Tuesday, 25 July 2017

2 Best Cruise-Ships for SeaDays

2 Best Cruise Ships for Sea Days

When Royal Caribbean's gargantuan and game-changing Oasis of the Seas debuted as the then-world's largest ship in 2009, people wondered if anyone would bother to get off the ship in port, as it could take a week to try out all the onboard activities. With 24 dining options, 21 pools and hot tubs, multiple live performance venues (including an ice rink and AquaTheater for high-diving shows) and seven "neighborhoods," the ship practically guarantees that no one will have trouble finding something to do.

But you don't need to sail on a 5,400-passenger ship to get the most from your days at sea. Any ship will do if you're content to spend your onboard time passed out on a sun lounger. But if you want the right mix of activity and relaxation options, it's key to pick the right ship -- and the right itinerary. It would be a shame to get all psyched up for sea days, only to find out your cruise only has one. Look for a good balance of sea and port days, and if you truly love time at sea, book an ocean crossing for a whole string of consecutive sea days.

Now that you know what to look for itinerary-wise, here's our selection of the best ships for days at sea. We chose our favorites based on their variety of onboard attractions, both indoors and out, to keep folks entertained. They also include plenty of daytime dining options. And if you need more inspiration, check out our companion piece: Top 10 Things to Do on Sea Days.

Disney Fantasy

On Deck: The much ballyhooed main attraction of Fantasy's upper decks is the AquaDuck, a tubular water coaster. It's more kiddie fun than big thrills, despite the track's precipitous swing 13 feet out from the side of the ship -- and its 42-inch height requirement that leaves little siblings pouting. Behind the Duck's entrance is a water play area called the AquaLab, guaranteed to leave you soaking wet.

Fantasy's pool areas have something for everyone. The Mickey Pool with mini-water slide is kid heaven, Donald's Pool gives front-row seats to the giant outdoor movie screen, Nemo's Reef is the toddler splash area for the diapered set, and Quiet Cove is the adults-only pool area. An additional adults-only sun deck features a splash pool and rain curtain. The requisite all-purpose sports court, mini-golf, walking track and Ping-Pong tables make an appearance on the Sports Deck.

Indoor Fun: You might have a serendipitous run-in with your favorite Disney character or princess, or you can find them at scheduled meet-and-greets. The whole family can play detective with a mystery game that places clues in hallway art that magically comes to life when you pass by; on Fantasy, there's a version that features the lovable Muppets.

Queen Mary 2

On Deck: With much of its time spent sailing back and forth across the Atlantic, Queen Mary 2 can offer lots of sea days -- but the weather won't always be the best for top-deck sunning. Still, the ship does have multiple pools, including the Terrace Pool, the Sun Deck Splash Pool on the top of the ship, the all-weather Pavilion Pool with a retractable dome and the Minnows Pool for kids.

Sports facilities include a basketball court, a paddle-tennis court and a Ping-Pong table in the Pavilion pool area. Or get old-school with shuffleboard and deck quoits. The promenade deck loops around the ship for a midday walk.

Indoor Fun: While you can certainly laze around all day, QM2 makes it possible to imbue your sea days with culture and learning opportunities, offering an excellent enrichment program with activities like watercolor painting, wine tasting or ballroom dancing. Cunard Insights explores historical and contemporary issues presented by explorers, academics, former politicians, actors, musicians, historians and filmmakers. Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts actors teach acting workshops on board, while presenters from the Royal Astronomical Society talk stars and solar systems; you can even stargaze during the day with a film in Illuminations, the only planetarium at sea.

For more information visit http://www.cruisecritic.com/

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