

Worlds Largest Cruise Ships

Cunard's 2,100-passenger Queen Elizabeth, launching Fall 2010, offers almost 1,000 feet of ultimate opulence with all the 1930s glamour one would expect from this legendary line. From the spiral staircases and leaded glass ceiling of the wood-paneled Grand Lobby to the stately Queen's Room, the venue of black tie balls and afternoon tea served by white-gloved wait staff, Queen Elizabeth glides supremely to the top of the luxury league. Gastropub The Golden Lion is set to serve the best in British food, while the Garden Lounge Conservatory offers a supper club atmosphere. A two-tier, 6,000-volume library overlooks the Grand Lobby, and the Royal Court Theater includes private boxes where chocolates and champagne are served. Outside, an English country garden ambience prevails on the Games Deck with its croquet and paddle tennis tournaments. www.cunard.com

Worlds Largest Cruise Ships

Big news in the ultra luxury cruise category is the Seabourn Sojourn, upping anchor in June 2010. Both Sojourn and 2009 launch Seabourn Odyssey are three times bigger than Seabourn's other vessels, but only carry 450 passengers, twice as many as their smaller sisters. All 225 luxury suites have ocean views -- the largest measures an impressive 1,682 square feet -- and 90 percent of cabins have private verandas. Celebrity chef Charlie Palmer developed the menu at The Restaurant, where diners will feast off exquisite china and sip from crystal glasses. The magnificent state-of-the-art spa offers a thalassotherapy pool, unique pulley and cable Kinesis wall, and, for that extra touch of decadence, 24-karat-gold facials. Sojourn's built-in marina allows guests to swim, snorkel, windsurf, kayak, and water ski from the ship -- all without having to set foot on shore. www.seabourn.com

Worlds Largest Cruise Ships


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