As cruise ships get bigger and become destinations unto themselves, the surrounding scenery often takes a back seat these days to other elaborate shipboard attractions. Thankfully, several ships still feature wonderful observation lounges that draw the attention back to the actual destinations with traditional relaxing retreats and expansive windows to gaze out from. Here are our top seven picks (in alphabetical order) and a few honorable mentions as well.
Explorers’ Lounge – Viking Ocean Cruises
Viking Ocean Cruises already puts the destination first with its extensive itineraries, and its new Viking Star, Viking Sea and four more ships to follow each feature a spectacular observation lounge in the form of the Explorers’ Lounge (pictured above). The forward-facing venue takes the traditional concept literally to new heights with a double-decker variation and plenty of comfortable seating. Add in Mamsen’s integrated Norwegian deli and a convenient drink bar, and guests are set to kick their feet up and stay for quite awhile.
The Living Room – Azamara Club Cruises
Carried over from Renaissance Cruises, the Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest both retain the vessels’ original observation lounges, now called The Living Room and recently remodeled. Unlike Oceania Cruises’ former R-ships, Azamara’s space is not interrupted by a view-blocking center stage, and glass windows surround 270-degrees worth of handsome seating area, perfect for Azamara’s signature extended and overnight stays in port.
READ MORE: 9 Best Cruise Line Observation Areas
Palm Court – Crystal Cruises
As Crystal Cruises prepares for its unprecedented fleet expansion, its classic Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity continue to enchant with their Pa