Ahoy there! If you haven’t cruised for a while or are contemplating your first cruise, you might not have caught up with the news of how shipshape modern cruises have become.
Gone are the days when passengers squeezed into tiny cabins, joined a long queue waiting for the lunch buffet or hoped they would somehow nab a seat for the nightly show. These days, cruise ships offer a raft of spacious features, which means everybody on board can tick off their favourite activities without ever worrying about missing out.
Family-friendly cruise lines such as Carnival even cater to those who want a little child-free time by offering areas such as the Serenity™ Retreat – an adults-only retreat where you can lounge on a day bed, swing in a hammock and feel the sea breeze (instead of a child’s hand) tug at your hair. This is the place to (finally) get stuck into that book, to spend quality time with your partner, to sip a cocktail from the nearby bar or to simply chill out and do nothing at all.
To take relaxation to the next level, put your body in the (very strong) hands of the experts who work in the onboard spa. Spa Carnival™ offers treatments ranging from massages and facials to full head-to-toe pamper packages.
If your kids are the adventurous type, they’ll be off somewhere else anyway, probably screaming their heads off as they rocket down Carnival’s signature Green Thunder waterslide, or helping themselves to the free 24/7 ice cream machine that can be found poolside. Little kids can have plenty of fun at the water park with mini-slides and drenching buckets.
Onboard dining options are so plentiful – from a sushi restaurant to a burger joint – that you can spend your entire cruise working out which place is your favourite. Carnival Spirit, which calls Sydney its year-round home port, offers everything from a buffet to a Chef’s Table – and even a seafood bar that serves prawns sourced from Sydney’s fish market.
As you explore every nook and cranny of the ship, you’ll find a space that’s just perfect for you. Carnival Spirit, for instance, has the Chippendale Library, which feels like something straight out of Downton Abbey.
If you want to be entertained by an evening performance, head to the Main Show Lounge, which stages two shows a night to accommodate families with younger children and those who enjoy a later evening. Or, snuggle into a deckchair to enjoy the outdoor cinema on the Lido Deck with popcorn and blankets included. During the day, there’s a host of free activities such as trivia, table-tennis and dance classes.
At the end of all that fun, retire to your cabin to recover. Almost 60 per cent of Carnival Spirit’s and Carnival Legend’s rooms have balconies. With all that room to move, there’s never been a better time to hop on board.