As I was thinking about this week’s article, I started thinking about the word Luxury. So I turned to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary for the definition of Luxury. Here is what I found:
1) a condition of abundance or great ease and comfort : sumptuous environment
2) a. something adding to pleasure or comfort but not absolutely necessary
b. an indulgence in something that provides pleasure, satisfaction, or ease
The part of that definition to jumped out to me that second part, “something adding to pleasure or comfort but not absolutely necessary.” Many times when we go on vacation, we want something nicer than our everyday life. Instead of cooking our own meals and spending time washing dishes, we go out to eat at a restaurant. We stay at a resort that provides Maid service to make our beds and clean the bathrooms.
About 15 years ago, I fell in love with Cruise Ship Vacations. Our first trip was on Carnival Cruise Line. I loved everything about the cruise. Having all the food available, the entertainment in the evenings, stopping at several ports where we could explore. There were approximately 2500 passengers on the ship, so we did have to show up early for things and wait in lines, but I was still so much better that all the chores that we left at home. I seemed like luxury to us at the time.
Since then we have gone of several other cruise lines. Each one has been different. Now, we really like the Luxury Cruise Lines. When you are on a ship with about 600 other passengers, things are not as rushed, you have more space and more amenities. So now I know what is means to add to pleasure or comfort but not absolutely necessary. Would you like to experience that luxury yourself?
So, what makes a cruise line a Luxury Cruise Line? There are things that these cruise lines do that set them apart from other cruise lines. The things that set them apart are:
· Personalized Experience
· Destination Focus
· Fine Dining
· More Inclusive
We will look at these one at a time.
Luxury Cruise line give a more attentive service. You will notice it as you go through the Embarkation process. Because these lines have fewer passengers per ship, you will notice that the lines are missing. If you have cruised on a major cruise line like Carnival or Royal Caribbean, you know that getting onto the ship can be quite time consuming. You stand in line to get into the Port building. Then you stand in line to go through security, then again to get your key card. Then you will sit until they call your boarding group. Then back in line to step onto the Gangway to finally make it onto the ship. Then you have to wait until your cabin is ready.
The experience of a Luxury Cruise starts out much different. You will walk right into the Port building and through security. Then you will be greeted and taken to get your key card. Then you will walk straight onto the ship where you will be greeted and taken your cabin. One of the things you will notice is that the crew knows your name. The give the crew the task of memorizing names as soon as you board and will address you by name for the rest of the crew.
As you get to know the ship, you will notice some things that are different than the main cruise line. You will see the ratio of Passengers to Staff is much different. Luxury Lines have a ration of 1.5 passengers to 1 crew member. This allows them to be more attentive to your needs, often seeming to anticipate what you are going to want. Also the Space to Passenger Ratio is much better and the ships never feel crowded, even though the ship is smaller. Also, you will never have to fight for a lounge chair around the pool.
As you continue to explore the ship, you will see floral arrangements and art installations that give a more elegant feel. The architecture of the ship will also give you that elegant feel. It also gives you the feel of being in more open spaces. The feel less crowded which also means less stressful feeling while on the cruise.
Luxury Cruise lines are very destination focused. Often, that begins with the ports that they visit. Many of these ports are smaller places that the big ships can’t get into. Because there are only 600 to 700 passengers on the ship, when they all go into the port, there isn’t the overcrowding that there can be when there are multiple ships in a port and all the ships carry 2500+ passengers. Also, many of the stays in port are longer, some being overnight stays which let you experience the night life of the port.
Most Luxury Lines have a time on board the ship where you can learn about the enriching insights of the local cultures that you will be visiting. Exploring the culture can encompass many areas like Religions, Cuisine, Architecture, History and Government. This will allow you to enjoy more about your port.
Another way they have a Destination Focus is to offer a World Cruise that can last for months. These cruises usually start somewhere in the US, like Miami, and then will start on a trip around the world. They will usually go through the Panama Canal and the Suez Canal, visit ports in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific. They will also sell segments of the World cruise in 20 to 30 days in length.
If you enjoy fine cuisine, a Luxury Cruise could be one of your favorite vacations. You will have 5-Star restaurants to choose from every day. You can choose from the Main Dining room or many specialty restaurants with innovative menus. Most of the Luxury Cruise Lines have partnered with world-renowned chefs to make a menu that is divine. And the Sommeliers will help you pair your wine with the meal that you choose.
The seating in the Dining Rooms and Restaurants will let you choose between a table for two for an intimate dinner experience, or seating for larger groups where you can join other shipmates. The Wait staff will make sure that you have the type of dining experience that you are looking for.
One of the best things about the Luxury Cruises is that most things are included in your Cruise Fare. Do you want to spend an evening of fine dining, entertainment and relaxing without having to present payment for every drink or extra? Most things are included and you never have to worry about a future payment.
Here are some of the things can can be included:
· Bar Drinks
· Taxes & Fees
According to the Cruise Line, some or all of these might be included. That is one of the things that make Luxury Cruising more affordable. If you normally pay extra for all these things while on your cruise, then you should look into a Luxury Cruise to see for yourself how the pricing compares to a Mass Market cruise.
Are you ready to step up to a Luxury Cruise Line? There are several to choose from and they each have things in which they specialize and make their brand special. I can help match your personality with a cruise line. Over the next few weeks we will be exploring some of these Luxury Cruise Lines and spotlighting their areas of expertise.