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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 July 7th, 2013, 03:14 PM
wripro wripro is offline
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TC2,

In my experience children with nannies are far better behaved because nannies are more responsible in overseeing them than their own parents.
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  #22  
Old July 22nd, 2013, 08:35 PM
editor@cruisecritic editor@cruisecritic is online now
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Hi, Keith! Curious: Why not on your list? Is there something specific about the line that's a turn-off? Have been on Europa (1 so to speak) twice, and there are some good reasons to try it (mostly itineraries that aren't available to those cruising U.S.-oriented lines) and other reasons to avoid. But am curious because I know how well schooled you are in the luxury market....


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Originally Posted by Keith1010 View Post
I would love to tour the ship one day but it's just not on my list to cruise.

Keith
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  #23  
Old July 22nd, 2013, 08:37 PM
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Hi, wripro, just responded to Keith about why he wasn't interested. Very curious about what it is that intrigues you, on the other hand! What do you think a line like Hapag-Lloyd (or, say Le Ponant) will offer that is more interesting than Seabourn, Regent and others. Not a challenge to you, I really want to understand the different perspectives

Thanks.

Carolyn

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Originally Posted by wripro View Post
Whereas I am very interested in cruising with them because I get tired of the same thing over and over. It would certainly be a different experience.

Last edited by editor@cruisecritic; July 22nd, 2013 at 08:38 PM.
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  #24  
Old July 22nd, 2013, 08:40 PM
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Hi, Travelcat. Am heading out Friday for a four nighter on Europa 2 and will report back. Laughing at your comment about the nudity. My other experiences with Europa's cruise line (Hapag-Lloyd) were all pretty normal to this American save for the spa. I was on Europa, having a massage, and when the time came for me to change and get on the table the male masseuse just sort of stood there. I finally said -- you need to go now so I can change Felt somewhat provincial but on the other hand.....

Carolyn

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Originally Posted by Travelcat2 View Post
Finally read a write-up on the Europa 2. It apparently has accommodations for children and their nannies -- not something that U.S. luxury passengers are looking for. The staff speak both English and German and they even offer some excursions with English speaking guides (not many and they were described as being "vanilla".) In the USA Today article (dated July 5th), it sounds as though they are trying but have a long way to go in terms of attracting English speaking passengers.

Last week, the 516 passenger ship was carrying around "a half dozen" Americans.

Another issue could be the German views on nudity. There are coed saunas, steam rooms and showers in the spa. This is something very common in Germany.

Another cultural difference is the way dinner is served. Europeans waiters take food orders first, before taking drink orders. Americans, of course, like their drinks brought out quickly, thank you -- and keep them coming.

If this were a new Silversea, Regent, Seabourn or Crystal ship, we would consider booking (without the quirks and children). They identify themselves with Seabourn. IMO, they are more closely related to Silversea since they are European-owned. Perhaps they could learn something from Silversea in terms of catering to English speaking passengers.
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  #25  
Old July 23rd, 2013, 07:47 AM
Keith1010 Keith1010 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by editor@cruisecritic View Post
Hi, Keith! Curious: Why not on your list? Is there something specific about the line that's a turn-off? Have been on Europa (1 so to speak) twice, and there are some good reasons to try it (mostly itineraries that aren't available to those cruising U.S.-oriented lines) and other reasons to avoid. But am curious because I know how well schooled you are in the luxury market....


Carolyn

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Hi Carolyn, I guess my reservation stems from the fact that all that I read about Europa was that it was more oriented for those outside USA/Canada which I can fully understand because the whole world is not North America cruisers. With the launch of the new ship it seemed like a good opportunity for them to step up their communications and I just have not seen that.

With that said I have read so many positive reviews about Europa and Douglas Ward whose write ups I do have high regard for often says it is the true six star ship of them all.

As I great value your opinion, I will be very interested in your thoughts and if you have a lot of positives I will add it to our list of luxury ships to try out.

Keith
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  #26  
Old July 23rd, 2013, 03:06 PM
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HI Carolyn,

What interests me is that it is different. I'm not saying better, just different and I like to experience different approaches to luxury cruising. I love Seabourn and have hundreds of days aboard them but I also love to try other lines to see what they offer. Hapag Lloyd is truly unique so why not give them a shot?
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  #27  
Old July 23rd, 2013, 06:27 PM
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Carolyn: Really looking forward to hearing about your experiences on Europa 2 -- especially hoping you try another massage:-)

Last edited by Travelcat2; July 23rd, 2013 at 06:27 PM.
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  #28  
Old July 29th, 2013, 07:46 AM
editor@cruisecritic editor@cruisecritic is online now
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Laughing, Travelcat2. I haven't yet decided about the massage

Carolyn

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Carolyn: Really looking forward to hearing about your experiences on Europa 2 -- especially hoping you try another massage:-)
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  #29  
Old July 30th, 2013, 08:29 AM
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Totally agree, wripro. I am enjoying the experience (will write about it shortly, Internet's a bit slow for serious work-related stuff though fine for vacation-minded efforts), though I'm thinking my next holiday cruise will probably be Seabourn. Same concept. Less effort. Especially if what I want is an easy Caribbean holiday.

Carolyn

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Originally Posted by wripro View Post
HI Carolyn,

What interests me is that it is different. I'm not saying better, just different and I like to experience different approaches to luxury cruising. I love Seabourn and have hundreds of days aboard them but I also love to try other lines to see what they offer. Hapag Lloyd is truly unique so why not give them a shot?
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  #30  
Old July 30th, 2013, 01:40 PM
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Carolyn,

I hope you get to sail one of the triplets to the Caribbean before they disappear. They're perfect for the islands.
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  #31  
Old July 30th, 2013, 01:46 PM
Keith1010 Keith1010 is online now
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Carolyn, I would be interested what aspects are above those of other luxury lines, those that are the same and any that fall below what you have experienced. Also, would like to hear about the passenger mix and also the crew.

Keith
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  #32  
Old August 20th, 2013, 04:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by editor@cruisecritic View Post
Totally agree, wripro. I am enjoying the experience (will write about it shortly, Internet's a bit slow for serious work-related stuff though fine for vacation-minded efforts), though I'm thinking my next holiday cruise will probably be Seabourn. Same concept. Less effort. Especially if what I want is an easy Caribbean holiday.

Carolyn
Carolyn, we are waiting with baited breath for your review. Did you post it somewhere else???

TC2 (Jackie)
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  #33  
Old August 24th, 2013, 05:35 PM
NYCSMF NYCSMF is offline
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Default Mulling this one around.

I'm very tempted to take a 7-day western Mediterranean cruise next summer aboard this ship...

I've secured a quote from an agent, and am just mulling it around. It's not inexpensive; for even a standard room it runs about $15K for two on a 7 day cruise. That's with a 5% early booking discount.

I went on a couple cruises back in the 80s with my parents when I was a teenager. I cannot recall the names of the boats now, but they were a let-down. This ship looks beautiful and the itineraries are quite nice. Also, many of the things that I found ridiculous about those earlier cruises seems to have been eliminated from the Happag Lloyd format (no tuxedos and assigned dinner companions, "captains dinner" etc.).

Despite my preference for non-formal attire, I don't want to immerse myself into a too casual scene where people are running around in beach wear all day.

The issues cited by others as reasons for hesitating, like paying for drinks (I don't drink), and being surrounded by non-English speaking passengers actually make me like the idea all the more.

I've looked at Seabourn and am not as excited about their itineraries nor the longer duration. Jumbo ships do not interest me in the least.

While I like the Europa 2 the best so far, any insights into other small ship lines would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
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  #34  
Old August 24th, 2013, 07:29 PM
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If you've not checked out Oceania you may want to since it offers what you are looking for.
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  #35  
Old August 24th, 2013, 11:17 PM
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While I like the Europa 2 the best so far, any insights into other small ship lines would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
Another vote for Oceania
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  #36  
Old August 25th, 2013, 02:02 PM
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Also Azamara.
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  #37  
Old August 25th, 2013, 08:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYCSMF View Post
I'm very tempted to take a 7-day western Mediterranean cruise next summer aboard this ship...

I've secured a quote from an agent, and am just mulling it around. It's not inexpensive; for even a standard room it runs about $15K for two on a 7 day cruise. That's with a 5% early booking discount.

I went on a couple cruises back in the 80s with my parents when I was a teenager. I cannot recall the names of the boats now, but they were a let-down. This ship looks beautiful and the itineraries are quite nice. Also, many of the things that I found ridiculous about those earlier cruises seems to have been eliminated from the Happag Lloyd format (no tuxedos and assigned dinner companions, "captains dinner" etc.).

Despite my preference for non-formal attire, I don't want to immerse myself into a too casual scene where people are running around in beach wear all day.

The issues cited by others as reasons for hesitating, like paying for drinks (I don't drink), and being surrounded by non-English speaking passengers actually make me like the idea all the more.

I've looked at Seabourn and am not as excited about their itineraries nor the longer duration. Jumbo ships do not interest me in the least.

While I like the Europa 2 the best so far, any insights into other small ship lines would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
Unfortunately there are few reviews of Europa 2 from passengers in the U.S. All you seem to be getting are cheerleaders from Oceania and Azamara which, IMO, are not in competition with Europa 2. From my perspective, the big question is whether or not you would be concerned that most of the passengers (around 90%) speak German. Also German passengers have a different way of doing things than those of us in the U.S.

If you are looking for a cruise line that includes alcohol and/or, you may want to look at luxury cruise lines (IMO, Regent). If you would like a premium plus experience, look at Azamara next year when they will become all-inclusive. Of, if you do not drink much and want the most beautiful ship at sea with incredible food (in the specialty restaurants), look at Oceania. Hope this helps:-)
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  #38  
Old August 26th, 2013, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYCSMF View Post
I'm very tempted to take a 7-day western Mediterranean cruise next summer aboard this ship...

I've secured a quote from an agent, and am just mulling it around. It's not inexpensive; for even a standard room it runs about $15K for two on a 7 day cruise. That's with a 5% early booking discount.

I went on a couple cruises back in the 80s with my parents when I was a teenager. I cannot recall the names of the boats now, but they were a let-down. This ship looks beautiful and the itineraries are quite nice. Also, many of the things that I found ridiculous about those earlier cruises seems to have been eliminated from the Happag Lloyd format (no tuxedos and assigned dinner companions, "captains dinner" etc.).

Despite my preference for non-formal attire, I don't want to immerse myself into a too casual scene where people are running around in beach wear all day.

The issues cited by others as reasons for hesitating, like paying for drinks (I don't drink), and being surrounded by non-English speaking passengers actually make me like the idea all the more.

I've looked at Seabourn and am not as excited about their itineraries nor the longer duration. Jumbo ships do not interest me in the least.

While I like the Europa 2 the best so far, any insights into other small ship lines would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
I took the plunge - booked a Southeast Asian cruise on Europa 2 next year. It is an anniversary for us so the expense could be justified. It is about double what we usually pay for an overseas vacation.

I am beyond excited about the trip. Like you I am not daunted by the thought of spending time among non-Americans, and actually look forward to it - kind of a mini-vacation in Germany. Unlike you I do drink alcohol, but I like the Hapag LLoyd reason for not including alcohol in the price; they say the quality would be less than their customer base is known to want. The ship itself looks elegant, and service and food are reported to be superb. Finally the itinerary is unusual, and very appealing.
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  #39  
Old September 6th, 2013, 05:12 PM
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I took the plunge - booked a Southeast Asian cruise on Europa 2 next year. It is an anniversary for us so the expense could be justified. It is about double what we usually pay for an overseas vacation.

I am beyond excited about the trip. Like you I am not daunted by the thought of spending time among non-Americans, and actually look forward to it - kind of a mini-vacation in Germany. Unlike you I do drink alcohol, but I like the Hapag LLoyd reason for not including alcohol in the price; they say the quality would be less than their customer base is known to want. The ship itself looks elegant, and service and food are reported to be superb. Finally the itinerary is unusual, and very appealing.
Like you, I took the plunge. I booked for the western Mediterranean next year. I couldn't find a better 7-day itinerary, and the ship just looks amazing. Also, I prefer not to subsidize the heavy drinking of others in my ticket price.

Many thanks to the rest of you for your suggestions on the other lines, which looked nice as well.
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  #40  
Old November 6th, 2013, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by editor@cruisecritic View Post
Hi, Travelcat. Am heading out Friday for a four nighter on Europa 2 and will report back. Laughing at your comment about the nudity. My other experiences with Europa's cruise line (Hapag-Lloyd) were all pretty normal to this American save for the spa. I was on Europa, having a massage, and when the time came for me to change and get on the table the male masseuse just sort of stood there. I finally said -- you need to go now so I can change Felt somewhat provincial but on the other hand.....

Carolyn
Was this review ever posted? I can't find it anywhere on the site.
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