Types of Cruises - Luxury Cruises
TAKING A LUXURY CRUISE
Today’s cruise ships are redefining luxury cruises with over-the-top facilities and services unimagined only a few years ago.
Elegant duplex staterooms the size of a house; exclusive courtyards and verandahs with private pools, hot tubs and fitness areas; private space large enough to entertain 100 friends; 24-hour butlers and concierge service; a marble-appointed bath for every bedroom - the list is endless.
On luxury yachts, globe-trotting ocean liners and every type of cruise ship in-between, guests in search of the ultimate in elegance, exclusivity or spacious privacy will be astonished by what they find. There are ships of these types of cruises offering suites of more than 2,000 square feet. In one case, five two-story suites can be combined to create an incomparable living space of more than 9,000 square feet. Even on intimate yachts and ships carrying barely 100 passengers, a lucky few have the option to live in grand style in the “Owner’s Suite.”
While the size, design and ambience of these remarkable accommodations may vary, what is common to all is a level of personalized service unparalleled on land or sea. In addition to the latest in technology and the world’s finest toiletries and other amenities, most suite accommodations feature the undivided attention of butlers or suite stewards, the skilful services of a concierge and a variety of options that enable the occupants to enjoy, in complete privacy, anything from cocktails with friends to full-course meals served on a verandah under the stars.
The luxury goes beyond the accommodation and service. Several of these types of cruises – with the so-called luxury lines Crystal, Cunard, Regent, Seabourn and Silversea in the vanguard – ensure that their guests enjoy the finest cuisine with some of the world’s most celebrated chefs.
And traditional spas on the luxury cruise ships are now old hat. The spa experience on Silversea's elegant Silver Spirit, for instance, goes beyond the traditional pursuits of restoring inner peace and balance to offering the latest cutting-edge anti-ageing beauty therapies. At 8,300 square feet (770 square metres), The Spa features a beauty salon, fitness centre, nine spa treatment rooms, two sauna rooms and two steam rooms where you can leave the wrinkles behind.
The most popular length of luxury and river cruises is eight to 14 days, followed by seven day cruises.
But don't think that the luxury cruises are just for those who want to toss their money about. In a recent survery (2010) carried out by the Cruise Lines International Association Inc, cruise travel agents reported that luxury cruisers also are demanding greater value and are more price sensitive, with higher expectations for quality of service.
In the survey, luxury cruises stacked up positively against the best restaurants in the world (75% similar to much better); the best hospitality service standards (94%); the most luxurious accommodations (75%); the most upscale spas (86%); and the most exciting cultural/enrichment/entertainment activities available (86%).
Consumer incentives and promotions have made luxury cruising more affordable for not just the lucky few but all thos in serach of quality. IN fact, the travel agents in the CLIA survey report that they have seen a definitie move toward luxury, with more contemporary/premium clients moving up.
Photo courtesy Silversea Cruises