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Shopping for a new cruise line


skubapooh
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I'm shopping for a new cruise line and I'm finding it a bit overwhelming. My husband and I have been loyal Celebrity cruisers for the last 10 years. We've always sailed in their Sky Suites (entry-level suite product) and were very happy until just recently when they brought on a new CEO who has started axing amenities and raising prices at the same time. For what they're charging now, we no longer feel the experience is worth it so we're looking to make a move to a new line. We're used to sailing on mid-sized ships (~3000 pax capacity). We wouldn't be interested in going larger and are thinking of trying out some of the smaller lines focused on a more premium experience.

 

Some things about us:

- We're a couple in our mid-40's with no kids (we're not against sailing on lines with kids, but it's not a consideration for us).

- We aren't that interested in ship "entertainment" but do enjoy enrichment lectures and destination-specific presentations.

- We are independent and generally plan our own excursions. We rarely join the ship excursions so the Regent-style all-inclusive experience would probably be wasted on us.

- We don't need ultra-luxury, but we like to feel "taken care of" on vacation and good food is important!

- We don't need a huge cabin. Something in the 300 sq ft range would suit us fine but we wouldn't go much smaller.

- A bath tub is a must-have for me (this seems to be really hard to find unless you upgrade to one of the largest suites).

- The price-point we're comfortable with is in the range of $1500/night for both of us with drinks, gratuities, wifi included (we don't consider airfare in this).

 

I've been scouring the various forums and cruise line websites trying to find a good match for us but have come up empty so far. I'm hoping y'all can help me crowdsource this problem. We'd appreciate any recommendations or direction this group might be able to provide.

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You may have adjust some of the expectations

Do you want a larger ship more than 2000pax

Small ship less than 1000pax or something inbetween

Usually smaller  means more $$$

Do you have  destination in mind  or not care where the ship sails?

Most premium or luxury line will have some of the things you do not want/need

Main street lines   maybe the  Ship within a ship would suit you

I would just look at the premium & Luxury lines  & see what ones have what you want

 

There is no one size fits all

 

 

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We don't necessarily desire an ultra-small ship. We've been ok on Celebrity ships in the 3000 pax range. The challenge is that going to any other mainstream line usually means a doubling of that capacity. We are definitely not interested in the 6000 pax ships with the waterslides and go-karts on the deck, that type of thing. We're not seeing a lot of options in the 2000-3000 pax range. Seems like things tend to either be really big or really small. Maybe I am missing some obvious options in my research.

 

Destination-wise, we love to cruise Europe and the South Pacific. We're also interested in expanding into some more exotic destinations in the future like Africa and Arabia, but those aren't our bread and butter.

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Small ship lines   under 1500 pax might be 

Oceania/Azamara/Viking/Windstar

Silversea/Seabourne/Atlas/Crystal/Explora Journeys/Ponant/ Paul Gaugain/Scenic Luxury

Ritz Carleton

 I am sure there are others

 

 Some will meet your criteria  some will not

Have look at them & weed out the ones that do not work for you

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Interesting that you come to the "Luxury" blog to ask the question 🙂  We get it, having cruised on 16 different lines ranging from budget to the small ship luxury segment.  So lets understand that there is a huge difference between cruising on Celebrity (even in the Retreat suites) and the small ship luxury segment.  For those of us who are happy with fewer onboard options/activities, and enjoy the relaxed environment with no queues, few to no reservations, excellent personal service, decent food (which varies), than the small ship luxury market is a terrific option.  You might want to look for "value" which can be found by shopping around among lines like Seabourn and Silverseas, and the lightly larger ships (and less luxury) of Viking, Oceania, and Azamara.  

 

As an example, we just finished a 32 day Seabourn cruise that cost us about $400 per person/day.  That was a good price for that particular line, and you can sometimes find cruises in that $400-$450 per person/day price range on both Seabourn and Silverseas.  These are all-inclusive lines (except for money you might spend ashore and/or on excursions) so no need to spend a penny onboard.  On our recent Seabourn Quest, we had about 400 passengers (on a ship that can hold nearly 450) with several hundred crew.  On a ship that size, there is never a queue (even for tenders), interaction with the crew becomes personal, and you do get to know many fellow passengers (if you bother to socialize).  You need to experience this to truly understand the difference from more traditional cruising on a line like Celebrity.  By the way, do not let any feared "exclusivity" or "snobbism" scare you off.  On the luxury lines we actually find most passengers more friendly than on massive ships. 

 

Hank

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/11/2023 at 1:35 AM, cathaana said:

HL's Europa 2 has entry-level cabins with bath tubs. Food is quite good. Your price-point should work as well, even with drinks being extra. Enrichment might be a bit limited in English but it's certainly there.

 

 

I second what Cathaana says about Hapag-Lloyd Europe 2.  We are just off a Norway cruise with them and had an excellent experience in every respect.  

 

I would also suggest you check out Cunard's Grill suite cabins as they have bathtubs.  More importantly for us, Cunard has really outstanding enrichment lectures.  Their three (soon to be four) ships are all in the 2100 - 2700 passenger range. 

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