Royal Caribbean International’s Allure of the Seas

Welcome to Celebrated Living’s Readers’ Choice Platinum List, a perennial go-to guide and popular summer tradition. Our travel-savvy readers have declared these hotels, golf courses, spas, and cruise lines to be the best of the best. Did your favorites make the list? Consider the following pages the ultimate resource for planning your next vacation or business trip.

The year 2011 dawned brightly for the world’s cruise lines. Here are a few shining stars of the sea.

Cruising represents the fastest-growing segment of the travel industry, one devoted to keeping its guests educated and entertained while protecting the environment at the same time.

Over the past two years, more than a dozen new ships have been put into service. Two of the newest are also the world’s largest: the Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas of the ever-expanding fleet of ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL. Now, 22 Royal Caribbean ships sail worldwide, including in the waters of Europe, Australia, and Asia. The cruise line’s numerous onboard activity options are legendary.

Top 5 Large Resort Ships

1. Royal Caribbean International
(800) 769-2522

2. Norwegian Cruise Line
(866) 234-7350

3. Celebrity Cruises
(800) 437-3111

4. Holland America Line
(877) 932-4259

5. Carnival Cruise Lines
(800) 227-6482
Similarly, NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE continues to expand both geographically and physically. The new 19-deck Norwegian Epic leads the fleet of 11 and has established a new high standard in a wide variety of onboard entertainment.

CELEBRITY CRUISES is debuting new ships and “Solsticizing” its others — bringing popular experiences on its Solstice Class ships to its smaller Millennium Class vessels. The Celebrity Eclipse features the new “Celebrity iLounge,” an Internet café with Apple products. Several other features will be unveiled on the Celebrity Silhouette this July and on the Celebrity Reflection in 2012.

Not to be outdone, the venerable HOLLAND AMERICA LINE specializes in port-intensive itineraries. Newest of the new is the Nieuw Amsterdam, offering 12-day Mediterranean summer sailings and seven-day Caribbean adventures in the winter. Holland America now partners with some of the world’s best-known chefs, who have created special menus for the ships.

Making its Platinum List debut this year is the long-established CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES, offering voyages in Alaska, Hawaii, the Caribbean, and the Mexican Riviera and departing from several U.S. ports. The new Carnival Magic is also making several European sailings out of Barcelona.

This year’s Editors’ Mention for large ships goes to PRINCESS CRUISES, a veteran operation headed by the Grand Princess, fresh from a 24-day makeover which added a pizza atrium, a tea lounge/library called “Leaves,” and several other improvements. Princess is adding new cruise tours in Europe and some specially designed ones for families and fishermen in Alaska.