Whether you’re a seasoned cruiser or it’s your maiden voyage, there is a fleet of luxury cruise ships offering on-board experiences some of us can only dream of.
So much so that 5.85 million passengers went on a European cruise last year. But Europe’s actually the second most popular cruise destination in the world with the Caribbean sailing away at number one.
It’s all about bigger and better for cruise liners – with the luxury life at sea boasting everything from gilded lounges to robot barmen.
Here’s our pick of the best activities on board…
King of the sea
The biggest cruise ship in the world, Allure of the Seas is 1,187 feet long, has 18 decks, 24 passenger elevators and 2,752 staterooms.
Among its many highlights are scuba lessons in its 21-feet long and 18-feet on-board pool, which transforms into a spectacular 700-seat AquaBroadway water show at night. Along with choreographed musicals, there’s a trapeze act that creates the illusion of AquaSpiderman climbing up a curtain of water.
Best bar none
You’ll be sure to want to join the assembly line for Happy Hour on board Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas. Their Bionic Bar is manned - or rather unmanned – by a pair of robot mixologists.
Wind in your sails
Not only can you journey to luxury destinations such as Tahiti, Italy, Puerta Caldera, the Greek Isles and St Thomas, US Virgin Islands with them, but Windstar Cruises also carries an on-board marina where you can go kayaking, snorkelling, swimming, windsailing, paddle-boating and water skiing.
Named the world’s best small cruise line, it’s one of the only cruise lines with an Open Bridge Policy where you can join the Captain and crew on the bridge and stargaze at night.
Park Avenue Princess
She hasn’t set sail yet, but when Regent Seven Seas Explorer departs Monte Carlo this summer, guest cabins will mirror a million-dollar New York apartment.
Designed to be the most luxurious ship ever built, it has an Observation lounge that’s gilded in gold and exotic escapades include glass-bottomed kayaking and swimming with stingrays.
For a Nordic twist, Norwegian Epic (the fifth biggest cruise ship in the world) has a 265-seat theatre-in-the-round where you can toast the Cirque Dreams & Dinner. An all-singing, all-dancing show with crazy costumes, acrobatics and aerialists, there’s also a Broadway show, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
Try not to be tempted to throw bread rolls if you don’t like the entertainment!
Why fly to Walt Disney World when it can swim to you? Disney Dream and Fantasy has a Magic PlayFloor where kids can stomp around on a virtual game board and squeal at the 32 high-definition displays.
After they’ve made lots of new friends, they can gather round the board and interact with video games that unfold on the screens by using their feet or hands.
If you’re worried about missing the green, green grass of home when you think you’ll only ‘sea blue’, Celebrity Cruises’ Solstice Class ships boast a Lawn Club.
One of a kind, no jacket and tie is required to visit the top deck and amble through the pathways, contemplate a game of croquet, smell the roses, or unfurl a blanket and order a posh picnic.