Cruise ships have been the defining experience of luxury travel for decades. Be it lavish decor, plush accommodation, and fine dining, they’ve constantly upped the ante through the ages.
Even so, today’s luxe cruiseliners are taking this high-end aesthetic a notch higher. They are now appealing to the holistic needs of a traveller. Not content to remain fabulous floating hotels, they aspire to inspire and touch the inveterate travellers’ inner core.
As we saw on a recent journey on the Royal Caribbean‘s Mariner of the Seas from Singapore, art is an integral part of the décor these days. On every deck, literally around every corner, there are creations that held us spellbound, sparked conversations and encouraged the imagination to fly free. Unusual materials, unique juxtapositions and a quirky sense of humour are the common threads that run through this collection.
The culinary experience has also been enhanced, to not only encompass fine dining, but also cater to the very specific dietary needs of the fast-changing world. A galley tour revealed as great attention to mis en place and plating creativity as to the taste and texture of every meal served onboard. And apparently, there’s a special team to ensure those who require gluten-free, vegetarian and even vegan fare, can also dine in style on a cruise!
As if that’s not enough, there’s a great emphasis on wellness at the two-level ShipShape fitness centre and spa area. While the physical aspect is taken care of by the sporting activities, gym facilities and spa treatments, the serenity of the space, the music chosen, the organic aromas that waft by, the opportunity to commune with oneself through mindful meditation and yoga, it all makes a very tempting travel package for the traveller who has already been there, done it all and is looking for something beyond the ordinary.
For close to two decades, Priya has been writing about her favourite subjects – food, travel, social trends, popular culture and interesting people – in mainstream newspapers and as founding editor of the Indian edition of an international magazine. She’s now savouring her freedom with freelance writing, micro-blogging and tweeting. And everything that she’s seen and heard as a journalist helps to add a unique perspective to the bespoke cultural and culinary tours of Mumbai that she does for discerning visitors in her avatar as The Hungry Happy Hippy.