Cruise Critic, the cruise review site, offers advice on all aspects of cruise planning, including finding the ideal ship. If you’re interested to try a luxury cruise experience, check out Cruise Critic’s round-up of some of the luxury cruise lines, and what they have to offer.
Crystal Cruises delivers traditional luxury onboard larger ships, and passengers are encouraged to dress for dinner and enjoy formal nights on all of its itineraries. Fares on Crystal are almost inclusive, and include beverages and gratuities, speciality dining, enrichment programming, fitness classes and shuttles into town from the cruise port.
With one of the highest passenger-to-staff, passenger-to-space ratios, Crystal is well-positioned to deliver an impeccable standard of service. Offering larger ships within the luxury sphere enables Crystal to deliver more options in terms of entertainment, socialising, casinos, spa and fitness facilities than may be found on some of the smaller luxury ships.
Crystal has future plans to expand its luxury portfolio, with the launch of three new ships, the first debuting in 2018, as well as a river cruise line, a yacht cruises division, a private airplane and a mini-submarine.
With an outstanding reputation for service, Seabourn offers exotic itineraries and excellent cuisine. The line is relatively inclusive, with no charge for cocktails, coffees or fitness classes.
While sailing with Seabourn, travellers can enjoy high-quality dining, including cuisine created by Thomas Keller, the chef behind Michelin-starred restaurants The French Laundry, Per Se, and Bouchon.
Seabourn recently launched Seabourn Encore in December 2016, and this is set to be followed by Seabourn Ovation in 2018. These additions will be the line’s largest yet, and feature 300 suite cabins with private balconies, walk-in wardrobes, in-suite bar setup and a personal “suite stewardess”.
Regent Seven Seas
Regent Seven Seas Cruises is renowned for excellent dining and service, and its entire fleet of ships offer suite accommodations. Although offering premium luxury, Regent Seven Seas is value-oriented in that it’s wholly inclusive, with fares covering the cost of the cruise, pre-and post-cruise tours and hotel stays, gratuities, shore excursions and all drinks.
Regent Seven Seas’ newest ship Seven Seas Explorer, which launched in 2016, was awarded Best New Luxury Ship in the 2016 Cruise Critic UK Editors’ Picks Awards. Key features include the main theatre, which hosts activities, such as cooking classes in the morning and concert recitals at night. It also features Regent’s first culinary centre, designed to mirror the world-renowned cooking schools of France.
Regent is also undertaking a multimillion-pound refurbishment programme, with other ships in its fleet being updated.
Silversea delivers a high standard of personalised service within an upscale, yet casual atmosphere, and larger-than-average spaces for passengers. The line also offers an all-inclusive policy, which covers gratuities and unlimited beverages.
Almost all of the cruises host lectures providing insight into the lives and cultures of the destinations visited. The line also has a well-established expedition programme, with Silver Galapagos offering a luxurious way to explore the Galapagos Islands.
This year, Silversea launches Silver Muse, which is set to be the largest in the fleet and the first in a new three-ship class. The soon-to-launch ship is described by the line as a step toward “ultra-luxury ocean cruising,” and will include all-suite accommodations and a supper club-style speciality restaurant.
Oceania delivers slightly more affordable luxury and operates more of an a la carte pricing system than the all-inclusive offerings of the higher-end premium lines.
Another winner in the 2016 UK Editors’ Picks Awards, Oceania Cruises was awarded Best for Dining. The line’s dining venues include Asian restaurant Red Ginger, and Jacques, a French bistro with menus designed by famed chef Jacques Pepin.
Onboard Sirena, which is the line’s newest ship, there’s a variety of activities including the Canyon Ranch SpaClub, beauty salon, gym and the Artist Loft enrichment centre, providing arts and crafts classes.