Many may consider any vacation on a cruise ship to be a luxury. It is certainly true that virtually all cruise ships offer great service and amenities onboard. But for the truly discerning traveler, there is the luxury cruise. Luxury cruises are geared toward providing passengers with a high level of quality and refinement from the moment they set foot on the ship.
There are some key differences that set a luxury cruise apart from more typical cruise vacations. Topmost among these differences is the quality of personalized service offered to each passenger. One way this care is provided is by keeping a very low staff-to-passenger ratio, usually 2 to 1. This means that for every 2 passengers, there is one staff member there to assist in their needs. Often, it means that you will be assigned a butler or valet to your suite, to further assist in fulfilling your requirements.
Another key difference found aboard is the general atmosphere of sophistication and refinement, and attention paid to the smallest of details. This might mean a bottle of chilled champagne awaiting you in your suite as you depart, a bed dressed in fine Egyptian linens, or gourmet foods to choose from at every meal. Luxury cruise ships often are decorated with fine paintings and sculptures with fresh flowers at your every turn.
Finally, many luxury cruises are all-inclusive. Everything is paid for up front: the airfare, the fine wines and liquors, the extra tours on land, the gratuities. This allows a traveler to know the full cost of all expenses ahead of time, leaving more time for relaxing and escaping everyday cares.
Rooms are quite spacious on luxury cruises, often; ships feature all-suite accommodations, sometimes with a private balcony. Rooms may also come equipped with entertainment systems, refrigerators and wet bars, marble bathrooms, and as mentioned above, a personal butler. As for the ships themselves, they come in a range of sizes, from smaller, yacht-like vessels, to mid-to-large sized ships. One thing they all have in common, though, is a sense of privacy and a lack of crowds. Another feature that defines luxury cruises is the unique range of ports of call the ships visit. Rather than traveling to the usual cruise cruise spots, these ships head for out-of-the-way exotic locales.
Finally, it's important to note that a luxury cruise does not necessarily mean the traveler is expected to dress up and pack a large, formal wardrobe. Many luxury cruises cater to those who prefer resort-casual wear – even at dinner. Whatever level of service and sophistication you seek; there is a luxury cruise that caters to your desires.