Sometimes in life you just have to treat yourself. It might be something as simple as getting in after a long day when you’ve been at work dealing with complaints and just seeing that bottle of wine waiting, or possibly that weekend break you’ve been looking forward to, whether it’s a golf tournament with the boys or a spa break and cocktails with the girls.
So when you’re booking a holiday, why shouldn’t you treat yourself and go for that bit extra? I don’t just mean booking a lounge at the airport, I’m talking the whole hog (though it really feels that this phrase could not be any less appropriate for what I’m about to suggest): an ultra-luxury cruise.
If you know cruises and you are familiar with the different cruise lines, then this is preaching to the choir. But if you haven’t ever looked into the different options then this is the true holiday of kings.
It seems strange but these days the whole general perception of cruising seems to have shifted from the luxury days of old to the modern, family-oriented mega ships of today. Whether this is a change in mentality, a reduction in cost or the impact of TV advertising, if you ask a member of the public now to describe a cruise ship they’d likely go into detail about waterparks, arcades etc. rather than knowing much about the traditions of cruising thirty years ago or more.
So what are the benefits of upgrading and going for a luxury cruise?
Firstly there’s the on-board accommodation, which is always good quality on any cruise ship, especially when you start looking at balcony rooms and above, but when you go luxury it’s something else. Sumptuous suites with spacious bathrooms, sometimes including baths rather than a cosy shower cubicle, are all decorated to the highest standard with exceedingly comfortable furnishings giving you your own little haven to retire to following a day of fascinating activities and excursions.
Then there’s the service. Often, luxury cruise lines have gratuities included, so for a start you don’t need to worry about whether your room steward or waiter is unsure of whether you’ll tip them well. Instead they are already paid at a better rate than mainstream lines, in most cases, and they’re highly trained. Only the best crew members are employed on ultra-luxury ships, ensuring you have a smooth and hassle-free holiday.
Then there’s just the small touches around the ship – the marble finishes; the softer, deeper carpets; proper blackout curtains etc. It all adds up to give a much more special feel, making your holiday something that you will truly never forget.
Luxury cruise ships are smaller than their bigger, more ‘mainstream’ competitors, which means you’ll usually have a quieter voyage. You’ll also meet the same people more frequently, which can be both a joy and a curse, and you’ll find itineraries include ports that other larger ships simply cannot access.
There are loads of great benefits. The food, inclusive drinks, the range of spa treatments, the added extras…so why wouldn’t you treat yourself and go for the upgrade?
By Ian Lewis