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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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  #61  
Old September 3rd, 2013, 12:45 PM
1982CruzStart 1982CruzStart is offline
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We have sailed on Voyager twice but not on either Azamara or Celebrity so I can't speak to either of them except for maybe some facts about the ships. We loved sailing on Voyager. I like my own space and time alone so having a spacious cabin regardless of category is very important to us. On Azamara you would have to pay for a higher category to get something similar in size.

The atmosphere on Voyager is relaxed and casual. It is great not to have any formal nights though you wouldn't feel out of place if you like to dress up. We found the fellow passengers to be friendly, interesting and down to earth.

We take full advantage of all the perks of Regent being all-inclusive. Always take shore excursions and in spite of other people's comments find them very good. Usually have large buses but they are most often only half full giving everyone plenty of room and a small crowd. I have found the tour guides for the most part excellent and haven't found the chance of getting a so so one anymore often than when booking small group tours on mainline ships. We also took advantage of the offered pre and post cruise land tours on both of our cruises and found them to be excellent value.

We sometimes enjoy a beer or glass wine for lunch, like to have a pre-dinner drink, a couple of glasses of wine for dinner and maybe a post-dinner drink so enjoy the inclusion of beverages. Champagne is one of my favorite drinks so being able to have it in any venue is a bonus. Having unlimited bottle water in our cabin and as you leave the ship is great. Neither of us drink soda so that perk isn't necessary for us.

We found the service to be excellent overall with only the occasional blip.

Entertainment is not important to us and only rarely go to the shows but we do enjoy listening to music in the various lounges. To be honest I am not an audiophile so can't really speak to how good they are, all i can say is we enjoyed the music.

The guest lecturers on the last cruise were fantastic. I caught them live when the timing worked or on the TV if not. All of them were very knowledgeable and well spoken.

The other reason we really like Regent is the reasonable cost of upgrading to business class airfares. We don't have access to enough FF points to be able to enjoy that service without Regent's offer.

When I ran the numbers on different options for the cruise itineraries, Regent always came out ahead when i took everything into account.

We haven't yet booked another Regent cruise but we did take advantage of their deposit program while on our last cruise so have a couple of years to book another cruise and receive all the cost savings as if we had booked a cruise while on board. If we can't find a cruise with the itinerary we want then we can cancel with a full refund. I don't see that happening but life happens so it is nice to have that option.

I hope this helps a little in considering Voyager. If you have any specific questions please let me know. Happy to help if I can.
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  #62  
Old September 3rd, 2013, 09:02 PM
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Waswo Waswo is offline
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Thank you very much, Wripro and 1982 Cruzstart. You've given me much "food for thought".

1982Cruzsrart--thank you for your extended review of the Voyager. It certainly sounds quite good.

Looking only at the itinerary the Azamara Journey has the most appealing one--and also a better date because we are working around a major 90th birthday party for a relative. I think that should be the decisive point--although the itineraries of other lines are "close enough". That's more important than my "preferences". If I wanted to do Classical Music, I could spend a week or two in New York or London-it remains, finally, an added really nice touch. The same with Trivia--I love it but I do not NEED it.

Finally the food---I like lighter food which is not oversalted and found that Oceania's Marina was significantly superior to what we were accustomed to.

I really do appreciate you taking the time to be so patient with my questions. I wish we had the time to sample all of the cruise lines, but we need to depend on research and reviews.

Thank you again.
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Oceania Nautica, August, 2014

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Oceania MARINA, January, 2012

Celebrity Summit, June, 2011

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Celebrity Mercury, January 15, 2011
Cunard Queen Mary 2, Transatlantic, Sept, 2009
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Last edited by Waswo; September 3rd, 2013 at 09:16 PM. Reason: add information
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  #63  
Old September 3rd, 2013, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wripro View Post
The problem is that each of the three cruise lines you mention are not the same. Each is uniquely different and it is those important differences which would compel me to choose one over the other, not the absence or presence of a string quartet at night. Crystal has assigned seating at dinner which I do not like (their open dining by reservation is a poor substitute for open seating.) Regent includes its mass market shore excursions and you pay dearly for them whether you want to take them or not. Azamara is now pretty much all inclusive but the level of inclusions is not up to that of the true luxury lines. Also the dress code is more informal. So first of all I would let itinerary guide me, then the tone of the cruise line. And last I'd check to see about the entertainment. jmo.
Wripro--this is an important message for me so I am quoting it and also thank you again. My superior experience on Oceania led me to feel that it certainly justified the bigger price tag--and more!

I have got to get out of the "cookie-cutter" luxury-premium-mid-range mentality and get a feel for each of these cruise lines. What may seem really obvious to you is a valuable revelation to me. Your characterizations also make Azamara sound MORE not less appealing. Perhaps my husband and I are Oceania/Azamara natural fits.

Thank you again for your patience.
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Oceania Nautica, August, 2014

Celebrity Equinox, April, 2012
Oceania MARINA, January, 2012

Celebrity Summit, June, 2011

Celebrity Equinox, March 11, 2011
Celebrity Mercury, January 15, 2011
Cunard Queen Mary 2, Transatlantic, Sept, 2009
Cunard Queen Mary 2, NY-Canada 2009
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Costa Atlantica: 2002
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  #64  
Old September 4th, 2013, 01:02 PM
wripro wripro is offline
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Waswo,

I'm glad my post was helpful. Azamara is a very good alternative for the luxury lines as they have a terrific product. And if you are willing to sail in a smaller cabin (unless you book a suite the cabins are far smaller than on Seabourn, Regent, Silversea. Not Crystal where they are also small) you can save a lot of money.
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  #65  
Old September 8th, 2013, 11:06 PM
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I have booked with Azamara for a Norwegian fjord cruise. We don't mind a smaller cabin and the itinerary was exactly what we sought.

Thank you for all of your opinions and ideas. I do appreciate the time.
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Oceania Nautica, August, 2014

Celebrity Equinox, April, 2012
Oceania MARINA, January, 2012

Celebrity Summit, June, 2011

Celebrity Equinox, March 11, 2011
Celebrity Mercury, January 15, 2011
Cunard Queen Mary 2, Transatlantic, Sept, 2009
Cunard Queen Mary 2, NY-Canada 2009
HAL Volendam: 2004
Costa Atlantica: 2002
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  #66  
Old September 9th, 2013, 12:56 PM
wripro wripro is offline
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Have a great cruise.
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  #67  
Old November 1st, 2013, 07:00 PM
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It's been a while since this thread was opened, and I'm hoping that the OP has made a decision, is booked and ready for a wonderful anniversary.

(Still gonna add my two cents here!)

Lots of research is needed to make the best decision for any individual, and what is the best choice for one won't be for another. Some things to consider:

If choosing the Mediterranean, April is still dicey weather-wise. The very end of April and the beginning of May should be lovely - not too hot yet, but the seas smoothing. Of course, a rainy day can happen at anytime, so don't pin TOO much on one particular port of call.

About Santorini - if you are really early in the season, you run the risk of not being able to tender due to swells. Our arrival in Santorini was delayed once and the captain ALMOST cancelled the stop. Earlier in the season will like mean fewer ships in the caldera, which means fewer people crowding into the narrow streets of Oia and Fira, shorter wait for the cable car.

As has been mentioned, add all the variable costs. Does the cruise line include air, pre-cruise hotel, all beverages, excursions, specialty restaurants, tips, airport transfers? Is business class air available for a reasonable amount? (some find that critical for a trans-atlantic flight) If not, add those up.

The first time we sailed with Regent was also our first time visiting any of those ports, so we were quite satisfied with the basic excursions. If we'd been there before, perhaps we wouldn't have been. They are pretty standard overview tours, and the guides we had were all great. And Regent doesn't have their guest wear little tags or buttons to identify them as a part of a tour - a small thing, but nice. Don't know about the other luxury lines.

Smaller ships mean both that you can get to smaller ports but also that their are fewer people in the port.

Agreed with other posts that the #1 consideration is itinerary. But given the choice, I'd also pick a smaller room (small being relative - the small rooms on luxury lines are often larger than some suites on other lines) on a better line would create an overall better experience, at least to me.

Have a wonderful cruise, and Happy Anniversary.


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  #68  
Old September 6th, 2014, 07:55 PM
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kennicott kennicott is offline
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Originally Posted by Travelcat2 View Post
We have never had poor service on Regent or Silversea. However, we also avoid the Navigator as, IMO, it carries to many passengers for the size of the ship. Fortunately, the Navigator does not sail in the Med.
That's an interesting comment, as our first cruise on Regent was on the Navigator, two weeks, and I don't recall it crowded at all. That ship converted me to Regent due the size of the concierge cabin and the quality therein. Plus, I was very pleased with the 1.6 passenger to crew ratio and the demeanor and congeniality of just about every crew member we came in contract with. Since then we have spent many more voyaging days with Regent including another on the Navigator for over a month in the Caribbean and South America. Love those block parties and still love the Navigator.

For comparison purposes as to how crowded a ship is going to be, I always check out the passenger to space ratio of every ship before we book. For instance, HAL's Prinsendam comes in at a 41.6, best of all HAL's ships. The new Royal Princess is 30.6. My most favorite ship of all, the S.S. Voyager is 56.3, the S.S. Mariner 63.9, The HAL Statendam 34.3, The Allure of the Seas, largest passenger ship afloat, 35.4, The Oceania Marina and Riviera 51.6. Oceania's R-ships like the Regatta 36.7. But hey, the lowly SS Navigator is 53.8, which confirms my experiences on her.

Last edited by kennicott; September 6th, 2014 at 07:59 PM.
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  #69  
Old September 29th, 2014, 10:48 PM
Cruisingadvice101 Cruisingadvice101 is offline
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Originally Posted by commodoredave View Post
Watch out -- it's habit forming!
That is true, I am going on my 53rd soon, myself.
Most common for me is a three-nighter or an April break cruise (kids), as I was often losing money for doig. longer cruises too often (hundreds of thousands for myself and millions for the fund), and decided to just do ones that do not require too much (with the exception of my next, only one where I could find the suite I wanted exactly, and the three kids are coming)
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