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Top Cruises for the Lounger

3 excursions that are all about onboard relaxation and comfort

couple sitting on a beach in the Caribbean

Getty Images

En español | Imagine a lounge chair on the ship’s deck, a page-turner in hand and a fruity cocktail by your side as you let any stress wash out to sea. If that’s your kind of cruise, it’s all about the boat: You’re looking for comfortable staterooms, amenities such as spas and floor shows, and a variety of tasty food.


man on a waterslide aboard a Royal Caribbean ship

Royal Caribbean 

Royal Caribbean's new Riptide mat racer waterslide.

Cruise: Royal Caribbean’s 7-night Western Caribbean cruise, from Miami

Ship: Navigator of the Seas; 3,990 passengers

Price: Starts at $1,390 per couple 

Affordability is one reason weeklong sails on big ships such as Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas are so popular. Plus, these cruises offer serious downtime with a crazy-long list of choices for unwinding — solo, as a couple or with the whole family. Navigator, dedicated to cruises from Miami to the Caribbean, has a Western Caribbean sail that includes stops in beachy destinations such as Cozumel, Mexico, and George Town, in the Cayman Islands, famed for its coral-sand Seven Mile Beach and yummy Cayman Mama coconut-pineapple cocktails.

But that’s only if you want to leave the ship. One of the largest in the world, with room for 3,990 passengers, the Navigator is a 15-deck floating resort and amusement park — ideal for a multigenerational group. Newly refurbished and decorated with bright pops of color, the ship wows with its surf simulator, glow-in-the-dark laser tag and world’s longest oceangoing waterslide. Grownups like the Solarium — a bright, airy adults-only lounge with a pool, whirlpool and quiet areas for chatting or chilling.


aboard the MSC Orchestra cruise

MSC Cruise Line

Cruise: MSC Cruises’ 9-night South America cruise, from Buenos Aires

Ship: MSC Orchestra; 3,223 passengers

Price: Starts at $3,400 per couple

If you’ve got a little more to spend, opt for a slightly longer, more high-end, relaxation-heavy cruise such as MSC Cruises’ round-trip journey from Buenos Aires. While at sea, you can try the huge ship’s Turkish baths, Balinese massages and saunas. In Rio de Janeiro, where you stay docked for a full day, you can take an excursion to see the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue ($89 per person). Then you’re on to Búzios, considered Brazil’s Saint-Tropez, known for its white-sand beaches (a short walk from the ship); it was a favorite retreat of actress Brigitte Bardot. 


Pool deck at sunrise on the Midship Seabourn Odyssey

Michel Verdure/Seabourn

Cruise: Seabourn’s 11-day transatlantic voyage from Bridgetown, Barbados, to Lisbon, Portugal

Ship: Odyssey; 450 passengers

Price: Starts at $5,000 per couple

Got plenty of time and money? A Seabourn transatlantic cruise offers nothing but relaxation; for most of the trip, the only diversions beyond the ship are sky and water. On board, however, there are abundant options — both old school (a game of bridge in the Card Room, anyone?) and less so: meditation classes, for instance, or mind-body seminars on topics such as healthy aging. And the ship is made for lounging. All cabins are ocean-view suites that are practically cavernous for a cruise ship. Even the smallest is 295 square feet, and it has a walk-in closet.

Yes, it’s pricey, but almost everything is included: all drinks, plus meals in the main restaurant, where you can dine whenever you’d like.    

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