En español | The new cruise megaships bring to the high seas thrilling family-friendly water parks, spectacular adults-only sunning areas, and high-end food by top-flight chefs. But they also put a greater focus on cruising's biggest asset: ocean views.
1. Carnival Breeze
Carnival's newest ship has a toned-down tropical decor, but don't let that fool you. The 3,690-passenger Breeze is still one lively vessel. Head to the top decks for the huge water park and ropes course, or indoors for such activities as a family competition featuring giant versions of Hasbro games. Grab a burger at Food Network star Guy Fieri's shipboard joint or join the rowdy crowd between the poolside rum and tequila bars.
Cruises in the Caribbean from Miami (www.carnival.com).
2. Royal Princess
New champagne and seafood bars and live entertainment on this 3,600-passenger ship, Princess Cruises' largest ever, are designed to make the expanded three-deck "piazza" a glamorous hub. Up on the top decks, adults can enjoy their own quiet sunning spot, and those who dare can take a stroll on the translucent SeaWalk, where you have a view 128 feet down to the sea.
3. Celebrity Reflection
This classy, 3,030-passenger ship has AquaSpa cabins and suites that come with complimentary access to spa facilities. The top suite has the funkiest shower at sea — a translucent pentagonal affair that actually cantilevers off the ship's side. For us mortals, the ship wows with an impressive dozen-plus dining spots, a half-acre of real grass on its top deck and a stunning modern art collection.
Cruises in the Eastern Caribbean from Miami and in the Mediterranean from Rome (Civitavecchia). www.celebritycruises.com
4. Norwegian Breakaway
Debuting in May, this 4,000-passenger ship is all about the Big Apple, from its eye-popping Manhattan skyline hull design by Peter Max to the Sabrett hot dogs served on board from authentic carts. New York restaurateur (and Food Network star) Geoffrey Zakarian operates the seafood restaurants that are among the eateries lining the ocean-view promenade. But the top of the ship is pure Coney Island, home to what's billed as the largest water park at sea.
Cruises to Bermuda, Florida, the Bahamas and the Caribbean from New York. www.ncl.com
5. Carnival Sunshine
This 2,642-passenger vessel, which debuts in April, started life 15 years ago as the Carnival Destiny. After a $155 million redo at an Italian shipyard and a name change, the ship will have a huge water park with racing slides and a Havana Bar featuring Cuban eats and drinks served under fake palms. Adults will be able to sun in a special "serenity" space, and the ship is also being upgraded with a bevy of bars and eateries, including an EA Sports bar and Asian restaurant.
Cruises in the Mediterranean from Barcelona and Venice and in the Western Caribbean from New Orleans. www.carnival.com