October 20, 2017

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It’s a myth that the bigger the cruise ship, the less privacy you’ll have.

These days, cruise travel includes multi-generation families, singles, couples honeymooning, reconnecting as their kids enjoy children’s programming… And cruise lines have responded to these trends.

Even the biggest ships at sea are finding innovative ways to provide guests with the sense of intimacy, seclusion and serenity of the best class of smaller ships, so guests can enjoy all the diversity, programming and excitement of bigger ships, as well as peace, quiet, and even yes! romance

The folks at Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) have put together a list of some of the most unique and innovative ways cruise lines are balancing excitement with seclusion on ships at sea and ships coming soon. From cabanas to high-design tree houses to even upcoming ‘virtual balconies’!, find out how cruise lines create a sense of intimacy surrounded by hundreds or thousands of other guests!

Balconies are among the most popular privacy features, and ships, from luxury to mega, are upping the percentage of cabins with balconies. One line has even figured out a way to provide balconies for inside cabins. For example:

Disney Cruise Line’s newest ships have private verandahs on 70 percent of staterooms and suites.

Princess Cruises’ new Royal Princess, slated to debut in June 2013, will have balconies on all outside cabins.

Royal Caribbean's 'Virtual Balconies' in Inside StateroomsRoyal Caribbean International’s refurbished Navigator of the Seas will emerge next year with “virtual” balconies – LED projection screens showing live images taken by exterior cameras–for interior cabins.

Club sections take exclusivity and pampering to new levels. Similar to luxury hotel concierge floors, many ships have club or concierge level cabins with upgraded services and intimate lounges. For example:

Holland America Line’s Neptune Lounge, open to guests in a Neptune or Pinnacle Suite, is a private lounge with a wide screen TV, continental breakfast and coffee, tea and snacks throughout the day as well as concierge service.

Oceania Cruises’ Executive Lounge, available to guests in Owners, Vista, Oceania and Penthouse Suites, features complimentary soft drinks, coffees and snacks throughout the day and a dedicated concierge; a separate Concierge Lounge is provided for guests in Concierge Level Veranda Staterooms.

Cabanas, usually rentable by the day or for the whole cruise, put guests in the heart of the action while indulging them with special services. For example:

Celebrity Cruises’ “The Alcoves,” on Celebrity Silhouette and Celebrity Reflection come with fresh fruit, chilled towels, use of a pre-loaded iPad and more. An attendant is also on hand to arrange for spa treatments, food and other services.

Holland America's Cabana ClubHolland America Line’s “Cabana Club” on the Nieuw Amsterdam offers airy, tented cabanas with plush upholstered seating where guests receive extras such as bathrobes, chocolate-covered strawberries, champagne and a pre-loaded iPod.

Adults-only areas are becoming increasingly popular, especially on kid-friendly sailings. While spas have long been serene retreats, adults-only spaces for everything from dining to swimming and sunning are now popping on a wide array of ships. For example:

Disney Cruise Line’s Quiet Cove Pool and Cove Bar invites adults to sunbathe, swim, sip a cool drink or soak in a hot tub overlooking the ocean.

Royal Caribbean International’s glass-canopied Solarium pool area and café, with cantilevered whirlpools that jut out over the sea, are popular adults-only spots.

Carnival Cruise's Serenity Adults-Only LoungeCarnival Cruises Lines’ Serenity adult-only area, offered on many of its ships, features plush lounge chairs, bar and food service, whirlpools and soothing music.

Hidden hot tubs, tree houses and more are also adding fun, new twists on serenity on many ships. For example:

Celebrity Cruises’ “The Hideaway,” available on Celebrity Silhouette and Celebrity Reflection, resembles an avant-garde tree house with cozy suspended “nests” and pods where guests can try out Apple products from the Celebrity iLounge or cuddle up with a good book.

Seabourn’s new ships, Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Sojourn and Seabourn Quest, offer tucked away nooks such as the top deck Sun Terrace, with double sun-beds nestled behind a clear windscreen. And all Seabourn ships feature a secluded whirlpool spa on the open foredeck, ideal for a celebratory glass of champagne as the ship leaves port.

Elite areas: The cocooning concept goes one step further on some ships. Here, guests find everything they need in their own private retreat. For example:

MSC Cruises’ MSC Yacht Club, called a “ship within a ship,” wraps guests in a private pool, solarium, restaurant and butler-serviced suites.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s “The Haven” has butler-serviced cabins that surround a private two-story courtyard with pools, whirlpools, a massage room, private restaurant, cocktail bar and concierge lounge.

Libraries aren’t just about books any more, either. Large or small, ship libraries offer quiet yet sociable spots for reading, writing and board games. For example:

Azamara Club Cruises’ Drawing Room by Assouline is a quiet spot to relax with its collection of lifestyle and travel books by Assouline.

Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 has a large library which displays more than 9,500 books, audio books and publications in a relaxing setting for readers.

Carnival Cruise Lines’ newest ships, Carnival Breeze and Carnival Sunshine, feature The Library Bar, where self-serve wine dispensers and bartenders set the mood for quiet conversation, board games, and yes, reading.

Exotic dining spaces set the scene for personal evenings. These very private areas can be ideal for special anniversaries or other occasions. For example:

Paul Gauguin Cruises’ M/s Paul Gauguin offers private dining on the water sports marina for up to four guests to enjoy gourmet cuisine at a table set with white linen, fine china and crystal glasses along with live Polynesian entertainment.

Oceania Cruises’ Riviera and Marina both offer Privée, a dining room that can be reserved for up to 10 guests, where the plush décor features a white Venini glass chandelier, white baby crocodile throne chairs and backlit onyx-clad walls.

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