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Minoushka

Which are the premium cruise lines

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I have sailed HAL, princess, celebrity, and carnival. The first three were very similar in all aspects. Carnival a cute below. I recently cruised Viking and was very impressed. The food and service were far better than the above mentioned cruiselines. Of course Viking also costs more. While Viking will be my new cruiseline of choice , I will still consider the other cruiselines. 

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It has been a few years since I was a TA but this was what we called them.

 

CCL, NCL, RCCL ....Mass Market

HAL,PCL, Celebrity, Cunard, Disney, Azamara, Oceania .... Premium

Seabourn, Crystal, Regent, Seven Seas, Silversea, Seadream ... Luxury

 

Through the years ALL lines have changed to stay competitive and to meet public demands.

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8 minutes ago, Ofmyheart said:

It has been a few years since I was a TA but this was what we called them.

 

CCL, NCL, RCCL ....Mass Market

HAL,PCL, Celebrity, Cunard, Disney, Azamara, Oceania .... Premium

Seabourn, Crystal, Regent, Seven Seas, Silversea, Seadream ... Luxury

 

Through the years ALL lines have changed to stay competitive and to meet public demands.

 

Holland America, Princess routinely sell Caribbean seven day cruises for $399, I’ve even seen $350.  I’ve seen ten day Canada New England cruises for $700.  These are Higher end mass market lines, a good value but hardly premium. Not sure how these two can be compared to others listed.   Celebrity solstice ships are also higher end premium. 

 

Disney is expensive because of their name, gorgeous ships and entertainment offered.  Hard to categorize in any category.  But space per passenger is lacking because of so many third and fourth passengers per cabin.  The ships are also very noisy due to all the piped in movies in public spaces.  Ear splitting movie screens blaring around the ship.  They have adult areas but the comfort level isn’t that high. 

We haven’t been on Cunard, not interested in formality.

Azamara, Viking, Oceania are premium, or luxury light lines.  

Oceania is our absolute favorite, We  want better food, service,  onboard comfort, better space per passenger, more inclusive features.  No major complaints after nearly a couple hundred days with this line.  Of course they are not perfect, nothing is. 

Viking has copied a lot of Oceania features, right down to how they arrange the breadbasket.  They’ve also added an included excursion in every port- not a feature we covet. Their restaurant food is above mass market but not at the level of Oceania. Their specialty restaurants are terrific.  Their onboard comfort in public areas has some issues.  But we would include Viking as a premium line for their gorgeous ships and included features. 

 

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We've been on Celebrity a few times. I'd call them mass market, not premium. Nice boats. Few kids. Gotta go with specialty restaurants to get good food. Nightly yard sales on the way to/from the entertainment. Useless customer service.

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On ‎5‎/‎15‎/‎2019 at 11:21 AM, Hlitner said:

And then there is Viking...a line that we have yet to try.  Some of our very trusted cruise friends have given us very mixed reviews.  A favorite cousin loves the line (although they were recently evacuated by helicopter from the Viking Sky) but another couple (with very demanding tastes) was less than thrilled.

My sister and BIL are life long Celebrity cruisers with over 20 of them, but last October they did a Viking Ocean cruise of China and Japan on the brand new Viking Orion. On X they normally book an Aqua Class Verandah cabin. They raved about the VO cruise and the food, plus no kids on the ship under 18 (a Viking policy)  They also got a free upgrade when they checked in for the cruise in Beijing from a Penthouse Veranda Suite to a Explorer Suite which was worth over $6000pp. All of their fleet have a max capacity of 930 pax.  VO is also very inclusive in their pricing.  Shore excursions, WIFI, Specialty Restaurants, Beer and wine with all meals and all specialty coffee, water and soda  drinks are included. In all Penthouse Verandah and above cabin categories you also get unlimited mini bar drinks including beer, wine and spirts free.  If you want unlimited $15 and below bar drinks, the beverage package is only  $179pp on a 10 day cruise. Also the Thermal Spa on the ship has no fee for admittance. The only thing not included are the gratuities. and the beverage package. You can bring onboard at any port beer wine and spirits to drink anywhere on the ship with no corkage fees even in the dinning venues. You can take a bottle of your favorite liquor to any bar and the bartenders will make your drinks for you with it for no charge. In the MDR you can get a whole cold water lobster for no extra charge. The Viking ships have  cold storage tanks for live lobsters.  My Sister and BIL said they will have a very hard time going back to X after their experience on the Orion. I think with everything VO offers that they are definitely a "Premium" cruise line and they are adding a new ship at the rate of one per year so more and more itineraries are becoming available. Their oldest ship was built in 2015. and they have 6 in the fleet.

 

Prior to their cruise we had already booked a VO cruise from Venice to Athens in September 2020. We booked a Penthouse Verandah Suite last September for this cruise and the ship was totally sold out in January of this year 18 months before departure, that should tell you something about their quality and reputation in the industry. We looked at a similar cruise on the Veendam that was close in itinerary but comparing the HAL Vista Class Suite to the VO Penthouse Verandah suite and adding in all of the inclusive VO benefits, VO was almost the same price. I have a feeling that we will have a hard time coming back to any mass marketed cruise lines.

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We used to sail with HAL and Celebrity, but in recent years, have really enjoyed the premium lines, like Viking and Uniworld. 

 

What we hate above all else else is being nickeled and dimed to death. Even though the premium lines like the two mentioned and Seaborne sound expensive at first, when you consider that the prices include gratuities, shore excursions, most alcoholic beverages, and often air fare and transfers, if you do the math, they are really less expensive than HAL and Celebrity.

 

We have just booked a HAL cruise and are shocked by the cost of all the add ons. We never would have booked this cruise if the others fulfilled our bucket list wishes at the times of the year we are able to cruise.

 

If, however, you are a traveler who prefers nightclub like entertainment and dancing to lectures and local, cultural performances, or loves casinos, those premium lines are probably not for you.

 

Hence, you do get mostly a different kind of passenger, not because of wealth disparities, but because of personal taste. I cannot recall anyone wearing a suit or cocktail dress on Viking or Uniworld. 

 

I laughed myself silly looking at the beverage packages on the HAL website. I could not consume that much alcohol in a year! And on Viking and Uniworld, where most liquor is included, I have yet to see a single passenger who appeared to be intoxicated.

 

So my advice is to sail on the cruise line that provides the kind of atmosphere and activities you most enjoy and not really worry about the relative costs because they really do come out pretty much the same.

 

 

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We have cruised on Celebrity more than any other line.  We would call them mass market.  No different than  HAL.

 

 

 

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35 minutes ago, Begete said:

We used to sail with HAL and Celebrity, but in recent years, have really enjoyed the premium lines, like Viking and Uniworld. 

 

What we hate above all else else is being nickeled and dimed to death. Even though the premium lines like the two mentioned and Seaborne sound expensive at first, when you consider that the prices include gratuities, shore excursions, most alcoholic beverages, and often air fare and transfers, if you do the math, they are really less expensive than HAL and Celebrity.

 

We have just booked a HAL cruise and are shocked by the cost of all the add ons. We never would have booked this cruise if the others fulfilled our bucket list wishes at the times of the year we are able to cruise.

 

If, however, you are a traveler who prefers nightclub like entertainment and dancing to lectures and local, cultural performances, or loves casinos, those premium lines are probably not for you.

 

Hence, you do get mostly a different kind of passenger, not because of wealth disparities, but because of personal taste. I cannot recall anyone wearing a suit or cocktail dress on Viking or Uniworld. 

 

I laughed myself silly looking at the beverage packages on the HAL website. I could not consume that much alcohol in a year! And on Viking and Uniworld, where most liquor is included, I have yet to see a single passenger who appeared to be intoxicated.

 

So my advice is to sail on the cruise line that provides the kind of atmosphere and activities you most enjoy and not really worry about the relative costs because they really do come out pretty much the same.

 

 

Sounds like you made the switch to Premium like Viking for the same reasons we are. We would have booked a Viking cruise this summer to Alaska but we wanted to take our 10 year old grandson with us so HAL was our best option. The nickel and diming of the mass cruise lines are getting outrageous. HAL even experimented on 4 ships last March with charging $10 for an extra entrée in the MDR, so far no word if this will be adopted fleetwide. This would be the ultimate nickel and diming and it went over on CC not so well.

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Posted (edited)

I think that anyone who is, or has been, particularly loyal to one cruise line like HAL or Celebrity, will think that their cruise line is 'premium'.  It has a certain cachet to it and it strokes the ego of some people.  Same for opinions of food, service, and even their respective loyalty programs.   It is almost a way of justifying their loyalty even in light of all the changes over the past years.

 

Edited by iancal

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On 5/16/2019 at 5:23 AM, sammiedawg said:

 

Holland America, Princess routinely sell Caribbean seven day cruises for $399, I’ve even seen $350.  I’ve seen ten day Canada New England cruises for $700.  These are Higher end mass market lines, a good value but hardly premium. Not sure how these two can be compared to others listed.   Celebrity solstice ships are also higher end premium. 

 

Disney is expensive because of their name, gorgeous ships and entertainment offered.  Hard to categorize in any category.  But space per passenger is lacking because of so many third and fourth passengers per cabin.  The ships are also very noisy due to all the piped in movies in public spaces.  Ear splitting movie screens blaring around the ship.  They have adult areas but the comfort level isn’t that high. 

We haven’t been on Cunard, not interested in formality.

Azamara, Viking, Oceania are premium, or luxury light lines.  

Oceania is our absolute favorite, We  want better food, service,  onboard comfort, better space per passenger, more inclusive features.  No major complaints after nearly a couple hundred days with this line.  Of course they are not perfect, nothing is. 

Viking has copied a lot of Oceania features, right down to how they arrange the breadbasket.  They’ve also added an included excursion in every port- not a feature we covet. Their restaurant food is above mass market but not at the level of Oceania. Their specialty restaurants are terrific.  Their onboard comfort in public areas has some issues.  But we would include Viking as a premium line for their gorgeous ships and included features. 

 

We have 3 up coming cruise on Oceania in 2020 with a TA to the med and 2 more b2bs. Was so encouraged by Kazu Jacqui ‘s report she did I believe 2015 we decided to expand and try O!! We have a great PCC with them and so look for to the experience. We are doing a PH2 cabin and looking forward to having a butler🙄 never had one and dining in our stateroom with all the specialty restaurants if we choose .

We like a smaller ship so this will be great!

Denise😊

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11 minutes ago, DeeniEncinitas said:

We have 3 up coming cruise on Oceania in 2020 with a TA to the med and 2 more b2bs. Was so encouraged by Kazu Jacqui ‘s report she did I believe 2015 we decided to expand and try O!! We have a great PCC with them and so look for to the experience. We are doing a PH2 cabin and looking forward to having a butler🙄 never had one and dining in our stateroom with all the specialty restaurants if we choose .

We like a smaller ship so this will be great!

Denise😊

 

Sounds great!  Can’t wait to hear all about it!

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Denise, in suite dining and the specialties on Oceania are the best.  Food is served course by course by your butler if you choose the suite.  

We love going to the various restaurants. In a PH you get extra advance speciality reservations and on board your butler can usually get you additional seatings.  If not, go the in suite route.

We also really enjoy the Grand Dining room.  Dinners are leisurely, some people complain about the speed of service but they want you to linger, sip wine and visit.  Avoid tables bigger than a four top as the service really slows down.   There are lots of two tops.  

 

Try all the venues, Waves, Terrace,  daily tea at 3pm,  Cover charged Privee and La Reserve on the O ships. Haven’t tried La Reserve. 

 

We love Oceania.  We were immediately comfortable with spending more upfront for better food and better on board experience.  Don’t go and expect perfection and whatever you do don’t spend time onboard comparing O to other lines.  I’ve read some reviews where the writer compared every single thing to what they got at a cheaper price on another line.

Their shore excursions are overpriced if you buy them individually.  O life excursion package is OK, we’ve had it twice but you have to really cherry pick.  We prefer DIY or private tours. 

You will meet the most interesting people. Atmosphere is casual, comfortable and unpretentious.  

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Hi, 

 

I agree with the posts above that it is difficult to generally categorize the cruise lines. Within a particular cruise line, some ships offer a better product than others. Also, large ships that have a small "luxury class" may actually belong in at least two categories. Furthermore, the quality of the product may vary based on a ship's itinerary. For example, the same cruise line may offer three-day Bahamas cruises and 11-day Caribbean cruises, but the cruise product may differ.

 

Based on the cruise product that a line offers to the majority of its passengers, I would categorize the main lines as follows:

 

Mass market: Carnival, MSC, NCL and Royal Caribbean

Mass market plus: Celebrity, Cunard, Holland America and Princess

Premium: Azamara, Oceania and Viking

Luxury: Crystal, Regent, Seabourn and Silversea

 

Chuck

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37 minutes ago, sammiedawg said:

Denise, in suite dining and the specialties on Oceania are the best.  Food is served course by course by your butler if you choose the suite.  

We love going to the various restaurants. In a PH you get extra advance speciality reservations and on board your butler can usually get you additional seatings.  If not, go the in suite route.

We also really enjoy the Grand Dining room.  Dinners are leisurely, some people complain about the speed of service but they want you to linger, sip wine and visit.  Avoid tables bigger than a four top as the service really slows down.   There are lots of two tops.  

 

Try all the venues, Waves, Terrace,  daily tea at 3pm,  Cover charged Privee and La Reserve on the O ships. Haven’t tried La Reserve. 

 

We love Oceania.  We were immediately comfortable with spending more upfront for better food and better on board experience.  Don’t go and expect perfection and whatever you do don’t spend time onboard comparing O to other lines.  I’ve read some reviews where the writer compared every single thing to what they got at a cheaper price on another line.

Their shore excursions are overpriced if you buy them individually.  O life excursion package is OK, we’ve had it twice but you have to really cherry pick.  We prefer DIY or private tours. 

You will meet the most interesting people. Atmosphere is casual, comfortable and unpretentious.  

Thankyou sooo much for responding back to me! We agree spending more upfront

on food and onboard experience was important to us. One thing about me I go for relaxation and never expect perfection.

We like a smaller ship atmosphere and I for one enjoy your comments on O!!!

Thanks again sammiedawg!

Denise😊

 

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On 5/16/2019 at 3:04 PM, iancal said:

We have cruised on Celebrity more than any other line.  We would call them mass market.  No different than  HAL.

 

 

 

 

You are correct on Celebrity.  I mistyped or was auto corrected in error when I wrote it was premium.  Solstice ships are higher end mass market.  

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Posted (edited)

Agree on Solstice.   I can think of three examples where we booked Solstice ships inside the final payment window where the Celebrity balcony price was about a third less than HAL or Princess.  A week later that was not the case.  Price is meaningless.

 

Our two cruises on Carnival were certainly as good as HAL or Celebrity from a service, food, cabin perspective.  But we pick our ships and dates carefully.

 

It is down to the lowest common denominator and what can we charge extra for on all of the mass market lines these days.  Seems to me that the cruise lines are changing their marketing strategies.  We have no issue with smaller ships though we do prefer Solstice ships.   We do have an issue with smaller ships that are poorly maintained, have been poorly maintained, or have experienced significant flooding issues in the past without dealing with the subsequent mold issues in places not visible to the human eye.  We always pass on them.

 

There is so much choice in the marketplace. We sometimes smile, when on cruises, we hear someone bragging about how many cruises they have had on that one cruise line and how 'loyal' they are.   Times change.  Our view is that some cruise lines take advantage of so called loyal customers.  We are also big believers in voting with our feet and our wallets.  A priority board or some such worthless benny does zero to stroke our egos or compel us to book.

Edited by iancal

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