Pictures of the 14 Best Cruise Pools

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    Nothing compares to jumping in cool water on a hot sea day or loosening your muscles in a therapeutic whirlpool after a long day of shopping in port. If you want to keep your toes dry, you can just sit back and sip frozen cocktails on your lounge chair -- equally refreshing in our minds.

    When we're stuck at work and vacation is far away, we dream of cruise ship pools -- you know, the ones you see in those shiny brochures and online ads that instantly transport you to a state of Zen. If the top deck is your happy place, then redress your swimming sorrows with pictures of our 14 favorite spots to take a dip onboard.

    --By Gina Kramer, Associate Editor

    Photo: Norwegian Cruise Line

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    Norwegian Cruise Line's Haven Pool

    Ships: Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Jewel and Norwegian Pearl

    Why we love it: Tucked away on the top deck is Norwegian's exclusive hangout spot for passengers staying in Haven Suites. The Haven's tranquil courtyard includes a pool and hot tub, as well as a fitness area and restaurants, separated from the rest of the ship. No need to trek across the ship to take a dip. Just step outside your cabin doors, and savor a quiet soak away from the crowds.

    Photo: Cruise Critic

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    Royal Caribbean's Solarium Pool (Quantum Class)

    Ships: Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas

    Why we love it: Royal Caribbean took everything we love about the Oasis-Class Solarium -- a quiet, adults-only space with great views -- and added a second swimming area made up of cascading pools. The glass-canopied space also includes the Sunshine Bar for thirsty loungers and swimmers.

    Photo: Royal Caribbean International

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    Princess Cruises' Retreat Pool (Royal Class)

    Ships: Royal Princess and Regal Princess

    Why we love it: As if the line's adults-only Sanctuary isn't secluded enough, Princess' Royal-class ships also have the Retreat Pool. The area offers more space than the adult pools on other ships, plus cozy cabanas in which passengers can order picnic baskets packed with artisan snacks and wine.

    Photo: Cruise Critic

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    Disney's Quiet Cove (Dream Class)

    Ships: Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy

    Why we love it: While the adults-only retreat can be found on all four Disney ships, we're particularly keen on these two Dream-class pools. Romantic mood lighting, a swim-up bar and optional poolside massages make the ultimate -- and guilt-free -- mommy and daddy escape.

    Photo: Disney Cruise Line

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    Holland America Line's Greenhouse Pools (Signature and Vista classes)

    Ships: Eurodam, Nieuw Amsterdam,, Noordam, Oosterdam, Westerdam and Zuiderdam

    Why we love it: The Greenhouse Spa hydrotherapy pools on HAL's Signature- and Vista-class ships are all beautifully designed and unique in their own ways. They're also much larger than those on other ships in the fleet -- as opposed to more of a hot tub-style pool -- so you don't feel cramped.

    Photo: Cruise Critic

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    Seabourn Cruises' Whirlpools

    Ships: Seabourn Sojourn, Seabourn Quest and Seabourn Odyssey

    Why we love it: Cruise-ship spa meets outdoor pool deck -- that's what you'll find at the very front of Seabourn's ships. Cruisers can soak in the large whirlpool or adjacent hot tubs, or kick back in one of the lounge chairs, all while enjoying the fabulous views ahead.

    Photo: Seabourn Cruise Line

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    Carnival's Serenity Pool

    Ship: Carnival Sunshine

    Why we love it: Just about every Carnival ship has the adults-only Serenity sun deck. But the line took a different approach on Carnival Sunshine. Not only is its Serenity area the largest in the fleet, but it also has a beautiful waterfall-fed plunge pool accented by palm trees, hammocks, loungers and a nearby bar.

    Photo: Cruise Critic

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    Viking Ocean Cruises' Infinity Pool

    Ship: Viking Star

    Why we love it: Viking Star's infinity pool is one of only a few at sea, and the views speak for themselves. Backed with glass and cantilevered off the stern, it's reminiscent of the infinity pools you see in luxury resorts that make you feel as if you're floating on the horizon.

    Photo: Viking Ocean Cruises

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    MSC Cruises' Garden Pool

    Ships: MSC Divina and MSC Preziosa

    Why we love it: MSC Divina and MSC Preziosa share more than a sisterly bond. The two newest Fantasia-class ships have gorgeous infinity pools -- the first true infinity pools at sea. Reserved for adults, the pool offers a low-key vibe, fun bar and unbeatable views from the back of the ship.

    Photo: MSC Cruises

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    Oceania Cruises' Main Pool (O Class)

    Ships: Marina and Riviera

    Why we love it: Lie back in a cushion-topped lounger while being served your favorite cocktail from the nearby bar. The sleek, heated saltwater pools on Oceania's O-class ships are flanked by fresh-water whirlpools and boast a dignified ambience -- an adult's picture-perfect sea day.

    Photo: Oceania Cruises

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    Costa neoRomantica's Montecarlo Pool

    Ship: Costa neoRomantica

    Why we love it: Costa Cruises is known for having great spas, and the Montecarlo Pool at the aft end of Costa's neoRomantica is limited to adults and sure to make you feel pampered. When cruisers aren't in the water or relaxing in one of two hot tubs, they can soak up the sun from cozy benches surrounding the pool or grab a drink from the nearby bar.

    Photo: Costa Cruises

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    Celebrity's Solarium Pools

    Ships: Celebrity Reflection, Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Eclipse, Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Silhouette, Celebrity Summit, Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Millennium and Celebrity Infinity

    Why we love it: Exclusive for adults, the glass-enclosed Solarium plays soft, meditative music while swimmers ease their way into the water with shallow steps. Its chic, contemporary look epitomizes Celebrity's style.

    Photo: Cruise Critic

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    Princess Cruises' Lotus Spa Hydrotherapy Pools

    Ships: Royal Princess and Regal Princess

    Why we love it: Princess snags a second spot on our list, this time for its hydrotherapy pools in the Enclave, exclusive to Royal Princess and Regal Princess. The pool features a cascading rain shower and therapeutic air jets. The space is small, but its soothing atmosphere and surrounding features -- such as a Turkish-style steam bath and heated loungers -- make up for it.

    Photo: Cruise Critic

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    Crystal Cruises' Seahorse Pool

    Ships: Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity

    Why we love it: Surrounded by teak decking and pops of tropical colors, these pools share similarities but also have their differences. Whether you fancy a large hot tub overlooking the pool (Crystal Symphony) or cushioned pod beds (Crystal Serenity), you'll feel rejuvenated at the end of the day.

    Photo: Crystal Cruises

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