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kaleighsgram Jan 21st, 2008 06:08 AM

Absolute Best Cruise Line
 
I asked this question a few years ago and can't find an answer now, so I'll ask it again. I'm interested in taking the best cruise of my life. I've been on cruise lines from Celebrity to Norwegian, but this time I want something really special. I'm interested in a newer ship that has really great food and great service. Any ideas? It seems to me that Jacketwatch was kind enough to answer this question for me way back when, but our trip was delayed to deal with health issues. Now we're back on track. Thanks for any advice.

Debi Jan 21st, 2008 07:40 AM

I think it really depends on what you like - but we LOVED Crystal. The service and food were far beyond anything I've experienced on any of the other cruise lines I've been on....... The other one I hear good things about is Regent...

jacketwatch Jan 21st, 2008 07:57 AM

Wow! I don't recall that but thanks for the kind words. :-) What is the best is subjective of course but IIRC the top rated lines according to CN Travelers poll include Regent and Crystal. I'll get back to you about that when I get a chance to look. In the meantime try looking into reviews at www.cruisecritic.com for these two lines as well as perhaps Seabourne. Also look into Louis cruise lines>>>>> NOT! :D :D have fun. Larry :-)

kfusto Jan 21st, 2008 10:43 AM

The top rated luxury lines are Crystal, Regent, Seabourn, Silversea and SeaDream.

Crystal is formal nights and big ship amenities with excellent entertainment and fixed dining.

Regent, my favorite so far, has smaller ships (400-700 guests), all suites, all inclusive, open dining. I have been on two of their cruises and they were superb! Nightlife is low key.

There are also two "premium" choices: Oceania and Azamara.

petlover Jan 22nd, 2008 06:35 AM

This is such a subjective question so it's difficult to answer without knowing your likes and dislikes. As others have mentioned, my favorite cruise line to date has been Regent. I think they do things to a "T". I would immediately throw out the mass marketed cruise lines, those are more the cookie cutter types with lots of people, waiting in lines, paying for many of the extras (even bottles of water on some!) and look at the luxury lines with fewer people (though NOT stuffy!) , better food and personalized service. These are the type lines that are generally all inclusive so you really are spoiled.

Personally, I wouldn't consider Crystal just because they have a set dining hour. I like to eat when, where, with whom I want to BUT this is just my opinion. Others like eating at the same table with the same tablemates. The size of the cabin and small things (that aren't so small) such as separate shower and separate tub, walk in closet, all balcony cabins are important to me....they may not be to you.

Maybe order some brochures to compare the cruise experience itself (though the brochures make it all look good) with the itinerary that you want. There are lots of good choices out there!

Dreps Jan 22nd, 2008 08:01 AM

I agree with others who say this is very subjective and depends on which characteristics are most important to you. Of the luxury cruise lines, we've only been on Regent--71 days--and we think very highly of it. The cabins are spatious, service is great, food is wonderful, and excurisons are well done. Both Petlover and we use the same terrific TA, who primarily books on Regent, Silversea, and Oceania. We're going on our first Silversea cruise in April and have tentatively booked an Oceania cruise in 2009. Whatever you decide, once you pick a cruise line, use a TA who is very knowledgeable about that line. It makes a big difference and unlike the airline industry, you often get better fares through a TA than by booking directly with the cruise line.

Hold Jan 22nd, 2008 09:13 AM

I'll answer it in a similar way by saying .... I don't think someone else can give you an ABSOLUTE answer to a Subjective question since we don't know your personal style or preferences.

Maybe it would be helpful if you asked yourself, "what is it that I absolutely must have to enjoy the cruise of a lifetime?" Then you could ask for some suggestions to help meet your ideal cruise.

You started explaining what your ideal might include when you said a newer ship, great food, etc. Expand on these and other preferences and you may soon find your best cruise.

Have a great cruise whatever you choose!

kaleighsgram Jan 22nd, 2008 12:49 PM

I have to say, the people who frequent this site never disappoint me. Thank you for all of your help. I've already started the research, which is half the fun. I do realize that this is a subjective question and what appeals to me may not appeal to you, but telling me what you like about the different lines has helped me tremendously. As I've said, the ship and the food are most important to me. I love to cook tasty, elaborate meals for friends so when I get on board, I want somebody to do that for me. As to set dining/open seating, it doesn't make a difference to us. The size of the cabins are also important. We really aren't into entertainment/night life or maybe we just haven't found any we would stick around to see. For one thing, I find that if the sound level is too high, we leave. I did go to Cruise Critic to start looking into the different ships. I have used this site to make new friends before I get on a cruise, and have enjoyed the results. Hopefully my additional information will help others with their replies. I do thank all of you, as you have already made my job easier.

ShipleyDM Jan 29th, 2008 11:31 AM

Hi,
The brand new Celebrity "Solstice" premiering 12/08 sounds nice. Crystal is well reputed as well. You did not mention timeframe or destination?

kaleighsgram Jan 30th, 2008 11:34 AM

Thanks for the info. I did not mention a timeframe nor a desitination, because, now that we're retired, we don't care! I'm not rubbing that in mind you, just happy to be able to sleep late and travel when and where we want to. Being a retired teacher, we have always been stuck with July, but not anymore! LOL
I have been looking into this more and more. I had one question for kfusto, since you seem to be familiar with Regent...is there only one dinner seating on Regent or did I read that wrong?

patsy120 Jan 30th, 2008 12:17 PM

kaleighsgram,
I'm not kfusto but am familiar with Regent. They do NOT have set seating or hours, On either the Mariner or Voyager you have 4 dining options each evening (no extra charges at any of the restaurants): Compass Rose (the main and largest dining room), La Veranda (always casual, menu changes but usually has Italian theme), Signatures (always informal dress, French cuisine), Latitudes (usually a type of Asian cuisine but menu does change depending on what part of the world you're in). There is also room service 24 hours a day. At night if you elect to have room service you can order off the same menu as if you were in Compass Rose. You can even have it served course by course if you want (including any bottle or wine or cocktails you desire). Another nice feature on Regent is you can special order any food item you want the night before. If you wanted lobster 3 nights in a row for example, no problem. Just special order it.

On the Navigator there are fewer dining options, Compass Rose and Portotfino (Italian with live entertainment). The Navigator holds 490 passengers, Mariner & Voyager each hold 700 passengers. I forget about Paul Gauguin which is in Tahiti year round.

All Regent ships are all inclusive, including tips. It is probably my favorite cruise line so IMO you'll be making a good decision and be spoiled for life.

kaleighsgram Jan 31st, 2008 12:00 PM

Patsy,
Thanks for answering my post. I just called Regent about a cruise in April on the Mariner. I think I like the open seating at dinner, as opposed to a fixed time. I still have another question. How casual is the dress on this ship? My husband and I love the dress-up nights but I'm concerned about the rest of the dinnertimes.
Thanks again.
Pat

kfusto Feb 1st, 2008 03:42 AM

Regent is country club casual and IME the passengers dress quite nicely at dinner. I will wear a dress or nice slacks with heels every evening and my husband a button down shirt and often a sport coat.

Many of Regent's sailings have no formal nights but we will dress up (cocktail) for the specialty dining or when the mood strikes.

We just booked the Navigator for next year and are already looking forward to it.

suzeshoes Feb 1st, 2008 03:48 AM

Having been on the Cunard, Celebrity, & Royal Caribbean lines, we too were anxious to take a very special cruise. We did not want to be nickel and dimed throughout, and wanted to go to ports that were not the norm. Silversea far exceeded our expectations. The pricing includes all food & drink, including a bar in your room, also gratuities are included. We traveled on the Silver Whisper (one of their newer ships, although not brand new) and went to small ports beginning and ending in Antigua. these ports included St. Barts and St. Kitts. It was without a doubt the best cruise we had ever taken.

petlover Feb 1st, 2008 06:23 AM

If you are considering booking either Regent or Silversea I can recommend an excellent TA that specializes in luxury cruise lines. In fact, it's the #1 independent booking agency for Regent and I know other posters here who use them. Email me and I'll give you their website and information.
[email protected]

Tiff Feb 3rd, 2008 07:00 AM

Hi Petlover,
Would you mind if I emailed you for that site?
Thank you, Tiff

petlover Feb 3rd, 2008 01:07 PM

Sure Tiff......

tuckerdc Feb 23rd, 2008 09:18 AM

We have sailed both Silversea and Seabourn and they have both been absolutely exceptional experiences. Because we love the 'experience of the voyage,' we've done transAtlantic crossings on both, also did Alaska with Silversea.

It's truly the lap of luxury and worth every penny. Seabourn ships accommodate just under 200 passengers; Silversea is just a bit larger, with about 396 passengers. And Seabourn is introducing a brand-new ship (forget whether it's later this year or next), that will take about 400 passengers.

laphroaig Feb 23rd, 2008 01:13 PM

Of the luxury lines, I've sailed Regent (numerous times) and Silversea (once). Both have much to recommend them, and I think you'd enjoy either. I sometimes have to consider the single supplement, which is why Regent tends to win out (much lower supplement on most of its sailings). Also, except for Navigator and Paul Gaugin, their rooms all have balconies which is a nice addition. The clincher is that the Regent loyalty program gives nice perks (like free internet) once you get above its basic level.

Both lines have two big plus points: the crew (who are always gracious and helpful) and the passengers (who are great company). Silversea gets a somewhat more international clientele than Regent, which carries mostly Americans, but all activities are in English.

I use the same TA as petlover, and would also highly recommend them. They can also help you sort through some of the different lines, but note that they limit the ones they handle, so you're not going to hear a lot about Crystal, Seabourne or Seadream (other luxury lines worth a look) from them.

But you have to start somewhere, and I doubt you can go wrong with any of these lines.

kaleighsgram Feb 24th, 2008 12:00 PM

As always, everyone has been so helpful. We are thinking of Regent's Seven Seas Mariner and am waiting for a callback before we make any decisions. Thanks for all of your help. Anybody else have any great ideas, please let me know.


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