Last year, I wrote an article about a handful of classic cruise ships that have fascinated me for years that are on my “must-sail” bucket list. Today, I thought I’d add a few more ships to that list. These aren’t ships you might automatically think of cruising aboard (or that you even recognize), but they each have something innovative to offer in their own right for the true cruise ship aficionado.

At least, that’s what I think! In celebration of this, our 1,001st post, here they are:

Costa neoRomantica

An extensive refit turned the former Costa Romantica into a ship so new, she deserved a new name: Costa neoRomantica. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia / Creative Commons

An extensive refit turned the former Costa Romantica into a ship so new, she deserved a new name: Costa neoRomantica. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia / Creative Commons

Originally built for Costa Cruises in 1993 as Costa Romantica, Costa neoRomantica acquired her new moniker early last year as the final touch of a comprehensive €90-million refurbishment that saw the addition of two half-decks of staterooms, the creation of new verandah staterooms, a stem-to-stern refit of nearly every public area, and the elimination of the ship’s distinctive circular “space age” nightclub that used to top her upper decks.

While this new look is a little top-heavy, it arguably looks sleeker and more modern than her previous incarnation, which can still be seen to this day on sister-ship Costa Classica. But Costa neoRomantica tops my list simply because there truly is nothing else out there like her – and no other ship that can blend the past Italian heritage of Costa with the modern shipbuilding techniques of parent company Carnival Corporation so well.

Prinsendam

The striking Prinsendam is Holland America's "Elegant Explorer." Photo courtesy of Holland America Line

The striking Prinsendam is Holland America’s “Elegant Explorer.” Photo courtesy of Holland America Line

Known as Holland America Line’s ‘Elegant Explorer’, the 674-foot long Prinsendam has one of the more storied histories of any contemporary cruise ship in operation for a major line.

She was originally built for the now-defunct (and much-lamented) Royal Viking Line as their Royal Viking Sun before being passed down over the next decade to Cunard Line and Seabourn, before ending up in the Holland America fleet in 2002.

While a major refit a few years back resulted in some additional staterooms being constructed on her aft decks, Prinsendam retains all the charm and staples that Holland America’s “Mariners” have come to expect of the line, but with an ambiance and design that is evocative of a different line – and a different time.

It is for that very reason that I keep trying to find a way to sail aboard this one-of-a-kind cruise ship.

Seabourn Pride

The sleek Seabourn Spirit bathed in the setting sun in Philipsburg, St. Maarten. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

The sleek Seabourn Spirit – sister-ship to Seabourn Pride – is bathed in the setting sun in Philipsburg, St. Maarten. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Seabourn’s Seabourn Pride is about to get a new lease on life next year, thanks to a deal that resulted in her and her nearly-identical sisters Seabourn Spirit and Seabourn Legend being sold as a trio to Seattle-based Windstar Cruises.

Although she’ll still retain her yacht-like elegance when she transfers to Windstar next spring to become their Star Pride, there’s still time to sail her under the Seabourn flag – for now. She’s the ship that launched Seabourn, and an important vessel in the history of luxury cruising.

Regardless of which line she sails for, this one is on my bucket list!

Finnmarken

Hurtigruten's Finnmarken is a unique ship in the fleet. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia / Creative Commons

Hurtigruten’s Finnmarken is a unique ship in the fleet. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia / Creative Commons

When I sailed aboard Hurtigrutens gorgeous, 2003-built Midnatsol this past February, I became totally enamoured with their way of cruising and the stunning coast of Norway. Dubbed ‘The World’s Most Beautiful Voyage’, Hurtigruten’s coastal fleet has been traversing the country from Bergen to Kirkenes for over 100 years.

But there was one ship that I saw on my journey, very early in the morning, that absolutely captured my attention: the 2002-built Finnmarken

With the exception of the expedition-style Fram, Finnmarken is the only ship in the Hurtigruten fleet without a direct sister. She also boasts a design that is perhaps best described as the love-child of Fram, Midnatsol and Trollfjord put together.

But the real reason I want to sail on this gorgeous vessel is for her breathtaking Art Deco-style interiors.

Inside Finnmarken - Art Deco reigns supreme. Photo courtesy of Hurtigruten.

Inside Finnmarken – Art Deco reigns supreme. Photo courtesy of Hurtigruten.

It’s tough to go wrong with any Hurtigruten ship, but this will be the one I actively seek out next.

Do you have a “favorite” ship you’ve always wanted to sail aboard? Let us know!

 

One Response to Four Fascinating Cruise Ships

  1. Alexander says:

    Hello Aaron
    Way back in 1996 I had the enjoyable experience to sail on the original Costa Romantica. Lovely ship, very Italian design,along with an International ambience onboard. Now with this redesign and renovation of public spaces along with renovation of cabins I must confess that I am kind of excited about the idea of sailing on her once again.
    Thanks for all the great writing and of course photos.

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