Viking Star

15 Best Atriums at Sea

15 Best Atriums at Sea

By Heidi Sarna

A cruise ship atrium is like the vessel’s town square, and there’s often an eye-catching sculpture or architectural flourish that immediately attracts passengers to the area.

“The atrium is fundamentally important,” says long-time Carnival interior architect Joseph Farcus. “In the old ships when you crossed the gangway and entered the ship, you had no idea where you were or where everything was. The atrium solved this problem.”

The atrium is typically the first thing passengers see when they board and it continues to be a crossroads for passengers throughout their voyage. Some tower more than 10 decks high and are filled with fantastical installations, lighting, and murals. Most now have bars on the bottom level as well as live music, and shops, lounges, and guest services desks fanning out from the various levels.

“An atrium is the front door to an amazing cruise experience,” Farcus says.

Pride of America

Norwegian Cruise Line

The stately Capitol Atrium is one of the most eye-catching, memorable atriums at sea. A mural of the White House stretches behind the guest relations desk and a giant presidential seal with the mighty eagle proudly looks up from the polished marble floor in front of it. This red, white, and blue tribute to America also works a flag motif into the backlit glass ceiling and features stately Corinthian columns around a pair of red-carpeted stairs.

Disney Dream

Disney Cruise Line

Following in the footsteps of its older sisters, Disney Dream’s three-deck atrium also boasts a fabulous Dale Chihuly glass chandelier, this one bigger and more spectacular. Descending more than 13 feet from the ceiling and spanning more than 22 feet in width, the glass Art Deco–style masterpiece sparkles with an abundant amount of Swarovski crystals.


Wonderful Waterways

Discovering Asia from the deck of a ship offers the most magnificent views and picturesque vistas.

For centuries the fabled Far East has captured the hearts and imaginations of western mariners. It was Asia that Columbus hoped to reach when he came upon the New World in 1492, and it is Asia that draws increasing numbers of modern-day cruisers in search of mystery and majesty.

Home to some of the earliest civilizations, the planet’s largest, most populous continent beckons with rich cultures and traditions as well as exotic, dreamlike landscapes that beg to be photographed.

Come aboard and let us take you to the heart of this captivating continent, from China’s scenic Yangtze River to the otherworldly, unforgettable waterways of Myanmar and Vietnam.