The sea has long been a source of poetic and artistic creation, of both solitude and coming together. Long after he renounced his US Citizenship, T.S. Eliot spoke to journalists in 1952, quipping, “No one has ever truly fallen in love unless they have cruised the open ocean.” Wise words, old bard. For much of human history, culture moved by ship.
Starting in 2015, Ace Hotel is moving by ship, too.
We have purchased the historic SS United States, the world’s fastest ocean-liner, and the last US-flagged trans-Atlantic super liner for refurbishing and conversion into our newest venture: Ace Hotel Ocean.
The United States, languishing in our nation’s first capital city since 1996, was put up for sale. Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) assumed ownership of the 990-foot ship in 2003 and announced its intention of refurbishing the vessel and returning her to service. Restoring the ship is, for anyone, an ambitious goal, but one deemed both worthy and feasible. That idea was floated in 2008, well before our current economic crisis. Recently, however, Star Cruises (NCL’s parent company) determined that this sort of undertaking was beyond their budget and they decided to sell the ship. We fell in love with the United States, and stepped in to save her. The rest, as they say, is history.
While the end of my semester abroad was approaching, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. My aunt Nancy was in desperate need for a vacation and found a great deal on a Mediterranean cruise. Because I was already in Europe, she asked if I would like to go with her. And lets be real… who would turn that down!?
The 7 day cruise on the Norwegian Epic departed from Barcelona and made stops to Naples, the Cinque Terre, Rome, Florence, Cannes and Marseille. While it was very exciting to be in a new place each day, I personally felt rushed in each city. For anybody interested in something like this, I would definitely recommend a 15 day cruise where you can have more time to relax and enjoy each city.
Because we went on the excursions through NCL, a lot of things were planned out for us. This was definitely a change after planning/booking all of my travels during the months before. It was nice to go somewhere and not have to worry about finding a restaurant or holding up a giant map trying to find our way around. It was also great to be chauffeured around in an air conditioned bus! The tour guides took us to amazing restaurants and gave us free time to walk around in different areas.
Of all the cities I had been to, I have to say the Cinque Terre was the most breathtaking place. I had never even heard about it and almost convinced my aunt to go somewhere else that day. (Each stop had several excursion options) There are several ways to experience the Cinque Terre, which by the way stands for the Five Lands. We decided to see it by land and boat. This was a place I was very sad to leave, but 100% sure I would go back to and spend at least a week there.
I’m not one of those girls that wants to go to a tropical paradise. Frankly, I’m not a huge fan of the heat. My hair turns into an afro in humidity. I don’t like the feeling of sand sticking to me. Salt water makes me feel dirty. I sunburn REALLY easily. Sure, it’d be beautiful, but it just doesn’t have any appeal to me whatsoever.
Instead, I want to go on a cruise.
Why a cruise versus a vacation somewhere? I feel like with a cruise, we’ll be able to visit a variety of different places. That way, instead of going to one country or destination, we’ll get to see lots of totally different places. Plus, the ship itself will have different things going on. Between the shows, restaurants, casinos, clubs, pools, spas, etc., the ship is basically a vacation in and of itself. Finally, I’d love to opt for a nice balcony. Yeah, it’d be an added expense, but can you imagine ordering room service in the early A.M. and enjoy it on your own private balcony as the sun rises over the ocean in the morning? Christ, it’d be unbelievable.
I’d really like to go on a cruise on the Norwegian Epic. This ship just seems so beautiful in every way. I’d also prefer a European cruise as opposed to a tropical one. As I mentioned, the tropical areas just don’t do it for me, and I would just LOVE to see Europe.
This is my third year of working on collateral for Nickelodeon cosponsored cruises. For those lucky enough to sail the seas for seven days of fun, you’ll be getting custom key cards and each level will be represented with a tall banner of different Nick shows.