Luxury cruises are not about the largest or newest vessel but the ultimate in pampering, with high-end dining, exceptional service and the most diverse cruise schedules. The vessels range in size and are usually much smaller than mainstream ships, with some no longer than a private yacht, setting sail with as few as fifty passengers. It is the attention to detail that makes the difference between a Luxury Cruise and a mainstream cruise.
Here are just a handful of the many top luxury cruise lines to choose from:
Crystal Cruises – Six star commitment ensures every moment onboard either Crystal Serenity or Crystal Symphony is magical. Their six star commitment makes every minute unforgettable.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises – An experience of absolute luxury, with a wide range of different itineraries on offer, from Alaska cruises and Mediterranean cruises in the summer, to the Far East and Caribbean cruises in the winter months.
The Yachts of Seabourn – Intimate ships with spacious all-suite accommodation and personal attention from an exceptional crew. Visit must see cities and hidden gems, where larger ships cannot reach.
Hebridean Island Cruises – Carrying just 50 guests, the Hebridean Princess travels the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, with its wide open spaces, amazing lochs and romantic castles. Enjoy an exceptional service from a crew of 38, fine food and wine.
A Luxury Cruise Demands Exceptional Service
The service you receive on a luxury cruise is exceptional, with a high crew to passenger ratio. As you step onboard you’ll be greeted with a glass of champagne and expect to be called by your name for the entire cruise, with even the bar staff remembering your favourite tipple. Or for that extra special touch, enjoy a romantic meal for two on your private balcony, with a “white glove” butler service. On a luxury cruise, you will never need to ask for anything twice.
Fine dining is one of the most enjoyable moments of your luxury experience. The menus are varied, fresh and creative, with the highest standard of presentation and often prepared by world-class chefs, served with the finest international wines and spirits. Most of the luxury cruise ships offer open dining, letting you decide when and where you wish to eat.
The accommodation on board is extremely luxurious. Enjoy a spacious ocean view cabin, with your own private balcony, making the wildlife and scenery more spectacular. Relax in a marble bath with the highest quality toiletries. Treat yourself to a refreshing drink from your very own mini-bar, whilst watching a late night movie on your flat screen TV and don’t forget to take advantage of the 24 hour room service on offer.
Destinations & Itineraries
Due to the smaller size of a luxury cruise ship, more exotic and intimate ports are able to be reached and explored. Their itinerary can be a unique experience with passengers being allowed to venture off on their own or enjoy private tours. For this reason, smaller cruise ships are a popular choice when wishing to explore destinations such as Alaska. Many of the luxury cruise lines will include complimentary transportation to town, or for the more athletic onboard,a bicycle can be provided by some of the cruise lines.
Luxury cruise ships have similar amenities to that of other cruise lines including, spa and salon services with a wide range of beauty treatments, a gymnasium/fitness centre and a heated pool/jacuzzi. There are the usual daytime activities including, a full size tennis court, golf simulator and putting greens. Evening entertainment consists of casinos, disco and dance halls and live entertainment. Also on offer are Enrichment Programmes, which are sometimes hosted by a well-known celebrity.
Most of the luxury cruise ships offer all-inclusive packages that cover beverages, port excursions, taxes, dining etc.. thus giving you fewer hidden onboard expenses and a worry-free holiday experience.
The luxury cruise is still the vessel where you see the most long gowns and tuxedos during the evening, so pack these with pleasure if you want to carry on the tradition. However, the dress code has been relaxed in recent years to a more elegant casual policy, so a beautiful cocktail dress and a smart dark suit will be ideal.
To Tip or Not
Just a small ‘tip’ before you set sail on your luxury cruise. Most luxury lines do not encourage tipping and some make it clear in their brochure that no gratuity is necessary and if offered will be politely declined.
“It is impossible to overdo luxury.” – French Proverb