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islandchick

Which line to choose?

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We have cruised mostly mass market lines, Celebrity being our go to. We are now wanting to try luxury lines but are having trouble deciding which line after lots of research. We are in our late 40's no children. Great food is really important as well as drinks (we are willing to pay for both). Would really love a cruise that has food based on location. Don't care about entertainment at all. Don't care if excursions are included. Don't want to have to dress up all the time. I would love all suggestions and photos would be fantastic because it seems to be difficult to find photos of food and drinks for the luxury lines on cruise critic.

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Hello, Islandchick!

Silversea is probably not for you, they are strict about formal night dress. All inclusive.

 

Regent has elegant casual all the time (I believe only dress-up optional days) and Seabourn has elegant casual every night except 1 per week when there is a formal night for the MDR and main venues, but you don't need a ballgown, or you can eat then in the casual venue. Both are all-inclusive.

 

If you don't mind being surrounded by mostly Germans (not as sociable, generally), Hapag Lloyd's small luxury ship Europa 2 has outstanding food and the on board language is both German and English, including programmes and wait staff, and there are plenty of people your age, but bookings are hard to get unless you book far in advance or get lucky. You would not need English excursions as you do not care about them. Wine and alcohol other than at parties is paid for separately by giving your suite number when you order.

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if you do not need a casino : go for the ms Europa 2

"food based on location" : Hapag Lloyd does buy several times a cruise local food and specialities

during my last cruise on the 2 there was fresh fish several times in Greece , appetisers cheeses as well and after Split there were various hams and salamis bought in Croatia.

Last year in my hometown there was a display of handmade Belgian pralines

Seabourn also does buy local food - Crystal very rarely - do not expect lobsters in the Maine area on C !

If you do not mind to pay for wines and drinks : Hapag Lloyd does have very friendly prices for the wines - only the US wines are more expensive. And i do know why but the only expensive drink is Grey Goose wodka at 9 € but a bottle for cabin sales is some 35 € i think.

Silversea also does have a very fairly priced wine list ; Seabourn is more expensive if you do not have a discount for your status level ( ranging from 10 to 25 % ) - Crystal does have the most expensive wine list in the all inclusive luxury market .

for a first cruise on Europa 2 try to find a cruise with few sea days :)

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if you do not need a casino : go for the ms Europa 2

"food based on location" : Hapag Lloyd does buy several times a cruise local food and specialities

during my last cruise on the 2 there was fresh fish several times in Greece , appetisers cheeses as well and after Split there were various hams and salamis bought in Croatia.

Last year in my hometown there was a display of handmade Belgian pralines

Seabourn also does buy local food - Crystal very rarely - do not expect lobsters in the Maine area on C !

If you do not mind to pay for wines and drinks : Hapag Lloyd does have very friendly prices for the wines - only the US wines are more expensive. And i do know why but the only expensive drink is Grey Goose wodka at 9 € but a bottle for cabin sales is some 35 € i think.

Silversea also does have a very fairly priced wine list ; Seabourn is more expensive if you do not have a discount for your status level ( ranging from 10 to 25 % ) - Crystal does have the most expensive wine list in the all inclusive luxury market .

for a first cruise on Europa 2 try to find a cruise with few sea days :)

 

No, you are wrong, Crystal often has local foods. And, yes, I've had Maine lobster on Crystal when the ship has stopped at Bar Harbor. I've also had fresh Maine lobster when the ship has been at many other locations, flown in that day.

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We have cruised mostly mass market lines, Celebrity being our go to. We are now wanting to try luxury lines but are having trouble deciding which line after lots of research. We are in our late 40's no children. Great food is really important as well as drinks (we are willing to pay for both). Would really love a cruise that has food based on location. Don't care about entertainment at all. Don't care if excursions are included. Don't want to have to dress up all the time. I would love all suggestions and photos would be fantastic because it seems to be difficult to find photos of food and drinks for the luxury lines on cruise critic.

You sound exactly the profile for SeaDream. Yachting, not cruising, with almost as many crew as passengers. The food is first rate and mostly eaten al fresco. The service is superb.

It’s also all inclusive.

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Hi islandchick,

 

Silversea is probably not for you, they are strict about formal night dress. All inclusive.

 

The emphasis on formal dress is Silversea's reputation on these boards, but I have not found it to be true in reality. I'd encourage you to give a look and see if you like their itineraries. I'm not saying you should sail them, just don't eliminate them because of dress issues.

 

Only the MDR and La Dame would enforce formal dress. Those who don't want to dress up on formal night can dine at La Terrazza (excellent Italian cuisine, homemade pastas) or The Grill (fresh veggies and cook-your-own proteins on a hot lava rock) on the smaller ships, and several other venues on the Muse and Spirit (Arts Cafe, Silver Note, Spaccanopoli). I typically choose La Terrazza on formal nights, and see many like-minded others there.

 

However, Silversea does require that you not wear shorts and t-shirts after 6:00 pm. If that means dressing up, then for sure SS is not a good choice. If that sounds fine, then you might want to take a look.

 

Where you want to go also has a bearing on the level of formality. Certain itineraries tend to be more casual than others. Certainly my Caribbean cruise was quite casual throughout, and others tell me Alaska and the Med is likewise. I expect my upcoming Asia cruise might be more stuffy, but I still find formal night easy to side-step. Where are you thinking about going?

 

As a foodie who loves artisanal cocktails, I have been mostly delighted with SS's cuisine and bar service (with just a few exceptions). I don't, however, have a sense that they use local ingredients except on the expedition cruises.

 

Happy hunting! And let us know what you decide,

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You sound exactly the profile for SeaDream. Yachting, not cruising, with almost as many crew as passengers. The food is first rate and mostly eaten al fresco. The service is superb.

It’s also all inclusive.

 

Good info, Toryhere. This sounds great for me as well.

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You sound exactly the profile for SeaDream. Yachting, not cruising, with almost as many crew as passengers. The food is first rate and mostly eaten al fresco. The service is superb.

It’s also all inclusive.

 

Yes, but cabins are small and without balconies, if a private balcony for her and DH matters to Islandgirl

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Wow, so much great info. Thanks everyone. I guess I should be a little more specific as I would like to have food bought from the local ports however I am more interested in having choices of location specific meals such as greek in greece, polynesian in the south pacific, salmon and crab in alaska, etc. but of course I want it of high quality. Most mass market lines will have ethnic cuisine but its not dependent on where they are in the world and it is usually of low quality and americanized. I don't mind dressing nicely for dinners but dont want formal wear every night or feel strange wearing shorts during the day as I am on vacation. Even though we are still fairly young for the luxury lines I feel like the older I get the more luxury I want and expect.

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not sure if there are lines that buy local food all the time

 

most lines will do it sometimes

 

Small boutique lines may do it more often

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As you can already tell you will get as many opinions here as there are posters and trust me, that's all they are...opinions. My advice is to find a good travel agent who is well versed in luxury cruise lines and let him.her guide you after you discuss all your needs.

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You can wear shorts during the day on all luxury lines as far as I know

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Regent definitely brings local fish and produce onboard. We once were in Norway when the captain flagged down a local fishing boat. He and the chef boarded, large quantities of liquor were exchanged for fresh fish.

 

Have also had locally sourced seafood in Canada and Alaska on regent, as well as mushrooms and berries brought that day in the local market, just to name a few instances.

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Sounds like land-based vacations might suit you better than a cruise. That way, you can experience the food and local lifestyle in a manner in which it's lived!

Few cruises base their menus on location..it's simply not the way cruises work. As stated, some may make exceptions, but that is not the rule!

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Wow, so much great info. Thanks everyone. I guess I should be a little more specific as I would like to have food bought from the local ports however I am more interested in having choices of location specific meals such as greek in greece, polynesian in the south pacific, salmon and crab in alaska, etc. but of course I want it of high quality. Most mass market lines will have ethnic cuisine but its not dependent on where they are in the world and it is usually of low quality and americanized. I don't mind dressing nicely for dinners but dont want formal wear every night or feel strange wearing shorts during the day as I am on vacation. Even though we are still fairly young for the luxury lines I feel like the older I get the more luxury I want and expect.

 

My husband and I sound like you guys. We've done SilverSea twice and loved it. While more formal than we like; it is not a deterrent to sailing with them again. We go to The Grill on formal night or eat onshore. As a foodie, I find most everything very delicious on board (except for La Dame, which has been a disappointment twice); but we plan for our "local" food off the ship. We research ports and restaurants and get our "local" fix there.

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Sounds like land-based vacations might suit you better than a cruise. That way, you can experience the food and local lifestyle in a manner in which it's lived!

Few cruises base their menus on location..it's simply not the way cruises work. As stated, some may make exceptions, but that is not the rule!

 

 

I do plenty of land based trips as well. I also enjoy cruising.

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I'm really surprised that none of the luxury lines, at least from the answers I have received, have food or parties based on the locale that they are in. I have seen some reference to deck parties on Regent and would assume other lines do this as well. Does anyone have some info regarding this? If so is it a good representation of the area food or dumbed down?, and which lines do this?

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I only can repeat that it is done on Hapag Lloyd , both on the Ms Europa as on the MS Europa 2

last cruise on the Europa : sailaway with white wine and appetisers made from a 50 kg tuna fish

2 Greek evenings one with life music by a local trio

on the ms Europa 2 also several times fresh local fish , Greek evening , Mediterranean evening - however those diners are due to happen in the Yacht Club restaurant - buffet

the hotel director told me for sailings on the French coast they ordered Provence rosé wines in St Tropez

and for Antwerpen local beer and once again upmarket pralines are offered it seems.

Seabourn does it also , usually after the "shopping with the chef" - i was twice in Cannes and Sète even once in Casablanca with that "shopping" , and a few times in Spanish ports despite i do not speak Spanish at all.

however it seems there are more restrictions : raw oysters are not allowed on SB , neither local purchased "uncooked " meat - on Silversea items as liver , kidneys are forbidden

i did visit Sea Cloud once in Antwerp and i was told they do buy on a nearly daily base but that is is of course an other style of cruising.

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I'm really surprised that none of the luxury lines, at least from the answers I have received, have food or parties based on the locale that they are in. I have seen some reference to deck parties on Regent and would assume other lines do this as well. Does anyone have some info regarding this? If so is it a good representation of the area food or dumbed down?, and which lines do this?

Lots of deck parties on SeaDream, and the chef goes out and buys local food. Sometimes passengers can join him in the local market.

Paul Gugin also does the same thing.

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Yes, but cabins are small and without balconies, if a private balcony for her and DH matters to Islandgirl

Balconies are overrated. I’ve had them on other ships and found them to be less than stellar, because you can always see the person next door.

On SeaDream the whole ship is your balcony. There are plenty of places to relax and be alone, whilst being waited on hand and foot by the crew.

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Balconies are overrated. I’ve had them on other ships and found them to be less than stellar, because you can always see the person next door.

On SeaDream the whole ship is your balcony. There are plenty of places to relax and be alone, whilst being waited on hand and foot by the crew.

 

 

:confused:I have never been on a luxury cruise where I could see my neighbors unless we were both leaning over the railing at the same time, as there are separating walls. I could hear them, however, if they were out the same time as we were

 

 

Of course everyone has unique preferences. But I prefer lounging in private, partially or flimsily dressed, going back and forth to my fridge and bathroom and bed, rather than being on display in public with a chair that may or may not suit my muscle problems and having to be appropriately clothed. If I want room service I can call for it.

Also, I often awaken early and love to go out on the balcony when the sun comes up to watch or sit and listen to the silence and sea, or call DH to get his camera for some quick sunrise shots before he goes back to sleep, without going out.

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:confused:I have never been on a luxury cruise where I could see my neighbors unless we were both leaning over the railing at the same time, as there are separating walls. I could hear them, however, if they were out the same time as we were

 

 

Of course everyone has unique preferences. But I prefer lounging in private, partially or flimsily dressed, going back and forth to my fridge and bathroom and bed, rather than being on display in public with a chair that may or may not suit my muscle problems and having to be appropriately clothed. If I want room service I can call for it.

Also, I often awaken early and love to go out on the balcony when the sun comes up to watch or sit and listen to the silence and sea, or call DH to get his camera for some quick sunrise shots before he goes back to sleep, without going out.

 

I totally get this. I would also like to know which lines do the best room service and give examples if possible.

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To come back to locally sourced food. I would think that most lines with smaller luxury ships shop at local ships chandlers or in the markets, not only the lines on which I have travelled. However, there is a limit to how local the preparation actually gets. As long as you are talking European and southern Mediterranean countries, passengers will probably appreciate it. I don't know how many times they are willing to eat genuine Polynesian food on a 7 day Polynesian cruise. Goat, chicken, fish, coconut, mango, and banana; lime juice for variety.

 

I think you just want to get away from the same boring cooking for palates who like bland food, therefore you want some added local flavor. Premium and luxury ships will deliver; pick an itinerary, a budget, and a ship without formal evenings, and you are all set. If you like more adventure and more local flavor, book the Aranui 5 in Polynesia, not luxury but not bland either.

 

I know nothing about room service, sorry.

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room service is very good on Hapag Lloyd - despite the German specialities - Crystal in PH and higher ( much slower in normal cabins ) and Oceania ( ok it is premium ) in PH , i never had complaints on SB or SS about room service neither but i must admit i very occasionaly order meals in my cabin. Breakfast even served in a basic suite on Europa 2 is very special.

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