Best "Luxury" non-luxury Cruise Line

Luxury Cruising
Is it a state of mind?
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#21
CA, USA
14,501 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
If you want the whole package try a real luxury cruise line. That is what this board is supposed to be about, not alternatives which simulate luxury on a mass market product.
#22
17 Posts
Joined Jul 2017
Ok so than what would you recommend for a luxury cruise line that has the whole package? The entertainment, food, service? From what I have read here many of the true luxury lines lack in things to do thatís why I am asking.
A response such as ďwell than book a luxury cruiseĒ doesnít answer the question
#24
CA, USA
14,501 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
Originally posted by Salf777
Ok so than what would you recommend for a luxury cruise line that has the whole package? The entertainment, food, service? From what I have read here many of the true luxury lines lack in things to do thatís why I am asking.
A response such as ďwell than book a luxury cruiseĒ doesnít answer the question
Seabourn, Silversea. Everyone on board gets treated the same and it's all inclusive. Seabourn is my personal favorite but everyone has different opinions as you will no doubt see in the followup posts to this one.
#26
102,011 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
There are only a few cruise lines that provide a luxury line experience throughout the ship.

Yes some have a section of the ship dedicated to a more luxurious experience but the reality is most people do not stay exclusively in that section.

You still have to board and disembark the ship.

Go on excursions or just get off and on the ship in port.

Go to various areas of the ship (casino, shopping, some of the restaurants used by everyone, shows and the list goes on and on and on.

It even impacts the size of the ship. If you want something that is on the smaller or the smaller end of the medium range that is typically found on luxury lines.

Some of the other cruise lines that have some ares that are luxury are not luxury cruise lines. Some fall in the premium category and some are fall in the mainstream category.

In the end each person has to figure out what works for them.

Keith
#27
4,058 Posts
Joined May 2005
Originally posted by Keith1010
There are only a few cruise lines that provide a luxury line experience throughout the ship.

Yes some have a section of the ship dedicated to a more luxurious experience but the reality is most people do not stay exclusively in that section.

You still have to board and disembark the ship.

Go on excursions or just get off and on the ship in port.

Go to various areas of the ship (casino, shopping, some of the restaurants used by everyone, shows and the list goes on and on and on.

It even impacts the size of the ship. If you want something that is on the smaller or the smaller end of the medium range that is typically found on luxury lines.

Some of the other cruise lines that have some ares that are luxury are not luxury cruise lines. Some fall in the premium category and some are fall in the mainstream category.

In the end each person has to figure out what works for them.

Keith


This is kind of what Iíve been thinking. I have friends who insist that MSC Yacht Club or NCL Haven is the way to go, but Iím not convinced. You are still on a ship with 3000 or so other people and that has to influence the experience

We are booked on the Viking Sea for a cruise in March because we loved the river cruise we did with them last year, but Iím still exploring other options, trying to see which of those options might fit our cruising style.

Iíve been looking mostly at Seaborne and Regent. Iím thinking that Crystal and Silversea might be a bit more formal than we want. Another friend likes Seadream Yacht Club, but most of their ships donít have balconies and we do like a balcony.

I donít need a butler, not sure I even need a concierge. I do want nice surroundings and accommodations, good to great food in a nice but not too formal atmosphere, and a smaller ship. I donít need a casino, photographers, a massive shopping area, Broadway or Vegas shows or crowds. Iím good with smaller venues with live and lively music. I donít need pools crammed with masses of kids or drunk adults. I do want lovely relaxing spaces.

We are good with smart casual, but not wild about formal nights - well, Iím okay with it, but weíre retired and DH is done with dress shirts, ties and jackets.

Weíll see how it goes on Viking and probably stick with them if it goes well. I do want to have other options, but at the price of a luxury cruise, I donít want to invest a lot of money, then find out the experience isnít what I was looking for.


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Kath ...


Upcoming Cruises

Viking Modi -Grand European- 9/17/18
Azamara Journey - Bermuda & the Old South - 4/10/19
Viking Sea - Eastern Seaboard Explorer - 9/26/19

Past cruises
Viking Sea - West Indies Explorer- 3/17/18
Carnival Sunshine - Canada & NE - 9/9/17
Viking Mani - Rhine Getaway - 8/26/16 - photos & review
Carnival Pride - Eastern Caribbean - 4/23/16 - photos
Carnival Pride - Eastern Caribbean - 6/14/15 review & photos
Carnival Splendor - Canada - 9/1/14 photos
Carnival Splendor - Eastern Caribbean -6/10/13 review & photos
Carnival Miracle - Eastern Caribbean - 6/7/11 photos
Carnival Victory - Canada 6/12/07 Photos
Carnival Legend - Eastern Caribbean - 6/5/06 - Fabulous! Photos -
Voyager of the Seas - Bermuda - 5/15/05
Carnival Legend - Cruise to Nowhere - 2004
Carnival Victory - Cruise to Nowhere - 2003
Carnival Triumph - Cruise to Nowhere - 2002

#28
CA, USA
14,501 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
CyberKat,

When you booked your Viking River Cruise was it your first? You enjoyed that and were willing to invest without knowing what you would get. Why not give the luxury lines the same benefit of the doubt? Try a shorter cruise where the fare is not that high so give it a shot. At least then you'll know whether it's something you like or not.
#29
102,011 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
CyberKat, Henry has given you solid advice. Consider taking a shorter luxury cruise.

The other thing is study the ships. There is a big difference in size between say Sea Dream and the four major luxury lines. The experience will be totally different.

So I do recommend studying the layouts of the ships so you can also determine what is offered.

My believe though is you will never know what the experience will be like until you try it.

My other believe is over time our own tastes change.

Keith
#30
Sacramento, California
1,443 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
Originally posted by Cyber Kat
This is kind of what Iíve been thinking. I have friends who insist that MSC Yacht Club or NCL Haven is the way to go, but Iím not convinced. You are still on a ship with 3000 or so other people and that has to influence the experience

We are booked on the Viking Sea for a cruise in March because we loved the river cruise we did with them last year, but Iím still exploring other options, trying to see which of those options might fit our cruising style.

Iíve been looking mostly at Seaborne and Regent. Iím thinking that Crystal and Silversea might be a bit more formal than we want. Another friend likes Seadream Yacht Club, but most of their ships donít have balconies and we do like a balcony.

I donít need a butler, not sure I even need a concierge. I do want nice surroundings and accommodations, good to great food in a nice but not too formal atmosphere, and a smaller ship. I donít need a casino, photographers, a massive shopping area, Broadway or Vegas shows or crowds. Iím good with smaller venues with live and lively music. I donít need pools crammed with masses of kids or drunk adults. I do want lovely relaxing spaces.

We are good with smart casual, but not wild about formal nights - well, Iím okay with it, but weíre retired and DH is done with dress shirts, ties and jackets.

Weíll see how it goes on Viking and probably stick with them if it goes well. I do want to have other options, but at the price of a luxury cruise, I donít want to invest a lot of money, then find out the experience isnít what I was looking for.


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We prefer a less formal atmosphere too.

We did Crystal for the first time last year because Windstar didn't have cruises there. We didn't find it too formal. Cruises less than 10 days, IiRC, don't have a formal night. It was larger than we are used to at ~1000 passengers, but that didn't cause any issues.

Next year, Windstar is cruising Alasks and I'm happy to be returning on the Star Legend.

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#31
4,058 Posts
Joined May 2005
Originally posted by wripro
CyberKat,



When you booked your Viking River Cruise was it your first? You enjoyed that and were willing to invest without knowing what you would get. Why not give the luxury lines the same benefit of the doubt? Try a shorter cruise where the fare is not that high so give it a shot. At least then you'll know whether it's something you like or not.


Not my first cruise and we did a river cruise with them, so I know I like their product and their style. Iím investigating other lines, but if I like Viking ocean as much as I liked the river cruise, we will stick with them, but I will keep checking just in case something intriguing comes along.


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Kath ...


Upcoming Cruises

Viking Modi -Grand European- 9/17/18
Azamara Journey - Bermuda & the Old South - 4/10/19
Viking Sea - Eastern Seaboard Explorer - 9/26/19

Past cruises
Viking Sea - West Indies Explorer- 3/17/18
Carnival Sunshine - Canada & NE - 9/9/17
Viking Mani - Rhine Getaway - 8/26/16 - photos & review
Carnival Pride - Eastern Caribbean - 4/23/16 - photos
Carnival Pride - Eastern Caribbean - 6/14/15 review & photos
Carnival Splendor - Canada - 9/1/14 photos
Carnival Splendor - Eastern Caribbean -6/10/13 review & photos
Carnival Miracle - Eastern Caribbean - 6/7/11 photos
Carnival Victory - Canada 6/12/07 Photos
Carnival Legend - Eastern Caribbean - 6/5/06 - Fabulous! Photos -
Voyager of the Seas - Bermuda - 5/15/05
Carnival Legend - Cruise to Nowhere - 2004
Carnival Victory - Cruise to Nowhere - 2003
Carnival Triumph - Cruise to Nowhere - 2002

#32
Germany
1,099 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
Neither of SeaDream's two ships have balconies, but I have found that there is enough space that I don't miss not having one. I've always been able to find a quiet spot when I wanted one. Your mileage may vary, of course.
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Our first cruise- Vision of the Seas- June 4, 2009 Baltics
#33
Point Richmond CA
7,102 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
Originally posted by vistaman
if you do not need "drinks "Oceania is an option as the drinks and wines are onerous on that line and a 18 % service charge.



Silversea is still rather formal but entertainment is very low - that aspect is not so good on Oceania neither



Maybe Crystal is an option and as you never did a cruise on Crystal before they went to all inclusive - you will not see the changes ... it is still good however it was far better before all inclusive.

But the basic cabins are rather small - recently Crystal made a lot of promotions.



Entertainment on Seabourn is also not great .



On Oceania the soda's are free , on the other 3 it is all inclusive ( basic wines and drinks )


Actually, on O you have the option of one of 3 "O Life" perks: OBC, excursions mealtime wine/beer (which can be upgraded to unlimited booze for $20/day including the tips. Remember that internet and specialty restaurants and all other beverages are included as well as airfare or an air credit. Smoking is extremely restricted and there are no art auctions, photogs or prom nights.


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#34
Washington State
25,845 Posts
Joined Dec 2005
Originally posted by Flatbush Flyer
Actually, on O you have the option of one of 3 "O Life" perks: OBC, excursions mealtime wine/beer (which can be upgraded to unlimited booze for $20/day including the tips. Remember that internet and specialty restaurants and all other beverages are included as well as airfare or an air credit. Smoking is extremely restricted and there are no art auctions, photogs or prom nights.


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Agree with you somewhat - even though Oceania (IMO, calling it "O" may not make sense to people new to Oceania) is not considered a luxury cruise line. Also the "3 O Life" perks make little sense - even to me and I've sailed on Oceania. Would you mind posting the options that are offered under the "O Life" plan? Thanks much.
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My opinions are based on 31 Regent Cruises over 14 years
Total nights: Regent = 415 (Titanium) / Silversea = 36 / Oceania = 26 / Celebrity = 7 (Upcoming 71 nights: 1 Splendor, 2 Explorer, 1 Voyager, 1 luxury cruise)
Sailings per ship: Explorer (4), Voyager (12), Mariner (11), Navigator (3), PG (1), Silver Spirit (1), Silver Whisper (1), Silver Shadow (1), Oceania Riviera (2), NCL Bliss christening cruise (1), Celebrity Infinity (1)

Itineraries Sailed: Alaska (3 sailings) / Baltics / Barcelona Ė Dubai / Barcelona - Miami / Cape Town Ė Rio (2 sailings) / Cape Town - Cape Town / E. & W. Caribbean (4 sailings) / CHRISTENING CRUISE - Explorer - Monte Carlo-Monte Carlo / Ft. Lauderdale Ė Lima / Istanbul-Istanbul / Istanbul-Venice / London-Monte Carlo / Miami Ė Barcelona 2 sailings) / Miami-Miami (Amazon) / Mumbai Ė Bali / New York-Southampton / Rome to Lisbon / Singapore to Sydney / Stockholm - Copenhagen / Tahiti / Venice-Rome / Vancouver-Tokyo / Vancouver to San Diego
#35
Point Richmond CA
7,102 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
Originally posted by Travelcat2
Agree with you somewhat - even though Oceania (IMO, calling it "O" may not make sense to people new to Oceania) is not considered a luxury cruise line. Also the "3 O Life" perks make little sense - even to me and I've sailed on Oceania. Would you mind posting the options that are offered under the "O Life" plan? Thanks much.


Firstly, all that one needs to know as regards "luxury" is that Oceania is a world apart from mass market lines. In particular, if you compare "premium" Oceania to its sister "luxury" line Regent, you'll find the only major difference in the inclusiveness of particular items. Regent includes things like booze and basic excursions while Oceania includes a choice of one of several "no extra charge" items.

Often, if you add all Oceania options that would be included on Regent (I.e., comparing apples to apples), you may find that Oceania's price is a true value at hundreds to thousands less than Regent for basically the same product.

Do a mock booking on O website and you'll see the specific "O Life" perks for that particular cruise (extent of perks depends on itinerary.

Currently, O Life includes unlimited internet (one account per cabin), economy airfare (or air credit) and a choice of X $ OBC or X # of excursions or basic alcohol (wine/beer at meals) per cabin. The basic alcohol option choice can be upgraded to unlimited booze for $20/person/day (which includes the tip). As always, all other beverages, specialty restaurants, etc are included at no extra charge.

For example, our next cruise is Sydney to L.A. in May 2018. We opted for $2000/cabin in O Life OBC and the air credit of approx $1000/person. TA is adding $1000 in refundable added OBC and gratuities at about $1350 over 38 days. Given that we prefer a mix of ship/private excursions and not drinking daily on a long cruise, the OBC perk from O made the most sense for this cruise.

Always worth mentioning is the other value of what you don't get on Oceania: no photogs, art shows, chair hogs, obnoxious smokers, canned music, mediocre food, the list goes on ....

Though basically Oceania loyalists, we always compare a proposed itinerary with all cruise line segments. We have yet to find any comparison of "net daily rate" in light of quality value (particularly the food) that would make Oceania a bad choice.


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#36
CA, USA
14,501 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
Originally posted by Cyber Kat
Not my first cruise and we did a river cruise with them, so I know I like their product and their style. Iím investigating other lines, but if I like Viking ocean as much as I liked the river cruise, we will stick with them, but I will keep checking just in case something intriguing comes along.


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At some point you took a first Viking cruise without knowing if you'd like it. Turns out you did. If you're this concerned then stick with Viking.
#37
4,058 Posts
Joined May 2005
Originally posted by wripro
At some point you took a first Viking cruise without knowing if you'd like it. Turns out you did. If you're this concerned then stick with Viking.


I did a lot of research before choosing Viking for our first RIVER cruise with them. I know what I like and thatís the purpose of the research. I knew some other lines wouldnít be a good fit just by reading comments others made regarding those lines and also by reading through the information on the lineís website.

Having done the river cruise, I knew their product suited us, yet I still did research to make sure their river experience would carry through to the ocean cruise. Iím confident that it will.

With the internet itís fairly easy to thoroughly research any vacation before you book. I look at ship photos, cabin photos, descriptions of food. I note the dress code or lack there of. I see whether we are apt to encounter a lot of children or just a few. I look at the included items and see how they compare with things we would value.

So I pretty much know what to expect even before I book. Thatís precisely what Iím doing here. Iím seeing which lines people like and what they like about them, and it helps me see which lines or ships will suit.

So even though we have not sailed with Viking on an ocean cruise, Iím quite confident we will love it. But this is not a Ďtil death do us part relationship . I will continually investigate other lines.

Iím not concerned in the least. I donít know what gave you that impression and frankly I donít understand where your response comes from. Iím just shopping around.


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Kath ...


Upcoming Cruises

Viking Modi -Grand European- 9/17/18
Azamara Journey - Bermuda & the Old South - 4/10/19
Viking Sea - Eastern Seaboard Explorer - 9/26/19

Past cruises
Viking Sea - West Indies Explorer- 3/17/18
Carnival Sunshine - Canada & NE - 9/9/17
Viking Mani - Rhine Getaway - 8/26/16 - photos & review
Carnival Pride - Eastern Caribbean - 4/23/16 - photos
Carnival Pride - Eastern Caribbean - 6/14/15 review & photos
Carnival Splendor - Canada - 9/1/14 photos
Carnival Splendor - Eastern Caribbean -6/10/13 review & photos
Carnival Miracle - Eastern Caribbean - 6/7/11 photos
Carnival Victory - Canada 6/12/07 Photos
Carnival Legend - Eastern Caribbean - 6/5/06 - Fabulous! Photos -
Voyager of the Seas - Bermuda - 5/15/05
Carnival Legend - Cruise to Nowhere - 2004
Carnival Victory - Cruise to Nowhere - 2003
Carnival Triumph - Cruise to Nowhere - 2002

#38
CA, USA
14,501 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
From everything I've heard Viking Ocean cruises are far better than their river cruises so if you enjoyed the latter you should love the former. I guess my reaction came from my own feeling that over analyzing a vacation takes all the fun out of it. I guess that doesn't hold true for you. So enjoy your investigation and enjoy your cruise.
#39
Washington State
25,845 Posts
Joined Dec 2005
Originally posted by Flatbush Flyer
Firstly, all that one needs to know as regards "luxury" is that Oceania is a world apart from mass market lines. In particular, if you compare "premium" Oceania to its sister "luxury" line Regent, you'll find the only major difference in the inclusiveness of particular items. Regent includes things like booze and basic excursions while Oceania includes a choice of one of several "no extra charge" items.

Often, if you add all Oceania options that would be included on Regent (I.e., comparing apples to apples), you may find that Oceania's price is a true value at hundreds to thousands less than Regent for basically the same product.

Do a mock booking on O website and you'll see the specific "O Life" perks for that particular cruise (extent of perks depends on itinerary.

Currently, O Life includes unlimited internet (one account per cabin), economy airfare (or air credit) and a choice of X $ OBC or X # of excursions or basic alcohol (wine/beer at meals) per cabin. The basic alcohol option choice can be upgraded to unlimited booze for $20/person/day (which includes the tip). As always, all other beverages, specialty restaurants, etc are included at no extra charge.

For example, our next cruise is Sydney to L.A. in May 2018. We opted for $2000/cabin in O Life OBC and the air credit of approx $1000/person. TA is adding $1000 in refundable added OBC and gratuities at about $1350 over 38 days. Given that we prefer a mix of ship/private excursions and not drinking daily on a long cruise, the OBC perk from O made the most sense for this cruise.

Always worth mentioning is the other value of what you don't get on Oceania: no photogs, art shows, chair hogs, obnoxious smokers, canned music, mediocre food, the list goes on ....

Though basically Oceania loyalists, we always compare a proposed itinerary with all cruise line segments. We have yet to find any comparison of "net daily rate" in light of quality value (particularly the food) that would make Oceania a bad choice.


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Just returned from a Regent cruise and saw your post. I agree that Oceania is a world apart from mass market Iines. However, I strongly disagree that the only major difference between Regent and Oceania is Regent's inclusiveness. There is a huge difference IMO (having cruised both lines). Everything from Regent having all-suite ships, food dramatically better than Oceania (except Oceania's specialty restaurants), everyone treated the same once you are on the ship (i.e. no special areas reserved for upper suites)...... I could go on and on. Instead, I'll say what is similar or the same ..... excellent service, similar excursions (except on Oceania you pay approximately 3 times as much for a "premium" excursion than you do for Regent's special excursions), beautiful ships (although I only like Oceania's newest ships) and I'm sure that there are other similarities but they are far from the same product (and were not meant to be - any more than NCL is like Oceania). Just my two cents on the issue.

I've heard great things about Viking Ocean and would try them or Oceania before jumping into the luxury ships.
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My opinions are based on 31 Regent Cruises over 14 years
Total nights: Regent = 415 (Titanium) / Silversea = 36 / Oceania = 26 / Celebrity = 7 (Upcoming 71 nights: 1 Splendor, 2 Explorer, 1 Voyager, 1 luxury cruise)
Sailings per ship: Explorer (4), Voyager (12), Mariner (11), Navigator (3), PG (1), Silver Spirit (1), Silver Whisper (1), Silver Shadow (1), Oceania Riviera (2), NCL Bliss christening cruise (1), Celebrity Infinity (1)

Itineraries Sailed: Alaska (3 sailings) / Baltics / Barcelona Ė Dubai / Barcelona - Miami / Cape Town Ė Rio (2 sailings) / Cape Town - Cape Town / E. & W. Caribbean (4 sailings) / CHRISTENING CRUISE - Explorer - Monte Carlo-Monte Carlo / Ft. Lauderdale Ė Lima / Istanbul-Istanbul / Istanbul-Venice / London-Monte Carlo / Miami Ė Barcelona 2 sailings) / Miami-Miami (Amazon) / Mumbai Ė Bali / New York-Southampton / Rome to Lisbon / Singapore to Sydney / Stockholm - Copenhagen / Tahiti / Venice-Rome / Vancouver-Tokyo / Vancouver to San Diego
#40
CA, USA
14,501 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
Not the mention if you want a similar amount of space in your cabin on Oceania as you get on Regent you have to book at least a penthouse, thereby bringing the cost up to the same on both lines, if not more on O.