If you enjoy Ocean Cruising, it might be time to move up to the next level. Most people start cruising on the Mass Market Cruise brands like Carnival and Royal Caribbean. These cruise lines offer a value conscience cruise that allows you to get used to cruising. They are also great for families, especially those that have young children.
Because they are trying to attract those who haven’t been cruisers before, they try to keep the price as low as possible. They can do this by using the prices of Inside Cabins in the advertising. Then they offer the Balconies and Suites as an upgrade.
Many people think that cruises are All-Inclusive. They are not. There are Taxes and Fees that are kept separate. Also, many Cruise Lines will keep Drink Packages, Excursion and Specialty Restaurants as additional fees. Once onboard the ships, you can decide whether you want to pay for those items or not. Many people choose not to buy these and thus save money.
One item that is harder to escape is Gratuities. Most Cruise lines charge between $11.50 and $18.50 per day per person for Gratuities. This is one of the main ways that many of the staff get paid. If you feel like your level of service is sub-standard, you can ask for your Gratuities to be refunded. Otherwise, they will automatically be charged to your Credit Card at the end of the cruise.
But what about the Premium and Luxury Cruise lines? You are starting to see many of these Extra Items included in the base price on these brands. To show you how this can give you extra value, I decided to do a comparison. I chose two Cruise Lines to compare. Both cruises are in the last two weeks of November 2022 and go to the Eastern Caribbean. They go to comparable ports, but they are not identical ports.
Some things that you should notice:
The differences in the Passenger/Staff Ratio. The Luxury Cruise Line has close to a 1:1 Ratio, which should give you a much higher level of service.
Both Cruises have 6 Ports of Call, but the Luxury Cruise Line has two extra Days at Sea.
Many of the Extras are included in the Luxury Cruise at no additional cost.
The price of a Suite is almost the same, with a higher level of service and more days on your cruise.
Another thing that I should point out is the number of passengers on board the ship. The Royal Caribbean ship will allow for 2,800 passengers, while the Seabourn ship will have 650 passengers. The smaller ship will go to different ports of call that only allow the smaller ship. So instead of thousands of people descending on an island for the day, you can explore the island with only a few hundred other people. Again, you will get more personalized service.
Are you ready to be treated like a VIP? If you are traveling without children, I recommend you try moving up to luxury.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing with you information about many of the Premium and Luxury Cruise Lines and what sets they apart. This can help you decide which type of cruise is right for you.
Make sure you come back next week to find out what you can expect on a Premium Cruise Ship.