7 super-extravagant U.S. cruises


7 super-extravagant U.S. cruises

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Royal Caribbean's anticipated new ship, Quantum of the Seas, will be unveiled in November 2014. With this glass observation capsule (300 feet above the water), bumper cars and surfwave simulator, it hopes to set a new standard for cruise adventure.

Already bored with the observation bubble? The new ship will also have a skydive simulator.

Lindblad Expeditions partners with National Geographic on Alaska, Arctic and Antarctic cruises. Pictured: National Geographic photographers doing what they do.

In addition to seeing icebergs in polar regions, an underwater hydrophone allows guests to listen to the songs of whales, orcas and dolphins.

"To the planetarium or the ballroom after sunset cocktails?" The Queen Mary 2 makes a stylish nine-day cruise from New York to Hamburg, Germany. In 2004, it became the first transatlantic passenger liner built in 35 years.

The ship makes only one stop en route: Southampton in the United Kingdom.

The American Queen Steamboat Company's Mississippi River cruise provides a history lesson in antebellum culture and southern cooking.

Mark Twain didn't smoke cigars, play cards or pen grumpy essays here. But you can tell your friends he did.

The Oasis of the Seas has 25 restaurants, 2,394 crew members and seven themed "neighborhoods." Its zip line is suspended nine decks high and runs 82 feet across the ship's open-air atrium.

This 225,285-ton behemoth is an adult wonderland, with a casino, water park and ice skating rink, among other ways to make you forget you're on a ship.

Azamara's cruise hits 26 ports in 12 countries and travels through the 58 miles of the Panama Canal.

The series of locks on the Panama Canal are legendary -- ships are lifted 85 feet and put down again. You'll need a reservation to get through these doors.













Lindblad Expeditions and partner National Geographic make Alaska cruises smarter
Azamara Club Cruises' Panama Canal trip hits 26 ports
Massive Oasis of the Seas has 25 restaurants and seven themed "neighborhoods."

(CNN) -- For not-so-intrepid travelers, cruises are perfect.
Outside of getting yourself to the departure port, you don't need to plan anything to have a successful trip.
To make that ocean-going vacation as effortless as possible, we've assembled a list of the cushiest cruises departing from the United States.

Lindblad Expeditions: doing whatever it takes to keep the martinis cold.

Linblad Expeditions, Alaska cruise
With 340,000 miles of some of the Western Hemisphere's most awe-inspiring coastline, you'll realize why the U.S. government dished out $7.2 million to take Alaska off Russia's hands.
True, the scenery had little to do with the controversial purchase then known as "Seward's Folly," but it's now one of the country's greatest assets.
One of the most engaging ways to explore this national treasure is with Lindblad Expeditions and its partner, National Geographic.
Experts in marine biology, geology and botany take travelers out into the ocean on smaller crafts and provide an intimate look at glaciers, grizzly and marine life.
An underwater hydrophone allows guests to listen to the songs of whales, orcas and dolphins.
Linblad Expeditions; +1 800 397 3348; starts at $5,990
Celebrity Cruises, Immersive Wine Cruise
If you want to do the wild West Coast without walking on an ice floe, Celebrity's Immersive Wine Cruises take you to British Columbia, Seattle, San Francisco, Monterey and San Diego, and visit some of the finest wineries in the Pacific Northwest.
The tasting doesn't end when cruisers leave dry land -- sommeliers are available to help passengers choose from about 500 selections of wine on board.
Celebrity Cruises; +1 888 245 4254; starts at $800

Marveling at a marvel -- the Panama Canal.

Azamara Club Cruises, Panama Canal Cruise
Azamara Club Cruises offers a trip that departs from one U.S. coast and arrives on the other, by passing through the Panama Canal.
Along the way, the ship hits 26 ports in 12 countries, including Costa Rica, Belize, Mexico, Colombia and Jamaica.
At each destination, Azamara provides longer, more immersive excursions than most other cruise lines.
The most memorable part of the trip is coasting through 58 miles of waterway that wouldn't exist if tens of thousands of workers hadn't risked or given their lives to build it.
Azamara Club Cruises; +1 877 999 9553, call for pricing

Queen Mary 2: was your last trip to Europe this comfortable?

Cunard, Queen Mary 2, transatlantic cruise
In 2004, the Queen Mary 2 became the first transatlantic passenger liner built in 35 years.
Its classic design and decoration embody an adoration of world travel that predates even her predecessor, the half-sized Queen Elizabeth 2, which reigned from 1969 to 2008.
While the eastbound cruise departing from New York City only makes a stop at Southampton, UK, before arriving at Hamburg, Germany, the majestic ship's spa, theater, library, ballroom and planetarium keep you stuffed with things to eat, see and do throughout the nine-day cruise.
Cunard; +1 800 728 6273; from $1,600
American Queen Steamboat Company Mississippi River Cruise
You don't even have to leave the country for some of the world's most luxurious boating excursions.
Each five- to 10-day trip on this Victorian-decorated vessel recalls antebellum heydays, complete with large orchestra music, stops at historic cities, southern family cooking and lectures from an onboard "riverlorian."
Various themed trips are offered.
"Southern Culture" is a match for the history buff; "Fall Foliage" is good for those who want nothing more than to sit in a rocking chair and be mesmerized by natural beauty.
American Queen Steamboat Company; +1 800 749 5280; from $950
Royal Caribbean, Oasis of the Seas
If you want to cruise purely to enjoy a massive adult wonderland, Royal Caribbean has made a seafaring behemoth of activity for you.
The 225,282-ton Oasis of the Seas is so gargantuan it contains 25 restaurants, 2,394 crew members and seven themed "neighborhoods."
There's Central Park (a garden lined with restaurants, bars and shops), The Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, Boardwalk (theater, pool and rock climbing), Royal Promenade, Youth Zone and Entertainment place.
There's also a zip line, water park, casino, theater, mini-golf course, ice skating rink and basketball court.
Travelers can choose trips to the Bahamas or Caribbean, but what's the difference when you're on the world's greatest mobile theme park?
Royal Caribbean; +1 866 562 7625; from $369

You're no longer at sea level -- you're 300 feet above it.

Royal Caribbean, Quantum of the Seas
Come November 2014, Royal Caribbean will be unveiling a boat even grander than the Oasis -- the Quantum of the Seas.
In addition to many of the fun features found on Oasis, Quantum will have a surf wave simulator, a skydive simulator and bumper cars.
But the grandest, and possibly weirdest addition is a glass-walled observation capsule that sits on the end of a 135-foot arm, which juts occupants past the edge of the ship so that they can hang 300 feet above sea level.
Royal Caribbean; +1 866 562 7625; from $839

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Source: 7 super-extravagant U.S. cruises

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