Elegance, refinement and plenty of pampering are the trademarks of luxury cruises. But nowadays, it doesn’t necessarily mean staff serving with white gloves or gold-trimmed bannisters on the staircases. Luxury can include the size of the stateroom, the congenial and accommodating service you receive, plus the intimate nature of the cruise. It is all about the personal aspects and often with a luxury cruise, they are less people on board than the larger mass cruise ship holidays.
Another aspect of luxury cruising will be the private facilities of the lines themselves. For example, do they have their own islands to visit with lots of activities on shore? Do they have libraries on board or perhaps a cigar smoking room complete with humidor stocked with a variety of the world’s best? And lastly, are the staff not only well trained, but rather, highly trained to pamper every wish and whim of the ship’s passengers?
If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of bigger cruises, both in numbers of people and size of ship, then let’s talk about an alternative.
Here are 10 points to remember when choosing a luxury cruise to travel in style!
#1 Small Ships Visit Lesser Known Ports
One of the more fun aspects of choosing a luxury cruise on a smaller ship is that because of its size, it is able to dock at different ports than the massive cruise liners. Often, passengers get to visit places that would never be on the schedule of other cruise lines. Plus, when they disembark, they are not going to meet throngs of tourists from every cruise line docking at the main ports.
#2 Choose Amenities Not Available Elsewhere
Again, because luxury cruising usually means you are aboard a ship that caters to a different type of clientele. They are not looking for the standard cruise activities, but rather, activities that they deem exciting. For example, the might be interested in only formal dining with wine tutorials. Another option might be food prepared by well-known chefs.
#3 Type of Ship
There are various lines that offer smaller intimate settings. The tall ships are an excellent choice for service, scenery and atmosphere.
#4 Learning or Working Holiday
If you want to learn how to sail properly, there are several companies that have beautiful sailboats which you actually crew right alongside the professional crew. This type of holiday, quite popular in the Caribbean waters, is fabulous for experienced sailors and the beginner alike. The crew will provide instruction as the cruise progresses and everyone participates.
For those trying to stay on budget, while at the same time enjoying the many benefits of a luxury cruise, be sure to inquire about companies that have gratuities included in the pricing.
#6 Educational Cruising
Not only do you want the staff on board the ship to be well trained and knowledgeable, you may also seek a specific type of vacation which is educational in nature. Specific cruise lines off classes in museum curation, architecture and even photography. The better companies attract actually experts to head up the instruction.
#7 Awards Are Important
For travelers that prefer to choose from lines that have won prestigious awards, several of the smaller cruise ship companies have been bestowed with “Best Small-Ship Cruise Line” from Condé Nast Traveler, “Cruisers’ Choice Awards” from Cruise Critic, Town & Country Cruise Awards and Andrew Harper Grand Award for Best Cruise. Some of the lines that have won numerous awards are Windstar Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line and the Lindblad Expeditions.
#8 Pricing for Single Occupancy
It used to be very expensive for a single traveler to occupy a room alone. Now, several of the smaller cruise lines are offering much lower fees for those sailing alone. Check and compare before finally choosing a cruise.
#9 Future Cruise Discounts
For travelers that plan on cruising on a regular basis, some lines offer rebates or coupons for future trips. Be sure to find about any loyalty program or discounts that are available. Crystal Cruises, another award winning luxury cruise offers their Crystal Society Discount for anyone that sails on one of their ships.
#10 Car or Limousine
Depending on where you live and how close you are to the actual port for boarding, sometimes a limousine is even part of the package picking you up at home and taking you to your flight or the ship itself.
If your family would like the ultimate in vacations, chartering a sailboat is absolutely incredible. Look at how much fun these kids are having … pirates and all!