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Luxury cruises: How far have they come & what can you expect?

In days gone by, cruises gained the stereotype of limited dining options, cramped cabins and passengers that were only ever over a certain age.

However, as global revenue now exceeds $50 billion per year, cruise ships are changing.

Granted, you may still find jam-packed cruise ships that could be denoted as being ‘cheap and cheerful’, but you’ll also find an increasing number of cruise ships that offer an opulent, extravagant feel that give any holidaymaker a much-needed touch of luxury.

Companies like Bolsover Cruise Club offer access to Celebrity Cruises where room service, walk-in wardrobes, private lounges, butlers and heated bathroom floors are the order of the day.

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Almost two million cruises were taken by British holidaymakers in 2017

That’s why cruises are quickly becoming the chosen method of transport for many international (and local) destinations, with liners priding themselves on lavish offerings that are less expensive than your traditional luxury travel options.

So if you’re considering booking a luxury cruise, here’s what you can expect:

5-Star Service

As these luxury cruise ships tend to be smaller, you benefit from fewer guests but with the same number of staff. Therefore, you’re provided with a more personable, efficient service – perhaps even with your very own butler thrown in if you’re lucky (and pay for one of the top-tier cabins).

So, at a minimum, you can expect to be on first-name terms with the crew by the end of your voyage, have had your personal preferences accommodated to, have received help booking excursions and planning any tours on-shore and have had your cabin tailored to your unique requirements.

One thing that should stand out is how your requirements are anticipated, rather than reacted to – so you may find crew members going all out to bring you your favourite cocktail or coffee without being asked, or reserving your favourite spot in the dining room for you each night.

An Array of Daytime Activities

Due to the smaller size of these ships, you may not find the water slides, mini golf and rock climbing walls that are popular on larger liners, but in replace of these you’ll find a more discerning, sophisticated range of entertainment.

The Mediterranean remains the most popular cruise destination for British travellers

These may be cooking schools, lectures from industry-leading professionals, trivia competitions and various well-being classes, e.g. yoga.

The type of activities on offer will depend on where you’re sailing, where your cruise is heading to and how many days you’re at sea for.

For example, if you’re heading to sunnier climes in Southeast Asia, the Caribbean or South Pacific, there may be fewer daytime activities on offer due to the number of people disembarking to see the local sights. In contrast, however, those doing transpacific or transatlantic voyages will be spoilt for choice when it comes to the entertainment. Choose from cooking demonstrations and food and wine tastings to bingo and trivia and guest lectures.

Every evening, you’ll have the schedule of events delivered to your room so you can plan ahead accordingly. There may even be a library full of DVDs and books so you can enjoy some downtime in your suite (which boasts a sea view, of course).

Elite Evening Entertainment

Wining, dining, enjoying conversations and dancing the night away are the go-to forms of entertainment on luxury cruise ships.

You’ll also be offered the chance to while away the hours at a jazz club, watch a movie under the stars on top deck, listen to live music by star-studded performers or watch a West End theatre production.

Although there are fewer activities than what you may expect on a large ship, the chances are you won’t find yourself struggling for things to do – and the entertainment will be a cut above the rest.

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Cruise ships are more spacious and extravagantly equipped than ever

Equally, due to there being fewer people on board these ships, you’ll likely find the atmosphere is far more laid back and relaxed. So if you do want livelier evenings, try opting for shorter trips or ones that involve fewer trips to the shore (so passengers aren’t shattered at the end of the day from all the excursions they’re going on).

Nevertheless, there are often casinos, bars and entertainment running throughout the night, so even if you’re a night owl you’ll always have someone to enjoy the evening with.

The Ultimate Experience

Overall, if you’re looking for a holiday that’ll leave you feeling thoroughly spoilt, pampered and rejuvenated, you need look no further than a luxury cruise. From onboard spas to state-or-the-art cabins, everywhere you turn on one of these liners will have you finding even more luxury and indulgence.

And with these cruise liners often heading to more remote places (the beauty of the ships being smaller), you can even enjoy a more rewarding cultural experience, getting to see even more places on your travels. What more could you ask for?