Next best things in cruising: innovations in travel design

Seabourn Sojourn's spiral atrium.
Design is at the forefront of modern travel, with yet more innovations on the way in cruising. Here's what's happening on the high seas. 

Forget communal tables and allocated seating: it's all about how you deign to dine when you're all at sea. Crystal Cruises is one of many saying "no" to long buffet counters, replacing them with "food islands" and more tables for two.

Private dining is also on the rise, with Seabourn's large verandahs set up to encourage private alfresco dining while Princess Cruises' newest ship, the Royal Princess, features a new Chef's Table Lumiere, sectioned off by a curtain of light around a glass table in one of its dining rooms.

On-board spas are larger and more glamorous, with more facilities and treatments. Expect couples retreats, cabanas, indoor-outdoor spaces and capitalisation on those ocean views. The Seabourn small ships' spas top the range, coming in at more than 1000 square metres, with thermal suites, herbal baths and walk pools. Its four new penthouse spa suites are connected to the main spa by a dramatic spiral staircase and come with a spa concierge, because we all need a spa concierge.

We've also seen the rise of all-suite ships, with more private verandahs - up to 95 per cent of Silversea's new Silver Spirit has verandahs. Adjoining staterooms and two-bedroom penthouses are another in-demand feature, in response to the increase of families of up to three generations taking to the seas together.

P&O's popular Pacific Pearl and Pacific Dawn were refitted with adjoining rooms last year: expect to see more adults-only pools, most likely adjoining the spa, and a rise in single cabins. In fact, the first single balcony cabins are now on the market as more solo cruisers hit the seas, without paying a costly single supplement.

Source: Belinda Jackson

This extract was published in the Sydney Morning Herald/The Age. But wait, there's more! Click here to read about innovation in trains, luggage, hotels and airlines.

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