Five Faves: Under the Sea – Made by man and normally found on land, these intriguing attractions really are better down where it’s wetter.

Porthole’s Five Faves

Under the Sea

Made by man and normally found on land, these intriguing attractions really are better down where it’s wetter.

Cruising, as you know, is an incredible option for exploring the surface of the planet. If it’s the undersea world you’re interested in, cruise ships are still the way to go, transporting you to some of the most fascinating underwater attractions. Reefs, riveting creatures, and even rivers are all natural and captivating, but manmade structures are an enticement all their own. Behold our five favorite underwater attractions to experience:

The Underwater Room, Manta Resort, Zanzibar

The deep diving around Pemba Island is some of the best in all of Africa, so it makes sense that one of the premier underwater lodging options would be found here as well. While plans have been announced (and teased) for underwater hotels from Dubai to Fiji, The Underwater Room is a glorious reality, with a surface-level lounge area welcoming guests. Climb a ladder upstairs to sunbathe or stare at the stars, or head downstairs where a double bed and near-360-degree glass surrounding offers the ultimate in comfort and underwater views. Unique peeping toms include batfish, trumpet fish, squid, and octopi.


Vanuatu_underwater postcard3Underwater Post Office, Vanuatu

Neither rain nor sleet nor other unsavory weather conditions will keep the U.S. post-person from fulfilling his or her delivery duties. But in Vanuatu, an island nation in the South Pacific, the list of postal extremes include “completely submerged,” as it boasts an actual underwater post office. Snorkelers can post specially made waterproof postcards, which receive their own special cancellation markings before breaking the surface and being sent out into the world.


Cristo_degli_abissi_CREDIT_Francesca KIX D'ErricoIl Cristo degli Abissi, Portofino, ItalyThink Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer, only completely submerged off the coast of Portofino’s San Fruttuoso harbor. And only a fraction of the size, at only approximately 8½ feet tall. And made out of bronze. And with arms and gaze aimed skyward, embracing all creatures and humans who swim by.


Lime Spa, Huvafen Fushi, MaldivesLime spaWith treatment rooms both above and below the surface, the Lime Spa at Huvafen Fushi offers instant relaxation in a region already renowned for peace and tranquility. Its signature experience, the Lime Light Ritual, includes a massage with radiance ice cubes and indigenous island coconut, lime, and mineral offerings, along with a relaxation pod where exotic marine life swim around and complement the calm. The resort also has an underwater wine cellar.


Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, Maldives

Elsewhere in the Maldives, Conrad Hotels & Resorts boasts the world’s first all-glass undersea restaurant. Ithaa, which means “mother of pearl” in Dhivehi, sits 5 meters (16 feet) below the surface off the beaches of Alif Dhaal Atoll and serves indulgent lunches and six-course contemporary European dinners.

Ithaa undersea restaurant

— Rico Bronte

Photos: The Manta Resort, Vanuatu Post, Francesca KIX D’Errico, Huvafen Fushi/Minor Hotel Group, Ithaa Undersea Restaurant

Now in its 25th year, Porthole Cruise and Travel Magazine is published bi-monthly and available worldwide through digital subscription. It offers the latest news in cruise and travel, with in-depth features on voyages, new ships, the best destinations, readers' picks, onboard cuisine, entertainment, and more!