10 Cruise Perks You'll Wish You Had in Real Life
Cruise lines are in the middle of a game of one-upman"ship". Each class of ships that launches is bigger and bolder, with innovative and unique amenities -- many of which a casual cruiser wouldn't expect to find at sea.
So if it's been a while since you've taken a cruise, check out these 10 perks from MSC Cruises. You'll wish you had some of these at home.
1. A pool that goes right to the water's edge
Cruise ships often feature a handful of smaller pools and Jacuzzis, situated in the center of the ship, with views of lounge chairs and scattered flip-flops. We prefer this option: Sipping a piña colada in an infinity pool with the Caribbean or Mediterranean as a blue backdrop.
2. Do-it-yourself wine
You're on vacation -- have a few glasses of wine. Or ... create your own. The Virtual Winery at Sea program allows cruisers to experiment with different blends, create, bottle and label their own custom bottle of wine. There's an option to take home a case of your finest blend.
3. An Eataly around the corner
Real. Good. Food. Eataly, the foodie megastore imported from Italy to two U.S. cities by Mario Batali, offers up two a la carte restaurants and a market (think pastas and olive oil) on newer MSC Cruises ships. Finish off the day with homemade gelato or sorbet at Venchi Gelateria (another Italian import) for a late-night snack on your balcony. Ah, la dolce vita!
4. Your own personal butler
The splurge-worthy MSC Yacht Club is an exclusive ship within a ship -- the intimacy of small-ship service with the advantage of large-ship amenities when you want them. Guests get 24-hour butler service (you rang?), a dedicated concierge, private fine dining restaurant and their own pool, Jacuzzi, sun deck and bar.
5. Access to untouched Mediterranean spots
Mahon. Can you find it on a map? It's located in Minorca, a breathtaking Balearic island, off the coast of Spain. While MSC Cruises makes stops in big-name destinations like Venice or Barcelona, it also whisks guests away to low-key, untouched spots that other cruise lines don't visit. In several ports, the ship stays late into the evening, so go ahead and watch that sun set from the beach. Load up your Facebook with photos like this ...
6. A Cirque du Soleil performance you can only see at sea
Cirque du Soleil consistently sells out on land. In the summer of 2017, see these acrobatic-filled performances onboard the new MSC Meraviglia, with a custom-designed theater and two unique shows for MSC cruisers. Don't worry about missing a show -- there are performances six nights a week. MSC Cruises and Cirque du Soleil from MSC CRUISES on Vimeo.
7. Lots and lots of LEGOs
Since kids 11 and under sail free on MSC Cruises, there's a lot of family-focused activities on board. Through a partnership with LEGO, ships have play areas where kids can stack and build for hours. (No stepping on LEGOs in the middle of the night.) Each sailing includes a LEGO Experience Day, where kids can earn a Junior LEGO Master Builder diploma.
8. A race car that you can take out for a spin (sort of)
Forget your Xbox or Playstation. Available on four ships, the F1 Simulator takes video games to a different level. Climb into the cockpit of a life-sized Formula 1 car and race through famous courses such as the Monte Carlo Grand Prix. Bonus points if you just got back from a shore excursion to the real Monte Carlo.
9. Workouts you won't find at the local gym -- even the fancy one
If you haven't tried aqua cycling (essentially spinning underwater), you're not alone. This fitness craze has been popular in Europe since the '90s, but is still making inroads in the States. Hop into the pool and onto a bike, where you can burn up to 800 calories in a single workout. (Now you can enjoy more of that gelato.)
10. A staircase you'll stop and stare at
Now this is a grand entrance. Several MSC Cruises ships have serious bling -- 33,000 Swarovski crystals lining a glass-encased staircase. On formal night, take a photo or two for your Instagram feed. Glass slippers are optional.