The days when being at sea meant you had to cram yourself in a cramped cabin are long over. Just as cruise lines are pulling out all the stops and offering more eye-popping amenities, the cabins you can stay in are becoming equally luxe. Some are so comfortable that a few retirees have even decided to live on cruise ships full-time. But even if you're not ready to make yourself at home (literally) at sea, you can still snag the cabin of your dreams, complete with perks like butler service, free bottles of liquor, and 24/7 spa access. In fact, these cruise cabins are so luxurious that you might never want to leave the ship to explore your ports of call.
You can smell the fresh paint on the recently-renovated Carnival Ecstasy, which offers an entertaining, boisterous atmosphere. However, you might want to consider jumping onboard just to enjoy one of the massive suites complete with balconies, flat-screen TVs, and in-room phones. Those who book a suite (the Grand Suite with a balcony is a great option, as is the Junior Suite) can enjoy VIP boarding.
With a $16 million renovation in 2016, Norwegian’s Pride of America will show you Hawaii — including the inaccessible Na Pali Coast — in style. You’ll want to move into the Owner’s Suite, which features a dining table, loungers, and whirlpools on the balcony. There’s room for four people with a king bed, fold-out sofa in the separate living area, and a half-bath. Relax in the master bath, which has a jetted tub and shower, plus enjoy butler service and access to a private concierge that’s on-call 24/7 to help with anything from unpacking and making dinner reservations to pouring the free bottle of Champagne you receive at check-in.
On the Ruby Princess, you’ll drift off to the rhythm of the waves in the Princess Luxury Bed, which was developed in collaboration with sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus and HGTV designer Candice Olson. These suites are loaded with a bathtub and separate shower, walk-in closet, a free minibar, and daily bottled water. Plus, passengers will get priority tender disembarkation, priority dining and tour reservations, and a free specialty restaurant dinner on embarkation day. Get your laundry done for free, too, along with complimentary access to the Lotus Spa.
For a tranquil experience on the Carnival Breeze, opt for the Cloud 9 Spa Suites, which feature a whirlpool tub and walk-in closet — perfect for enjoying after you complete your VIP check-in. Passengers can also enjoy the minibar, a flat-screen TV, nightly turndown service, and a room steward on duty. To top it off, the quiet atmosphere will have you rocking to sleep in no time.
In a Celebrity Solstice suite, you can relax and destress, thanks to VIP embarkation and debarkation, rush luggage delivery, priority tender service, butler service, cozy plush robes, and Bulgari bath products. Not enough? Passengers also score free room service, ensuite espresso and cappuccino, reserved theater seating, and access to the VIP Michael’s Club lounge and Luminae restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Certain suites (Royal or higher) garner even more perks. For one thing, the welcome Champagne is quite fancy: Perrier Jouet. Passengers will also get free access to unlimited Xcelerate high-speed internet, complimentary laundry twice per cruise, a free beverage package, unlimited reservations for lunch and dinner in all the specialty restaurants, minibars filled with beer, soda, and water that’s stocked once daily, and more.
Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas, the biggest cruise ship in the world, lives up to the hype. In addition to offering a plethora of amenities, the cabins are equally impressive. Upgrading to the premium Star level gets you a Royal Genie (a fancier butler), free Internet access, free specialty dining, preferred venue seating, and a beverage package that includes gratuities. All suite guests also have exclusive access to the Suite Sun Deck and Bar, and guests in Grand Suites and above have private access to the Suite Lounge and Coastal Kitchen restaurant.
A baby grand piano, you say? Yes, please! Suites onboard the family-friendly Adventure of the Seas start at 380 square feet, but the real crown jewel is the Royal Suite, which features a whopping 1,188 square feet of space and a balcony larger than an entry-level room, not to mention a circular bed, baby grand piano, and whirlpool. You’ll also enjoy some other pretty cool perks, like access to the concierge lounge, luggage valet services, and priority check-in.
The Norwegian Escape can feel a bit crowded at times, but the Haven, an exclusive ship-within-a-ship complex open to suite guests, provides a quieter escape that is particularly appealing to travelers accustomed to luxury cruises. Suites at the Haven grant guests use of a private pool courtyard, sunbathing deck, spa, lounges, bar, and restaurant with outdoor patio. Plus, plenty of suites offer multiple bedrooms — ideal for larger traveling groups.
Passengers 12 and older get absolute privacy in the Havana cabins aboard the Vista, Carnival’s flagship. Want exclusive access to the aft Havana pool? You’ll get it until 7 p.m, in addition to the use of the patio area on Deck 5. One lovely perk is that each cabin comes with its own private white-gated terrace on the promenade, where relaxing swinging chairs or lounge seats await.
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