Love them or loathe them, sea days are a necessary part of many cruise itineraries. Whilst many look for sailings with featuring as little as possible, preferring to take in a different destination each day, others love them as they feel it gives them the time and opportunity to fully relax as well as getting to grips with the ships facilities.
Sea days may be considered by many to be a chore or a speed bump on the way to paradise but they are in fact so much more. Days spent at sea not only give you the chance to immerse yourselves in the wondrous attractions modern day cruise ships have to offer but also the chance to just take a breath, unwind, relax and experience what it’s like to feel the unique sensation of a warm sea breeze flowing around you. Just because sea days are obligatory, does not mean they cannot be fun.
In the past, we could understand why sea days may be viewed in a somewhat negative manner; however, today there is simply no excuse at all. For passenger’s content with a sun lounger and a cocktail, soaking up the sun rays, then any ship will do the trick but for guests wanting something more, ideally the perfect mix of relaxation and activity attractions then it’s vitally important to find the right ship and itinerary for you. When choosing your itinerary, be sure to take note of the amount of sea days you’ll have. If you’re a fan then you would be frustrated to get on board, excited to relax, only to find that there are minimal sea days. Alternatively if you’re not a fan then it would not be a good idea to book an itinerary such as a Transatlantic crossing, often featuring up to 6 sea days back to back. When speaking to one of our cruise consultants, mention this to them if it is on your mind. We are specialists at finding an itinerary to suit your needs and will be more than happy to seek out the perfect balance of sea and port days for you.
So finding the itinerary is taken care of, what about the ship? With so much to see and do on board, we decided to give you a closer look at some of the best cruise vessels today for spending the day at sea. Here are 3 of the best:
Oasis of the Seas
First on our list is the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas. There are some ships that have good facilities and there are some with excellent facilities then there is Oasis of the Seas. Sister ship to the Allure of the Seas, this magnificent cruising creation challenges every single guest that sails aboard her to feel even the slightest bit of boredom, believe us, it doesn’t happen! The variety of fantastic attractions on board is truly amazing for couples cruising alone and for families; there is something for everyone on board this vessel.
Head to the top of the ship and you’ll find three brilliant pool areas, all boasting their own unique characteristics. One of the pools is designed for games purposes such as water polo, volleyball and more whilst one of the pools also features a sloped entry, ideal for access for passengers of all ages and any potential disabilities that prevent access through steps or stairs. Last but by no means least on the list of top deck pools is the H2O Zone. This incredible area is a child’s paradise boasting a vibrant waterpark area on board complete with water cannons, a water spraying octopus and plenty of family friendly features. The water fun doesn’t stop there though. For passengers looking for an adrenaline rush, head towards the aft of the ship where you will find two, that’s right two, FlowRider surf simulators. Often known for their innovative entertainment concepts, Royal Caribbean deliver once again the ultimate in water entertainment. See if you can master the waves or if you’d prefer not to potentially fall flat on your face then head for one of the many bars dotted around the ship. The amount of bars, lounges and restaurants on board this ship is absolutely amazing. It’s impossible to go hungry on this ship. The Adagio Main Dining Room welcomes guests with its spectacular entry point and serves up an array of world class cuisine. Alternatively there’s the Windjammer buffet for something a little less formal or just in case you fancy something different, consider one of the many speciality dining venues including Sorrento’s Pizzeria, Wipeout Café, Boardwalk Dog House, Solarium Bistro, Vitality Spa Café, Johnny Rockets, Rita’s Cantina, tapas at Vintage or even a taste of Italy at Giovanni’s Table. This ship provides a remarkable choice of options.
What else can you do? Plenty! Head to the aft of the ship and you will find the Aquatheatre, an unbelievable venue that boasts multiple entertainment attractions. Learn how to scuba dive, enjoy whimsical acrobatic performances, take on rock climbing walls or simply wait for the pool to cover over and the dance floor to emerge. From here you can even look up and watch passengers take on the challenge of the ships zip wire.
Oasis of the Seas possesses a superb neighbourhood style concept on board, reminiscent of sister ship Allure of the Seas. The neighbourhoods are housed within the ship but such is the sleek design of Oasis of the Seas, these neighbourhoods are actually open to the sky above. One of the most enchanting areas of the ship is Central Park. This incredible creation houses a wide range of plants amassing over 12,000 accompanied by a spree of 60 trees. Here you’ll find a great selection of dining venues, bars, ice cream vendors and even a handmade carousel, completely free to ride. Children will also love taking a stroll through this neighbourhood as you’ll find balloon artists and clowns along your way, always ready and willing to entertain.
Inside you’ll discover a world of attractions to explore. Oasis of the Seas boasts Studio B, an ice skating venue for all to enjoy as well as the chance to take in professional shows. There’s the DreamWorks 3D movies to enjoy at the Amber Theatre and of course many Broadway inspired production shows including the ever popular “Chicago. “ Shopping is also excellent on board at the Royal Promenade. You’ll find plenty of duty free purchases to be made here at this wonderful location of the ship that actually stretches the length of a football pitch.
For everything you could possibly want on sea days, Oasis of the Seas is a great choice.
Next up is the Norwegian Breakaway fresh from winning the ‘Best New Ship’ category at the 2013 British Travel Awards. Norwegian Cruise Line also won the ‘Best Entertainment’ award, so you would expect their latest fleet member to be pretty special and it certainly is. The cruise line has a thirst for taking entertainment to the next level and this is evident once again aboard this ship. For sea days, Norwegian Breakaway has it all.
For passengers that are content with a relaxing day in the sun then there’s plenty of room for that on board but for guests looking for a little more action and entertainment then decks 15, 16 and 17 are the places to be. Here you’ll find the ships Aqua Park, housing four different waterslides and plenty more water attractions. Children will love this area and for families travelling with smaller children, they to have their own areas known as Splash and the Play Zone. Prefer to stay dry? No problem! Head for the rock climbing wall, take on the mini-golf course, attempt to conquer the Spider Web climbing cage or head over to the incredible ropes course on board known as Norwegian Sky Trail, you can even “walk the plank” cantilevered over the side of the ship for amazing views.
So children are more than covered for fun in the sun but what about the adults? You’re also taken care of. Norwegian Breakaway boasts an adult’s only area known as Vibe Beach Club. This area features a vast array of hot tubs as well as many comfortable, oversized loungers, ideal for kicking back and soaking up the rays.
You may wish to fully unwind during sea days and for that there’s no place better than the Breakaway Spa. The thermal suite is amongst the best at sea whilst other excellent features include the Vitality Pool, salt rooms and the relaxation of a great selection of treatment choices.
As with Oasis of the Seas, the bars, lounges and restaurant choices on this ship are fantastic. Children will love the Nickelodeon character breakfasts with special appearances from SpongeBob and Dora. NCL provide Freestyle Dining, something that they have built a hugely successful brand on. This concept means that passengers will never struggle to find plenty of dining choices all over the ship, no matter the time of day. In total, this remarkable ship possesses 27 different dining choices. The main dining rooms are always special but exciting alternatives include La Cucina, Shanghai’s Noodle Bar, O’Sheehans Neighbourhood Bar & Grill, Le Bistro French restaurant and we cannot forget about Ocean Blue Waterfront with its exquisite seafood creations mastered by chef Geoffrey Zakarian.
From ice bars to virtual bowling, Norwegian Cruise Line offer a world of entertainment, you’ll need sea days just to get through it all.
Queen Mary 2
This beautiful Cunard flagship spends the majority of her time sailing transatlantic itineraries east and west between Southampton and New York. Such itineraries include as many as 7 sea days; therefore the ship needs to be able to keep her passengers entertained. Those who worry about this will find their concerns put to rest from the moment they step on board.
The ship possesses a variety of pool areas for when the sun is shining as well as the Pavilion Pool, an all-weather option for when the weather is not so good. This pool area features a retractable dome roof, ideal for keeping children happy if rain should appear.
Cunard are renowned for deck activities and the Queen Mary 2 does not disappoint. You’ll find paddle tennis courts, table tennis and basketball options as well as the ever popular traditional games, deck quoits and shuffleboard. If you like the idea of lazing the day away then feel free as there are plenty of enjoyable, relaxing areas to do so. Alternatively you also have the opportunity to enjoy a wide range of culture and enrichment on board. The Queen Mary 2 offers guests the Cunard Insights program, a concept of entertainment on board that explores a tremendous array of subjects both past and present. Cunard invite you to explore the world of musicians, the dramatic arts, politics, film production and presentation as well as including presentations from a wealth of renowned historians. On board Queen Mary 2 you’ll find the hugely popular Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Cunard brought this to their ships to invite passengers to enjoy workshops with Julliard trained musicians amongst many lectures and insights into the world of the arts and musicians. This is not the only society on board, however, the cruise line also welcome aboard members and presenters from the Royal Astronomical Society. Learn more about our solar system and the stars we see at night or even do a bit of stargazing on board at the only planetarium at sea, known as Illuminations. Cunard also boast the excellent Cunard Connexions program with workshops on computer skills, techniques and more as well as subjects such as ballroom dancing and the ever popular experience of wine tasting.
If all this sounds a little tiring then perhaps spend your time at sea at the impressive Canyon Ranch Spa Club on board. One of the very few at sea, this superb spa venue invites passengers to truly relax and indulge in a great selection of treatment choices. The spa facility spans over two decks and we particularly recommend the Aqua Therapy Centre, housing whirlpools, aromatic steam rooms, sensory showers, reflexology, ice fountains and a Finnish sauna, this is the ultimate place to unwind.
Dining on board the Queen Mary 2 could not be better. The Britannia Dining Room as well as the Princess and Queens Grill restaurants serves the most sublime cuisine imaginable each and every day of your voyage. You’ll also find the delightful Kings Court buffet with something for everyone with its four different theme areas. For something special and that extra touch of luxury, head for Todd English. This alternative speciality venue is great value for money at just $20 serving incredible cuisine or visit The Golden Lion Pub for a something a little less formal and enjoy pub classics like shepherd’s pie, traditional fish and chips and of course bangers and mash.
Without a doubt, the most synonymous feature with Cunard has to be the quintessentially British afternoon tea. Located in the beautiful Queens Rooms, waiters serve up a range of stunning choice including finger sandwiches, pastries, desserts and of course scones with sumptuous clotted cream. Nothing emphasises the luxurious wonder of Cunard more than this white glove service experience.
All three of these stunning ships offer unique experiences and entertainment at sea. It’s impossible to experience boredom so let us find the right ship for you and enjoy sea days the way their supposed to be.