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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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  #1  
Old July 15th, 2010, 08:20 PM
TeacherMoni TeacherMoni is offline
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Default Which cruise would you pick?

My Mom and I have taken one cruise together every year since 2007. Usually we cruise in the summer, but we will be taking a family trip to Europe in July 2011 (my parents will go on a River Cruise meeting us in Prague where my husband is from and we will be staying with his parents) so a summer cruise for us is out.

So we are looking at April 2011 as I have spring break from April 16 - April 25. We are interested in going with a luxury cruise line this time as we previously enjoyed Azamara (Journey) and Cunard (QM2) very much.

The following meet our date constraints. We are looking for excellent service, fabulous food, and a really good spa! We also enjoy excursions but don't care much regarding on board entertainment. If the food is great and the spa/gym/pool are enjoyable, we are set while at sea!

Which of the following cruises would you recommend and why? Or if you know of any others I should check out, please let me know!

Crystal Cruises, Ship: Symphony, 7 nights, Ports: LA (depart), Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, LA (return)


Seabourn, Ship: Legend, 7 nights, Ports: Civitavecchia (Rome) (depart), Bonifacio (Corsica), France, Le Lavandou, France, Marseille, France, Sanary-sur-mer, France, Saint Raphael, France, Cannes, France, Civitavecchia (Rome) (return)

Windstar, Ship: Windsurf, 7 nights, Ports: Lisbon, Portugal (depart), Tangier, Morocco, Malaga, Spain, Aleria, Spain, Cartagena, Spain, Ibiza, Spain, Barcelona, Spain (return)

Azamara, Ship: Journey, 7 nights, Ports: Rome (depart), Sorrento, Italy, Taormina, Sicily, Corfu, Greece, Dubrovnik, Croatia, Venice, Italy (return)
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  #2  
Old July 15th, 2010, 09:22 PM
kitty9 kitty9 is offline
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Maybe it's just me, but for the cost of the flights and the time it takes to get there, I wouldn't do a 7 day cruise in the Med unless I extend the trip on land. For me, the long flights and the expense of those flights make a 7 day cruise just too short.

As for differences, neither Windstar nor Azamara are considered in the luxury category. If you want a more casual lifestyle on board, then both of those would be a good choice because neither have formal nights, just casual. Cabins on Windstar and Azamara (unless you go for the top of the line suite) are very small. Neither is known for entertainment, but with as port intensive as those itineraries are, you probably won't need much in the way of entertainment.

Seabourn and Crystal are both wonderful lines. Seabourn's triplets, and Legend is one of those, are very small, carrying only 200 passengers. Not much in the way of entertainment, but they do have excellent food and service. The pool area on Legend is very small, and the pool is tiny. Crystal, on the other hand, provides a lot in the way of enrichment activities and evening entertainment. Their cabins aren't huge, but adequate and nicely laid out. The food in the main dining room is excellent and the two alternate restaurants are wonderful. The pool area on the newly renovated ship is fantastic.
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  #3  
Old July 15th, 2010, 09:35 PM
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Travelcat2 Travelcat2 is online now
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The only "luxury" cruise lines listed are Crystal and Seabourn. Crystal runs a special children's program with special pricing during Spring Break -- Seabourn does not. Seabourn is all-inclusive -- Crystal is not (they think they are -- they give you tons of on board credits -- but, you still sign for everything, have set seating unless you make reservations 24 hours in advance, etc.)

If you want a fun, adult experience, go with Seabourn. If you're comfortable with families on Spring Break, go with Crystal. Both lines are good but are very different experiences.
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Last edited by Travelcat2; July 15th, 2010 at 09:35 PM.
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  #4  
Old July 16th, 2010, 05:03 AM
Keith1010 Keith1010 is offline
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If you want to experience a luxury cruise line out of these four I would go with Crystal or Seabourn. I have sailed on both cruise lines. They will both provide excellent food and service.

The experiences on the two ships are quite different so think this through. The legend carries only around 200 passengers. It is quite unique in that way but be sure to study the deck plans. With only 200 passengers the fitness center is on the smaller side but there are plenty of machines given the number of passengers. Again, a very unique experience that is different than most other cruise ship but study that deck plan. The Symphony can carry up to 900 passengers. The space to passenger ratio is quite good and the ship has had some recent upgrades made to her.

As Kitty said think through the length of the Mediterranean cruise. It's a long way to travel for a seven day cruise so I would suggest spending a few days for a pre cruise to get over the jet lag and to ensure you make the flight.

To me the itinerary on the Seabourn voyage is more interesting than that of the Mexican Riviera voyage but it is a very long trip to get to and from there so from the convenience standpoint and possibly cost standpoint the Mexican Riviera one has its benefits as travel time will be much shorter.

Both are excellent cruise lines and would provide a luxurious experience.

It is just a different experience given the two ship sizes. On the Seabourn ship there is far less to do so they focus on the dining experiience at night as the entertainment if you will. Many passengers will chat over pre dinner drinks and spend a long time in the dining room chatting. On Crystal you'll have a good deal more of entertainment and enrichment programs and more choices on the ship.

Regardless of which one you select then another time try to select the other one.

Keith
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  #5  
Old July 16th, 2010, 01:35 PM
wripro wripro is offline
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You are not only comparing ships here between Crystal and Seabourn (I agree these are the only two luxury lines) but itineraries. Do you want to visit Mexico or Europe? Big difference imo, as big as the difference between the two ships.
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  #6  
Old July 17th, 2010, 11:05 AM
TeacherMoni TeacherMoni is offline
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Thank you very much for your replies! I appreciate the clarification regarding which lines are considered "luxury". I originally started picking lines to investigate based on what were classified as luxury on the Cruise Critic website (see the link here). I wonder why they list other lines as luxury if they aren't? I saw another thread that identified the luxury lines as: Crystal, Regent Seven Seas, Sea Dream, Seabourn, Silversea.

I'm very much leaning towards Seabourn as the more I read about them the experience seems to be quite different than the traditional (larger) ship experiences that we have had so far. I like the idea of having a true "all-inclusive" experience although it would be nice if the excursions were included as well (but I read they aren't?). Perhaps we will do more exploring on our on this time.

I'm going to head over to the Seabourn forum! Thanks again!
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August 2003
Carnival to New England

August 2007
Azamara Journey to Bermuda

August 2008
Norwegian Sky to the Bahamas

July 2009
Queen Mary 2 - Iberian Odyssey

Jul 2010
Princess Sapphire to Alaska and Victoria, B.C.

January 2012
Princess Caribbean Princess Southern Caribbean
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  #7  
Old July 17th, 2010, 11:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TeacherMoni View Post
I'm very much leaning towards Seabourn as the more I read about them the experience seems to be quite different than the traditional (larger) ship experiences that we have had so far. I like the idea of having a true "all-inclusive" experience although it would be nice if the excursions were included as well (but I read they aren't?). Perhaps we will do more exploring on our on this time.

I'm going to head over to the Seabourn forum! Thanks again!
The only luxury cruise line that includes many excursions (other are at a minimal cost) is Regent. Regent also includes airfare and all the other inclusive items. Whichever you choose, have a great cruise!
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  #8  
Old July 18th, 2010, 10:08 AM
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NHBob NHBob is offline
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I'd go with Crystal without a second thought. However, I'm admitedly prejudiced toward Crystal for a number of reasons, not the least of which is their low single supplements.

I also fully agree with Kitty. Seven days is just too short a cruise to endure the hassles, time and expense of flying to Europe.

Bob
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