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Perfecting the Balance of Choice and Style

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Perfecting the Balance of Choice and Style

story by: Mike Williams

Combine the abundance of activities, range of dining options and selection of prime accommodation offered on larger, resort-style ships, with stylish living, impeccable service, ultimate comfort and all-encompassing sophistication and you’re set to enjoy a premium cruise experience.

Ships in this premium category range from small (200-600 guests), mid-size (600-1600 guests) and large ships (up to 3000 guests) but the common theme across all is the high levels of service and elegant touches in every detail.

Dining is a special experience, with table settings made up of premium linen, china and tablewares, and many premium cruise lines also offer specialty fine-dining venues overseen by celebrity chefs. You’ll also have a choice of accommodation ranging from standard cabins with panoramic windows or balconies, to suites that may offer brand name toiletries, the latest plasma TVs and, in some cases, a butler service.

Other hallmarks of premium cruising include: top-quality onboard entertainment, enrichment programmes and lectures, stylish ship interiors and often, more port-intensive itineraries, providing a unique blend of facilities and activities to suit everyone from families to singles and couples. Here’s a taste of some of the experiences you can look forward to on a selection of premium cruise lines.

Princess Cruises®: The Consummate Host
If there’s one TV show that helped make the concept of cruising popular more than any other programme, it was the iconic seventies sitcom The Love Boat which was filmed on Pacific Princess®, a ship from the Princess Cruises fleet. Although the ship was decommissioned some years ago, Princess Cruises still continues to help many holidaymakers realise their dreams and desires thanks to their larger and more amenity-filled ships.

Princess Cruises visits all seven continents and call into more than 300 ports. From exotic locations in Asia including Thailand, South Korea, Japan and Vietnam; to tropical destinations such as the South Pacific, you’ll be spoilt for choice on which part of the world to explore. Princess Cruises also offers itineraries and a wide-array of in-port excursions to popular spots such as Alaska, the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Panama Canal and Mexican Riviera.

Travellers of all ages will find a journey with Princess Cruises to suit their travel style. The smaller ships in their fleet, Pacific Princess® and Ocean Princess®, cater to around 680 guests and are great for the more mature holidaymaker as they offer longer, less hurried cruise experiences. The 111-day World Cruise scheduled in 2015, travels to places such as Los Angeles, Malaysia, Dubai and Spain and is perfect for those wanting to immerse themselves with a diverse range of destinations and cultures.

Princess Cruises successfully balances cruise traditions with innovations. From offering set dining times as well as the more flexible Anytime Dining to the unique Movies Under the Stars, expansive spas and fitness centres, kids clubs for 3-17 year olds, and entertainment venues like casinos, discos and nightclubs, Princess Cruises provides you with the flexibility to create your own personal cruise experience

Holland America Line: Take Your Love of Art to the Seas
Holland America Line has a great taste of all things creative and innovative, providing a luxury experience for passengers for more than 140 years. Explore a wide range of destinations including Alaska, the Mediterranean, Northern Europe and the Panama Canal aboard this fleet of arty, colourful ships. Each ship offers extensive art-collections, creating an onboard ambience that sets it apart from any other cruise line. You can enjoy a self-guided walking tour which can be downloaded to your media player, highlighting an eclectic collection valued at tens of millions of dollars.

You can delight in Holland America Line’s awardwinning service, with one crew member to every two guests. Every stateroom also comes with ‘signature touches’ which include spacious, elegant rooms, luxurious beds and premium linens, TVs with DVD players, lighting magnified mirrors and massage showerheads. Your special treatment doesn’t end there, you’ll also have access to 24-hour in-room dining, nightly turndown service and complimentary shoe shine.

Wind down and relax with a visit to the Greenhouse Spa and Salon where you can slip into the therapeutic hydrotherapy pool, treat yourself to the latest exotic body, hair, nail and skin treatments or roll out the yoga mat for some rejuvenating exercise.

The spectacular arts and culture experience offered will keep you entertained through your voyage with wine tastings, cooking classes, live shows from some of the world’s leading culinary experts and workshops on digital photography, video editing and web skills all on offer. On Holland America Line you can turn your brilliant holiday into a well-informed learning experience too.

Cunard: Toasting the ‘Golden Age’ of Cruising
Rewind back to the golden days of cruising with exquisite dining, glamorous gala balls and ultimate grandeur in a classic cruise with Cunard. Dating back 170 years, Cunard has a strong tradition of luxury so expect nothing but refined service and elegance. Everything about Cunard is royal, from the chandelier-laden Queens Room, the largest ballroom at sea, to the old worldly feel of the wood-paneled library.

Cunard has three ships in its fleet, the aptly named Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria. These cross the Atlantic and also offer voyages in the Mediterranean, the British Isles and North West Europe, and the Far East among others. While Cunard caters to the more mature travellers who take pleasure in the traditional style of cruising, they are also well-equipped to meet the needs of families. Queen Mary 2, Cunard’s flagship, offers a variety of kid-friendly facilities such as ‘The Zone’ which provides a range of activities including sports competitions, game consoles and arts and crafts, for kids aged 1-17 years old. They also have a 3D cinema, planetarium, computer centre, wine programme and art gallery, keeping cruisers of all ages entertained.

After a day packed with activities and entertainment, you can rest your head for the night in one of the comfortable staterooms or luxurious suites. Additional amenities such as 24-hour room service, interactive TV, bathrobe and slippers, nightly turndown service with pillow chocolates and a daily shipboard newspaper are also supplied, ensuring you’re well looked after during your voyage on one of Cunard’s ‘Queens’.

Oceania Cruises: See the World in a New Light
Be inspired by the splendid cuisine, opulent accommodation and exceptional personalised service that make a voyage with Oceania Cruises one you’ll always remember. Featuring a fleet of intimate and elegant mid-sized ships, Oceania Cruises offers destination focused cruises with overnight and multi-day stays, giving you time to immerse yourself in the culture and history of some of the world’s most alluring ports.

Sailing to more than 350 ports around the world, you can plan trips to cruise highlights such as the Greek Isles, Scandinavia, South America, Tahiti and Africa. Don’t forget to also organise your plans to explore ashore, with an assortment of top land experiences including a visit to the ancient ruins of Greece, a tour of England’s famous castles and a discovery of the Big Apple’s icons such as the Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty.

The dress code is country-club casual and you’re encouraged to dress comfortably, with suits, tuxedos and gowns never required. This means you can enjoy the ultimate comforts available to you without the added headache of what formal dress to wear.

If you’re a foodie, you’ll absolutely love the experiences available as each Oceania Cruise offers the flexibility of open-seating dining in their unique restaurants, and all specialty restaurants are complimentary. Regarded as offering some of the finest cuisine-at-sea and crafted by worldrenowned master-chef and TV personality Jacques Pépin, you can be sure to experience flavoursome menus featuring a mix of French, Italian, Asian and Spanish cuisine. You can also practice your cooking talents at the hands-on Bon Appetit Culinary Centre, expanding your knowledge and appreciation of food.

Cuisine, Comfort, Service and Outstanding Value are the pillars that define Oceania Cruises’ five-star product, and has positioned the line as the cruise company of choice for travellers seeking a truly refined and casually elegant travel experience.

Celebrity Cruises: Experience Modern Luxury
Welcome to a unique holiday at sea that is luxurious, unexpected and unforgettable. Experience award winning dining, exceptional entertainment and activities, world-class spa and fitness facilities and truly extraordinary accommodation. Where else at sea would you find an ice-topped Martini Bar? Or a half-acre of real manicured grass on the top deck? Step aboard a cruise line that overturns all preconceptions and delivers the perfect holiday.

Celebrity Cruises believes that every moment of your holiday should be measured by just how far it takes you from the ordinary. Prepare to be recognised, celebrated and indulged on your journey where you’ll savour, discover and renew your life as never before. On a Celebrity cruise, you’ll find unlimited opportunities to indulge your interests and excite your senses. Take a cooking or language class, marvel at world class entertainment or browse the on board boutiques. Try your luck in the casino, take in a show or enjoy the variety of restaurants, nightclubs and lounges. Or simply relax in spacious and beautifully appointed staterooms. And with nearly one member of staff for every two guests, expect attention to detail and intuitive personal service. Discover for yourself why Celebrity Cruises is the highest rated cruise line in Australia based on the Berlitz Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships 2013

Feeling inspired? Get in touch with your local HOT holiday specialist to find out more. Call 0800 838 747, visit houseoftravel.co.nz....or come instore!

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