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Coming up in luxury cruise: Five luxury lines to consider

Looking for a luxury cruise in 2016? Well we’ve enlisted the help of a leading cruise expert to ensure you find the one that is perfect for you.

Adam Coulter, UK Editor of Cruise Critic, the cruise review site which offers advice on all aspects of cruise planning – including finding the right ship, rounds up the very best luxury lines and their offerings.

Regent Seven Seas

Regent Seven Seas Explorer - Concierge Suite
Regent Seven Seas Explorer – Concierge Suite

Ranked highly by cruisers in the 2016 UK Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Awards, Regent Seven Seas won Best Overall Small Ship for its 700-passenger ship, Seven Seas Voyager. Regent is renowned for excellent dining and service, and its entire fleet of ships offer suite accommodations. The line specialises in world cruises, and balances traditional onboard ambience with contemporary features and amenities. Although offering premium luxury, Regent Seven Seas is value-oriented in that it’s wholly inclusive, with fares covering the cost of the cruise, pre- and post-cruise tours and hotel stays, gratuities, shore excursions and all drinks.

Coming up:
Regent is not only launching a brand new ship in 2016, but is also upgrading ships Navigator, Voyager and Mariner as part of a multimillion-pound refurbishment.

Regent Seven Seas Explorer, launching in July, is dubbed to be “the most luxurious ship ever built”, and is the line’s first new vessel in more than a decade, and largest. Key features include a main theatre, which will host a variety of activities, from cooking classes in the morning to concert recitals and theatrical performances at night. It will also host Regent’s first culinary centre, designed to mirror the world-renowned cooking schools of France.


Seabourn

Seabourn has an outstanding reputation for service, and offers exotic itineraries and excellent cuisine
Seabourn has an outstanding reputation for service, and offers exotic itineraries and excellent cuisine

Seabourn has an outstanding reputation for service, and offers exotic itineraries and excellent cuisine. The line is relatively inclusive, with no charge for cocktails, coffees or fitness classes. Travellers have ample space thanks to large public areas and all suite cabins.

Onboard, cruisers can enjoy cuisine created by Thomas Keller, the chef behind Michelin-starred restaurants The French Laundry, Per Se, and Bouchon.

Coming up:
Also introducing two new ships, Seabourn Encore will be the first in December 2016, followed by Seabourn Ovation in 2018. These additions will be the line’s largest yet, and have 300 suite cabins with private balconies, walk-in wardrobes, in-suite bar setup and a personal “suite stewardess”.

The interiors are designed by award-winning hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany, who has used yachting finishes throughout. In addition, Encore will also host more than 300 works of art.


Crystal Cruises

Crystal Cruises delivers traditional luxury, onboard larger ships
Crystal Cruises delivers traditional luxury, onboard larger ships

Crystal Cruises delivers traditional luxury, onboard larger ships. Passengers are encouraged to dress for dinner and enjoy formal nights on all of its itineraries. Crystal’s fares are almost inclusive, and include beverages and gratuities, specialty dining, enrichment programming, fitness classes, self-service laundry and shuttles into town from the cruise port.

The line also has one of the highest passenger-to-staff, passenger-to-space ratios, which helps to offer a superb standard of service.

Offering larger ships within the luxury sphere enables Crystal to deliver more options in terms of entertainment, socialising, casinos, spa and fitness facilities than may be found on some of the smaller luxury ships.

Coming up:
Crystal has future plans to expand its luxury portfolio, with the launch of three new ships, the first debuting in 2018, as well as a river cruise line, a yacht cruises division, a private airplane and a mini-submarine.


Oceania Cruises

Oceania delivers slightly more affordable luxury
Oceania delivers slightly more affordable luxury

Oceania delivers slightly more affordable luxury, and operates more of an a la carte pricing system than the all-inclusive offerings of the higher-end premium lines.

Another winner in the 2016 UK Cruisers’ Choice Awards, Oceania’s Riviera won six awards including Best Overall Mid-Size Ship. Onboard Riviera, there’s a variety of activities including the Canyon Ranch SpaClub, beauty salon, gym and the Artist Loft enrichment centre providing arts and crafts classes.

Riviera was also commended for its restaurants by cruisers, winning Best Dining in the Mid-Size category of the UK Cruisers’ Choice Awards. Dining venues include the Grand Dining Room and Jacques, a French bistro with menus designed by famed chef Jacques Pepin.

Coming up:
In Spring 2016, the 684-passenger Ocean Princess will undergo a 35-day, multimillion-pound refurbishment to become Sirena, and join Oceania’s fleet. The transformation comprises updates to all cabins, including the six Owner’s Suites receiving newly renovated bathrooms and teak verandas, while the four Vista Suites will feature balconies overlooking the ship’s bow. Almost seventy per cent of cabins will have a private balcony.


Silversea Cruises

Silversea delivers a high standard of personalised service within an upscale, yet casual atmosphere
Silversea delivers a high standard of personalised service within an upscale, yet casual atmosphere

Silversea delivers a high standard of personalised service within an upscale, yet casual atmosphere, and larger-than-average spaces for passengers. The line also offers an all-inclusive policy, which covers gratuities and unlimited beverages.

Almost all of the cruises host lectures providing insight into the lives and cultures of the destinations visited. The line also has a well-established expedition programme, with Silver Galapagos offering a luxurious way to explore the Galapagos Islands.

Coming up:
In 2017, Silversea will launch Silver Muse, which is set to be the largest in the Silversea fleet and the first in a new three-ship class. Silversea Muse is described by the line as a step toward “ultra-luxury ocean cruising,” and will include all-suite accommodations and a supper club-style specialty restaurant.


Interested to find out more about luxury cruising and the ships available to experience? Take a look at Cruise Critic’s Luxury Cruises section or check out the “10 Best Luxury Cruise Ships”.