Get Inspired / Asia / South America / Europe Inspire Magazine - Uncharted Blissful Travel Share on email Print this article Share on Facebook Get Inspired / Asia / South America / Europe Inspire Magazine - Uncharted Blissful Travel story by: Inspire Magazine In an industry that prides itself on fine opulence and exceptional customer service, luxury style cruising offers yet another way to push the envelope of how blissful travel can be. Contemporary cruises often refer to their vessels as luxury ships, and with their majestic size, lavish dining rooms and grand bars, it’s hard to disagree. However, one night aboard a truly luxury liner and you’ll understand the difference. Whether it’s the fine dining, reduced queue time or 5-star or higher ships, passengers who sail on a luxury-style cruise struggle to ever go back to cruising any other way. A luxury cruise ship will usually be smaller than regular cruise ships and there are typically three sizes: ‘boutique’ (50–100 passengers), ‘small’ (200–600 passengers) and ‘mid-size’ (600–1100 passengers). Compare these numbers to that of resort-style cruise ships that carry up to 5000 guests! With a higher ratio of space per passenger, luxury cruise ships generally have a better layout and design, and you won’t see any dark ‘inside cabins’. Instead you’ll find ritzy suites complete with stateof- the-art equipment, premium linens and toiletries, and luxurious bathrooms. This all sounds grand but yes, there is the small matter of price. Whilst a luxury cruise does come with a heftier price tag compared to a regular cruise, you need to keep in mind you’re not comparing apples with apples. For the most part, there’s more included in the up-front price of a luxury cruise, such as beverages, selected shore excursions, wines with dinner and gratuities. Plus, there’s all the finer details including superb food exceptionally presented, incredible personalised service and stately quarters. The focus will be firmly fixed on providing you with a memorable experience worthy of being called luxury. Your on-ship experience won’t be the only highlight of your journey. Travel-lovers will be pleased to learn itineraries are more destination focused. Luxury cruises will usually spend more time in ports than their counterparts and the smaller ships can get into the niche ports that bigger ships can’t. There are a number of luxury cruise lines to choose from, each offering their own spin on this truly exceptional way to travel. Here’s three of the best. Seabourn Elegant Adventure For adventurous travellers craving an enticing mix of exploration and luxury, Seabourn may be the cruise line for you. Discover legendary landmarks and hidden gems as you explore ports rarely visited by larger ships without having to forgo the luxury. Elegant, but with an unpretentious atmosphere, Seabourn is at the top of the luxury cruise game with intuitive service, superb cuisine and inclusive extras such as open bars throughout the ship, coffees, cocktails and no charge for specialty dining or fitness classes. Seabourn operates three 208 passenger vessels, Seabourn Legend, Pride and Spirit as well as three 450 passenger ships, Seabourn Odyssey, Quest and Soujourn, which feature all-suite accommodation and are well equipped with all the latest and greatest amenities, even a bottle of champagne to welcome you onboard. Private balconies and expansive suites are plentiful. Outside your quarters you’ll find numerous contemporary facilities including a vast spa, open deck, sunning and pool areas and a variety of restaurants. Although Seabourn attracts a broad mix of ages, it’s generally a firm favourite amongst the 40-plus audience who are well-travelled. Cultural Enlightenment on Silversea Cruises If you want to do more than just scratch the surface when you travel, Silversea Cruises offers the opportunity for unparalleled cultural enlightenment. Lecturers travel on almost every cruise, offering insights into the lives and cultures of the people and destinations on the itinerary. With a staff-to-guest ratio of nearly one to one, you’ll find every detail will be taken care of from the moment you step onboard. Silversea‘s fleet consists of eight ships, from the intimate and roomy 296-guest Silver Cloud and Silver Wind to the four-year-old, 540-guest Silver Spirit. Whichever the vessel, Silversea ships come in one class: all-suite, all-inclusive, all-frills, all-thetime and are all equipped with a well-stocked library and a fine spa and fitness centre. The Silversea fleet also has ships that combine luxury and bold adventure, such as the Silver Explorer, which has all the amenities of a luxury ship but also an ice-rated hull and carries eight zodiac vessels for up-close explorations. All Inclusive Indulgence with Regent Seven Seas Cruises A significant benefit of luxury cruising is the opportunity to leave the credit card and room key in your pocket, knowing almost everything is already paid for. Even by luxury cruise standards, Regent Seven Seas Cruises is uniquely inclusive, offering not only fine dining, gratuities, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, but also hotel stays, selected shore excursions and onboard entertainment with Broadway-style performances. It’s a relaxed luxury experience and despite having a specified dress code, guests typically dress elegantly for dinner. Accommodation on the Regent Seven Seas Cruises fleet consists exclusively of suites featuring wireless capabilities, down comforters, Egyptian cotton linens, flat screen TVs and DVD players. Higher end suites have iPod music systems and free-toborrow iPads. Plus, two of the three Regent Seven Seas ships even feature private balconies to all their suites. If you like to keep on top of your fitness while you’re on holiday, take advantage of the gym facilities, or indulge in some pampering at the onboard spa - both operated by the renowned Canyon Ranch SpaClub. Demographics on Regent Seven Seas Cruises differ depending on the type of sailing, with shorter itineraries attracting a younger audience. However, in general the age range encompasses couples from the mid-30s to 80s but primarily professional and retired couples aged 60-plus. 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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