Cruise control: Why cruising is fast becoming the home of luxury travel
Debbie Stevens, head of sales and markerting at The Cruise Line, looks at how the cruise industry is fast becoming the home of luxury travel.
There are more exciting and unique ways to see the world now than ever before, to the point where holidayers are spoilt for choice. In response to the ever-growing offerings available to the cruise industry, the cruise industry has given much attention to reimagining what can be achieved on the high seas, and appealing to the more adventurous tastes of modern holidaymakers. For those seeking a holiday in the lap of luxury, the cruise industry has a lot on offer, and is fast becoming the home of luxury travel.
Cruise ships vary widely depending on the audience they are catering to, and those designed with opulence in mind are the perfect way to travel in style. A handful of leading cruise ships have recently been designed or renovated to deliver the most luxurious aesthetic possible. Seven Seas’ Explorer is a palatial vessel that makes heavy use of Italian marble, granite, gold leaf and Czech crystal chandeliers, providing every onboard suite with its own private balcony. Meanwhile, Uniworld’s SS Antoinette recycles a magnificent Strauss Baccarat blue sapphire chandelier from a New York hotel, complimented by a layout of Brazilian marble, Venetian glass and commissioned art works.
Onboard restaurants have been given increasing focus in recent years, and luxury cruises have pulled out all the stops to provide the freshest and highest quality food in the seven seas. Silversea’s ships offer a range of fine dining experiences, including La Dame by renowned French chef duo Relais & Chȃteaux and Kaiseki specialise in perfectly balanced Japanese cuisine, while Seabourn’s ships pride themselves on tableside preparation and service from master chefs at The Grill by Thomas Keller. Many ships like to take advantage of sourcing local ingredients from ports, including the freshest seafood, fruits and vegetables, guaranteeing an entirely unique dining experience every time.
The range of destinations accessible by ship has been evolving considerably in recent years, coinciding with the rejuvenation of the cruise industry. While large ships still visit all of the favourite routes and destinations such as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, the emergence of smaller, more agile and robust vessels has opened up a number of new destinations that cannot be reached by larger ships. For the adventurous types, the Arctic Circle and the Amazon Rainforest are exciting new destinations available on a cruise holiday, and for those looking to branch out while relaxing in luxury, more intimate vessels visit the largely untouched waterways of Russia, the Irrawaddy River in Myanmar and the Chobe River in Botswana, to name just a few. The menu for luxury-seekers is wider than ever – the sky is the limit when it comes to exploring the world in luxury.
Services and Activities
The activities and excursions available on luxury cruises have also been expanding hugely in recent times, and for luxury travellers, this tends to mean personal enrichment and the acquisition of new skills. Tasting sessions and cooking classes with the top chefs who operate the onboard restaurants often take place during the day when they have more time to mingle with passengers, while wine tastings and demonstrations are now considered staple features of luxury cruises. Lectures and presentations from guest speakers specialising in a wide range of fields, as well as enrichment programmes teaching a number of skills such as the use of computer softwares, are becoming more prominent for luxury travellers, who wish to escape everyday life while putting their time off to good use.
Cruise providers vary hugely in their offerings, but the capacity of luxury vessels is fast becoming a defining feature of a cruise. Cruise ships are traditionally synonymous with mass travel, being able to accommodate thousands of passengers on the vast vessels, making for a noisy, crowded and otherwise saturated holidaying experience. Some luxury cruise providers still operate with sizeable ships in able to continue offering everything they do, such as Broadway shows and ornate architecture, however other providers have emerged in recent years with considerably smaller ships. Vessels with capacities ranging from as few as twelve to a very modest sixty or one hundred passengers make for a much more relaxed, intimate and relaxing holiday, as well as eliminating the prospect of queueing for food, excursions and other services. Small ships are establishing themselves as a favourite among luxury travellers.
Established in 1993, The Cruise Line is the UK’s original luxury cruise specialist, providing great cruise deas to some of the world’s most popular holiday destinations.