One of the benefits of choosing an elite cruise line at the top end of the scale, aside from plenty of pampering, is many of the extras you would normally pay for are included in the fare. So what exactly do you get for your money when you splash out on such a cruise? We tell all with our guide to our top three all-inclusive cruise lines, and the reasons why they rate so highly.
1. Regent Seven Seas Cruises
This boutique fleet of three, Seven Seas Navigator, Seven Seas Mariner, and Seven Seas Voyager, are small-to-mid-sized ships, and if you cruise on Seven Seas Voyager or Seven Seas Mariner, every suite has a private balcony.
What makes this our top pick, however, are the extras you receive, which are above and beyond what’s standard with most all-inclusive fares. For a start, all accommodations are suites with ocean views. If that’s not enough to blow you away, other perks include an in-suite minibar stocked with your preferences and replenished daily, a welcome bottle of champagne upon boarding, and an interactive flat-screen television in every suite, complete with an extensive media library and complimentary movies on demand. Guests booked into a Penthouse suite also enjoy a butler service, an in-suite iPad, an iPod-docking station, and an espresso machine.
Most importantly, when it comes to food, the ship has open-seating dining throughout, and there’s no charge for any specialty restaurants. The open bars and lounges mean you can enjoy free, unlimited beverages, including fine wines and premium spirits. Furthermore, all gratuities and complimentary transportation into town in most ports of call are also included in your fare. Additional Regent benefits also include two-for-one fares, free unlimited shore excursions, free luxury hotel packages and free ground transfers.
2. Seabourn Cruise Line
Seabourn Cruise Line has added a new class of slightly larger ships to its boutique fleet in recent years. The Odyssey class features three vessels, including Odyssey, Quest and Sojourn. All three ships offer more space and facilities, which have proven very popular with new devotees of luxury cruising.
As with the Regent cruises, all accommodations are also suites with ocean views and most feature private balconies. Similarly, you’ll also receive an in-suite minibar stocked with your preferences, which are replenished daily, as well as a free interactive entertainment system, with new movies and music in a database.
With open-seating dining throughout the ship, there’s no charge for specialty restaurants. Fine wines are poured at lunch and dinner, and open bars are located throughout the ship.
Finally, all gratuities are included in your fare, and complimentary transportation into town is provided in most ports of call. Guests in premium suites have additional perks, including an invitation from the Master for a bridge visit during entry or departure from a port, free internet service, a large bouquet of fresh flowers upon embarking, an espresso machine and free private car airport transfers.
On the Odyssey class ships, guests in premium suites also have a choice of daily newspapers delivered to their suite, and a wellness bag exercise kit containing easy-to-carry workout gear.
3. Silversea Cruises
Taking out third place in our top picks is Silversea, with its fleet of European-owned ships including Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper and Silver Spirit.
As with its competitors, these elegant vessels are boutique sized, enjoying plenty of understated style, with an abundance of onboard facilities. While not all dining venues are included in the fare, plenty of other perks are.
Silversea ships offer ocean views with all suite accommodations, and an in-suite minibar stocked with your preferences. There’s open seating throughout the ship for dining, complimentary beverages, including fine wines, champagnes, spirits, beer, bottled water, specialty coffees and soft drinks, and all gratuities are included, with complimentary transportation into town provided in most ports of call.
Additional perks for this line include complimentary shore-side events on selected voyages, and butler services for all guests.
What do you think? Have you been on an all-inclusive cruise? Did you feel it was worth it?
To find out more about cruising or to find the cruise of your dreams within your budget, visit CruiseGuide.com.au.