The glamour and allure of a cruise holiday seems to have faded since its golden age in the 1920s and 1930s.
In recent years the mention of a cruise has been more likely to conjure up images of crowded buffets and slot machines rather than elegance and refinement. But all that is changing in 2016. Luxury is returning to the cruise holiday and completely revitalising its faded glamour.
Small is Beautiful
The first thing to notice is that after years of cruise ships growing bigger and bigger, in 2016 the new luxury ships are getting smaller. Crystal Cruises, which up until now has provided mid and big ship holidays for its high-end customers, is now offering what it describes as ‘luxury yacht cruising’
The Crystal Esprit will carry only 62 guests, but will offer these guests the very latest luxe extras. These include a submarine for exploration under the waves, a fleet of Zodiac inflatable speedboats, and a 32ft super yacht for excursions. Those who prefer to remain aboard can enjoy a bottle of Château Lafite Rothschild at one of boat’s two bars, or six-star dining at its Yacht Club restaurant.
Guest to Staff Ratio
Luxury in the travel industry today is all about the details and nowhere is this more important than in customer care. The new luxury cruise holiday will offer guests the same level of care as they would expect in a 5-star hotel and this means increasing the ratio of staff to guests. On the Crystal Esprit staff will outnumber guests 91:62 to ensure all guest’s needs are met quickly and expertly.
Fine Dining Experiences
Offering a range of dining options has always been a challenge for cruise holiday companies because of the limited space available, and this challenge only gets harder when you reduce the size of the boat. But nonetheless, dining will be one of the major battlegrounds where the new luxury providers will be looking to make the difference.
American company Oceania Cruises is leading the way with the introduction of a 10-seat private dining room (appropriately named Privée) in which guests – who have been forward thinking enough to book in advance – will be served a seven-course degustation menu.
Step Back in Time
For authentic old-world glamour, taking a holiday aboard the Sea Cloud private yacht is the ultimate in retro luxury. Previously the plaything of extravagant heiress Marjorie Post, this 1931 yacht has been updated with all modern comforts while keeping the style and elegance of her former incarnation as a private yacht.
The Sea Cloud carries 64 passengers on cruises around the Mediterranean with a crew of 60 staff ready to meet your every wish.
Don’t Forget Insurance
It’s easy when dreaming about relaxing in the lap of luxury on a holiday to forget such mundane details as travel insurance, but luxury won’t protect you if anything goes wrong. Make sure you get cover to protect this most indulgent of luxury holidays.
Patrick Chong is the Managing Director of InsureMore, an award-winning team of specialists in global single trip, family and annual travel insurance including cruise holiday policies. Besides offering great deals on travel insurance, Patrick also collects and shares the best free travel competitions to help his clients get the most out of their holidays.