How a Luxury Cruise Differs From a Regular Cruise
By Elaine M Sklom
Which do you prefer? Do you like the larger cruise ships that hold over 4,000 passengers or the smaller ships that hold under 1,000? Some ports don’t handle the larger vessels and the attention to the passenger is better on the smaller ships. So, check out the possibilities with these luxury cruise lines.
Some of the luxury cruise lines have smaller ships. I’m talking Azamara Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Seabourn Cruises. This means you get more choices of ports. Yes, they may cost more but the benefits may just make it worth it. These luxury cruise lines give you travel at its best, most are even all-inclusive. That means no extra drink packages, no extras that are unexpected.
Azamara Cruises focuses on Destination Immersion where longer stays, more overnights and night touring are included on 100% of their voyages. You get to explore everything from nightlife in Stockholm and morning walks in the French Riviera to all-day adventures in Costa Rica’s rain forests. You’ll experience boutique-style ships with a maximum of 686 guests, staff and crew can quickly learn your name, tastes, and preferences. All of this with lots of inclusive amenities like standard spirits, international beers and wines, gratuities, and an AzAmazing Evenings event (on most voyages) – all with their compliments. Also included for all guests are bottled water, soft drinks, specialty coffees and teas, English butler service for suite guests, self-service laundry, shuttle service to and from port communities (where available) and concierge services for personal guidance and reservations.
Visit ports like Marseille, Amalfi, Crete or even to the doorstep of Bangkok (while other large cruise lines dock a few hours away), the heart of Seville, and the city center of Bordeaux. Experience the culture, cuisine, scenery and people of your destinations. The crew really like to mingle with the guests and are pleased to point out special things at sea and onshore and go above and beyond your expectations.
Crystal Cruises/Crystal River Cruises/Crystal Yachts
Another all-inclusive cruise line. this includes complimentary gratuities, unparalleled choices of dining options including specialty restaurants, complimentary fine wines and premium spirits, open bar service in all lounges, and all non-alcoholic beverages. Also, you get 24-hour room service, high tea, golf lessons, computer/technology classes and a technology concierge, Crystal Visions Enrichment Program, entertainment and complimentary launderettes. One shore excursion is included on every voyage as part of your “We Care/You Care” program. And, you can bring your own wine/liquor with no corkage fees!
Predominantly non-smoking indoors (except the Connoisseur Club Cigar bar) this is a great and elegant alternative to the large ships. They now offer river cruises, yacht cruises, luxury air and residences. Booking is open for 2017 and 2018. The yacht is an all-inclusive super-yacht with 31 luxury suites and two complimentary Crystal Adventures shore excursions in most every port, depending on the destination. Water sports from the yacht’s marina platform is also available and don’t forget the state-of-the-art deep-sea submersible accommodating two passengers and certified pilot. The river cruises will be home based in Paris and will have various length cruises, all suites and will have its first sailing in July, 2016 with 2-for-1 fares and overnights in popular ports.
Oceania Cruises lets you see a spectacular selection of diverse and exotic destinations with elegance. They are unique itineraries specifically designed to showcase the most fascinating destinations. They are intimate and luxurious, visiting historic cities to modern meccas to charming seaside villages nestled along sparking coastlines. Each day offers exciting opportunities to experience the history, art and cuisine of a wondrous new destination. Enjoy dining inspired by Master Chef Jacques Pépin. Lavish complimentary amenities abound, and there are never supplemental charges in any of the onboard restaurants. Value packages ensure that sipping vintage wine, surfing the internet or enjoying a shore excursion is both convenient and affordable.
Oceania offers catering to its passengers as it holds just 684 to 1,250 guests, depending on the ship. It is country club casual ambiance with personalized service. It offers port-intensive voyages featuring overnight visits and extended evening port stays. Experience epicurean enrichment programs, including immersive Culinary Discovery Tours in the world’s most fascinating destinations. The spa is an acclaimed Canyon Ranch SpaClub.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Regent Seven Seas offers a truly sumptuous and very personal experience. You can anticipate an unforgettable journey to the world’s greatest destinations where everything is included, without exception and without compromise. Regent’s fares include 2-for-1 All-Inclusive fares, early booking savings, free unlimited shore excursions, free luxury hotel package in Concierge Suites and higher, free specialty restaurants, free unlimited beverages including fine wines and premium spirits, free open bars and lounges PLUS in suite mini bar replenished daily, free pre-paid gratuities, free 24-hour room service, free transfers between airport and ship and many other amenities. The dress code is elegant casual dress. An enriching onboard experience is brought to life through The Smithsonian Collection by Smithsonian Journeys. There are Broadway shows, virtuoso performances, culinary demonstrations and wine tastings and the spectacular Canyon Ranch SpaClub wellness programs.
There are enticing voyages to more than 250 ports around the world in the comfort of a smoke free environment throughout almost the entirety of their ships. These ports are some of the more intimate ports that larger vessels cannot reach on a vessel that is all suites with 97% of them with a private balcony. There are only 490 or 700 guests, resulting in stellar service, no lines and no waiting.
With Seabourn you sail with your own private club, where members share expansive open decks, inviting social spaces, and the personalized attention of an exceptional crew. There are unique itineraries to must-see cities and hidden gems where larger ships cannot go. These are intimate ships with no more than 300 spacious suites with sweeping ocean views, most with verandas. The intuitive staff is passionate about pleasing their guests. Gourmet dining experiences that rival the finest restaurants anywhere, complimentary welcome champagne and in-suite bar stocked with your preferences, complimentary dining venues where you dine where you wish, when you wish and with whom you wish. This is an all-inclusive experience with open bars throughout the ship and fine wines poured at lunch and dinner. Tipping is neither required nor expected.
Seabourn visits bucket wish destinations and small ports like Saint-Tropez, France and Palarmo, Spain. Visit the lesser traveled Caribbean islands of Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, the Grenadines, Guadeloupe and Saint Barthelemy and St. Kitts. Shore excursions are available for purchase with lots of time to explore each port of call.
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