Free-flowing champagne, world-class cuisine served on fine china, Broadway performances, Egyptian linen with thread counts in the hundreds and brand-name shopping. The world’s luxury cruise lines are taking high-seas pampering to a new level.
“A luxury liner is a floating resort filled with everything your heart desires. Expect to enjoy spacious surroundings, art collections, impeccable service, and attention to detail, quality bed linens, onboard enrichment programmes and cuisine fit for a king,” says Zoe Illingworth, marketing manager for Discount Cruises.
Luxury cruise lines have a very high crew-to-passenger ration so your needs will be attended to in double time. Enjoy private verandas, butler service, flat-screen TVs, sumptuous bathrobes and more.
Many cruise ships now feature world-class day spas and visit to one of these can be wonderfully rejuvenating. We all love to be pampered and there is a spa treatment or therapy to suit everyone.
Shore excursions will cater to a range of tastes from cultural walking tours to helicopter trips, while the onboard activities can include art auctions, photography classes and lectures on the culture, history, flora and fauna of the region you’re cruising in.
Those who appreciate a first-class travel experience will undoubtedly enjoy sailing aboard a luxury cruise line. You will enjoy creative cuisine that excels in presentation, taste, variety and ingredients. Fine dining is one of the many highlights and you will be served connoisseur wines and premium spirits by sommeliers that understand and can discuss fine wines.
This world-renowned cruise line is always in search of perfection and innovation is their watchword. In January this year they introduced Perfect Choice Dining where three distinct seating options are on offer. The Open Dining by Reservation allows guests to choose the time they wish to dine. So if a guest wishes to stay ashore longer or take their time at the spa they won’t lose their dinner reservation.
Crystal Cruises has also introduced hand-on cooking and baking classes hosted by celebrity guest chefs, where guests can watch everything from artisanal ice cream to puff pastries and sushi being prepared.
On board a Crystal Cruise guest are also invited to take advantage of the Creative Learning Institute to pick up new skills such as digital filmmaking and ballroom dancing. On certain cruises guest can also enjoy wine and food festivals, jazz festivals or listen to famous guest speakers who will offer their knowledge in specific field and life experiences.
Enjoy an Adriatic Antiquities experience onboard the Crystal Serenity. Journey through the idyllic Greek Isles and along the breathtaking Dalmatian Coast to arrive at La Serenissima, the enchanting city of Venice. Priced from approximately R36 740 (US$4965) spend seven nights in blissful luxury sailing from Athens to Venice, and stopping at Kusadasi, Santorini, Corfu and Dubrovnik along the way. Departs 12 June 2012 and airfare on Air France/KLM is included subject to terms and conditions.
Cunard Line -The Queen Mary 2
The Queen Mary 2 is the most magnificent ocean liner ever built. She's a true heir to the timeless elegance, legacy and inspiration of the great Cunard liners of legend. This sophisticated monarch also boasts the most modern luxuries and amenities - from the pampering services of the only Canyon Ranch Spa Club on the seas to the fascinating Oxford Discovery enrichment programme led by professors from the University of Oxford and other prestigious experts.
This regal royal is 147 feet longer than the Eiffel Tower is tall and must be seen to be believed. Savour the pleasure of Afternoon Tea served by white-gloved waiters, waltz your way around the grandest dance floor at sea to the strains of the Orchestra’s strings or step into the Monte Carlo-inspired Empire Casino that offers a full variety of opportunities to tempt Lady Luck.
Some of the other facilities and features on the QM2 include 24 Hour room service, an art gallery, basketball court, bookstore, Churchill's cigar bar, the G32 disco, the Play Zone/The Zone children’s club, Veuve Clicquot® Champagne Bar and the only planetarium at sea.
Cruising on a Seabourn ship is unlike any other form of travel. The experience is luxurious, yet relaxed. Elegant, yet casual. Sumptuous, yet understated. Their intimate ships visit the most desirable destinations worldwide, sailing to the heart of landmark cities, as well as to hidden gems where larger vessels cannot follow.
Seabourn has a fleet of six graceful ships that carry between 208 and 450 guests each, exclusively in ocean-view suites. They are graciously served by nearly the same number of handpicked crew, who are consistently ranked as the finest at sea, earning Seabourn honours as the World’s Best Small Ship Cruise Line in surveys of readers by Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure.
For more than 137 years, Holland America Line has been a recognized leader in cruising, taking guests to exotic destinations around the world. If spacious and comfortable ships at sea, award-winning service, five star dining, extensive activities and enrichment programmes and compelling worldwide itineraries are what you’re after then a cruise on a Holland America ship is for you.
With a fleet of 14 elegant, mid-size vessels this cruise line offers nearly 500 sailings a year visiting all seven continents. Cruises include both popular and less-travelled ports in the Caribbean, Alaska, Europe, Mexico, South America, the Panama Canal, Australia, New Zealand and Asia - as well as unique voyages to the Amazon, Antarctica and extended Grand Voyages.
They also offer one-of-a-kind programs such as the Culinary Arts Center cooking demonstrations and specially-chosen shore excursions to further a guest’s appreciation and understanding of the places they visit.
For example, on an Alaskan cruise that stops in Juneau you can take in a dog sled and glacier adventure by helicopter. This shore excursion takes just under three hours and offers the rare opportunity to mush your own dog sled team across a snow-capped glacier. Learn the tricks of the trade from seasoned veterans of the legendary Alaskan Iditarod Sled Dog Race.
On the way there, travellers will be amazed by a wondrous heli-flightseeing trip over the vast Juneau Ice field. View spectacular icefalls, rock formations, and untamed wilderness. Accessible only by air, this region is filled with lush forests, glassy alpine lakes, jagged mountain peaks, and awe-inspiring glaciers.
To book your luxury cruise, call Discount Cruises on 0860 600 787 or visit www.discountcruises.co.za.