Four Unique Cruise Ships On My “Must Sail” List

I originally started this website because I like cruise ships. It’s a rather simplistic idea, but there are so many fascinating cruise ships out there that I’m certainly never at a loss for things to write about.

In that vein, I want to introduce you to four unique ships that don’t get a lot of mainstream press. These are ships that I have yet to sail on, but want to for various reasons. Years ago, I did another post detailing a handful of vessels I wanted to sail on – and I was finally able to check the Louis Cristal off the list earlier this year when I sailed her to Cuba.

Here are four ships that are on my “must-sail” list – and some of them may very well surprise you.

RMS St. Helena

The RMS St. Helena is the seagoing link to Saint Helena Island in the south Atlantic. Photo courtesy of RMS St. Helena

The RMS St. Helena is the seagoing link to Saint Helena Island in the south Atlantic. Photo courtesy of RMS St. Helena

Since the RMS St. Helena entered service in 1990, she has done one thing: sail between Cape Town, South Africa and the British Overseas Territory known as Saint Helena. Napoleon spent some quality time on this remote island in the Southern Atlantic Ocean, in order to think about what he’d done. In fact, the British loved to ship off people to St. Helena in much the same way that Americans sent criminals to Alcatraz. Still, it is a gorgeous little island, filled with lush foliage, rising peaks, and the capital city of Jamestown nestled in a little valley on the northwest side of the island.

It’s also incredibly remote. John Honeywellalso known as Captain Greybeardrecently wrote about his experience aboard the “RMS”, as she is affectionately known, in the UK’s Mirror. St. Helena will, for the first time ever, have air service beginning in February 2016, which means RMS St. Helena’s days could be numbered. His account made me want to travel on her even more, despite having read about her as far back as 1998.

I’m putting this quaint little passenger-cargo-ship near the top of my personal bucket list for 2015.

Norwegian Spirit

Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Spirit. Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Spirit. Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

Half of the people reading this are probably surprised by this choice, but yes, I want to sail aboard Norwegian Spirit. Everyone I know who has sailed aboard her just raves about the experience despite the fact that she is currently the oldest ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet.

Originally built for Star Cruises in 1998 as SuperStar Leo before being transferred to Norwegian Cruise Line in 2004, she served on a number of runs before Norwegian deployed her to Europe on a year-round basis in 2012. It seems to have been a wise decision; in Europe, Norwegian Spirit has found a real cult following of loyal guests.

She’s also quite unique among the ships in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet. Norwegian Spirit still retains much of her Asian-influenced design, from her multiple dining venues to her unusually-large spa facilities and soaring atrium.

She doesn’t get as much press as her newer fleetmates, but she’s a ship that, by all accounts, has aged very gracefully.

Louis Aura

Louis Cruises' Louis Aura sails short voyages through the Greek Islands. Photo courtesy of Louis Cruises.

Louis Cruises’ Louis Aura sails short voyages through the Greek Islands. Photo courtesy of Louis Cruises.

She’s no spring chicken, but the Louis Aura is one sleek, classic mid-1960’s cruise ship. Built in 1968 as Norwegian Cruise Line’s Starward, she sailed with the line for nearly thirty years before becoming Festival Cruise Line’s Bolero from 1995 to 2006. From that point onward, she was acquired by Cyprus-based Louis Cruises. Initially named Orient Queen, her name was changed in 2013 to Louis Aura.

Louis Aura's Reception Lobby is both classic and modern. Photo courtesy of Louis Cruises.

Louis Aura’s Reception Lobby is both classic and modern. Photo courtesy of Louis Cruises.

Today, she operates short cruises around the Greek Islands, which is the perfect run for this funky little ship. Plus, Louis has kept her looking smart and modern – yet classic – all at the same time. Not an easy task!

Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin was designed to cruise the beautiful islands of the South Pacific. Photo courtesy of Paul Gauguin Cruises

Paul Gauguin was designed to cruise the beautiful islands of the South Pacific. Photo courtesy of Paul Gauguin Cruises

Originally built in 1997 for Radisson Seven Seas Cruises – which later became Regent Seven Seas Cruises – Paul Gauguin was made specifically for sailing the waters of the South Pacific. Today, she still does just that, operated under the eponymous Paul Gauguin Cruises banner.

Besides the obvious allure of French Polynesia, the Paul Gauguin was designed to offer an informal and relaxing environment onboard. To that end, she succeeds – public rooms are pleasantly decorated in shades of cool Pacific colours, and recent renovations have left her looking better than ever. For a ship built in 1997, she’s also very forward-thinking: over 70 percent of her accommodations feature private balconies.

Tahiti aboard Paul Gauguin? That’s a no-brainer!

What ships do you want to sail on? Let us know using the comment form below! From the Deck Chair will return tomorrow.

 

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