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zltm089

Cheapest "luxury" cruise lines

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10 minutes ago, zltm089 said:

What I'm actually after is good food (I know very subjective, but I'd like to think I can tell when something has been well prepared etc and my reviews on TripAdvisor normally is in line with other "senior" reviewers... ). I would like great variety but also quality, from freshness and sweetness of the fruits in the buffet restaurant to the fine dining etc I would like it to be of "above average" standard. 

 

I would like a modern ship aswell, with lots of facilities, new decor and fancy cool stuff like, maybe some massive water slide or 3D cinema etc... The cabins don't have to be spacious, but I like modern and good quality fittings etc. Having said that, I don't want to end up in a "mass market" cheap theme park with queues of rude people shouting and screaming etc. Or some cheap buffet all you can eat restaurant. 

 

 

Well you will need to lower your expectations 

You will not get the quality food  &  the water slides etc.. on the same cruise

main stream is more like  theme park you describe  🙂

Premium & Luxury are more refined but not stuffy

look at some of the deals for those lines for this upcoming winter  ..You may be surprised

 

We prefer Oceania  it is casual & not stuffy   but giving Crystal a try  the price  was too good to pass up

 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, LHT28 said:

 

Well you will need to lower your expectations 

You will not get the quality food  &  the water slides etc.. on the same cruise

main stream is more like  theme park you describe  🙂

Premium & Luxury are more refined but not stuffy

look at some of the deals for those lines for this upcoming winter  ..You may be surprised

 

 

 

There are upgraded dining options on the mass market lines. The Coastal Kitchen on RC is only for those staying in suites and is supposed to be better than the regular dining room options. There are often Chef's table, steakhouse, Italian, and/or Japanese upgraded - for additional fee - dining choices.  This is an attempt to give you everything in one cruise.  All the theme park stuff, and if you want it, better food choices.

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4 minutes ago, KmomChicago said:

 

There are upgraded dining options on the mass market lines. The Coastal Kitchen on RC is only for those staying in suites and is supposed to be better than the regular dining room options. There are often Chef's table, steakhouse, Italian, and/or Japanese upgraded - for additional fee - dining choices.  This is an attempt to give you everything in one cruise.  All the theme park stuff, and if you want it, better food choices.

good for those that want the big ship amenities  but do not think those suites are a budget price

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1 hour ago, zltm089 said:

What I'm actually after is good food

Yes, it's subjective, but I do think food is the kind of thing that will be remarkably better on a premium and luxury line than on a mass market line regardless of the category of suite that you're in.  That's because those lines typically don't have better quality ingredients or chefs for the small percentage of passengers in their upper-level suites that give them higher revenue, whereas the premium and luxury lines have greater revenue from everyone, and so generally have better ingredients and chefs to feed everyone.  It's not about whether what they make is "fancy" or not, but whether they make it with good ingredients and a deft touch - I am willing to bet the mac & cheese on Crystal will be better than the mac & cheese on RC, regardless of whether you're in a 700 sq ft suite or a 200 sq ft suite. 

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Have a look on the Crystal website.

They have a "deluxe stateroom with verandah room guarantee only "on some of there 7 night europe trips, that with the help of a good TA will be close £1,900 ish. Great value for money.

Airfares also quite reasonable Oct/nov

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46 minutes ago, calliopecruiser said:

Yes, it's subjective, but I do think food is the kind of thing that will be remarkably better on a premium and luxury line than on a mass market line regardless of the category of suite that you're in.  That's because those lines typically don't have better quality ingredients or chefs for the small percentage of passengers in their upper-level suites that give them higher revenue, whereas the premium and luxury lines have greater revenue from everyone, and so generally have better ingredients and chefs to feed everyone.  It's not about whether what they make is "fancy" or not, but whether they make it with good ingredients and a deft touch - I am willing to bet the mac & cheese on Crystal will be better than the mac & cheese on RC, regardless of whether you're in a 700 sq ft suite or a 200 sq ft suite. 

 

I agree with your thinking. Hence why, I normally go to 5 star resorts when going on all inclusive holidays. 

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3 hours ago, zltm089 said:

 

 

Spot on!!! 

 

I think I got the "luxury" classification all wrong and the more I read, it looks like maybe I wasn't after a "luxury" cruise line after all (not to mention that they are out of my budget anyway). But wasn't too keen on the smaller ships and too much of a "personal" butler kind of service. 

 

What I'm actually after is good food (I know very subjective, but I'd like to think I can tell when something has been well prepared etc and my reviews on TripAdvisor normally is in line with other "senior" reviewers... ). I would like great variety but also quality, from freshness and sweetness of the fruits in the buffet restaurant to the fine dining etc I would like it to be of "above average" standard. 

 

I would like a modern ship aswell, with lots of facilities, new decor and fancy cool stuff like, maybe some massive water slide or 3D cinema etc... The cabins don't have to be spacious, but I like modern and good quality fittings etc. Having said that, I don't want to end up in a "mass market" cheap theme park with queues of rude people shouting and screaming etc. Or some cheap buffet all you can eat restaurant. 

 

I'm really tempted to give Royal Caribbean a go. About £1500 pp, so hopefully won't be too bad. I'm a novice with cruises as you can see from my posts and not even sure what is a "decent" budget for a 7 night cruise. 

On Royal Caribbean you will get catered food, not food prepared to order. The ingredients won't be of the same quality as a luxury line. But you won't be hungry. If that;a ok and yo are aware of it prior to sailing then go for it. Perhaps you should post on the Royal Caribbean board and get feedback from its passengers. 

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3 hours ago, zltm089 said:

 

I agree with your thinking. Hence why, I normally go to 5 star resorts when going on all inclusive holidays. 

The equivalent in the cruise industry to 5-star resorts would then be one of the premium/luxury lines. In my opinion, mass market mega ships are neither all-inclusive or 5-star. Yes, premium/luxury are more expensive up front, but you need to consider the total cost of a cruise, which includes getting to the embarkation port, return from disembarkation & your onboard spend. Most premium/luxury lines provide included airfares, or discount air. Mainstream lines with their mega ships are extremely skilled in promoting onboard spend and even after a week many pax have bills of many hundreds, even thousands of pounds/dollars, to settle at the end of the cruise.

 

We cruise with Viking Ocean and when I compare total cruise cost to past cruises on Princess, the total daily cost is very close.

 

Your upmarket mass market cruise lines would be Cunard, HAL & Celebrity. Sadly, in the UK market, since being purchased by Carnival in 2003, both Cunard and P&O have transformed into mass market Lines. The likes of Princess, RCI, etc would be the equivalent in the UK market of Travelodge/Premium Inns or Butlins.

 

A previous suggestion was considering a suite on a mass market mega line. Unfortunately, this brings the upfront cost to a level of balcony cabins on luxury/premium lines, but in the suite, you still have a big bill at the end of the cruise. Once you leave your suite or applicable special lounge, you are sharing a cramped ship with up to 6,000 of your new best friends. Personally, we consider the cabin our bedroom and the rest of the ship the living area. We prefer the peace, quiet and spaciousness of the smaller ships. I relate a suite on a mega ship to be the equivalent of purchasing the most expensive accommodation at Butlins. You may have a comfortable room, but you're still stuck at Butlins.

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Wow - I'm reading this and find myself disagreeing with so many things (sorry).  

 

Firstly, it I almost impossible to get fresh, ripe fruit on a cruise line just as it is almost impossible to get shrimp or crab that has not been frozen (the "almost" applies to places like Alaska where you can get fresh crab and ports where you can get fresh fruit and fish).  I agree very much with what calliopecruiser posted.  

 

Food is subjective.  Some people think that Oceania has the best food at sea (including those that work for Oceania).  Except for the specialty restaurants, we did not care for the food on Oceania.  Just an example.  

 

In my opinion, it is impossible to have a true luxury experience on a mainstream cruise line (and we sampled both NCL - a mainstream cruise line and Celebrity - a premium cruise line) and stayed in top suites.  The differences are too numerous to mention.  Regent has spacious suites (most with walk-in closets, a sitting area, and luxurious beds).  With one exception, all of their ships are all suite - all balcony - no inside suites.  The exception is Regent's smallest ship (still has large suites) but has a small number of window only suites with no balcony).

 

The mention of a waterslide puts things into perspective.  In my opinion, it is the "thought" of going on a luxury cruise line that may be better for some people than actually being on a luxury cruise line.  There are no waterslides or 3D theaters (these are small ships) - the vibe is more relaxed  - less things to do (by far) than mainstream or premium cruise lines.

 

There are few if any children on luxury cruise lines (except during the summer).  

 

Having only been on Regent (450 nights) and Silversea (less than 50 nights), so it is easier for me to speak about Regent.  Regent includes most excursions on their sailings and many of these excursions start early in the morning.  So, by 11:00 p.m., the ships are pretty dead (except for maybe one lounge with entertainment).  

 

Do not let butlers scare you (they did me at first).  The service is not "in your face" but they are there if and when you need them.  They refresh your mini fridge daily as well as taking care of alcohol requests, will serve you canapés at 5:00 p.m. in your suite (if you wish), clean your shoes, make reservations for you and things of that nature.

 

I could go on and on (and pretty much have already).  You could easily take a Regent cruise and not spend 1 extra penny.  They provide international Business Class air (Coach within the U.S.), give you transportation to and from the ship, provide a pre-cruise night at a hotel (except for the lowest categories on the ship), the excursions that I mentioned and there is no charge for specialty restaurants (but you do need reservations).  Of course, tips are included.  The only areas you can spend money is in the Boutique, Spa or if you want to buy ultra premium alcohol (Regent includes brands like Patron tequila, Grey Goose Vodka, etc. but there are a few very expensive brands that do cost extra and are usually paid for with onboard credits*) 

 

*When you book a luxury cruise line, it behooves you to use a TA that regularly books the cruise line that you are booking.  In addition to being knowledgeable, they give a percentage back on your cruise fare and many times provide on board credits.

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Thank you all once again for the recommendation and insights. 

 

I looked briefly at HAL and Celebrity (not many pictures on their websites), that's the kind of ships I was after (the interior decor and dining etc). However, they all seem to lack the other facilities/entertainment of the "mainstream" lines.

 

It does look like I will have to decide between lines like HAL/Celebrity vs Royal Caribbean. 

 

Will keep you guys posted. 

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well at least you have discovered  luxury & premium lines  are not what you want

you could check the reviews section  here

https://www.cruisecritic.com/reviews/

pick the name of the ship   they sometimes have photos  of all the cabins etc 

https://www.cruisecritic.com/photos/ships/norwegian-breakaway-642/

https://www.cruisecritic.com/photos/ships/celebrity-edge-1130/

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Another option for photos is just to do a Google Image search and see if any actual passengers have posted photos of their cruise on that ship / one of their ships.  I got a lot of info from searching Flickr (or choose another photo sharing site) and seeing what things really looked like and what people typically wore (as opposed to what the company shows you, which may or may not be accurate).

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This thread should moved to another board since it is no longer dealing with luxury cruising.

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or let it fade away 😉

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If the Admins could please move to the mass "peasant" section please (only joking, please move to the relevant section but please keep this thread open). 

 

It would be very helpful if we had a section for the premium light/upscale mainstream lines. 

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2 hours ago, wripro said:

This thread should moved to another board since it is no longer dealing with luxury cruising.

 

48 minutes ago, zltm089 said:

If the Admins could please move to the mass "peasant" section please (only joking, please move to the relevant section but please keep this thread open). 

 

It would be very helpful if we had a section for the premium light/upscale mainstream lines. 

 

Since the OP has come to a decision, I don't see why there is a need to move the thread. Looks like it will "fade away" as LHT28 said. Some people here get too bent out of shape about what is and what isn't luxury.

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Not trying to have the last word..... but, in order to deferentiate between luxury/premium/mainstream, people need to understand the differences (as much as possible).  There was nothing wrong with the TS asking about waterslides, for instance, but it is important to know that none of the major luxury cruise lines (Crystal, Regent, Seabourn and Silversea) have this - nor do they have the entertainment or general vibe of larger cruise ships.  

 

It can be very confusing to people either new to cruising or looking at moving to a luxury cruise line with smaller ships to know the differences.

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If you're not bent out of shape as to the difference between luxury and mass market ships then you probably don't care about luxury ships. 

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59 minutes ago, wripro said:

If you're not bent out of shape as to the difference between luxury and mass market ships then you probably don't care about luxury ships. 

 

Sorry, I know the difference, but most who come to this board don't. Just can't see why you seem to insist that this is your little fiefdom and only those ships you deem worthy can be discussed here. Please find me one thread any where on Cruise Critic that doesn't have some topic drift. 

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5 hours ago, wripro said:

If you're not bent out of shape as to the difference between luxury and mass market ships then you probably don't care about luxury ships.

That's a really bizarre statement.......what do you mean?  Are you saying that I don't care about luxury cruise ships just because I don't get "bent out of shape" if other people don't understand the difference.....that somehow my concern should be about exclusivity (i.e. not to be confused with non-luxury ships) rather than simply luxurious service and amenities?

I enjoy cruising on a luxury line, but I'm not overly concerned about other people's distinctions about what is "luxury" (including the distinctions of those lines themselves). 

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6 hours ago, wripro said:

If you're not bent out of shape as to the difference between luxury and mass market ships then you probably don't care about luxury ships. 

 

Very confusing statement. 

 

Guys I have very limited experience of cruising, like I've said before I've only done two Cunards and one P&O cruise. But I can definitely tell/feel/appreciate the difference between them. That's for sure. 

 

Granted, my original post was in itself confusing, having posted in the "wrong" section in the first place but also for not being too sure what was on offer with the different cruise lines, the different categories etc and I might be even looking for something which doesn't exist! (Big ship with water slides/3d cinemas/plenty of tech and activities etc but which is to the standard of HAL/Celebrity ships in terms of decor, quality of food and room, common areas etc). 

 

I've managed to have a look at some YouTube videos for HAL Niew Statendam and Royal Caribbean Independence of the seas. 

 

Basically, I want a cruise ship/line that would be a "mixture" of those two ships!

Hence why I'm saying that I might be looking for something that doesn't exist! But surely, there must be something out there that could be a close match?

 

I'm a petrolhead and in my world if someone is looking for a fast car but also something that can provide some practicality, the car to have would be the BMW M5 (or its AMG counterpart). Supercar performance with 4 doors. Granted its no Ferrari but the performance is fairly close.  Although the purist might disagree (but that's a discussion for another time). That's the only way I could find in trying to convey what I'm after. 

 

Please do keep the suggestions coming as I'm still researching and undecided at the moment. 

 

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1 hour ago, zltm089 said:

 

Very confusing statement. 

 

Guys I have very limited experience of cruising, like I've said before I've only done two Cunards and one P&O cruise. But I can definitely tell/feel/appreciate the difference between them. That's for sure. 

 

Granted, my original post was in itself confusing, having posted in the "wrong" section in the first place but also for not being too sure what was on offer with the different cruise lines, the different categories etc and I might be even looking for something which doesn't exist! (Big ship with water slides/3d cinemas/plenty of tech and activities etc but which is to the standard of HAL/Celebrity ships in terms of decor, quality of food and room, common areas etc). 

 

I've managed to have a look at some YouTube videos for HAL Niew Statendam and Royal Caribbean Independence of the seas. 

 

Basically, I want a cruise ship/line that would be a "mixture" of those two ships!

Hence why I'm saying that I might be looking for something that doesn't exist! But surely, there must be something out there that could be a close match?

 

I'm a petrolhead and in my world if someone is looking for a fast car but also something that can provide some practicality, the car to have would be the BMW M5 (or its AMG counterpart). Supercar performance with 4 doors. Granted its no Ferrari but the performance is fairly close.  Although the purist might disagree (but that's a discussion for another time). That's the only way I could find in trying to convey what I'm after. 

 

Please do keep the suggestions coming as I'm still researching and undecided at the moment. 

 

 

And you mentioned in your opening post how much you appreciated the friendliness of these boards! 🙂 For us peasants (and I'm more of one than you are) we think luxury is just a word for nice stuff and allowable for those of us conversant in the English language.  Of course in this world it's a copyrighted, trademarked term and the expectation is that we use it correctly.

 

Anyway.  Your heart was in the right place. You might search HarryFat1 here in Cruise Critic for his review of Independence of the Seas.  He calls himself Cheapo Dad; he lives in California and he likes the aft portions of his ships "big and round." He travels with his wife and two sons and I just like his reviews. They are the long type with bajillions of photos over many posts. 

 

Lots of people like Royal Caribbean very much, and even a lot of those people could afford luxury lines but still like the big ships, but the mass market lines are just not for everyone. They do try to offer upgraded options for those who want them and are willing to dole out more money.  My family would be bored on a true luxury ship no matter the price. I don't think HAL is up our alley either, being a bit more elegant and possibly appealing to a slightly more mature demographic, though we might consider them one day for Alaska as they have good itineraries and I think their ships look nice and well maintained with a classic type of cruise product.  Some people say once Carnival bought them it all went downhill but I don't know about that. I like Carnival too and that's even understanding full well why plenty of people think it's terrible. 

 

Good luck. Might want to check out the boards for the lines you are interested in for more opinions. Let us know what you end up deciding.

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22 hours ago, Texas Tillie said:

 

Sorry, I know the difference, but most who come to this board don't. Just can't see why you seem to insist that this is your little fiefdom and only those ships you deem worthy can be discussed here. Please find me one thread any where on Cruise Critic that doesn't have some topic drift. 

Why is it so difficult to comprehend that a board dedicated to luxury cruising be limited to luxury cruise lines? These are them: Crystal, Regent,Seabourn, Silversea, Sea Dream. ANY OTHER LINE IS NOT A LUXURY LINE no matter how luxurious you personally think it is.  You don't go on a luxury car board and ask about a Honda or Toyota simply because you think it is luxurious enough!

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52 minutes ago, wripro said:

Why is it so difficult to comprehend that a board dedicated to luxury cruising be limited to luxury cruise lines? These are them: Crystal, Regent,Seabourn, Silversea, Sea Dream. ANY OTHER LINE IS NOT A LUXURY LINE no matter how luxurious you personally think it is.  You don't go on a luxury car board and ask about a Honda or Toyota simply because you think it is luxurious enough!

 

Your hissy fit is duly noted. Hope you feel better. However, it's not going to change a blessed thing. 😱

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3 hours ago, wripro said:

Why is it so difficult to comprehend that a board dedicated to luxury cruising be limited to luxury cruise lines? These are them: Crystal, Regent,Seabourn, Silversea, Sea Dream. ANY OTHER LINE IS NOT A LUXURY LINE no matter how luxurious you personally think it is.  You don't go on a luxury car board and ask about a Honda or Toyota simply because you think it is luxurious enough!

You omitted to mention Hapag Lloyd Cruises in your list of luxury Cruise Lines.

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