People often ask me ‘what is the best cruise line. This is difficult as there are some great Cruise Lines to choose from but we always start by choosing cruises in the Luxury Cruise sector. There are many factors to consider including; Itinerary, Ages of the people traveling, the Style and Formality of the cruise you are looking for, plus of course your budget. At this upper end of the Luxury market, there are a number of major companies that fit the bill including Seabourn, Crystal Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Silversea. Add to this a number of specialised smaller brands including SeaDream Yacht Club, Hebridean Island Cruises, Windstar, Paul Gauguin and the German company Hapag Lloyd who win many awards for their cruise experience. This list is by no means exhaustive, but gives a taste of the great choice you have.
Seabourn Cruise Line
Seabourn, who offer “all inclusive cruises” are regular winners of a string of Awards for the Best Cruise line. Currently upgrading their fleet, the last of the 2 original Yachts of Seabourn will depart in 2015 leaving the 3 Ultra Luxury ships, Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Sojourn & Seabourn Quest. Each of these ships carries just 450 guests with a crew to guest ratio of nearly 1:1. 2 new ships, Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation will join the fleet in 2016 & 2018. Each of the new ships will carry 602 passengers. Seabourn offers a stylish and relaxed “all inclusive” cruise experience with a big emphasis on service, outstanding food and premium accommodations mostly with Verandas. Elegant Casual is a great way to describe Seabourn.
This is where “all Inclusive” started back in the 1990’s. Silversea has grown to become one of the Leaders in the Luxury Cruising Market. A partnership with Relais et Chateaux means the food on Silversea is good, very good. Service and Accommodations on board are to a very high standard. A butler is standard with all suites. Silversea operates a fleet of 5 vessels Silver Wind & Silver Cloud with 290 guests each, Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper with 390 guests and the Silver Spirit with 540 guests. It also has a small expedition fleet comprising Silver Explorer, Silver Galapagos and Silver Discoverer, providing more of an adventure cruise experience to remote regions of the world.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Regent have championed the ‘all inclusive” theme to the point where they claim to be the most inclusive of the “All Inclusive ” cruise offers. True, they include a wide range of shore excursions and flights in your fare, plus the itineraries are well worth a second look. Open seating dining is standard throughout their ships and the accommodation is spacious. The fleet comprises the Seven Seas Navigator with a capacity of 490 guests, Seven Seas Voyager and Seven Seas Mariner, the first all balcony cruise ships each carrying 700 passengers. Regent have announced a new ship, the Regent Severn Seas Explorer which will join the fleet in 2016. Explorer is heralded as “the Most Luxurious Ship Ever” (See link to the Regent Seven Seas Explorer keel laying ceremony)
Like Seabourn, Crystal Cruises have won an impressive range of World’s Best cruising awards including Conde Nast Traveler magazine Readers’ Choice No.1 “Midsize Cruise Ship Line for the past 21 years. Currently operating 2 ships, the Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony at 1100 and 960 guests respectively. Crystal is a great resort style experience with fantastic dining options including Nobu Matsuhisa’s Silk Road, wonderful entertainment, and unbeatable fitness & wellness options all make Crystal a great “all inclusive ” option. The ships maybe slightly larger than others in the class but when you consider they are of a similar size to the famous QE2 but with only half the number of guests, space is not an issue. Crystal Cruises also have spectacular World Cruise Itineraries.
Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships
Choosing the right Luxury Cruise is more about just the price and where the ship is headed. It is a very personal choice and I use a great reference guide to help with our cruising plans. The Berlitz Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships by Douglas Ward is a great source of information. Discover everything about you need to know about cruising: The first part of the book helps you work out what you’re looking for in a cruise vacation and how to find it; the lively text and colour photographs describe every aspect of life on board, including safety, the highs and lows of the cruise experience, and how to save money. In-depth, comprehensive reviews of almost 300 ocean-going cruise vessels: the second part of the book contains unbiased, detailed reviews, and grades each ship on service, food, entertainment, and facilities, using an internationally recognised ratings system. The meticulously updated new edition by Douglas Ward, the leading authority on cruising. The 27th edition of best-selling book, is the cruise industry bible: it gives you all the information you need to choose the right cruise for you. About Berlitz: Berlitz draws on years of expertise to bring you a wide range of travel and language products, including travel guides, maps, phrase books, language-learning courses, dictionaries and kids’ language products. If you wish you can purchase this valuable guide from Amazon below which I highly recommend. If you decide to purchase these book, I would love it if you could support my blog by using this link.