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24-Jun-2017 07:54

At the time of its debut, it was the largest cruise ship ever built and, notably, the first passenger vessel to exceed 100,000 tons. owns two of the R ships, including the successor to the original “Love Boat," Princess Cruises’ Pacific Princess (ex-R Three, shown) and Fathom Cruises Adonia (ex-R Eight), the latter to be transferred back into the fold of British-based P&O Cruises when Fathom ceases operations later this year. S.-based cruising and ranked at the top of the luxury cruise tier. Although very similar to the Crystal Symphony, the Harmony’s funnel was situated slightly farther forward and the angle of its superstructure was more pronounced, making it the slightly more pretty of the pair. Prior to World War II, NYK was one of the world’s largest passenger shipping lines but now it operates just one cruise ship. These 5,307-gt, 159-guest ships were the first all-new sail-enhanced major cruise ships to be built in decades. They have shallow drafts that enable them to visit off-the-beaten-track hamlets like Monemvasia in Greece.

The 2,052-passenger, 70,367-ton Carnival Elation sails to The Bahamas, Bermuda and Caribbean out of Jacksonville, Fla. Eight identical, 30,277-gt, 684-guest ships were completed for now-defunct Renaissance Cruises between 19.

It sails to the Caribbean from Galveston, Texas and Miami. They are the key to the ship’s longevity and success.

Unveiled in 2012, the 128,000-ton Carnival Breeze is the newest of Carnival's three Dream Class vessels, which began rolling out in 2009. Thomas, it carries 3,690 passengers, based on double occupancy, and sails to the Caribbean from Galveston, Texas and Port Canaveral, Fla. ports in the mid-1970s, it was rumored to be a "spy ship." No. The second of five nearly identical sister liners named for Russian poets, Marco Polo was built in 1965 as the Alexandr Pushkin for Soviet-owned and operated Baltic Shipping Company. Sturdy East German construction and an ice-strengthened bow have served the Marco Polo well on its globe-trotting journeys. The Marco Polo is one of the last large active passenger ships in the world with tangible elements of sheer (lengthwise curvature) and camber (side-to-side curvature). Marco Polo’s interiors all date from the early 1990s and feature an Art Deco-inspired look courtesy of Greek interior designer Michalis Katzourakis.

Originally designed for sister line Costa Cruises (where it would have been called Costa Splendor), it was transferred to Carnival during construction. Dating to 2004, the 88,500-ton Carnival Miracle is one of four Spirit Class vessels that Carnival rolled out between 20 that often are assigned to the line's more far-flung itineraries. Styled after the five-masted sailing ship Preussen of 1902, Star Clipper’s 5,000-gt, 227-guest Royal Clipper is a hybrid diesel/sailing ship that currently ranks in the Guiness World Records as the world’s largest passenger sailing ship. Unlike the Windstar and Club Med vessels that combine modern aesthetics with sails, the Royal Clipper is very much a throwback to the pre-steam era of windjammers. Royal Clipper’s impeccably scrubbed teak deck areas are filled with winches, ropes, bollards and capstans. At 129,690 gt, Disney’s two largest vessels, the 2011-built Disney Dream and its twin, the 2012-built Disney Fantasy, are extraordinarily handsome vessels whose profiles are inspired by the streamlined, triple-funneled liner Normandie of 1935. Note the long bow and faux sheer created by dipping the hull’s black paintwork down towards the center of the ship. Clearly, no expense was spared in building these ships. The 2,124-passenger ships have pools that can be covered with sliding glass domes and other design features that give them an advantage in destinations with inclement weather. Shown in its original livery, the splendidly proportioned Lofoten measures 2,621 gt and can carry up to 149 berthed passengers with additional space for 251 on deck. Lofoten’s observation lounge has much of its original paneling and furnishing. Even their mega-ship proportions cannot overwhelm a magnificent midships pool area that blends classic forms with fountains and a Space Age finish. The Solstice Class ships boast some of the most spectacular observation lounges ever put to sea. Hospitality architect Adam Tihany made his sea-going debut with the Solstice Class main dining rooms. Despite that, underneath the convincing exterior beats the heart of a very advanced vessel. They are also home to three wading pools and an al fresco bar. The Royal Clipper’s interior evokes an almost Jules Verne vibe with a three-deck atrium topped with a skylight that is actually the glass bottom of the ship’s largest pool. Other spaces on the Royal Clipper exude an Old World ambiance, such as the Library with its mahogany-toned paneling and cabinetry, brass-framed windows, brass lamps and tufted leather settees. Two of Carnival's top rivals in the cruise industry, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line, began Cuba voyage in April and May, respectively.

April also saw the first visit to Cuba by a Regent Seven Seas Cruises vessel. One of the grandest dining rooms at sea, the Britannia Restaurant is for the majority of QM2’s passengers occupying standard category staterooms. Encountering the ultra-deluxe Sea Cloud is an almost otherworldly experience. Sea Cloud was built as the Hussar V (shown) in 1931 for socialite and heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post. The 3,077-gt vessel now carries up to 64 guests who are tended to by a crew of 60. The ship’s spectacular wood-paneled interiors had to be carefully modified and fireproofed in order pass the latest, most stringent Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) requirements. President Trump tweaked the rules in June but not in a way that is expected to have a significant impact on cruises to the country. visitors are limited in the activities they are allowed to do in Cuba by the terms of the USA's five-decade-old embargo. The Star Flyer and Star Clipper were fitted out with a convincingly vintage interior look that boasts dark wood tones, heavy wooden-framed furnishings and brass fixtures. The 2,191-gt, 149-guest Nordstjernen is the real thing, an active vintage liner and not a modern-day reproduction. The Nordstjernen, shown in a vintage postcard view, was built in 1956 for now-defunct Bergen Steamship Company’s regularly scheduled Norwegian coastal or Hurtigruten service. Now back in its original livery, the Nordstjernen is a true stunner. The ship’s public spaces have all been refreshed with new soft fittings but retain their original vintage feel. Royal Caribbean’s groundbreaking Sovereign Class were the first built-from-scratch mega cruise ships. The largest cruise ship in the world when built, the Sovereign of the Seas measured 73,192 gt and could carry 2,800 passengers. The Sovereign of the Seas was followed in 1990 by the slightly larger, 73,937-gt Monarch of the Seas. The Monarch of the Seas was transferred to Royal Caribbean’s Pullmantur Cruises division in 2013 and currently sails for the Spanish-speaking market as the blue-hulled Monarch. They also had Royal Caribbean’s trademark Viking Crown Lounge, a 360-degree space enclosed in full-length glass panels cantilevered from their funnels. Once the largest cruise ship in the world, it is now one of the oldest and smallest in the Royal Caribbean fleet, barely a third the size of the line’s 225,282-gt Oasis Class ships. The line had already set a new bar with its innovative Longship Class river vessels but the 47,800-gt, 930-guest Ocean Class ships, ushered in by the 2015-built Viking Star (shown) may be even better. Their gorgeous exteriors feature long clipper bows inspired by the legendary Stella Polaris cruise ship of 1927, gently terraced superstructures and racily streamlined funnels (see Prinsendam). The Viking Ocean ships offer an upmarket cruise experience with included excursions and Internet, drinks at lunch and dinner and numerous other perks that are covered in the fare. Viking Ocean ships get an extra nod for having unfettered forward-facing observation decks, a fully encircling promenade deck and an infinity pool that overlooks the ship’s wake. And the decor is stunning, with top-notch furnishings and a pair of moss gardens. They convincingly evoke the great trans-Atlantic liners with their long bows, twin funnels (note how the aft funnel is slight taller) and dynamically coordinated angles and curves. While the pair is identical in form and layout, the Magic’s interiors have an Art Deco theme, versus the Wonder’s Art Nouveau trappings. On the Wonder (shown), there is a sculpture of Ariel, the title character from "The Little Mermaid." Both ships are segregated into adults-, family- and kids-only zones. Alas, since the entire ship needs to clear New York’s Verrazano Narrows Bridge, it’s probably best that it remains just as it is. Its deep draft, taller hull-to-superstructure ratio and high maximum speed (30 knots) lend themselves to crossings as well as globe-trotting cruise service. The only regularly scheduled trans-Atlantic liner in service between New York and Southampton, it continues a tradition that began with Cunard’s RMS Britannia of 1840.

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