Just Off the Gangway: 5 Surprises from Norwegian Gem

My experience cruising with Norwegian has been limited mostly to the line’s newest ships, Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway. So when I decided to take a vacation on Norwegian Gem, built in 2007, I was thrilled to check out one of the line’s smaller ships (Gem carries 2,394 passengers, while Breakaway and Getaway carry 4,028 […]

Just Back from…Costa Mediterranea: Italian Cruising in the Caribbean

Mama mia! I’ve just polished off homemade gnocchi and some wicked profiteroles in the main dining room, and what do I hear? The chorus of Funiculi, Funicula wafting from a nearby lounge. I have to investigate. I discover an impromptu chorus line of 20-something female travelers kicking up their heels to the tune. It’s a […]

Just Back From… The Relaunched National Geographic Orion

The 102-passenger expedition vessel Orion, once known for offering “champagne adventure” through Orion Expedition Cruises, is now in the hands of stalwart small ship operator, Lindblad Expeditions. Affiliated with National Geographic, the ship’s onboard experience has certainly changed, with caviar more likely to be looked at under a microscope than scooped up with a water […]

Just Back from… Voyager of the Seas: Australia Update

Australia may not be blessed with the world’s newest ships (our youngest local is the six-year-old Celebrity Solstice) but now we’ve got the next best thing: a ship with the same features as the world’s newest ships. After introducing sun-loving Aussies to ice-skating at sea during its maiden season down under in 2012, Voyager of […]

Just Back From… Costa neoRiviera: 5 Things to Know About “Neo”

It’s a dilemma all cruise lines face: How do you update and refresh smaller ships that physically aren’t able to compete with the shinier and larger vessels plying the marketplace? With neoRiviera (and several other “neo” flagged ships in its fleet), Costa has made the smart decision to remake the cruising experience itself to cater […]

Just Back From…the “stretched” MSC Armonia: LEGOs and more

Carving a cruise ship apart and putting it back together sounds like a complicated process – and it is. The “stretching” procedure that MSC Armonia underwent this fall, part of the company’s “Renaissance Program” added a new 80-foot section to the vessel’s midship, introducing a new LEGO playroom, refurbishing cabins and other changes. I took […]

Just Back from… Quantum of the Seas: Two70

Much about the Quantum of the Seas smart ship coverage has focused on the robot bartenders in the Bionic Bar. And that’s understandable (I had visions of the bar in Star Wars before I boarded). But the real tech wows of Royal Caribbean’s newest ship are, in my opinion, “Vistarama” and the “roboscreens” in Two70. […]

Just Back From… Quantum of the Seas: Fitness Onboard

There was a time when the fitness area on a cruise ship was roughly the size of a closet. Equipment consisted of a few rusty pneumatic machines, a self-propelled treadmill or two and maybe a giant stationary air bike that produced more noise than sweat. Thankfully, cruise lines got the message that their passengers wanted […]

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    The Lido Deck is written by Cruise Critic's editorial staff, reporting from ships and ports around the world. The daily blog covers cruise news, reviews, advice, and hot topics from the Cruise Critic message boards. Please note: When commenting, Cruise Critic's community guidelines apply.

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