Unique Cruise Ship Features: Once-in-a-lifetime Experiences on the Open Sea


Popular amenities such as swimming pools, spas, casinos, bar lounges and restaurants are mainstays aboard almost all passenger ships as cruise lines refine and redefine what makes for the perfect stay at sea. However, the innovators at Royal Caribbean et al are constantly developing new amenities and activities for passengers to enjoy. Here we explore some of the more unique and unusual features cruise passengers can experience on the open seas.

NorthStar Observation Pod

Ship: Anthem of the Seas

The Quantum Class of ships from Royal Caribbean launching in November 2014 (Quantum of the Seas) and April 2015 (Anthem of the Seas) have already been recognised as the world’s first Smartships. One of the new features aboard the Anthem of the Seas will be the NorthStar – an observation pod transporting passengers 300ft into the air, offering incredible views and seascapes. The NorthStar will be free for all passengers but sunrise and sunset experiences need to be booked in advance due to increased popularity.


Deal: Italian Mediterranean


Ship: Norwegian Epic

With bartenders wearing parkas and carved polar bears flanking the entrances; the SVEDKA Ice Bar aboard the Norwegian Epic provides a drinking establishment outside of the norm. Even when cruising around the barmy Caribbean, passengers aboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s signature ship can transport themselves to the North Pole, drinking frozen vodka cocktails in sub-zero temperatures. The walls, full bar, seats and even glasses are all sculpted from ice – providing a fully polar experience.

Ice Bar - Melissa Wiese

Deal: Iberian Peninsula

Central Park

Ship: Oasis of the Seas

Like its New York namesake, the Central Park aboard the Oasis of the Seas is home to tens of thousands of plants and trees. The first living park at sea; Central Park also plays host to a wide range of restaurants and bars including the Rising Tide bar – a drinking lounge which can be raised or lowered over three deck levels. Central Park is just one of the ship’s seven neighbourhoods, making up the public and entertainments areas.

Central Park - Navin75

Deal: Eastern Caribbean New Year


Ship: Queen Mary 2

For dog-lovers who are loathe to leave their beloved pooches at home when going on holiday; the Queen Mary could provide the perfect solution. Cunard’s largest cruise ship is the only passenger vessel at sea with comprehensive accommodation for four-legged friends. The Queen Mary 2 has a full-time Kennel Master on board taking care of the dogs’ every need whilst enjoying their cruise. Guests can spend time with their dog every day, helping them enjoy their cruise without worrying about the mutt back home.

Dog - prettyinprint

Deal: British Isles – Transatlantic

Thrill 5D Theatre

Ship: Carnival Breeze

The Carnival Breeze plays host to the first 5D theatre at sea, playing shortened versions of family favourites such as Happy Feet and The Chipmunks. A high definition 3D projection of the film is simultaneously cast alongside more tactile and tangible features and enhancements.

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Images sourced via Royal Caribbean Press Center Flickr Creative Commons. Credits: Robert Pittman, Melissa Wiese, Navin75, prettyinprint


About Author

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Claire has worked in the travel industry since leaving college in 1994. One of this blog's most regular contributors, Claire covers cruise news and industry trends.

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