Whether you are budget conscious or have money to burn, there is a cruise for you. There are luxury cruise lines, middle-market premium cruise lines and mass-market value oriented cruise lines.
Crystal, Regent Seven Seas, Yachts of Seabourn, Silverseas, Cunard, SeaDream Yacht Club and Azamara are typical luxury cruise lines. Each of these cruise lines offers gourmet cuisine, elegant service and many personal amenities. Average age of luxury cruisers is 60+.
Crystal Cruises (www.crystalcruises.com) is the recipient of many of the travel industry’s highest awards, including "World's Best Cruise Line" and "Best Large Ship Line" in Travel and Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler surveys. Three beautifully appointed ships cruise ports around the world. Excellent onboard enrichment programs.
Regent Seven Seas (www.theregentexperience.com) sails to over 300 ports on six continents, including Antarctica. Onboard ambiance is up-scale, but not uptight. And, all gratuities, select wines and spirits, soft drinks and juices are included in cruise fares.
Yachts of Seabourn (www.seabourn.com) provide the ultimate in small-ship ultra-luxury cruise vacations with intimate all-suite ships carrying a maximum of 208 guests. Level of service is legendary. Added value perks include: complimentary wines and spirits, free Massage Moments on deck, enrichment speakers, Movies under the Stars, water sports from a unique, fold-out Marina and free exclusive shore experiences on each cruise.
Silversea Cruises (www.silversea.com) features all oceanview suites, most with a private balcony and open-seating dining options. On-board cruise costs are all-inclusive.
Cunard Line (www.cunard.com) caters to sophisticated, seasoned travelers who enjoy the finer things in life. The Queen Mary 2 debuted in 2004 as the new flagship of “The Most Famous Ocean Liners in the World” and is the only ship offering regularly scheduled transatlantic service. The Queen Elizabeth 2 sails a World Cruise and round-trip Southampton voyages.
SeaDream Yacht Club (www.seadream.com) boasts that their crews “Splendidly Spoil” guests making them feel they are on their own private mega-yacht. Seadream’s twin mega-yachts offer seven to fourteen day Caribbean, Mediterranean and South American voyages. Fares are all-inclusive onboard cruise costs including: open bars, gratuities, water toys and rounds of golf in exotic ports.
Azamara (www.azamaracruises.com) is a new player in the luxury cruise market. Affiliated with Celebrity Cruises, the company operates two sleek ships carrying just 694 guests to out-of-the-ordinary destinations. Highlights include: butler service for every stateroom, unique shore excursions and enrichment programs and gourmet specialty dining.
Cruise fares on luxury cruise lines are typically significantly higher than value oriented lines. However, even if your travel funds are limited, don’t rule out luxury cruising. Compare the benefits of all-inclusive pricing with a luxury cruise lines with a la carte onboard extras with other cruise lines. Visit the websites for luxury cruise lines and check spotlight offers and specials. Put your travel agent on alert for bargains. If your travel dates are flexible or you can sail on short notice, you might discover you can lavish in luxury for less than you think.
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