What makes 6 star cruise line

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Luxury Cruising
Is it a state of mind?
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#1
Florida
44 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
1- Size of ship (less than 800 passengers)
2- Cabin (cabins start at suite level)
3-All inclusive (all beverages and tipping)
4-Service (impeccable-trained staff)

These are the basic criteria for 6 star cruise line
Regent, Seabourn, Silversea

5 1/2 star cruise lines
Azamara, Crystal, Oceania, SeaDream Yachts
#2
Albany, NY
755 Posts
Joined May 2013
I would say Oceania is a 5 star as well. Gratuities are included if booked during a promo period, as are beer and wine for lunch and dinner, or excursions. They give you a choice of inclusions.


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#4
1,179 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
I would suggest that the premise that there are 6 star cruise lines is highly debatable.

As is the contention that Azamara, and Oceania are 5+ stars bearing in mind the size of their entry level accommodation.

As for the inclusion of alcoholic drinks there are valid reasons, such as breadth of choice, and quality, for not including them.

Berlitz Guide's highest rated ships do not include alcoholic drinks other than beer in suite.

Even accepting the OP's listings, why the exclusion of Viking Ocean?
#6
Florida
44 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
[quote=English Voyager;53172583]I would suggest that the premise that there are 6 star cruise lines is highly debatable.

As is the contention that Azamara, and Oceania are 5+ stars bearing in mind the size of their entry level accommodation.

As for the inclusion of alcoholic drinks there are valid reasons, such as breadth of choice, and quality, for not including them.

Berlitz Guide's highest rated ships do not include alcoholic drinks other than beer in suite.

Even accepting the OP's listings, why the exclusion of Viking Ocean?


You are correct about Viking, I forgot to mention Viking as 5 1/2 star.
#7
Florida
44 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Originally posted by Keith1010
A bit debatable.

Interesting that you don't have Europa on the list.

Keith
Europa is 5 1/2 star, I forgot to add this to the list.
#8
Florida
44 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Originally posted by UPNYGuy
I would say Oceania is a 5 star as well. Gratuities are included if booked during a promo period, as are beer and wine for lunch and dinner, or excursions. They give you a choice of inclusions.


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Oceania is 5 1/2 star but not a 6 star cruise line. Cabins must start at suite level and all non and alcohol beverages must be included.
#9
antwerpen
996 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
everybody can put his own criteria :
for me all inclusive " drinks " is not a synonym for luxury at all , being european howver i appreciate service included otherwise said no compulsory service charges ranging from 15 to 18% on special wines and drinks

concerning service : smiling and friendliness is not everything it must go with some professional knowledge as well -

as usual hapag lloyd Ms Europa 2 and MS Europa are not mentionned , and i am happy the drinks are not included on HL as i do not drink the complimentary wines , not on Crystal not on SB or on SS

and i find the difference between Oceania and Azamara quite big
#11
California
657 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
Hapag Lloyd's Europa 2 and MS Europa, as English Voyager noted, have the highest Berlitz rating. Why does the OP ignore them in his definition of luxury? Perhaps he is only referencing English language ships, as this is an English site, but then he should say so. Scenic Eclipse would also be joining the English language list soon.

Otherwise, why does he believe ships must have included wine to be considered luxury, rather than considering the very important issue of quality of food and wine available (e.g., there are 1000 excellent wines to select with limited markup on HL ) instead?

These are very small ships, entry level accomodations are > 300 square feet, staff are impeccably trained (though Seabourn had some awesome staff on my recent cruise, they also had quite a few inadequately trained ones, see e.g., my latest CC Barcelona to Dover Seabourn Quest review about various non-luxury issues including violations of DND signs, Colonnade food cutbacks, and almost certain negligent misuse of my on-board filed credit card on disembarkation day ( resulting in my having to cancel that card and all accounts associated with it), plus spotty understaffing).

I am not sure where the OP came up with his criteria for luxury that are so different from Berlitz, which does not exclude HL. Of course I realize most people reading here are only interested in sailing on primary English language ships so the exclusion of HL may not matter. I also hope HL does not start cutting corners like the rest of the luxury lines have been doing, or Berlitz will no longer rank them at the top.
#12
Albany, NY
755 Posts
Joined May 2013
Originally posted by paul1439
Oceania is 5 1/2 star but not a 6 star cruise line. Cabins must start at suite level and all non and alcohol beverages must be included.

I totally agree. O misses the 6 star. I almost put them at 4.5 due to the smaller size of the entry level accommodations.


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#13
Albany, NY
755 Posts
Joined May 2013
Originally posted by vistaman
and i find the difference between Oceania and Azamara quite big

How so? Many say they are similar service wise, but an equal amount say what you just did (with the edge usually going to Oceania). DW and I have also been considering Azamara.


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#14
CA, USA
13,664 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
There is no such thing as a six star cruise line unless that designation is given to the cruise line by itself. Just like Burj Al Arab calls itself a seven star hotel. I can call myself anything I want, that doesn't make it true. I know someone who says he's worth ten billion dollars yet I bet his unreleased tax forms would tell a totally different story.
#15
Florida
44 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Originally posted by Catlover54
Hapag Lloyd's Europa 2 and MS Europa, as English Voyager noted, have the highest Berlitz rating. Why does the OP ignore them in his definition of luxury? Perhaps he is only referencing English language ships, as this is an English site, but then he should say so. Scenic Eclipse would also be joining the English language list soon.

Otherwise, why does he believe ships must have included wine to be considered luxury, rather than considering the very important issue of quality of food and wine available (e.g., there are 1000 excellent wines to select with limited markup on HL ) instead?

These are very small ships, entry level accomodations are > 300 square feet, staff are impeccably trained (though Seabourn had some awesome staff on my recent cruise, they also had quite a few inadequately trained ones, see e.g., my latest CC Barcelona to Dover Seabourn Quest review about various non-luxury issues including violations of DND signs, Colonnade food cutbacks, and almost certain negligent misuse of my on-board filed credit card on disembarkation day ( resulting in my having to cancel that card and all accounts associated with it), plus spotty understaffing).

I am not sure where the OP came up with his criteria for luxury that are so different from Berlitz, which does not exclude HL. Of course I realize most people reading here are only interested in sailing on primary English language ships so the exclusion of HL may not matter. I also hope HL does not start cutting corners like the rest of the luxury lines have been doing, or Berlitz will no longer rank them at the top.
Berlitz is not the best for cruise reviews. They take money for advertisement. They have numerous mistakes in the books about description of the ships. They are trying to sell their books. The best reviews come from cruisetruth.com They receive no money from advertisement. Completely unbiased reviews.
Europa is highly ranked cruise ship. There biggest problem is smoking on the ship. All the top 6 star cruise lines have all alcohol beverages included. And yes alcohol does play a part on all cruise ships if you drink or not.
#16
Florida
44 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Originally posted by wripro
There is no such thing as a six star cruise line unless that designation is given to the cruise line by itself. Just like Burj Al Arab calls itself a seven star hotel. I can call myself anything I want, that doesn't make it true. I know someone who says he's worth ten billion dollars yet I bet his unreleased tax forms would tell a totally different story.
So how do experts distinguish the deference in the quality of certain product. How do the public distinguish the difference between luxury car or cruise line vs chevy or carnival cruise line. Experts test drive and cruise on ships and they determine what is luxury or 6 star. The public buy a product or take a cruise and giver their opinion. To be fair the public would have to buy every car product or cruise on every line to give their opinion if they don't they have a bias opinion of the product or cruise they where on. Bottom line it comes down to opinions. The cruise industry must have set standards for cruise line ratings. Also at some point all cruise lines fail inspections at one time or another just like restaurants.
#17
85,840 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
In the end, it all comes down to your own opinion.

Interestingly enough I rarely see the words "six star" used by most reviewers/writers of cruise lines other then from the actual cruise line. That probably tells you something.

We all have our own opinion on what makes a cruise line or even a ship luxurious, etc.

And all ships that sail a cruise line are not equal nor are all aircraft of an airline, nor all hotel properties of a brand.

By the way, all rooms on a cruise line are not the same and that can make a difference as to the overall experience for some.

Do you know the training that the staff of each cruise line has in place. I would tell you that some of the cruise lines on your list for six star over the years have saved quite a bit of money by hiring people at lower salaries. I don't want to get into specifics but I have sailed some of the lines on your six star list that have staff that clearly have not had thorough training such as sommelier's in name only who pour wine but don't really know what they are serving and waiters who clearly are not comparable to many who we have had on other cruise lines or on land who provide a level of service far greater then what we experienced.

Your list is pretty objective and not based on a lot of facts.

What exactly is a suite? I have stayed in suites and all suites are not the same.

Ship size? Why 800 as a cutoff?

Inclusive beverages and tips. Why is that six star? Don't get me wrong it's nice that it is included in the cruise fare but that alone doesn't make a cruise ship/line luxury. Does pouring bottles of wine that cost $10.00 really luxurious and six star. Think about it. And yes an opinion but I have sailed on lines not on your six star list that pour wines that are quite a bit more pricey then some on your list.

Service. How do you define impeccable service. I'll mention another example. I have sailed one of the cruise lines on your list who feature butlers. Trust me I have had far better butlers on other cruise lines/ships and that even includes Celebrity Cruise Lines.

There is a saying that I quote often and that is simply the opinion that counts the most is our very own.

In the end, we each will define what we consider luxury using our own terms/priorities.

As to six star, five star, etc. to me that is all marketing. It certainly is not fact based IMHO.

Keith
#18
Philadelphia
5,009 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Very well said Keith.

Size and perks are certainly not everything.
Impeccable service and food for us on Crystal have become more important to us than our double the size suite on another line which the OP claimed to be in the same category. To us it is not!

Enjoy Paris.
#19
1,179 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
Originally posted by paul1439
The best reviews come from cruisetruth.com They receive no money from advertisement. Completely unbiased reviews.
In it's ranking of 'The World's Top Ten Cruise Lines', cruisetruth.com places:

# 1 – HAPAG LLOYD – EUROPA 1 & 2
#20
1,179 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
With regard to the smoking policy on the Europa 2, according to Hapag-Lloyd Cruises website it is:

,All the restaurants are non-smoking restaurants with the exception of the terrace of our Yacht Club Restaurant, where smoking and non-smoking tables are clearly labelled. The theatre, the Belvedere, the Foyer and the Jazzclub, as well as the entire SPA area are also non-smoking areas. Smoking is permitted on the outer terrace of the Sansibar, while the indoor area of the Sansibar is a non-smoking zone. Cigars, cigarillos and pipes may only be smoked in the Herrenzimmer (also during the day) and in the outside area of the Sansibar. Please note that smoking is not permitted in the suites. Smoking is permitted on the veranda. On the Pool Deck under the magrodome, smoking is only permitted in the immediate vicinity of the Pool Bar. All external decks are smoking zones. Smokers are obliged to exclusively use the ashtrays provided.'