Experience the ultimate luxury on the high seas; from floating boutique hotels to the feeling of owning your own private yacht. Choose from unusual exotic itineraries, see some of Europe’s gems or discover the rugged beauty of the Hebridean Islands.
Learn piano, polish your golf, go to caviar and Champagne beach parties, or go diving with the son of Jacques Cousteau. Blogger Jackie de Burca suggests these cruise options, which are amongst the most sensational luxury cruises available.
Silversea Cruises – almost infinite possibilities and traditional luxury
The smaller ships of Silversea Cruises can enter most ports around the world, opening up almost infinite possibilities. Each of the fleet’s six ships has ocean-view suites, beautiful interiors, Egyptian cotton bed linen, butler service and Bulgari bath products. The service is impeccable, yet friendly, and you can enjoy discussions about fine wines with your fellow passengers, as the wine continues to flow. The authentic gourmet food is excellent and guests enjoy the traditional luxury on offer.
Crystal Cruises – an exceptional fine dining experience and lots to learn
Renowned for an exceptional fine dining experience, Crystal Cruises have 2 ships which both carry around 1000 passengers. Choose from the exclusive collection of wonderful boutique restaurants and be amazed at the incredible service offered by the crew. Crew members have been trained to memorise your preferences and anticipate passengers’ needs.
Take part in enrichment programs on board, which include learning to play piano, polishing your golf with the ship’s PGA pros, learning another language, and wellness classes.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises – sophisticated, youthful, floating boutique hotels
The three ships of Regent Seven Seas are like floating boutique hotels. The vibe is youthful and well-heeled. Two of the three ships are all-suite and all-balcony, and butler service comes with many of the staterooms. Sophisticated well-off couples enjoy first rate dining experiences in a good choice of restaurants, plus the cost includes shore excursions, all tips, drinks and meals at all on-board venues as well as airfares from selected gateway cities.
The ships are mid-sized, carrying between 500 to 700 passengers. European and Alaskan summer cruises are popular with families, but generally the guests are sophisticated, younger couples looking for laid-back stylish luxury.
Seabourn Cruises – elegant but unpretentious, exotic itineraries
The smaller Seabourn ships offer intimacy, carrying only 208 passengers and visiting some of the most exotic ports in the world. The newer ships are about twice the size, yet still not too big, and contain many contemporary amenities. Standard cabins in these 450 guest ships are 300 square feet, and there are plenty of private balconies. There is a vast spa and fitness centre, with classes which are included in your cruise cost.
The dreamy cuisine offers both the traditional and the innovative. Service is intuitive, and the feeling is elegant but unpretentious. The older ships tend to attract older guests whereas the newer ones have a larger forty something crowd. Seabourn has a reputation for outstanding shore excursions, plus there is a caviar and champagne beach party.
SeaDream Yacht Club – almost like your own private yacht
This is a truly superb experience, which almost feels like you own your own private yacht. The 110 guest yachts have superb cuisine and service in sumptuous surroundings. The SeaDream cruises are top of the list for the most all inclusive cruise options, with round the clock caviar included if you feel like it, as well as tips, cocktails and watersports from the ship’s platform.
Guests of all ages enjoy casual, yet refined elegance while doing what they please at sea. Don’t expect a packed itinerary, this is a more personal experience, but do look forward to the weekly picnic which happens on a private beach.
Paul Gauguin Cruises – Paul Gauguin – French Polynesia and the South Pacific all year round
Lovely, good sized staterooms, many of which have their own verandahs combined with wonderful food and service makes the Paul Gauguin ship a top choice for cruising French Polynesia and the South Pacific at any time of the year. The 332 guest ship was designed specifically for French Polynesia, so the art and interiors reflect your itinerary right back at you.
The crew are super knowledgeable about the area. You can enjoy expert lectures, and Jacques Cousteau’s son, Jean-Michel, comes aboard to lead dives and lecture many times during the year. During the family season, children between 9 and 17 can sign up to become Ambassadors of the Environment, which gives them some amazing hand-on experiences.
Carnival Cruises – Carnival Spirit – one for the single ladies and families
The Carnival Spirit underwent a massive refurbishment in 2012, which cost $7 million and walking around the ship, it seems like you’re taking a journey around the world. The design style is inspired by so many worldwide genres such as Art Deco, English manor house, Egyptian, French, Shangai and Chinoise.
Complete with its own wedding chapel, Nouveau Steakhouse, a gym which is like a Roman amphitheatre, lots of entertainment for all ages; the experience on the Carnival Spirit is a fun one. There are play areas and kids clubs for the younger family members. It offers a more casual type of luxury. However for single ladies there are escorts provided to accompany you to dinner.
Carnival Spirit cruise ideas, 3 to 11 nights South Pacific cruises
Hebridean Island Cruises – Hebridean Princess – fit for royalty
The British Queen celebrated her 80th birthday on board the Hebridean Princess in 2006, and she’s been back on board since. The ship only takes 49 guests around the highlands and islands of Scotland, so it is very intimate. It is somewhat like being on board a small refined, beautifully decorated country house. There are 38 crew members for the 49 guests, so you can imagine the level of personal service.
This cruise experience is very different to larger ships, with almost no entertainment in comparison. It is perfect for those who enjoying learning more about nature, geography, history, art and architecture.