Should we believe the popular press, every passenger ship afloat offers a life of unashamed sybaritic pleasure, with any reference to cruise ships prefaced by the world ‘luxury’. The truth is somewhat different. Not all cruises are luxurious. Fact. In an attempt to sell anything and everything, the term leaves us with a sense that true luxury has retreated. Luxury is not about excess. Nor is it about cost. It is uniquely personal, and for the most part it is about essential values. It is always rarefied, well-earned, and carefully considered.
Seagoing ‘luxe’ is the prerogative of companies such as Crystal Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises - when it comes to larger ships (conveying 500 to 1,200 passengers). Boutique-style luxury is a hallmark of cruise lines accommodating 120 to 500 passengers such as SeaDream Yacht Club; Seabourn Cruise Line; and Silversea Cruises. In general these vessels offer a haven of hospitality that is impossible to deliver on larger ships.
However there are larger, mass-market ships which have higher echelons of accommodations in an exclusive ‘ship-within-a-ship’ concept. These include Grill-grade accommodations on Cunard Line ships; the ‘Yacht Club’ on MSC vessels; the ‘Haven’ on NCL’s leviathans; and suites aboard the Celebrity Cruises’ fleet - where passengers opting for this enhanced level of pampering would regard their experience as ‘luxurious’.
Other cruise companies offering a near-deluxe experience with less expensive price-tags include: Azamara Club Cruises and Oceania Cruises. Azamara puts an emphasis on ‘Destination Immersion’; while Oceania is renowned as a foodie favourite thanks to the superb cuisine and food-themed shore excursions.
Luxury cruising has morphed from its function to explore the world in consummate comfort to an entirely new canvas of onboard lifestyle. An intrinsic facet of this new calculus of cruising is the trend towards an ‘all-inclusive’ experience aboard a clutch of peerless ships.
It’s easy to compare the value proposition of an all-inclusive cruise with one where you pay for extras. Indeed the pacesetter in this concept is Regent Seven Seas Cruises who proudly boast they offer ‘the most inclusive luxury experience’. But they are not alone and Crystal Cruises; SeaDream; Seabourn and Silversea all offer an all-inclusive world where the real luxury is not worrying about those tiresome extra charges. For more advice speak to our experienced team on 0800 484 0370 or click on www.cruisedirect.co.uk
- 16th March 2017