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Best cruise ships for catching the sun

[February 9th 2009]

Cruise ship sundeck

As cruise holidays grow in popularity, the best cruise ship sundecks have been revealed.

According to cruise review and news site cruisecritic.co.uk, “a sea change is happening to cruise ship pool areas. The simplistic "one deck, one pool" mindset of the 90s, with its chair hogs and crowded, rowdy pools, has given way to modern multi-pool complexes and water parks”.

As well as solariums, thalassotherapy pools, adults-only pools, whirlpools, waterslides and even wave machines, cruise critic says that sun decks now feature entire sports decks with rock-climbing walls, paddle tennis courts, life-size chess games, mini-golf and onboard surfing.

Now cruise critic has compiled its list of the top 10 cruise ship sundecks for anyone contemplating a cruise holiday in 2009. “This list represents not only the best of what’s on offer on today’s cruise ships, it also demonstrates how much the sun deck has progressed from a humble collection of deck chairs on the stern deck to a fully integrated leisure and relaxation environment with a wide array of entertainment,” comments cruisecritic.co.uk editor-in-chief, Carolyn Spencer Brown.

The newest cruise ship in Celebrity’s fleet, Celebrity Solstice, tops the list. The ship is praised for its Lawn Club, carpeted with real grass, where guests can practice their putting, play bocce or take a picnic.

Ocean Village and Ocean Village 2 are recommended for their two pools on the top deck, one for families and one adults-only, plus hot tubs for a quick dip. The latest addition to the NCL fleet, Norwegian Gem, is said to offer “amazing activities such as rock-climbing walls and waterslides”. Staff even bring sunbathers chilled towels and spritz them with Evian misters on hot days.

Grand Princess, which will soon offer cruises from Southampton, offers a new concept, The Sanctuary, an adults-only haven with pampering services and at-your-deck-chair drink and snack delivery which cruise critic says puts it its Top 10 sundecks.

Southampton cruises are also available from Independence of the Seas during the summer months. The sundeck here offers a Sports Pool where passengers can try their surfing skills at the FlowRider, a surf simulator or attempt the rock-climbing walls. And for kids there is the “fantastic” H20 water park.

Other cruise ships making the top 10 list are the MSC Fantasia, Fred. Olsen Balmoral, P&O Cruises Ventura, Crystal Serenity, and Disney Magic.

Written by: Nick Purdom

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