Secret Spaces on Cruise Ships

Disney Cruise Linedisney-cruise-line

Aboard all four Disney cruise ships (Magic, Wonder, Fantasy, & Dream), the best-kept secret space is the outside Promenade on deck 4. Here is the place to slip away from the hubbub to get re-centered or get lost in that book you promised yourself you would read on this vacation.

The deck 4 promenade has comfy, inviting chaise loungers and a classic design that celebrates the golden age of ocean liners. A stray jogger or two may interrupt your line of vision, but this mostly peaceful place overlooking the ocean is crowd-free and a special spot for planning a sunset walk. Plus, Disney characters sometimes take strolls down the promenade, making for a wonderful and spontaneous photo op.

Shh. On Disney’s summer sailings in Alaska and Norway, the deck 4 Promenade is a fantastic place to station yourself for soaking up the views, spotting wildlife, and meeting Disney friends while cruising through the fjords – sans the crowds.

Holland America Lineholland-america-line

When everyone heads to the Crow’s Nest for catching up and catching the views – and they are very nearly incomparable from this vantage point, draw up just short of it and hang a right into the Oak Room. Tucked into a corner just outside the Crow’s Nest on deck to, this calming nook overlooked by most has comfy leather seating where you can settle in with a good read, concentrate on a crossword puzzle, or study the shore tour booklet, a not-quite-as-dramatic albeit still lovely view on the side.

You’ll find the Oak Room aboard the ms Noordam. It has the look and feel of a reading room and is the perfect spot for late-night cocktails and murmured conversation. If you want to escape the noise of the Lido Restaurant and prefer to eat inside, assemble a lunch tray and head here.

Norwegian Cruise Linenorwegian-cruise-line

NCL’s newest ship, Norwegian Escape – the first of four Breakaway Plus-class vessels and the largest in the NCL fleet – has a few secret spaces of her own.

The purchase of an access pass is required for entrée to the Vibe Beach Club, but it’s oh so worth it for the private sundeck with oversized lounge beds, dedicated bar and a private whirlpool that’s cantilevered over the side of the ship, making for perfect ocean and sunset views.

It gets even better. Guests booking one of just 95 suites at the top of the ship will be pampered with privacy, personalized service, and a deluxe array of complimentary amenities. Aptly named The Haven, this refuge includes a private restaurant, cocktail bar, a two-story courtyard area with a retractable roof, pool, two whirlpools, and a private sundeck, along with private spa treatment rooms. Concierge services and a 24-hour butler? It’s as divine as it sounds.

Viking Ocean Cruisesviking

Solitude with a view. The Viking Star and newly christened Viking Sea inspire meditative moments about the day’s discoveries over a chilled pint from the extensive Craft Beer Library in the Explorer’s Lounge. Here is the place to swap stories with a few like-minded adventurers while appreciating the view from expansive, double-height windows.

With just 928 passengers aboard, elbow jostling is already kept to a minimum. Still, when you want to decompress from a day of exploring such heady sights as Gdansk, Poland, and its Malbork Castle – the medieval eutonic stronghold and world’s largest castle – and recount your reaction to this UNESCO World Heritage Site, you don’t want to talk over hundreds of excited voices. You want the low-key and intimate atmosphere of the Explorer’s Lounge, the perfect setting of understated elegance for over-the-top experiences.

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