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Luxury Cruising Is it a state of mind?

Discussion to include, but not limited to: Abercrombie & Kent • American Safari • Aqua Expeditions • Azamara • Bora Bora Cruises • Compagnie du Ponant • Cruise Asia Ltd. • Crystal • Cunard • French Country Waterways • Go Barging • Hapag-Lloyd • Hebridean • Heritage Line • Lindblad Expeditions • Oberoi Group • Oceania • Orion Expedition Cruises • Paul Gauguin Cruises • Regent Seven Seas • Sea Cloud Cruises • Seabourn • SeaDream • Silversea • Star Clippers • Travel Dynamics • Uniworld • Windstar

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  #21  
Old December 31st, 2012, 03:06 PM
carygirl carygirl is offline
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We actually switched from luxury lines (Regent, SilverSeas) to mainstream (Celebrity, NCL) with the rule that we only look at the 'new' ships.

My 2 cents.
1. The luxury lines have more original itineraries, especially in Africa and India. If you want to venture to some destinations, you can't go on a mainstream ship.
2. The food at the specialty restaurants aboard NCL / Celebrity, were just as good as the luxury lines to us. One luxury ships we were on had a Michelin rated restaurant, but noone seemed to use it.
3. The food can be heavy at the main dining room on both types of ships. Luxury lines load up on butter and cream. Main stream lines load up on oil.
4. Very few kids on luxury lines
5. We've met interesting people on all of our cruises, but hands down the biggest characters (in a good way) have been on luxury lines.
6. Depending on your style of entertainment, you'll have a clear preference. Luxury lines will have a talented concert pianist and main stream will have a broadway style show.

We used to cruise for the 'cruise experience'. For that I'd say the luxury lines win hands down. Now we cruise to spend time together as a family. For that the mainstream lines suit us better.
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  #22  
Old January 1st, 2013, 01:42 PM
wripro wripro is offline
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Which is why it's wonderful to have options.
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  #23  
Old January 16th, 2013, 03:58 PM
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I've been reading this thread with interest. I have only cruised mass-market and I am now a loyal fan of Celebrity. We have only cruised in higher end suites: Celebrity Suite and Royal Suite on X. I have been considering trying a luxury line, but I have a few concerns you all might be able to address. I am a very private person, and I don't enjoy socializing much. That is what I love about a suite, I spend a lot of time in my cabin and on my private balcony. I do enjoy walking around in public areas and going to shows in the evening. I do not drink alcohol, so I don't sit around and socialize at the bars. (I know, I sound like a barrel of fun, :/) I am afraid on a luxury line, with far fewer passengers, I will be in a sort of "forced intimacy" situation where I would be very conspicuous and uncomfortable having to make conversation with strangers. I do enjoy sitting at a large dinner table and making dinner conversation with others, but I don't extend that socializing into the rest of the cruise day. I have stayed at lovely intimate bed and breakfasts and inns and had a terrible time, because of the small, forced-family type experience. Would it be like that on a luxury line? I guess what I can appreciate about Celebrity is being able to be anonymous in the crowd, if that makes sense. I also enjoy good service, but dislike being smothered in service. What do you think? Is a luxury line doable for an introvert like me?
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  #24  
Old January 16th, 2013, 05:44 PM
LindaM LindaM is offline
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Originally Posted by Greensuz View Post
I've been reading this thread with interest. I have only cruised mass-market and I am now a loyal fan of Celebrity. We have only cruised in higher end suites: Celebrity Suite and Royal Suite on X. I have been considering trying a luxury line, but I have a few concerns you all might be able to address. I am a very private person, and I don't enjoy socializing much. That is what I love about a suite, I spend a lot of time in my cabin and on my private balcony. I do enjoy walking around in public areas and going to shows in the evening. I do not drink alcohol, so I don't sit around and socialize at the bars. (I know, I sound like a barrel of fun, :/) I am afraid on a luxury line, with far fewer passengers, I will be in a sort of "forced intimacy" situation where I would be very conspicuous and uncomfortable having to make conversation with strangers. I do enjoy sitting at a large dinner table and making dinner conversation with others, but I don't extend that socializing into the rest of the cruise day. I have stayed at lovely intimate bed and breakfasts and inns and had a terrible time, because of the small, forced-family type experience. Would it be like that on a luxury line? I guess what I can appreciate about Celebrity is being able to be anonymous in the crowd, if that makes sense. I also enjoy good service, but dislike being smothered in service. What do you think? Is a luxury line doable for an introvert like me?
You would do fine. Just because there are fewer people doesn't mean you have to socialize with them. It's not like a river boat with a hundred some people. You can still be anonymous, just in a smaller crowd!

I HATE B&B's. I don't understand why people would want to hang out for meals etc with the owners and the few other guests. I like my privacy!
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  #25  
Old January 30th, 2013, 12:39 AM
brittany12 brittany12 is offline
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One thing you might want to consider is whether a cruise line...luxury or not....permits smoking in the cabins and in bars. Crystal does, and it is not just annoying for non smokers.......about 95 % of the population....but also dangerous to one's health to breath in second hand smoke. When there are smokers present, the smoke permeates air in corridors outside cabins and floats in the air in bars. The exhaust fans just do not do the job. My information is that HAL does not permit smoking. Most every cruise line today.....luxury or not, large or small, takes the more modern and concerned approach about the hazards of smoke....including the risk of fire at sea....and stopped allowing it. Check carefully.
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  #26  
Old January 30th, 2013, 09:09 AM
calliopecruiser calliopecruiser is online now
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One thing you might want to consider is whether a cruise line...luxury or not....permits smoking in the cabins and in bars. Crystal does, and it is not just annoying for non smokers.......about 95 % of the population....but also dangerous to one's health to breath in second hand smoke. When there are smokers present, the smoke permeates air in corridors outside cabins and floats in the air in bars. The exhaust fans just do not do the job. My information is that HAL does not permit smoking. Most every cruise line today.....luxury or not, large or small, takes the more modern and concerned approach about the hazards of smoke....including the risk of fire at sea....and stopped allowing it. Check carefully.
Not all non-smokers care as much as you do about whether or not smoking is allowed on the ship -- I'm a non-smoker who doesn't find it annoying to be in a room (or a table) with smokers, and one who considers it only one of the many, many dangers I face in life (I could choke on food! I could get assaulted by a drunk! I could trip and fall down the stairs! I could get get lung disease from the pollution spewed out by cars, buses, airplanes and, yes, cruise ships!).

A chacun son gout. Each has his preferences. One size never fits all.
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  #27  
Old January 30th, 2013, 02:44 PM
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Regent and Silversea do not permit smoking in cabins or balconies or restaurants. There is at least one bar that has a smoking section.

IMO, you can be as social as you would like to be on luxury cruise ships. I do recommend avoiding the really small ships (209 passenger ships on Seabourn and 296 passenger ships on Silversea). With open seating you can ask to be seated at a table for 4, 6, or 8 where others will join you. Even if you went to a lounge for a cup of coffee or tea, you would not feel the need to speak with anyone.
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  #28  
Old February 10th, 2013, 01:52 AM
Oceans&Rivers Oceans&Rivers is offline
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Not all non-smokers care as much as you do about whether or not smoking is allowed on the ship -- I'm a non-smoker who doesn't find it annoying to be in a room (or a table) with smokers, and one who considers it only one of the many, many dangers I face in life (I could choke on food! I could get assaulted by a drunk! I could trip and fall down the stairs! I could get get lung disease from the pollution spewed out by cars, buses, airplanes and, yes, cruise ships!).

A chacun son gout. Each has his preferences. One size never fits all.
If you are not a smoker (including cigars), do you travel with a smoker or are you attracted to someone shipboard who is a smoker? Do you like to fraternize with some officers who smoke? I am trying to understand why you emphasize so often that you are a nonsmoker and yet attack nonsmokers on Cruise Critic.

Most of us who are nonsmokers are very put off by having to experience the stench of smoke nearby, not to mention the true unhealthiness of secondhand and thirdhand smoke toxins which remain in fabrics after smokers have left.

Fully enclosed smoking rooms like the cigar lounge on Crystal seem to me to be a better solution.

Unfortunately, Crystal still allows smoking inside staterooms, and that can be very problematic.

Last edited by Oceans&Rivers; February 10th, 2013 at 02:07 AM.
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  #29  
Old February 10th, 2013, 08:09 AM
calliopecruiser calliopecruiser is online now
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Originally Posted by Oceans&Rivers View Post
If you are not a smoker (including cigars), do you travel with a smoker or are you attracted to someone shipboard who is a smoker? Do you like to fraternize with some officers who smoke? I am trying to understand why you emphasize so often that you are a nonsmoker and yet attack nonsmokers on Cruise Critic.

I don't attack nonsmokers for not smoking, but I've attacked the attitude of some nonsmokers that seeks to marginalize smokers or, worse, paint them as somehow immoral or uncaring for their smoking. I have traveled with smokers in the past (though those friends are now married and travel with their families); as for "am I attracted to" a smoker....hmmm.....there's almost always more than one quality that attracts or repels me, so I'd say it's possible. I certainly have no problem with "fraternizing" or socializing with smokers, assuming they are people I'd otherwise want to fraternize or socialize with.

Most of us who are nonsmokers are very put off by having to experience the stench of smoke nearby, not to mention the true unhealthiness of secondhand and thirdhand smoke toxins which remain in fabrics after smokers have left.

That's OK, and I have no problem with people's opinion as a personal choice (even when I don't like it) -- my problem is when they want or expect other people to make choices or business decisions based on their opinions on the subject.

I guess I'm not like most people, and I'm expressing my opinions.

Fully enclosed smoking rooms like the cigar lounge on Crystal seem to me to be a better solution.

Unfortunately, Crystal still allows smoking inside staterooms, and that can be very problematic.


We all have choices about where to spend our discretionary funds, and everyone can vote with their wallet. This isn't a required service and they're not the only choice on the sea. If it bothered me, I certainly would make the choice to sail with someone else, telling Crystal why I was giving my money to another company. But I wouldn't expect Crystal to change just because I don't like what they're doing.
I hope that makes sense the way I formatted this.
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  #30  
Old February 10th, 2013, 09:10 PM
Oceans&Rivers Oceans&Rivers is offline
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I hope that makes sense the way I formatted this.
Yes, it was very easy to follow. Thank you.

However, I do disagree with your comments about choosing a line based on its (current) rules. If I like or love a cruise line and/or it's ships' designs or food or whatever and am willing to spend substantial money on cruises, then I have every right to suggest changes I would like to see made before I open my wallet or influence others to do the same.

If there is something truly important (not always just to us, but to the health, comfort and welfare of others who might be less inclined to speak out), for example a clean and smoke free environment, I consider it my duty to be persistent.

I occasionally fraternize with smokers (extremely rarely, since the only smokers I know are those I have met on some ships), but only in the areas of the ship where they cannot smoke. In my normal life I don't see or smell smoke ever, and have not even seen an ashtray since a cruise on Crystal in 2008 in the Avenue Saloon. Because of the smoking in that venue, we were not able to enjoy the Avenue Saloon at all. I vowed never to cruise on Crystal again until the Avenue Saloon went totally smoke free. I am happy to say that has happened. It's not nearly enough, but it's a small step in the right direction.

By the way, in 2011 we had two cruises booked to Alaska, one on Crystal and one on Oceania. We hoped to do both cruises, but Crystal had not moved to make the Avenue Saloon smoke free by the time final payment date rolled around, so I did do just as you mentioned. I cancelled the Crystal cruise and told them that we would take only the Oceania cruise, which we did. We enjoyed ourselves very much, and will cruise again on Oceania, but we hope also to add a Crystal cruise.

Last edited by Oceans&Rivers; February 10th, 2013 at 09:26 PM.
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  #31  
Old February 10th, 2013, 09:52 PM
calliopecruiser calliopecruiser is online now
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However, I do disagree with your comments about choosing a line based on its (current) rules. If I like or love a cruise line and/or it's ships' designs or food or whatever and am willing to spend substantial money on cruises, then I have every right to suggest changes I would like to see made before I open my wallet or influence others to do the same.

If there is something truly important (not always just to us, but to the health, comfort and welfare of others who might be less inclined to speak out), for example a clean and smoke free environment, I consider it my duty to be persistent.
You absolutely have a right to suggest changes, but you shouldn't feel they have any sort of duty to accept those changes if those ideas don't fit into their current plans or thoughts. You're a small part of a big audience......everyone always has the right to make their opinions known, but there's a difference between telling a company what you'd like and thinking the company is wrong because it didn't listen to YOU. Kind of egotistical, I think. And that's the impression I'm getting from many of the posters here.

Feel free to tilt against windmills, but you're not going to get any kudos from me or any moral points for that "duty". Like you, I rarely have any smoking around me, but I still prioritize enjoying people over avoiding cigarette smoke. I don't choose to "hang out" in a place filled with tobacco smoke, but I wouldn't decline going there if someone I was with suggested it.
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  #32  
Old February 10th, 2013, 11:11 PM
Oceans&Rivers Oceans&Rivers is offline
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As a nonsmoker, especially as one who lives where smoking bans are extremely strict, I am not part of a small audience, but rather a very large majority, and Crystal's current smoking policy is far too lenient. Many have said so, and i agree with them.

I am going to go out on a limb here and say that I think my gut feeling may have been right. I still sense that you perhaps want to hang out with certain officers (many of whom unfortunately began smoking at young ages as they come from countries where smoking rates are or were much higher) and the only way you can do that is to enter one of the areas where they are allowed to hang out and smoke. Actually, I was told by Crystal a couple of years ago that they no longer permitted officers to smoke in the Avenue Saloon, but I don't know if that is true as I did not cruise on Crystal during that time period.

Passengers who happen to smoke by and large must frequent many places onboard where they are not permitted to smoke and would be happy to meet you in non-smoking venues. Only a very few would do so begrudgingly, and they would be the ones who don't care about your health or physical comfort. Nice smokers don't force or cajole or invite non smokers into areas where the non smokers would be forced to inhale smoke.

As for the word "duty", it implies "moral obligation", and I believe that cruise lines have a moral obligation to provide a healthy environment for all. If they choose to also include a fully enclosed smoking room (without requiring entertainers to perform there), then sobeit, but by and large, cruise ships—like resorts and hotels on land—should provide the same protections the majority of passengers who pay premium prices to cruise on their ships have come to expect at home.

P.S. Kindly do not tell me what I should or should not feel.
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  #33  
Old February 11th, 2013, 08:25 AM
calliopecruiser calliopecruiser is online now
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I am going to go out on a limb here and say that I think my gut feeling may have been right. I still sense that you perhaps want to hang out with certain officers (many of whom unfortunately began smoking at young ages as they come from countries where smoking rates are or were much higher) and the only way you can do that is to enter one of the areas where they are allowed to hang out and smoke.

Huh.....interesting gut feeling, but way off. I haven't been on a cruise in over 20 years, and I have no idea if I'd want to hang out with certain officers of the cruise or not (why the italics?). Whether at home or traveling, I don't choose my companions based on their smoking habits (or their employers), and I certainly don't decide ahead of time whether I want to hang out with smokers (or not)

Passengers who happen to smoke by and large must frequent many places onboard where they are not permitted to smoke and would be happy to meet you in non-smoking venues. Only a very few would do so begrudgingly, and they would be the ones who don't care about your health or physical comfort. Nice smokers don't force or cajole or invite non smokers into areas where the non smokers would be forced to inhale smoke.

I would not be offended if a person invited me to a place where smoking was allowed and (this is my problem with this whole line of thought) I think it's horrible that anyone would take offense to being asked to join a smoker in a place where one could smoke. I am not offended when a person who drinks asks me to a bar (even though I drink very little and really don't like being around drunk or even tipsy people), and I feel perfectly happy either going or declining. Asking should not be a negative thing, and nice non-smokers should be willing to decline an invitation to a place they don't want to go without attaching a negative opinion onto the other person. We're all allowed to ask for what we want, as long as we're willing to (politely) accept "no" as a response.

I would also say nice non-smokers don't force or cajole smokers into areas where they would not be permitted to smoke......in fact, nice people don't force or cajole anyone into going anywhere they don't want to.

As for the word "duty", it implies "moral obligation", and I believe that cruise lines have a moral obligation to provide a healthy environment for all. If they choose to also include a fully enclosed smoking room (without requiring entertainers to perform there), then sobeit, but by and large, cruise ships—like resorts and hotels on land—should provide the same protections the majority of passengers who pay premium prices to cruise on their ships have come to expect at home.

Ah, then I expect you are equally determined to go after all sorts of other environmental polluters with equal vigour, all over the world. That is, if you really felt it was a moral obligation that companies should provide a healthy environment to all. Or is it only for the companies that you want to patronize?

P.S. Kindly do not tell me what I should or should not feel.


When did I do that? I try very hard not to tell people how they should feel, especially since feelings and emotions aren't under our control (I believe)
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  #34  
Old February 14th, 2013, 06:21 PM
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One thing you might want to consider is whether a cruise line...luxury or not....permits smoking in the cabins and in bars. Crystal does, and it is not just annoying for non smokers.......about 95 % of the population....but also dangerous to one's health to breath in second hand smoke. When there are smokers present, the smoke permeates air in corridors outside cabins and floats in the air in bars. The exhaust fans just do not do the job. My information is that HAL does not permit smoking. Most every cruise line today.....luxury or not, large or small, takes the more modern and concerned approach about the hazards of smoke....including the risk of fire at sea....and stopped allowing it. Check carefully.
Yes, that would be something to consider! One of rather reasons I like Celebrity is their smoking policy - no smoking in cabins, on balconies, or in most public areas. There are a very few designated smoking areas. I very much dislike being around cigarette and cigar smoke, or in a cabin or hotel room where smokers have been.
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  #35  
Old February 20th, 2013, 03:59 PM
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OceansandRivers: Have to agree with your point of view. Since 2004, entire countries have prohibited smoking in public places and inside most buildings -- most notable are England, Ireland and Northern Ireland. Here is a link to states with smoking bans in the U.S. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of..._United_States . I didn't count how many states are on the list but there are quite a few.

Since the majority of cruisers are not permitted to smoke in their workplace (some even are asked to go outside if they smoke at home), it makes no sense to expect to smoke in your stateroom/cabin/suite on a cruise ship?

Regent has not permitted smoking in suites for at least three years. Silversea implemented a policy of no smoking in suites this year. Both ban smoking on balconies.

IMO, it isn't a matter of non-smokers being intolerant or insensitive to smokers (too many of us are former smokers). Most of us just want you to keep your "smoke" to yourself. If I don't have to breathe in your smoke, I have no problem with you smoking.

To get back on topic (sorry -- just had to comment on the last few posts:-) we almost made the decision to stop sailing Silversea and stick with Regent -- mostly due to Regent's loyalty program. We went as far as to cancel our 2013 Silversea cruise. After rethinking the situation (the "situation" being lack of new itineraries on Regent), we changed our mind and rebooked Silversea. It would have been nice if we rethought the situation before cancelling and throwing out all related paperwork on the cruise:-)
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Itineraries Sailed: Alaska (2 sailings) / Baltics / Barcelona – Dubai / Cape Town – Rio / E. & W. Caribbean (3 sailings) / Ft. Lauderdale – Lima / Istanbul-Venice / London-Monte Carlo / Miami – Barcelona / Mumbai – Bali / New York-Southampton / Singapore to Sydney / Stockholm - Copenhagen / Tahiti / Venice-Rome / Vancouver-Tokyo

Upcoming cruises: / Rome to Lisbon - 10 nights - Mariner / Miami to Miami - 14 nights - Riviera / Rio to Barcelona - 18 nights - Mariner / Cape Town to Cape Town - 15 nights - Mariner / Explorer - 2016

Last edited by Travelcat2; February 20th, 2013 at 04:02 PM.
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