We discuss endlessly the major players in the mass cruise market offering active and adventurous family cruise vacations such as Royal Caribbean Group, Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Lines, MSC Cruises and Celebrity Cruises.
But what you want to experience something a cut above the rest, an ultra luxury cruise? And what exactly can you expect?
Discover the ultra luxury side of cruising
How different is it really to be on board an ultra luxury cruise line compared to a regular mainstream cruise or indeed an ocean liner?
The ship you choose will still have the same type of facilities that you find on the larger ships, for example a gym, spa, lounges, formal dining rooms and buffet style dining, promenade decks and sports activities.
There will also be the tradition elements of a regular cruise such as gala evenings or dinner at the Captains Table.
And even though you travel luxury, outside influences can still affect your cruise experience, such as poor weather conditions minimising time on deck or even affecting port calls and excursions.
The big different you will notice on your ultra luxury cruise is the exclusivity. This is what you are paying for. Forget value for money in the traditional sense. But when spending all that extra money on an ultra luxury cruise, you should expect the following as a step-up from the ordinary.
A smaller size ship, a more intimate cruise
Don’t expect a massive suite. The size of the suites must correspond to the size of the ship. And the more exclusive luxury cruise ships are smaller. Do, however, expect great quality linens, luxury finishes and attention to detail in your cabin.
When you’re paying for exclusivity you can expect the unusual. You will reach smaller ports, such as the smaller, ancient ports in the Greek Isles, more unusual destinations and the opportunity to experience ports that are certainly off the beaten cruise trail. And very often you reach the heart of your destination quickly, with less transfer time.
On board your ultra luxury cruise you will find less activities and more low-key entertainment. There are lecture lounges, sometimes a putting green, and relaxation classes if you want to join in and meet new friends looking for a similar experience to you.
Personal service and attention to detail
Ultra luxury cruises are very much an adult experience. They are more elegant, calm and sophisticated. Due to the high price tag you are less likely to find families with children, indeed there are no child clubs or activities on board.
The personal service with attention the smallest detail is a wonderful perk. Everything from remembering your favorite drink to knowing how you like your steak cooked, the staff on board are highly trained. And there is often a crew/guest ratio of one to one.
Noticeably the group numbers for shore excursions is considerably lower than with the large mainstream cruise ships. Rather than 30 to 40 guests, you will find 15-20 guests on average enjoying an excursion. The whole experience is much more tailormade to suit you and your fellow travelers in your group. It really is a wonderful experience with knowledgable, professional guides.
An adult experience
Not aimed at families with children. Less of a party atmosphere, more sophicated, no child facilities on board, less families due to high price tag.
No sales on board for photo opps, beverage packages etc.
Ultra luxury cruise lines
So where can you find such a cruise? Look out for news and offers from these cruise lines. The best way to do this is to sign up for the cruise lines newsletters.
Seabourn Cruise Line
Seabourn is an all-suite luxury cruise line offering the all inclusive cruise experience. They have a small, modern fleet that visits unusual destinations with exclusive, personal excursions (which, incidentally, are not included in the all inclusive). They often have guests speakers on board, presentations, fantastic musical events and visits to iconic sights. And it doesn’t get much better than that.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Regent Seven Seas, owned by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, have no more than 750 guests on each of their cruise ships. This luxury cruise line takes you in quiet, elegant style to corners of the world that you may never expected to visit.
For example on a Australia and New Zealand cruise, Regent Seven Seas takes you to the remote Norfolk Island and the visually stunning beaches of Whitsunday Island, getting right into the small ports and landing on the islands doorstep.
Silver Seas Cruises
Silver Seas Cruises is operated by Royal Caribbean Group. Offering award winning all inclusive cruises on a fleet of 10 intimate ships, they cover 900 destinations across all 7 of our continents, including the Antarctica. So save up, plan ahead, and book yourselves on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure to this astonishing continent.
With inclusions such as shore excursions and wi fi, these cruises of no more than 600 guests are a far cry from your regular sun-and-sand vacation. And Silver Seas have just built their first destination specific ship, names Origin, specifically for expedition cruising in the Galapogos Islands. This ship now joins the luxurious Silver Moon, and Silver Dawn as the 3 latest ships in the fleet.
Crystal Cruises offer some of the world’s best first class luxury experiencing with attention to the smallest details. This will of course be reflected in the higher base price of your cruise fare, but you’ll be expecting that with a luxury cruise.
Your cruise experience can be extended with well thought out shore excursion programs, both pre- and post-cruise. Their wilderness and expedition excursions are completely customizable to create the ultimate personal, tailor-made adventure.
Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection
Ritz-Carlton are not just synonymous with luxury style hotels. The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection offers cruises on board suite-only yachts plus customized air and land packages.
With a maximum capacity of only 298 guests on board each yacht, you will certainly stand out from the crowd. Expect luxurious accommodation, personalized service and remarkable destinations.