Thursday, June 17, 2004

The heart of Sapphire Princess is a dramatic three-story Grand Plaza atrium with a spacious foyer, marble staircases and panoramic glass elevators. The atrium has wireless Internet access for guests with laptops. Princess' wedding-at-sea program is the only one allowing couples to be wed in international waters by the ship's captain. Bridal couples may choose from several different wedding and reception packages, and can share their happy day in the Hearts and Minds Wedding Chapel with loved ones at home through Princess' live "Wed Cam." Calypso Cove features tax- and duty-free liquor, jewelry, watches and accessories.
Originally called Dreamward when entering service in 1992 as a sister to Windward, this ship in 1998 was treated to a stretch conversion with addition of a 130-foot midsection at the Lloyd Werft Shipyard in Bremerhaven, Germany. Resulting is a more spacious ship readily adapting itself to NCL's Freestyle Cruising concept. With a jogging track and an emphasis on athletics at its popular Sports Bar, Norwegian Dream has staterooms designed for comfort, promenades, and assorted restaurants, bars, and shops.
Voyager-class vessels such as Mariner of the Seas will forever go down in history as the first cruise ships with rock-climbing walls and skating rinks, triple-tier dining rooms, nine-hole miniature golf courses, and regulation-sized basketball courts. Mariner of the Seas also has three swimming pools, and more than a dozen bars, many along the Royal Promenade. Despite being a megaship, the allows 3,000 or so passengers to roam the ship with ease.
Volendam and sister ship Zaandam have an extra set of elevators instead of the escalators aboard other Statendam-class ships. Volendam also has an Internet Center and the Pinnacle Grill, a reservations-only Pacific Northwest specialty restaurant carrying a service charge. Spacious cabins - many with private verandas - along with ballroom dancing and bridge are ship hallmarks.
Carnival Miracle -- with former soldier Jessica Lynch, captured and recovered in Iraq, as Godmother -- has an 11-story Metropolis atrium with a ruby-red glass ceiling, an indoor / outdoor promenade, four swimming pools, and a water slide. A dining venue on the top level of the ship's atrium -- one of three restaurants on board -- is the only reservations-style supper club at sea offering prime beef. Sixteen lounges and bars with dramatic interiors celebrate famous fictional icons of film, music and literature, and a comprehensive golf program offers tips from pros aboard ship and during golf excursions. Some 80 percent of staterooms have ocean views and 80 percent of those have balconies. Carnival Miracle's lobby and atrium are named after the Metropolis of Superman fame, while the lower promenade is the Fountainhead, from the Ayn Rand novel, whose main character is an idealistic architect. The upper promenade is called Kane's Way from Orson Wells' film Citizen Kane. Gatsby's garden has long arches that look
like cast iron trelliswork.
Hearts and Minds wedding chapel features the cruise industry's only wedding-at-sea program where passengers can be married by the ship's captain. Diamond Princess takes the line's trademark Skywalkers disco / lounge concept a step further with a 125-foot wide balcony for stargazing.