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Which are the premium cruise lines

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I was told Holland was but not NCL ..I always thought Oceania , Regent etcwere premium and Hal , Ncl , Princess and Celebrity about the same ...yes or no ?

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5 minutes ago, cruisingnewtoit said:

HAL is not premium. It's on the same benchmark has Celebrity & Princess. I'm not sure where NCL falls in there.

 

I see HAL, Princess, and X as cuts above average with a bit older and more refind demographic.  All have far less Millenial nonsense and a far more refined approach to cruising.

 

I see NCL as a budget class ship along with Carnival.  Cram 'em in, load 'em up, and give 'em lots of roller coasters, rock climbing walls, and other "fun stuff".  And then constantly hound the cruisers to buy the latest drink of the day along with the latest picture specials.

Although I have not cruised on them, I too have heard that Oceania, Regent, etc, are considred 'premium'.  If you can afford it, I say go for it.  I'll stick with HAL, X, and Princess, because I feel I get the most bang for my buck on a cruise that meets my demographic and budget.

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I have sailed on Oceania and I found nothing premium about it.  For me it was much like being on a HAL cruise except the crew never smiles.  NCL is definitely mainstream and I think HAL's smaller ships are more exclusive by a touch.  Princess with its mega ships is also mainstream now.  Carnival is the essence of mainstream.  RCL is mainstream - they are floating amusement parks and for that kind of vacation they are fun.  

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27 minutes ago, 1980dory said:

 

I see HAL, Princess, and X as cuts above average with a bit older and more refind demographic.  All have far less Millenial nonsense and a far more refined approach to cruising.

 

I see NCL as a budget class ship along with Carnival.  Cram 'em in, load 'em up, and give 'em lots of roller coasters, rock climbing walls, and other "fun stuff".  And then constantly hound the cruisers to buy the latest drink of the day along with the latest picture specials.

Although I have not cruised on them, I too have heard that Oceania, Regent, etc, are considred 'premium'.  If you can afford it, I say go for it.  I'll stick with HAL, X, and Princess, because I feel I get the most bang for my buck on a cruise that meets my demographic and budget.

 

What is "Millenial nonsense"?

 

Roz

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Last year My DH & I cruised HAL.NA to Alaska. Next year we are cruising X on their Millennium ship to Alaska southbound.

 

I looked at RCCL radiance of the seas. Passed because it will have to many children onboard. 

 

My DH wants to do X because they are going to icy straight point. I wasn't sure about HAL because the ship is the Noordam which is looking tired according to reviews but I was excited because it will be going in for dry dock 2019.

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Trying to put cruise lines into general categories is tricky because there can be a huge variance not just between cruise lines but also between the ships of a line.  Consider a line such as Oceania that has newer vessels designed to O's own premium specs compared to their older "R" ships which do not have cabin sizes normally associated with "Premium."  I consider HAL, X and Princess (all lines that we have cruised many times) as decent mass market lines...but there is no longer much "premium" on those lines.  Viking, "O," and Azamara might fall into some kind of Premium category while lines like Seabourn, Silverseas, and Regent and Sea Dream would likely be some kind of luxury category.  MSC is a very interesting product because we would rate it as a normal mass market line that offers about 5% of their cruisers (Yacht Club) a super-premium or even luxury product.  Some of the NCL ships with Haven Suites might fall into that same category.

 

We recently started a topic about the number of cruise lines folks have booked at one time.  It was an attempt to find out if many cruisers truly "spread their wings" or generally cruise on one or two lines.  It would seem from the many posts there and elsewhere on CC that the overwhelming majority of cruisers only cruise 1 or 2 lines on a regular basis.  Yet these same folks try to compare various lines...most of which they have never cruised or not cruised in the past few years.  On our cruises we have met many folks who trash various lines but when we talk to these folks they often admit they have never even been on the line they trash..or haven't been on that line in more then a decade!  They will say something like, "I would never cruise on Carnival because everyone knows it sucks!"  But they have never even set foot on a Carnival ship.  

 

Hank

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2 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

Trying to put cruise lines into general categories is tricky because there can be a huge variance not just between cruise lines but also between the ships of a line.  Consider a line such as Oceania that has newer vessels designed to O's own premium specs compared to their older "R" ships which do not have cabin sizes normally associated with "Premium."  I consider HAL, X and Princess (all lines that we have cruised many times) as decent mass market lines...but there is no longer much "premium" on those lines.  Viking, "O," and Azamara might fall into some kind of Premium category while lines like Seabourn, Silverseas, and Regent and Sea Dream would likely be some kind of luxury category.  MSC is a very interesting product because we would rate it as a normal mass market line that offers about 5% of their cruisers (Yacht Club) a super-premium or even luxury product.  Some of the NCL ships with Haven Suites might fall into that same category.

 

We recently started a topic about the number of cruise lines folks have booked at one time.  It was an attempt to find out if many cruisers truly "spread their wings" or generally cruise on one or two lines.  It would seem from the many posts there and elsewhere on CC that the overwhelming majority of cruisers only cruise 1 or 2 lines on a regular basis.  Yet these same folks try to compare various lines...most of which they have never cruised or not cruised in the past few years.  On our cruises we have met many folks who trash various lines but when we talk to these folks they often admit they have never even been on the line they trash..or haven't been on that line in more then a decade!  They will say something like, "I would never cruise on Carnival because everyone knows it sucks!"  But they have never even set foot on a Carnival ship.  

 

Hank

Waving my hand about  the Carnival ship. I don't like a lot of children on my ships and CCL is the family ship but I also heard (lol).......I'm going to try an European cruise with them to save some money.

 

I don't like NCL (haven't sailed) drink pckg in that it doesn't cover coffee & smoothies. You have to pay the tax on the perk. NCL does cater to a vegan (I"m a vegan) diet only to vegetarians. You can find vegan entrees on the buffet. Main reason why I won't sail with them.

 

The luxury Cruise lines right now are out of my price range. 

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Posted (edited)
59 minutes ago, Mary229 said:

I have sailed on Oceania and I found nothing premium about it.  For me it was much like being on a HAL cruise except the crew never smiles.  NCL is definitely mainstream and I think HAL's smaller ships are more exclusive by a touch.  Princess with its mega ships is also mainstream now.  Carnival is the essence of mainstream.  RCL is mainstream - they are floating amusement parks and for that kind of vacation they are fun.  

We also have sailed Oceania, on the Riviera and though it was a step above. The cabins were larger than all we have sailed on. The food was far better. The concierge lounge on each deck was a great place ot get a coffee or snack or a paper. The buffet was exceptional and, the specialty restaurants (which are included) are exceptional. Oh and, there was even a laundry facility for guests to use on each deck (washer and dryer).

So yes, we think Oceania is premium compared to NCL, Celebrity and Princess.

Now, we haven ever been on Holland America and are booked for the Panama Canal cruise on Rotterdam next February. I certainly hope that HAL is in the upper range of cruise lines.

Edited by pete_coach

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1 minute ago, pete_coach said:

We also have sailed Oceania, on the Rivearia and though it was a step above. The cabins were larger than all we have sailed on. The food was far better. The concierge lounge on each deck was a great place ot get a coffee or snack or a paper. The buffet was exceptional and, the specialty restaurants (which are included) are exceptional.

So yes, we think Oceania is premium compared to NCL, Celebrity and Princess.

Now, we haven ever been on Holland America and are booked for the Panama Canal cruise on Rotterdam next February. I certainly hope that HAL is in the upper range of cruise lines.

 

It is odd how experiences vary.  I sailed on that same ship last November (2018) and my room was ok and no better than a room on HAL's r or vista class ships.  The food was ok.  The crew was miserable.  All I found was a premium price.  I sailed with 25 very experienced travelers, travelers who all have different styles, the only thing in common was they are very experienced and we all were not thrilled.  Nothing to complain about but nothing to write home about either.  I felt I could have spent far less for the same quality.  I sailed in NCL's smaller ships in the past and was a big fan and had high expectations for the Riviera as it is a smallish ship run by NCL holdings.  

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, Mary229 said:

 

It is odd how experiences vary.  I sailed on that same ship last November (2018) and my room was ok and no better than a room on HAL's r or vista class ships.  The food was ok.  The crew was miserable.  All I found was a premium price.  I sailed with 25 very experienced travelers, travelers who all have different styles, the only thing in common was they are very experienced and we all were not thrilled.  Nothing to complain about but nothing to write home about either.  I felt I could have spent far less for the same quality.  I sailed in NCL's smaller ships in the past and was a big fan and had high expectations for the Riviera as it is a smallish ship run by NCL holdings.  

Absolutely correct "It is odd how experiences vary".

Our experience on Oceania was excellent, including the crew. Everything was laud back, relaxed and first class.

Our experience on NCL was varied. On the Jade, it was great but on the Bliss it was a nightmare (too many people, too many attractions and too little space, too many reservations required and if you got them you were lucky or you did not get to see anything).

On Celebrity, while we enjoyed our cruises immensely, the cost and "extras" were wearing us out.

Oh and, Oceania is completely different than any NCL ship. It is like saying been on Celebrity is like being on Azamara

Edited by pete_coach

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From the ones who havew not been mentioned, Crystal is a luxury line, as is Seabourn,  the Italian Silversea Cruises, the French Compagnie du Ponant (Le Boreal-class ships, etc.), as is the one-ship Paul Gauguin operation in French Polynesia. HAL is not!

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13 minutes ago, Copper10-8 said:

From the ones who havew not been mentioned, Crystal is a luxury line, as is Seabourn,  the Italian Silversea Cruises, the French Compagnie du Ponant (Le Boreal-class ships, etc.), as is the one-ship Paul Gauguin operation in French Polynesia. HAL is not!

We think that HAL is a special case :).  Of all the lines on which we have cruised (15 to date) HAL has the most loyal cheerleaders.  In fact, we nearly fall into that group ourselves although we can bring ourselves to be critical of the negatives.  When you sit at a table on a long HAL cruise and find that if you have 1000 days with HAL you are the junior member of the table..it says a lot about the line's customers.   But we have long disagreed with the HAL fans that insist that HAL is a Premium line...as we think it is simply a decent mass market line.  Among the higher end lines you neglected to mention Sea Dream and Regent which also fit into that category.  There are all some other more European lines such as Hapag-Lloyd that falls into one of the higher categories.   DW and I have long talked about trying Ponant on one of their Antarctica cruises, but since we have a favorite winter home (Puerto Vallarta) our current travel schedule rules out the 7th Continent.

 

Hank

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1 minute ago, Hlitner said:

............................  Among the higher end lines you neglected to mention Sea Dream and Regent which also fit into that category.  There are all some other more European lines such as Hapag-Lloyd that falls into one of the higher categories.   ..............................

 

Hank

 

I did not neglect to mention those Mr. Litner; they were already mentioned earlier in this thread. Although our German friends at Happag-Lloyd are definitely at the higher end of the spectrum as far as service, I would not consider them 'luxury'

 

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3 minutes ago, Copper10-8 said:

 

I did not neglect to mention those Mr. Litner; they were already mentioned earlier in this thread. Although our German friends at Happag-Lloyd are definitely at the higher end of the spectrum as far as service, I would not consider them 'luxury'

 

And then there is Viking...a line that we have yet to try.  Some of our very trusted cruise friends have given us very mixed reviews.  A favorite cousin loves the line (although they were recently evacuated by helicopter from the Viking Sky) but another couple (with very demanding tastes) was less than thrilled.  We have done some river cruises on Viking and were happy with the product.  Probably our favorite personal cruise project is MSC which is expanding so rapidly that it is hard to keep up.  This line is constantly innovating and evolving so that every time you stop aboard their ships it is hard to know what to expect.  One cruise (21 days) on the Divina in the Yacht Club made us immediate fans (of the Yacht Club).  They have 4 new smaller ships on the drawing boards which will be operated as a higher end "line within a line" based on the service and quality now delivered in their Yacht Club experience.   We thought it was a lot of fun to be on a Caribbean cruise where Americans were a minority :).  MSC actually had a Production show every night which we found fun.  Compare that to HAL where they have now eliminated all their Production Shows (at least for now).

 

Hank

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Posted (edited)

Is HAL a premium line?  Definitely not.  Premium lines don't offer 15 or so ships and 7 day cruises as low as $300-$400.  HAL is mass market.

 

Having said that we see far more differences between ships, itineraries, food quality and prep, time of travel. length, crew on board, and departure port than we do between any of cruise lines.  We think that you can have a wonderful cruise or a dog of a cruise on any of them.

 

We have had two very good Carnival cruises.  Not at all what was described above.  We have great, and mediocre cruises on HAL, RCI, Princess, Carnival etc.  Sometimes the ship, sometimes the crew, sometimes the time or itinerary.  

 

Price is absolutely meaningless.  We watch competitive pricing when shopping for a cruise.  There is just as much chance on some routes as seeing Carnival or NCL priced above some of the others.  And vice versa.  It has more to do with occupancy algorithms and how welll a ship is selling than anything else.

 

 We have purchased HAL, Princess, RCI, Celebrity cruises from time to time when their pricing was well below any of their competitors...including Carnival or NCL.   It would be a mistake to judge on price.  If so, what would a HAL $400. price for a 7 day Alaska cruise say about HAL???

Edited by iancal

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Posted (edited)

I would rate MSC in the 3 night $199 Carnival category.  A family member of mine used the words "a less classy crowd than HAL".   We did cruise over Christmas (crazy on any ship) and found it to be okay, but not WOW.   We did not do Yacht Club which is apparently better (it was sold out when we booked).  MSC seemed to be less organized and professional than HAL.  They were not prepared for the influx of passengers.  Don't even consider having a drink delivered to you pool side as it won't happen.  The service was meh.  As in, not so bad to complain and get off the ship, but grin and bare it and not book again. The kids club was crazy - they lost a few kids on different occasions from what I heard.  The productions shows were sort of repetitive with some good ones mixed in.  I never knew what type of show we would get - some were good for kids others not, but you wouldn't know until you were at it.

To the person with the comment about too many kids ... you may want to rethink your future HAL cruises as they are marketing kids sail free, along with a lot of family geared things in the advertising.  At this point we only have traveled HAL at school breaks so there have been kids, but not a crazy number of them (200 was the most).  

I would say river cruising is a whole different discussion.  We did a European one on Avalon and it was very classy. 

Edited by RGBFamily

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2 minutes ago, RGBFamily said:

I would rate MSC in the 3 night $199 Carnival category.  A family member of mine used the words "a less classy crowd than HAL".   We did cruise over Christmas (crazy on any ship) and found it to be okay, but not WOW.   We did not do Yacht Club which is apparently better (it was sold out when we booked).  MSC seemed to be less organized and professional than HAL.  They were not prepared for the influx of passengers.  Don't even consider having a drink delivered to you pool side as it won't happen.  The service was meh.  As in, not so bad to complain and get off the ship, but grin and bare it and not book again. The kids club was crazy - they lost a few kids on different occasions from what I heard.  The productions shows were sort of repetitive with some good ones mixed in.  I never knew what type of show we would get - some were good for kids others not, but you wouldn't know until you were at it.

To the person with the comment about too many kids ... you may want to rethink your future HAL cruises as they are marketing kids sail free, along with a lot of family geared things in the advertising.  At this point we only have traveled HAL at school breaks so there have been kids, but not a crazy number of them (200 was the most).  

I would say river cruising is a whole different discussion.  We did a European one on Avalon and it was very classy. 

 

 

How were the MSC P/A announcements? Heard they're in four languages? Italian, English, Spanish and Tibetan? :classic_wink:

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I enjoy HAL and have sailed in the past and will do so in the future.  I would consider it a mass market cruise.  It's style and approach is different to a degree than other cruise lines.  Some of the loyalty is based on those differences.  It is the same for people who prefer Carnival, RCCL, etc.   Having done a Crystal cruise last year and doing one this year, there is a clear difference.  The personnel attention to service, the quality of the food and how the ship operates is different than you would find on most mass market lines.  However, many people do not see the value in the extra cost and are happy to cruise on less expensive cruises lines.  It is all subjective. If you are comfortable with HAL, there is nothing wrong with sticking with them.

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4 minutes ago, Copper10-8 said:

 

 

How were the MSC P/A announcements? Heard they're in four languages? Italian, English, Spanish and Tibetan? :classic_wink:

Tibetan???  Really?  Sign me up!  That's my native language.  And all these translations to English are getting annoying.

It's obvious that much of what I say here is being misinterpreted in the translation.

What is Millenial nonsense?

See the problems this causes?

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8 minutes ago, Copper10-8 said:

 

 

How were the MSC P/A announcements? Heard they're in four languages? Italian, English, Spanish and Tibetan? :classic_wink:

 

Announcements were long, but it was usually so loud I didn't hear them.  😝  
I did know they would be in multiple languages in advance so it didn't bother me either way.  

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8 hours ago, Hlitner said:

And then there is Viking

I've been wondering about them as I recently read an article about one of their ships (Viking Ocean). After reading a smattering of threads on their CC board, I was left with mixed feelings.

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I’ve seen a recent article, which I can’t link to since it’s on a travel agency website, about “premium” cruise lines.   The article names Azamara, Celebrity, Cunard, Holland America, and Oceania. 

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