Are you accustomed to cruising in suite category accommodations aboard lines such as Celebrity, Princess, and Azamara? If so, it might be time to explore the potential for upgrading to a luxury cruise for your next vacation. Depending on preferences, destination and other factors, the luxury option could prove to be the far better value and experience for your cruise vacation.
Are you a luxury cruiser?: ‘Luxury’ denotes different things to different people and not all premium cruise passengers long for a luxury cruise. If you enjoy the more upscale accommodations and service that your grand suite affords but thrive on an activity-centered onboard atmosphere complete with water parks, climbing walls, Vegas-style production shows, and huge casinos – Regent or Crystal are likely not your cup of Mariage Frèrestea. On the other hand, if an intimate cruise environment featuring 5-star cuisine, personal & intuitive service, and intriguing onboard enrichment programs strikes a chord, you may be one of those cruisers ready to move a step up to that luxury product. If so, you will find your fellow travelers are generally well-traveled and sophisticated, and your itineraries likely to include intriguing, less frequented ports of call.
Value. Many will still hesitate, anticipating that fares may be prohibitive. However, if you are presently booking suite-level accommodations on premium cruise lines, it is very possible – even likely – that you could be money (and value) ahead to move up to that luxury cruise product.
Regent Seven Seas and Crystal are five-star all inclusive luxury cruise lines. ‘All inclusive’ is the key in our equation. Below is an actual comparison of the bottom line for a recent 10-night Mediterranean cruise aboard a well-known premium line versus a similar cruise on an all-inclusive Regent Seven Seas sailing:
Premium cruise: Cruise fare for a Sky Suite on the premium ship priced at a thrifty $3,999 per person. Add air fare Atlanta to Rome ($1,506), fees & taxes ($96), ground transfers ($113), shore excursions ($673), one night luxury pre-cruise hotel ($300), gratuities ($115), cocktails/wine ($288), other beverages ($115), and three nights of dining at the ship’s alternative restaurants ($90) for a grand total of $7,295 per person. “Thrifty”? Surprisingly, not so much.
Luxury cruise: In contrast, a Deluxe Suite on the April 30 sailing of the Regent Seven Seas Navigator Barcelona to Istanbul priced at a hefty $5,499 per person. Fees & taxes added an additional $163. Roundtrip air from Atlanta (included), ground transfers (included), one night luxury pre-cruise hotel (included), gratuities (included), cocktails/wine (included), shore excursions (included), other beverages (included), and alternative dining (included) makes this cruise an exceptional value, coming in at just $5,662.
Conclusion: Of course, there are many variables in any scenario. Fares fluctuate. Personal habits vary one person to the next. But if your spirit responds to the thought of an authentically upscale cruise experience featuring intuitive service, exquisite destinations and gourmet quality cuisine, I suggest you discuss options with your travel consultant when you consider that next cruise. I suspect you will be glad that you did.
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