There are very many inaccuracies in Anne's article posted today. If you really want to look into luxury lines (many exist beyond the four mentioned), please go to their individual websites. Anne has sailed all of the four lines so it must have been a poor ghost writing job that led to the errors.
Yes Marc we hear you. However your charge of inaccuracies should, in the interest of fairness, have at least a laundry list of the alleged inaccuracies, if not a rebuttal. Many of us are not the affluent who can afford the upscale lines, so we have no basis to judge the article save for our respect for Anne's opinions.
Explorer of the Seas October 2013
Caribbean Princess July 2006, May 2010 & November 2012
Monarch of the Seas November 2008
Crown Princess November 2007
Celebrity Zenith November 2005
Enchantment of the Seas August 2004
Anne is a great travel writer; that is why I don't think she wrote the article. There were too many inaccuracies (size, name of restaurants, etc) on facts that just don't make sense. It was interesting that CruiseCritic had an article on their site last week that was also laced with inaccuracies.
By the way, I don't understand the reference to "glass." I occassionally will pick on an article or a post that I feel is wrong or misleading. I don't see what that has to do with glass.
Okay, her article with some know inaccuracis. Nothing earthshattering, just factual mistakes.
"Cruising aboard a luxury ship is the kind of travel many of us can only fantasize about, a glamorous experience of the kind seen in old movies. There are only a few cruise lines - the priciest afloat - where one finds caviar and bubbly served before dinner by a white-glove butler or very seasoned room steward. Men in black tie and women in elegant gowns dine in intimate restaurants on the finest food afloat, served by the most experienced crew in the world. And these ships cruise to the most exotic parts of the globe, with top lecturers aboard who are experts in the areas visited.
But no other segment of the industry seems to present more confusion about the choices of ships. While the four luxury cruise companies listed below all excel in high levels of food and service, large comfortable cabins and exotic itineraries, there are still enough significant differences in style, size and ports to warrant some further study.
If you're new to luxury cruising, don't be confused by the cruise lines calling all cabins �suites.� Technically, true suites have two separate rooms and are very rare in the cruise industry. Staterooms are measured in square feet and I suggest that you use this as your standard when comparing cabins from one category to another and one vessel to another.
Herein lies my take on the subtle- and not-so-subtle differences I've found when good fortune had me sailing with the luxury cruise lines.
Crystal's two 960-passenger ships, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity [actually 1080 passengers], are the largest luxury vessels afloat. While there are lovely alternative restaurants (with a surcharge), this is a two-seating ship with assigned dining, a negative for many luxury cruises. And pricing for these ships is far from all-inclusive, since the fare does not include gratuities or complimentary wine with any meals.
Still, Crystal Cruises outshines the other players with on-board lectures, lessons and seminars. After dinner, the action continues with lavish Las Vegas-style reviews and the largest, busiest casinos in the luxury segment. You'll find more days at sea and fewer ports of call on Crystal's itineraries, a plus or minus depending on your preferences. The most popular accommodations are the Penthouse Suites, which all have butlers. Crystal is the only cruise company that gives solo cruisers a break [not true, others have rates of 25 - 40 per cent]: The single supplement is only 25 percent above the per person, double occupancy rate.
Fellow passengers: Crystal's 65+ passengers love the full-day lineup of speakers, lecturers and lessons; at night, this is a glitzy bunch that stays up late frequenting the casino and shows. Bring gowns and tuxes for these elegant voyages. That's why Crystal is my pick for solo cruisers - onboard activities enable you to meet many new friends.
The bottom line: The cruise fare does not include alcohol, wine, gratuities or any special shore excursions. And pre-dinner caviar and champagne is extra as well. Crystal gives solo cruisers a break: The single supplement is only 25 percent above the per person, double occupancy rate.
Crystal Cruises' biggest plus: It's my pick for the warmest, most professional staff and crew, with the most consistently high levels of service. The shore excursions are the priciest, but they are among the best offered by any cruise line in terms of diversity, attention to detail and comfort. Crystal offers more days at sea with non-stop lessons, guest lecturers and activities.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises:
This cruise line's three modern luxury ships include the 490-passenger Seven Seas Navigator; and the 700-passenger sister ships Seven Seas Mariner and Seven Seas Voyager, as well as the Paul Gauguin, based year-round in Tahiti. They attract a well-heeled but far less pretentious traveler. Single, open seating dining translates into a more leisurely atmosphere. The larger Mariner and Voyager each boast a choice of four restaurants, including Compass Rose, where Le Cordon Blue school of Paris oversees the extraordinary cuisine served each evening [the Cordon Bleu restaurant is Signatures, not Compass Rose].. At night, everyone seems to disappear after dinner and head for a cozy lounge or their cabins, where videos and complimentary CDs are popular.
With seven-night Europe itineraries, this cruise line is attracting a younger affluent crowd to luxury cruising. These are port-intensive itineraries and passengers are early to rise and early to bed. If you're new to luxury cruising and don't want to haul a mountain of gowns and shoes on your cruise, this may be your cup of tea.
Fellow Passengers: Couples in their 40s and 50s are more prevalent on Regent Seven Seas (formerly Radisson Seven Seas) Europe cruises than on the other luxury vessels. On itineraries over seven days, passengers are normally 65+.
The bottom line: Upon arrival, you'll find your favorite spirits already stocked in the cabin. Fares include wine with lunch and dinner [no wine with lunch], plus gratuities.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises biggest plus: the new "travel concierge" aboard each ship, who will book any shore activity you like or book individual sightseeing excursions, making it easy to tour with private car and driver and visit attractions most tourists miss. This cruise line also offers the best spas afloat, operated by the famous Carita of Paris, as well as Cordon Bleu dining and a choice of four restaurants.
Regent recently launched an innovative "Circles of Interest" program on Europe itineraries featuring three special topics per voyage, such as art and design, architecture and cuisine, so passengers can delve more deeply into their specific interests. Each "Circle of Interest" theme includes lectures aboard the ship and excursions ashore led by the expert in that field. Not only is your experience ashore enhanced but passengers and lecturers in each small group bond more closely.
Seabourn Cruise Line
The line's three tiny ships -- Seabourn Pride, Legend and Spirit - are 208-passenger [Pride has a different capacity from other two], yacht-like vessels offering the best itineraries afloat, navigating into fabulous tiny ports larger vessels could never visit. Built in the late l980s, these ships lack balconies, but some cabins have "French windows" that allow the sounds of the sea to enter your stateroom. Entertainment and nightlife are limited, but you'll dine on some of the best cuisine at sea, served by an impeccable crew, many of whom have been with the company for years. Service is a critical aspect of luxury cruising, and some of the best is found on Seabourn, which has the largest number of staff per passengers. By the end of a cruise everyone will have been invited to dine with senior officers and often the ship's Captain. On Seabourn, everyone gets dressed to the nines a few nights during each cruise. However, a day at sea may seem endless if you're active or restless since there is little to do and very limited public space.
Fellow Passengers: Sophisticated, dressy and primarily 60+.
The Bottom Line: Fare includes all alcoholic beverages, gratuities and at least one special, exclusive shore excursion per itinerary. Singles also get a break: Some saildates are 110%, some 125% and some 150% for "run-of-ship" reservations (Guaranteed cat. A or better). There is a 175% of the per-person, double occupancy fare and the selection of a stateroom in categories A through B3 singles supplement combinable with 50% savings for Club Signature members.
Seabourn's biggest plus: The best itineraries on earth, very personal service and haute cuisine. In major shopping ports, Seabourn offers the services of a personal shopper with car and driver. And you'll find one exclusive shore excursion on each cruise -- like caviar and champagne served by waiters as you lull in a secluded Caribbean cove.
The 296-passenger Silver Cloud and Silver Wind or the slightly larger Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper (382 passengers) cater to a dressy and very chic international crowd of "been there, done that" travelers.
Silversea gets my vote for the most beautiful ships in the luxury category, and offers my favote suites in the cruise industry, the Silver Suites, found aboard both sizes of ships. These are beautiful vessels with more than enough public rooms, plus a good spa and fitness center, to keep passengers busy during days at sea. There is one main dining room plus the ship's cafeteria, which is set up for theme alternative dining at night. I have experienced inconsistency in food and service on Silversea - one voyage was as close to perfection as it gets, but a year later I found spotty service and so-so cuisine, and this was on the same ship! Still, it's safe to say you'll find glamour, good service and beautiful, spacious ships with all the creature comforts one expects today. A new, comprehensive "Wellness Program" helps you create a fitness regimen and dine on low-fat, low-carb gourmet cuisine.
Fellow Passengers: Wealthy passengers from many countries, the majority in the 65+ age group, although I've seen families during summer months and holidays.
The Bottom Line: Practically everything is included in the cruise price, like mixed drinks, wine and gratuities.
Silversea's Biggest Plus: Beautiful ships and lovely cabins, top flight itineraries and gracious service.
I didn't comment on anything of a subjective nature; after all, Anne has sailed all these ships and I haven't. I was just taken aback by errors in facts which any proof reader should have been able to spot.
Yep: There are some inaccuracies but nothing that is going to make any significant change in the article. Crystal IS the only line that consistently offers a 125% single supplement. The other lines only offer it on select sailings. That 120 passenger difference is going change a lot of people's minds.
The Compass Rose error on Regent was a mix up and after cruising on a forty or fifty ships I would probably forget the names of a few but yes it should have been corrected. Who knows, Anne probably did get wine with her lunch.
The passenger capacity that is listed for Seabourn's three ships is listed at 208 for all three or listed at 215 for the Pride. That is a pretty minor and not even worth mentioning. The old Seabourn Sun was much larger and transferred to Holland America and is now the Prinsendam.
It would have been great if you would have addressed the inaccuracies you found in your original post instead of making a cryptic message. A direct email would have made your point even more clear and made directly to the source.
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Mike, I definitely agree that I should have listed inaccuracies in original post. As for email vs posting, I don't know if I agree. I think the most important area of this site are the articles, substantive cruise informations, and professional reviews. If those areas start to suffer, then you slip down to being just a community of amateurs. I would hope that public "chiding" may have a positive impact on future articles; I may be wrong.