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Old December 3rd, 2010, 01:09 PM
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Default Taking the luxe cruise plunge

So, say you are a long time cruiser going up through the ranks, and, now you have decided to step it up, to the luxe cruise lines. For a first timer, in this scenario, which ship would you advise booking? Would the ship/line be different with kids along?

Aside from the usual higher cost of sailing at this level, what should one expect, that differs dramatically [or not] from the mass cruise lines?
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Old December 3rd, 2010, 01:37 PM
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Trip,

Good question.

I have noticed that the lux lines such as Seabourn and Silversea now have some excellent pricing.

If you are accustomed to cruising in suites on mass market lines the pricing on these luxury lines is very competitive and often better than the suite prices on mass market lines. It is even more of a bargain considering you are not paying for gratuities, alcohol, wine, or soda. You will not be hounded by photographers and the subsequent sales pitch to buy the overpriced photos. There are rarely additional charges for the specialty restaurants and the food is usually a notch above the mass market lines.

There will also be a much better choice of enrichment lectures and port information than you will receive on the mass market lines where a port talk is basically telling you where to buy stuff. The lux lines often have world leaders, scientists, renowned journalists and other field experts in the enrichment and lecture programs.

There will not be giant dancing mice, ogres, princesses or lions on board so it may not be the best place for kids who want to be entertained but they do accommodate kids. The kids are there more to experience the ports rather than be entertained on board. It may not be the best choice for people with small children or kids who are easily bored.

I do believe that the lux lines are definitely an alternative for people who are looking more for travel and luxury with less of the gimmicks.

Take care,
Mike
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Old December 5th, 2010, 11:05 AM
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I would take Regent Seven Seas Voyager.

All cabins have balconies and are a minimum of 301 sq ft not counting balconies.

There are four restaurants so plenty of choice.

Ship can hold up to 700 pax so plenty of activities.

All inclusive: food, alcohol (except premium), most shore excursions, air, pre cruise hotel.

Per diems can be fantastic for many North American and even some European itineraries. My trip to Caribbean next month netting out air credit, shipboard credit, and TA kickback is around $250 per person per day even with all of the above included (except air which I did on my own). My Montreal to Ft Lauderdale cruise next October is even cheaper.

Luxury cruising can definitely be a good value if you like the higher quality food, additional service, drinking wine or just drinks by pool, going on excursions, or some combination of the above.

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Old December 7th, 2010, 05:52 PM
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The only luxury line I can speak of is Seabourn. They were my choice for my very first cruise, and apart from one cruise with RCI, every other cruise I have done has been with Seabourn. Thats not to say I wouldnt cruise with any other line though. If the right itinerary, price, etc etc came up, who knows where I might end up!
There have been many discussions on "another unnamed forum" concerning children on Seabourn. In my opinion Seabourn is not for children. There simply is not enough for them to do. Kids need to be kept amused and entertained, so if you took your kids it would be YOUR responsibility to stop them annoying other passengers. That doesnt sound like a good idea to me! If I were taking my grandchildren on a cruise, it would be one where ~someone else~ could look after them for a few hours......selfish? yep.....
Then again if its pampering by the crew, wonderful food, (mostly) pleasant company, then Seabourn could be for you......but be prepared to never want to go anywhere else!
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Old December 8th, 2010, 07:40 AM
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I forgot a couple of important points about Regent. First, gratuities are included. Second, all cruises of 15 nights or less have a country club casual dress code. Of course, no shorts, t-shirts, or ball caps in dining room at night but you still don't need to pack a tux, suit, or sports coat.

As for kids, many summertime itineraries do have additional personnel for a kids program; primarily in Alaska.

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Old December 8th, 2010, 04:57 PM
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I read a thread by Paul, he talked about the all inclusive of luxury cruiselines. When u compare apples to apples, the Luxury cruise line includes just about everything, so once you pay for the cruise, there is no nickel and diming, while onboard. That being said; one day I may have to jump ship from Royal Caribbean and try a luxury line.
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Old December 10th, 2010, 09:42 PM
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Your make an interesting point. I have done many luxury cruises, but a couple of years ago I decided to take a cruise on Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas in a Grand Suite. I must say the suite was as nice as many luxury suites I have stayed in...including Regent and Seabourn. It had many nice touches from dimmers on the lights to music in the bathroom.

But, and it is a big "but", there was a ship full of very happy and satisfied passengers...and then there was me and my wife. The suite was luxury, but the ship and the service was not. You need to look far beyond the real estate of your room.

Each of the lux lines has its own personality and it is important that you find a travel agent and do your research to be sure the style and amenities of the lux line you choose fits best with you.

Marc loves Regent and finds great value and satisfaction on it Voyager. From what I like, I see better choices for many people. But if you want a product where everything from gratuities to drinks to tours are included Regent just might be the right choice for you. (In other words, what works for me might not work for you.)

Enrichment programs - Crystal is the best all around. Cuisine is an area of great discussion. Do you want to have fun at Hot Rocks and cook your dinner on lava...Silversea. Want a 9 course Chef's tasting menu...Seabourn. Prime 7 Steakhouse....Regent. Asian Flare...Crystal.

There is lots more to consider, but hopefully this will at least get you
thinking. Once you figure out what floats your boat, post here and get some ideas.
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