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In a day and age when everyone seems to have a smartphone or tablet computer, it may seem unnecessary to even have a traditional library onboard a cruise ship, but there is still something special about printed paper books hardbound or softbound that speak to a foregone classic era of ocean cruising.
Azamara Club Cruises ~ Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest
Azamara Club Cruises' Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest are actually two of eight former Renaissance Cruises' vessels, each of which feature one of the most handsome libraries at sea. These ships already feature a great forward observation lounge, but The Drawing Room library is also lined with windows on the upper deck for great secondary viewing and natural light to enjoy reading a book or completing a puzzle, all while a faux skylight crowns the room with painted tropical flora and fauna. Azamara also hosts special dinners in the room for an even more unique experience.
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Carnival Cruise Line ~ Carnival Breeze, Carnival Sunshine and Carnival Vista
Taking libraries to a new level is Carnival Cruise Line and The Library Bar featured on the Carnival Breeze, Carnival Sunshine and Carnival Vista. This cozy book nook not only has a collection of books to peruse but also Enomatic wine dispensers for enjoying exquisite bottles by the glass while thumbing through a great read or playing a fun board game. The drinks may cost extra, but the rest here is free.
Cunard Line ~ Queen Mary 2
As a genuine ocean liner built in the style of the vintage greats, Cunard Line's Queen Mary 2 features one of the grandest libraries sailing today. Situated at the very front of the ship, the venue follows the forecastle's exterior curves with forward-facing windows and comfortable seating that extends out below the starboard bridge wing for some aft-facing views as well. The adjacent bookshop does not have as broad of a selection as it once did but is still a welcome addition for purchases besides rentals.
Norwegian Cruise Line ~ Pride of America
In Hawaii, Norwegian Cruise Line uniquely deploys its singular Pride of America on weeklong inter-island cruises, and the ship features lots of American heritage to celebrate its domestic exclusivity. The S/S America Library (pictured above), in particular, celebrates the titular history of the classic United States Lines vessel with wonderful displays of memorabilia from the ship as well as a great scale model of it.
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Oceania Cruises ~ Marina and Riviera
Similar to the library on the four former Renaissance Cruises ships that Oceania Cruises also sails, the Marina and Riviera both have a great library fully stocked and overlooking the outer pool decks and passing scenery. Comfortable chairs invite guests to enjoy a good read amid ocean liner paintings and models as natural light streams in from the surrounding windows, and the Baristas coffee bar next door is a perfect accompaniment.
Viking Ocean Cruises ~ Viking Star and Viking Sea
Viking Ocean Cruises prides itself on being a cultured line, and its book selection proves the point. There is, in fact, no singular library onboard. Rather, the entire ship acts as one fantastic collection with volumes filling every nook and cranny of the ship from The Viking Living Room atrium to the Explorers' Lounge observation venue. Different genres are spread across different areas of the ship, even poolside, to encourage discovery.
Jason Leppert - Senior Writer, Cruises and Cruise Travel - is a San Diego-based cruising expert with more than 100 sailings...
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