This will come as a surprise. Travelers get sticker shock when they see the price of luxury cruises. Most people love the all-inclusive aspect – wonderful food, great amenities, larger cabins, smaller ships, and superb service. Very attractive. However, the price point makes them run to the premium or budget lines. I mean, those price points are so much more reasonable, right?
Remember this: It’s not what you pay to get on the ship, it’s what you pay to get off the ship.
Cruise fares may vary widely but consider the additional costs you would have on the premium lines, and they do add up. In the chart below, I offer you an example of comparing a Regent Seven Seas cruise with a similar itinerary on a premium line.
Yes, in this example, the luxury line is still about $600 more per person. The premium lines would have you believe that the difference is $3300 per person. The service you will receive on the luxury line is, well, luxurious. The food? Exceptional gourmet cuisine. Wines and spirits? Top shelf. Is it a stretch for your vacation budget? Don’t count out the luxury lines yet. They offer periodic sales that will surprise you. I recently saw a Regent Seven Seas Alaska cruise for less than $4000 per person (yep, flights and everything). You may need to be a bit flexible with your dates for such specials.
You will appreciate the true difference between premium and luxury cruise lines even before you set foot on the ship. OH YES. You are treated like the VIP that you are. Bliss. When you think of what you pay for what you get, it’s a tremendous value.
The luxury lines offer true luxury accommodations, transportation to interesting destinations, and attentive service. With the high level of service, you may wonder how often you need to reach into your pocket to tip the staff. Never. Your gratuities are already covered in your fare on lines such as Azamara, Crystal, Paul Gauguin, Regent, Sea Dream, Seabourn and Silversea.
You’ll get three delicious gourmet meals (Michelin star level meals in certain cases), snacks, soft drinks, specialty coffees, and premium wines and alcohol. The really cool thing is that you can have them all delivered to your room! Yes, my friends, you most certainly can request that chilled bottle of champagne be delivered to your room. No tip required. On those days that you just feel like sleeping in or lounging in your suite for the evening, your gourmet meal and favorite beverage will be delivered to you. For free. True. How convenient is that?
Some of the luxury lines offer shore excursions as part of your fare. Even if they don’t include every excursion in the fare, they will host complimentary outings, concerts, and cultural events during certain segments of the cruise.
Here are 15 reasons that a cruise on a luxury line is a good value and makes sense.
1. No flights, trains, buses, or rental cars to get to your next destination.
2. You unpack once, and you’re done.
3. You have more time to relax.
4. Enjoy your sea days and catch up on your reading.
5. Visa, passport, and entry into other countries is minimal and handled for you.
6. You’ll have plenty of choices for sight-seeing and entertainment.
7. Gourmet food and premium beverages.
8. Stay fit on board the ship and use the gym, take classes, play paddle ball, or walk the track. Alternatively, take advantage of the port cities for walking, jogging, swimming or other activities.
9. You get to learn about new countries, cultures, customs and food.
10. If you enjoy a drink or three, no need to drive home. Just walk to your stateroom after a night of entertainment.
11. Share your stunning photos on Instagram.
12. You get to meet new people and make lasting friendships.
13. No difficult decisions, except which restaurant is on the schedule for dinner.
14. No need to drag your pocketbook or wallet anywhere. Keep them in your stateroom safe.
15. Memories that you cherish for a lifetime.
Many people believe that a luxury cruise is out of reach, but it isn’t. The extras that are not included in your fare on a premium line can really add up to almost the cost of the luxury line. If you take one thing away from this post, it should be this. It’s not what you pay to get on the ship, it’s what you pay to get off. A luxury cruise offers a truly relaxing experience that will make you feel like a million bucks.