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Queen of Oakville January 7th, 2011 11:04 AM

Question for Paul Motter on luxury cruising
 
Hi Paul,

I just saw an ad for Crystal Cruises in my food and wine magazine. I looked at their website and my curiosity is piqued. I've never really heard of Crystal, Silversea, or Ocenaia. I had a quickl look at the boards here, but they are not too active.

I definitely have the "taste" for luxury cruising but budget for the mainstream lines. If I were to "save" for a luxury cruise, what would you recommend?

Here are my wants/needs:
  1. closed loop cruising from Fort Lauderdale or similar "main" port. I like the airfare options that are available to me by flying into a main port.
  2. Casino
  3. 7 day itinerary - can't get more than 1 work week off at a time

What line would your recommend as an introduction to luxury cruising? Are children ever found on luxury cruises?

Thanks,
QOO

AF1 January 7th, 2011 12:11 PM

Hi, let me chime in here. My friend cruised on Crystal last fall. She loved it. Here price included airfare, cabin, and shore excursions.

Paul Motter January 7th, 2011 12:41 PM

Quote:

  1. closed loop cruising from Fort Lauderdale or similar "main" port. I like the airfare options that are available to me by flying into a main port.
  2. Casino
  3. 7 day itinerary - can't get more than 1 work week off at a time

Most of the lux lines travel all over the world and may only do one 7-day Caribbean per year.

Crystal features much larger ships than the others, so they tend to have bigger casinos. I don't know what you like to play in the casino, but if it is slots you may not like small lux ships much.

Crystal generally has the biggest casinos onboard any lux ship.

I was just looking at an upcoming Seabourn cruise in the Caribbean, RT St Thomas. It is a small 200-passenger ship with a tiny casino. It is also in port every day so that casino would be closed while in port.

If I know more about what you like I could probably go farther, but I am guessing you would like Crystal. But I need to know how you rate for importance:

1. food
2. size of staterooms
3. number of onboard activites
4. Movie Theaters
5. Dancing

NOW - if you really don't have the budget for lux I might suggest looking at Azamara, Oceania or the older and small Holland America and Princess ships. These tend to be very quiet and personalized like lux ships, but at far cheaper prices.

Queen of Oakville January 7th, 2011 03:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Paul Motter (Post 1340574)
Most of the lux lines travel all over the world and may only do one 7-day Caribbean per year.

Crystal features much larger ships than the others, so they tend to have bigger casinos. I don't know what you like to play in the casino, but if it is slots you may not like small lux ships much.

Crystal generally has the biggest casinos onboard any lux ship.

I was just looking at an upcoming Seabourn cruise in the Caribbean, RT St Thomas. It is a small 200-passenger ship with a tiny casino. It is also in port every day so that casino would be closed while in port.

If I know more about what you like I could probably go farther, but I am guessing you would like Crystal. But I need to know how you rate for importance:

1. food
2. size of staterooms
3. number of onboard activites
4. Movie Theaters
5. Dancing

NOW - if you really don't have the budget for lux I might suggest looking at Azamara, Oceania or the older and small Holland America and Princess ships. These tend to be very quiet and personalized like lux ships, but at far cheaper prices.


HI Paul,

THanks for the quick reply! (and for the previous poster too!).

As for casino, we love blackjack. So a cruise with lots of tables works best for us. YEs, DH his not happy whent he ship is on port and he can't play! Personally, I don't cruise for ports. A 7-day with 2-3 ports would be perfect.

Food is important. I like good food. I wouldn't go so far as to say I cruise for the food, but it's up there. Bad food = bad cruise.

Size of rooms - not important - we actually like inside cabins. I do prefer a larger ship for stability. I think Sovereign of the Seas is the smallest ship I've been on on.

Onboard activities and movies - not too important. I like the acitivities offer by Royal, but can't say we use them all.

Dancing - we may visit the dance club here an there, IF we like the music and we are not 20 years older than everyone! We might stay an hour or so, and then DH wants to gamble.

WHy do we cruise? It's like vegas at sea. Generally, cruising is cheaper than vegas (we tend to book last minute). I enjoy great food (but it's been lacking lately). I also enjoy service. I will visit the spa 1-2 times, but its not critical.

Curious, I think you are a writer? Are you a TA too?

Paul Motter January 7th, 2011 04:20 PM

I am a writer, I am not a travel agent. There are a few on our staff, however.

If you like Vegas at sea and really want to try a true luxury line I have to say Crystal. They have the biggest Casinos (used to be affiliated with Caeser's I believe - one of the Vegas biggies).

But in truth it sounds like you might really like a premium ship with good food like Celebrity Solstice a lot better. You can get a 300 sq ft suite for much less than a minimum cabin on a more inclusive cruise line.

The casino will be far bigger and there will be more dancing.

But of all the lux lines, Crystal has the most dancing (great ballroom dancing to a live band every night), and it has excellent cuisine.

Most of the lux lines will have BJ, however (that is the one table game they will be sure to have) and maybe roulette. But the hours may be shorter than you want.

Matbe Kuki will ring in here, he is a big BJ player.

Truck Cruiser January 8th, 2011 05:16 AM

Hey Paul.....Do you think that maybe a Cruisemates cruise on a luxury lines might be set up for early next year in the Caribbean? There has been alot of questions and comments about Luxury lines here lately and I bet there are quite a few folks around here that would be willing to go.

Paul Motter January 8th, 2011 08:53 AM

A luxury cruisemates cruise is certainly something we could discuss. Do you have any preferences for a certain cruise line, or are you more interested in getting a good deal?

Truck Cruiser January 9th, 2011 07:09 AM

Probably getting a good deal on a luxury lines would be the key to getting those of us curious, yet trying to keep within our budgets to the ship. All inclusive would be nice but if there is a nice on board credit like some lines have then we wouldn't need the all inclusive.

Probably a 7-10 day cruise would be good for most. I guess the idea would be for those of us, who would consider such a cruise, to be able to afford it. If it would be as good as I expect it would be then I probably wouldn't go back to the main lines and the luxury lines would have a customer for life.

Thanks Paul
Happy Sailings
Tim

Queen of Oakville January 10th, 2011 11:21 AM

Thanks Paul .... Celebrity Solstics is on our watch list! It would have been our choice for this March, but then we got such a great deal on HAL!

Trucker - very interesting! But dangerous ... what if we get hooked?

Truck Cruiser January 10th, 2011 01:59 PM

if we get hooked then we will have to take more luxury cruises!! :-)

Queen of Oakville January 10th, 2011 03:28 PM

okay, as long as we've got a plan:D

Marc January 17th, 2011 11:14 AM

I just came off a one week Caribbean cruise on Regent Seven Seas Mariner. Cruise fare (all in)) was $3099 per person minus my onboard booking discount. I also chose to do my own air so I saved another $400 per person. TA also gave me 5% back. Between Amex, Regent, and TA benefits we had $1100 shipboard credit. Therefore, my net cost for cruise was around $5500. Almost all excursions were included but I splurged for a flight to see Tikal in Guatemala. Remainder of shipboard credit was spent in spa or shop.

I spent some time in casino; craps table was good to me. Casino is small but they have craps, roulette, black jack, and I think Caribbean stud.

Regent has a series of Caribbean cruises in winter. Alas, starting in fall 2011, most of them are 10 day instead of 7 day cruises.

My total bill getting off the ship was $0.

Marc

Truck Cruiser January 17th, 2011 02:55 PM

Thanks Marc, sounds like a nice cruise and I am sure Regent will be in the running for the cruisemates luxury cruise :-)


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