What are the luxury cruise lines?

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Luxury Cruising
Is it a state of mind?
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#1
666 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
I am trying to figure this out by reading what is already on this board, but still confused. THanks for any help.
#2
Washington, DC
1,641 Posts
Joined May 2006
In alphabetical order: Crystal, Regent Seven Seas, Sea Dream, Seabourn, Silversea. Premium-plus: Azamara, Oceania, Windstar. There is general consensus on the which are the luxury lines; the premium+ and premium are more fluid.
#4
85,181 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
To get a sense of the lines from Cruise Critic for each of the luxury cruise lines that were mentioned go to the respective cruise line boards. Also, go to the area to read some of the reviews as well. And, often it is helpful to go to their own web sites.

Keith
#5
2,600 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
The top luxury cruise ship has consistently been the Europa of Hapag-LLoyd Lines.

Although the primary clientele are German, there are many dual-language cruises on the Europa.
#6
755 Posts
Joined May 2010
I read Paul Gauguin also is a luxury cruise ship/line, but only sails in the South Pacific (primarily Tahiti). Cunard is often listed as a luxury line as well, whether you think so or not. Usually people say the definition of a luxury cruise ship is great food, large space-to-passenger ratio, all-inclusive fare, excellent service, and many activities onboard but not all cruisers agree on that. I personally don't see how some of the lines listed belong in the luxury category based on what I know about them (for example, no balconies are on the Seabourn triplets) but according to my definition of luxury, Crystal is #1 for now.
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Andrea
Future Cruiser

Looking forward to cruising!
#7
Nottingham,United kingdom
868 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
Originally posted by ActiveTraveler
I read Paul Gauguin also is a luxury cruise ship/line, but only sails in the South Pacific (primarily Tahiti). Cunard is often listed as a luxury line as well, whether you think so or not. Usually people say the definition of a luxury cruise ship is great food, large space-to-passenger ratio, all-inclusive fare, excellent service, and many activities onboard but not all cruisers agree on that. I personally don't see how some of the lines listed belong in the luxury category based on what I know about them (for example, no balconies are on the Seabourn triplets) but according to my definition of luxury, Crystal is #1 for now.
Paul Gaugin is a Regent ship, who are already mentioned.

I believe also that if you had sailed on Seabourn you would definately see why it's classed as a lux line! Size matters on the smaller ships, its about the personal touches, the service and being made to feel like royalty.

There are no balconies on Seadream, but it is classed as one of the most lux lines out there. I think people have to have experienced lines before making judgements. Many find Crystal too big and impersonal, its down to the taste of the individual and what kind of holiday they look for!
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Seabourn Legend 29/06/03 ItalianYacht Havens
Seabourn Legend 25/06/04 Yachtsmans Riviera
Regent Navigator 20/09/08 Mediteranean
HAL Eurodam 30/01/10 Caribbean
Ponant Le Boreal 13/05/10 Monte Carlo GP
Seabourn Odyssey 08/08/11 Greece
Silversea Silver Whisper 11/10/11 New England
Seabourn Spirit 02/09/12 Adriatic
Crystal Serenity 09/05/13 Italian idylls
Seabourn Odyssey 12/07/14 Greek Isles & Croatia
Seabourn Odyssey 04/07/15 Turkey & Greek Isles
Azamara Journey 19/08/16 France,Italy,Malta,Greece
Seabourn Odyssey 15/10/16 Greek Isles
#8
CA, USA
13,545 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
Paul Gauguin is no longer managed by Regent. It is now owned and run by Paul Gauguin Cruises. When we speak of luxury lines there are only five designated ones... Seabourn, Silversea, Regent, Crystal, Sea Dream. Paul Gauguin does not fit into this category and neither does Cunard. Some think the Grills are luxury but they are only a small part of the entire ship which definitely is not luxury. Anyone can determine what they consider to be luxury, for instance to some a Hyatt Hotel is luxurious but it's not a Four Seasons. If it works for you then that's all that matters.
#9
Moon Township, Pa
23,138 Posts
Joined Oct 2000
I totally and completely agree with wripro. I've cruised Cunard in a Queen's Grill Suite and once you leave the Queen's Grill, you're in nothing but a mass market ship. There's no personalized service, no can-do attitude and definitely no superior anything in terms of service.
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Darcie
#10
Indiana
512 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
We've sailed mostly on Royal Caribbean (16), Celebrity & Carnival but would like to branch out and try one of the luxury liners but I'm concerned about "fitting in". I know that Cunard has different "classes" and that anyone would feel comfortable. Is it that way with the other ships?

I know people are people and we don't have a problem making friends on a ship but I also want to feel comfortable and one part of me thinks that "luxury" means, for example, that all clothes come from Nordstrom's rather than J.C. Penney's. I'm probably type-casting which I don't mean to do but am just wondering.

Thanks for any help in putting my mind to rest.
#11
Texas
3,870 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Originally posted by sassy12
We've sailed mostly on Royal Caribbean (16), Celebrity & Carnival but would like to branch out and try one of the luxury liners but I'm concerned about "fitting in". I know that Cunard has different "classes" and that anyone would feel comfortable. Is it that way with the other ships?

I know people are people and we don't have a problem making friends on a ship but I also want to feel comfortable and one part of me thinks that "luxury" means, for example, that all clothes come from Nordstrom's rather than J.C. Penney's. I'm probably type-casting which I don't mean to do but am just wondering.

Thanks for any help in putting my mind to rest.
The true luxury lines don't have "classes" - everyone is treated exactly the same (wonderful!), eat in the same dining rooms, etc.

You will find all kinds of people on the luxury lines - but everyone seems to have the same love for travel and appreciates all the special things offered on the luxury lines.

I have one story about clothing and a luxury line - while in the Crystal Symphony Lido early one morning (6 AM-ish), the man I was sitting with said that his wife didn't like for him to tell people that the tee shirt he was wearing was bought at the Dollar Store. I told him that I wasn't sure that I could continue to sit with him as my tee shirt cost $6 at Target!
#12
Indiana
512 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
Originally posted by Texas Tillie
The true luxury lines don't have "classes" - everyone is treated exactly the same (wonderful!), eat in the same dining rooms, etc.

You will find all kinds of people on the luxury lines - but everyone seems to have the same love for travel and appreciates all the special things offered on the luxury lines.

I have one story about clothing and a luxury line - while in the Crystal Symphony Lido early one morning (6 AM-ish), the man I was sitting with said that his wife didn't like for him to tell people that the tee shirt he was wearing was bought at the Dollar Store. I told him that I wasn't sure that I could continue to sit with him as my tee shirt cost $6 at Target!
Thanks so much. I feel much better. We'll probably be doing a Transatlantic on a luxury line in 2011.
#13
Washington State
21,233 Posts
Joined Dec 2005
Originally posted by ActiveTraveler
I read Paul Gauguin also is a luxury cruise ship/line, but only sails in the South Pacific (primarily Tahiti). Cunard is often listed as a luxury line as well, whether you think so or not. Usually people say the definition of a luxury cruise ship is great food, large space-to-passenger ratio, all-inclusive fare, excellent service, and many activities onboard but not all cruisers agree on that. I personally don't see how some of the lines listed belong in the luxury category based on what I know about them (for example, no balconies are on the Seabourn triplets) but according to my definition of luxury, Crystal is #1 for now.
I agree with most of what you stated, however, not all luxury lines are all-inclusive -- Crystal is the prime example. Europa is also not all-inclusive. Balconies do not define luxury either. Regent has two all-balcony ships and 80% balcony. Some of Silversea's suites also do not have balconies.

The more I think about it, the less the "luxury" ships have in common. Most have open seating -- Crystal does not. About half have large "regular" suites, however, Seabourn's "triplets", Crystal and Europa do not.

The only thing that the luxury cruise lines have in common (not sure about Europa) is that there is no obvious class distinction. Yes, some people have larger suites with butlers, but are treated the same once they leave their suite. Most people on luxury ships do not discuss their business-- rather, discussion is about cruising and travel.

Just my 2 cents!
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Tolerance, compromise, understanding, acceptance, patience - I want those all to be very sharp tools in my shed.
Total nights: Regent = 365 / Silversea = 36 / Oceania = 26 (Upcoming 84 nights: 1 Explorer, 2 Voyager and 2 Mariner)

Sailings per ship: Explorer (4), Voyager (11), Mariner (9), Navigator (3), PG (1), Silver Spirit (1), Silver Whisper (1), Silver Shadow (1), Oceania Riviera (2)

Itineraries Sailed: Alaska (2 sailings) / Baltics / Barcelona – Dubai / Barcelona - Miami / Cape Town – Rio (2 sailings) / Cape Town - Cape Town / E. & W. Caribbean (4 sailings) / CHRISTENING CRUISE - Explorer - Monte Carlo-Monte Carlo / Ft. Lauderdale – Lima / Istanbul-Istanbul / Istanbul-Venice / London-Monte Carlo / Miami – Barcelona 2 sailings) / Miami-Miami (Amazon) / Mumbai – Bali / New York-Southampton / Rome to Lisbon / Singapore to Sydney / Stockholm - Copenhagen / Tahiti / Venice-Rome / Vancouver-Tokyo
#14
316 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
I agree with TC2. The definition of luxury is sometimes a perception. We just took our first luxury cruise (a TA on the Regent Mariner) and although the all inclusive aspect of not signing for things isn't important to some, it made a substantial difference in our experience...much nicer.

Service is a huge element. Staterooms don't have to be huge to be luxurious (but the Seabourn triplets' staterooms are larger than either Crystal or Silversea's 'regulars' at 277sq ft.)...SeaDream's rooms are downright small.

Up until about 18 months ago, I had no idea that such a thing as luxury cruise lines existed and had pretty much sworn off cruising because we really didn't enjoy many of the aspects of the Mass Market lines, particularly the crowds. Now that I've experienced it, I don't think we'll be avid cruisers but we will certainly cruise again.
#15
San Francisco Bay area
1,400 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
I would have never cruised had it not been for a friend's suggestion that we take Crystal to Alaska to celebrate our 20th anniversary. The idea of midnight buffets and 2,000 other guests on a ship did not appeal to me. After sail a way from SF, I was sold on the idea of Luxury cruising. The service, the attention to detail, the great cuisine, the space on the ship made it a great vacation. We have since sailed on Crystal to Mexico 2 times and are booked to go back to Alaska in 2011. Eventually we will try the other luxury lines, but with a 13 year old son, Crystal is the most family friendly line.
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#16
New Hampshire
5,193 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
Originally posted by wripro
Some would also consider the Grill Rooms on Cunard luxury but definitely not the rest of the ships.
I definately look at the "Grills" as luxury. The rest of the ship is standard-premium. We did several trips on Cunard in the premium level. Then we did the Grills last year(again this Nov.27)We noticed you get a much larger space, butler & special lounges/restaurant. It's kind of a throwback to the "class" system. I just feel you get more in room/comfort than on many of the so called luxury lines. True you may have a lot more people, but I don't have issues with that. We drop about $8000 on a Cunard Queens suite.. we get a large cabin(500ft+)the ability to order just about anything we want in the Queens Grill, a butler who takes great care of us. What do you get on Silversea/Crystal for that price? A room less than 350ft & no balcony? Cozy may be some folks idea of luxury, but I like the large space/amenities you get for the price you get.
#17
1,083 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Keith,

I agree with you entirely. After QE2 retired, I have not found any so called "luxury" ships to compete with the wonderful atmosphere in QG. I was quite disappointed by Silversea. It is very ordinary. Even though it is more expensive to travel in QG on the QM2, (compared to Silversea, Seabourn etc.), I think that it is better to spend a bit more money for a better experience. It never worried me on QE2 that there were other classes of accommodation, becauseI was not staying in them. I was quite happy with my large cabin and beautiful QG restaurant.
#18
Washington State
21,233 Posts
Joined Dec 2005
Originally posted by Louise D
Keith,

I agree with you entirely. After QE2 retired, I have not found any so called "luxury" ships to compete with the wonderful atmosphere in QG. I was quite disappointed by Silversea. It is very ordinary. Even though it is more expensive to travel in QG on the QM2, (compared to Silversea, Seabourn etc.), I think that it is better to spend a bit more money for a better experience. It never worried me on QE2 that there were other classes of accommodation, becauseI was not staying in them. I was quite happy with my large cabin and beautiful QG restaurant.
Actually, "keithm" stated that QG is more expensive than luxury lines. I must disagree. . . a 500 sq. ft. suite on a luxury cruise ship w/butler is more expensive on most itineraries (and I'm assuming that he meant $8k/person).

According to Conde Nast and other travel magazines, the luxury lines are Seadream, Regent, Silversea, Crystal and Seabourn. Non-luxury ships do have the "class system" (which I personally dislike). . . . however, having a portion of a ship very luxurious and upscale does not qualify the ship as "luxury".
#19
1,083 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
I think that a lot depends on whether you class Silversea, Seabourn, Regent etc. as being luxury. It seems that Keithm and I do not, so are not satisfied with those lines. It is a personal choice. I think that Cunard QG comes closer to what we are looking for. I agree that no Cunard ship could be described as "luxury" in its totality.
#20
New Hampshire
5,193 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
Originally posted by Travelcat2
Actually, "keithm" stated that QG is more expensive than luxury lines. I must disagree. . . a 500 sq. ft. suite on a luxury cruise ship w/butler is more expensive on most itineraries (and I'm assuming that he meant $8k/person).

According to Conde Nast and other travel magazines, the luxury lines are Seadream, Regent, Silversea, Crystal and Seabourn. Non-luxury ships do have the "class system" (which I personally dislike). . . . however, having a portion of a ship very luxurious and upscale does not qualify the ship as "luxury".
True, the QM2 is not a luxury ship perse, but the Grills definately are. The cost for us this Nov.27 is about $8K.(total) for a Q-suite. As we have sailed only on Cunard so far, our prices are actually about $1000/person less than most(world club perks,I guess)We have met many who have done Silversea. The line sounds excellent overall. The only issue I have, is that the cabins(for the price)are quite a bit smaller than those comparable cabins in the QM2. I'd rather have a large cabin(500+ft)than a smaller cabin, even if the rest of the ship were more luxurious overall. I just kind of like the "British oceanliner feel" though I admit, it's not what it used to be.