Super Ships

Take a tour of some of the industry's most unique, popular and spectacular ships.
By: Erica Walsh

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Photo by: james steidl

james steidl

From small yachts to luxury liners, there are as many different cruise ships as there are ports of call. Take a tour of some of the industry's most unique, popular and spectacular ships.

Brilliance of the Seas
Royal Caribbean
The focal point of Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas is the enormous 10-deck glass Centrum. To create this centerpiece, R.C. doubled the amount of glass from their Vision class of ships to an astounding 3 acres. The elevators located here face outward with spectacular views of the surrounding ocean and ports. On deck 11, the Indian-themed Solarium is the perfect adults-only hideaway and kids will love the kids-only pool, waterslide and furniture located on deck 12. Adults can play too on the ship's golf greens featuring 9 holes of miniature golf and an indoor/outdoor country club with a unique golf simulator.

The Windsurf
Windstar Cruises
Windstar Cruises have some of the smallest cruise ships in the world -- but that's because these ships have sails. This intimate cruising experience hosts only 312 people at a time, roughly 10 times less than the crowd on larger cruise ships. Every room on this small ship is a cozy home on the high seas; all are equipped with iPod docking stations, a DVD player, a small library and a spa. One of the ship's most popular features is the water sports platform. Unlike larger ships, guests of the Windsurf can get in the water to swim, paddle, dive and ski.

The Clipper Odyssey
Zegrahm & Eco Expeditions

This ship specializes in intimate adventurous getaways with only 116 passengers allowed per cruise. Onboard this ship, you'll experience luxurious lodgings and delicious dining, but the emphasis here is on the journey. Their voyage into Alaska's hidden passage is an extraordinary cultural and spiritual exploration of America's last frontier.

This is the cruise for nature lovers. On your exploration of the Bering Sea, you can view walruses, sea lions, whales and over 50 different species of birds.

MS Eurodam
Holland America
The MS Eurodam is Holland America's 80th, and largest, ship. There are 11 passenger decks, upscale spa amenities, staterooms and 2 new restaurants not featured on any other ship in the fleet. Passengers of the Eurodam love The Retreat -- an isolated luxurious oasis outfitted with 14 private open-air cabanas. Another first for this well-established cruising company are the staterooms located on the top decks. These spa stateroom and suites offer amazing views and unlimited access to the Greenhouse Spa and Salon.

The Emerald Princess
Princess Cruises
Princess Cruises are all about class and from the Emerald's Piazza and sunlit atrium to its elegant staterooms, guests will receive the royal treatment. Of the 1,500 staterooms onboard, 900 have personal balconies and all have 24-hour room service. The highest level of luxury is found in the balcony suites; guests of these spacious rooms enjoy premiums like fresh flowers, use of the Lotus Spa Thermal Suite, and laundry and dry cleaning services. Princess Cruises were also the first cruise line to implement open seating and casual dining; gone are the days of formal dress, specified meal times and assigned seating.

The Personal Choice philosophy of Princess Cruises is best experienced in their indulgent spa offerings. Onboard the Emerald Princess, guests can choose from facials, seaweed wraps, hot-stone and Swedish massages. Extend your Zen from the treatment room to the Princess sanctuary, an adults-only outdoor getaway where you can order al fresco massages, cocktails and light meals.

The Pearl
Norwegian Cruise Lines
The vacation vibe is tangible onboard the Pearl. It has flexible schedules, activities, dress codes, dining, accommodations and entertainment. It's a philosophy they call "freestyling," where guests are encouraged to create their own cruise experience. There are no dictations on the Pearl, so your vacation is what you make it.

Alaska's Inside Passage is one of the most beautiful places in the country, and there's just no better way to experience it than from the deck of a ship. The Pearl staffs a knowledgeable park ranger to guide you through the unreal beauty of Glacier State National Park, 2.7 million acres of protected land and ice -- a living laboratory of how glaciers form and move.

The Queen Mary 2
Cunard Cruises
Cunard's Queen Mary 2 is the only ship dedicated to crossing the Atlantic in old-fashioned, high-glamour style. Its voyage is a non-stop 6-day passage across the Atlantic Ocean with no ports of call, but the ship's dedication to elegance, service and grace provides some of the planet's best travel. Southampton, England, and New York, NY, where the QM2 begins and ends its journeys, are 2of the most symbolic and significant ports in the world.

With 1 staff member catering to every 2 passengers, guests of the QM2 are treated with what Cunard calls "white star service" -- a regal dedication that includes butler service, breakfast in bed, laundry service and even a perfectly prepared cocktail at the end of each day.

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