Have you been considering a luxury cruise vacation but concerned about the cost? You might be surprised to find that what you will pay on a luxury ship isn’t that much different than on a larger mainstream ship.
On larger cruise ships, all the extras are well, extra. Beverage packages, specialty restaurant fees, and gratuities are just a few of the extra costs that are included on some luxury lines.
When making a decision about whether to go with a larger cruise ship or a smaller luxury cruise line, it is important to compare all costs and inclusions. Also, a cruise vacation isn’t always about the money, but the overall experience. Luxury cruise lines tend to be smaller and more intimate, offering personalized service and a greater chance to meet your fellow passengers.
Here are seven things to consider when choosing your next cruise.
As we already mentioned, luxury cruise lines pride themselves on providing exceptional service. Many hold rigorous training programs for crew members. You’ll typically find a higher staff to guest ratio as well. Regent Seven Seas’ newest luxury ship, Seven Seas Explorer, has one of the highest staff to guest ratios in the industry.
Have you experienced claustrophobia while in your stateroom? Most luxury cruise lines offer all-suite accommodations, which are typically larger than a standard stateroom. Plus, each comes with an ocean view and many have balconies. You will rarely find any inside staterooms on a luxury cruise ship. They also offer little splurges –from high-end toiletries, to a full bathtub, to flat-screen TVs.
When you’re smaller, you can fit in more places. This is true of smaller cruise lines. Luxury lines can offer destinations that larger ships can’t – more exclusive ports and exotic locales. Luxury ships also tailor their itineraries to arrive in popular ports on days when the larger cruise ships aren’t there.
4 SHORE EXCURSIONS
Luxury lines take extreme care in developing unique onshore excursions for their guests. Azamara Club Cruises offers their complimentary “AzAmazing Evening” shore excursions, once during each cruise. During an AzAmazing Evening you might visit the Mikhailov Theater, attend a Burmese Festival, or enjoy the opera in Livorno.
5 CHEF-INSPIRED FINE DINING
Many top chefs have joined with cruise lines to elevate the ship’s cuisine, creating memorable dining experiences for their guests. World-renowned Chef Nobu Matsuhisa created the Japanese-centric Silk Road on Crystal Cruises. And, Chef Jacques Pepin has brought his signature style to Oceania Cruises.
6 FREE BEVERAGES
If you’ve ever received a bill at the end of your cruise for the drinks you enjoyed, there’s a good chance you experienced a moment of sticker shock. Many luxury cruise lines don’t charge extra for beverages, including alcoholic beverages — whether you are in a lounge, restaurant, or your own stateroom.
7 NO TIPPING REQUIRED
Not only will you receive exceptional service, you won’t have to tip for it. On most luxury lines, including Regent, Azamara, and Crystal, gratuities are already built into the fare.
If you are considering a cruise in 2015, please contact us and we will work with you, and your budget, to create the optimal cruise experience for you.