CHEAP LUXURY!?

Old Apr 26th, 2010, 08:59 PM
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CHEAP LUXURY!?

I don't know much about luxury cruising. I have been on 4 economical cruises with my family (we are going on an 8 night Mexican Riviera with the family of 5 this November - It was only $400 pp).

I would like to start saving up for something truly luxurious with just my husband. We would want exceptional dining. Which lines are recommended? Getting the prices is a little more tricky than going to cruises.com! They don't have the luxury lines. Can anybody provide some guidance on ballpark prices? We would be looking at something U.S. based (caribbean, mexico or alaska - I guess are the choices) and we would have 6-8 nights. I see the ads that say 2 for 1 fares and free airfare and it makes me wonder how high the fare must be if that's the discount. Our departure city would be San Francisco. The time of the trip and specific itinerary would be price driven.

Thanks for the input!
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Old Apr 27th, 2010, 04:54 AM
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A true luxury cruise will cost at least $3000 to $4000 for a week (per person) but will include almost everything, including bar drinks, wine, and soft drinks. For example, you can book a Silversea cruise in Alaska (6 nights) for that range. Some lines are more expensive, and some don't include everything, so keep that in mind.

Just keep in mind that many luxury cruises are longer than 7 days/6 nights, so they start at a higher price point. A one-week Crystal cruise starts closer to $4,000 in the lowest category, but they offer some 2-week itineraries starting at about $4,500. And most cabins are not in the lowest category on luxury ships.

If you want to go this route, I'd talk to a travel agent, go with a reasonable budget of $3,000 to $4,000 per person, and see what you can find. Luxury ships don't do as many Caribbean cruises as other lines, but almost all the lines do have a ship in the Caribbean sometime during the year (usually only in the winter season, however). Most luxury lines do Alaska. Almost none do the Mexican Riviera; that's a very mass-market destination, and luxury lines typically call there only after a round-South America cruise.

Because luxury lines often cruise in more exotic locales, airfare can be more expensive as well, so you have to budget for that.
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Old Apr 27th, 2010, 11:14 AM
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Depemd on how much you want to spend and where you want to cruise...for example on Holland America you can bump up to a Deluxe Veranda Suite and get some nice perks and a lot of room. Oceania has great small ships and in their Penthouse, Visita and Owner's suites you get a butler and other perks plus more room. Azamara Club Cruises is similar to Oceania, but they are now including wine with dinner, sodas, bottled water and tips in the basic fare. Then you have top of the lot, Silverea, Seadream, Seaborn and Crystal. Check out cruisecritic.com for lots of info on ships and cruise lines.
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Old Apr 27th, 2010, 04:02 PM
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If you want true luxury, then you will get a better experience in a lower-level cabin on a luxury cruise ship than on a luxury cabin on a mainstream cruise ship. Once you leave your cabin on a giant mainstream ship, you still have to deal with the crowded public areas and the food in the regular restaurants (or pay even more for the specialty restaurants).
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Old Apr 27th, 2010, 05:20 PM
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GREAT advice. We are leaning towards the lowest cabin on the best line - Your point is well taken, Doug. Cruisecritic really has a lot of info - It's just hard to wade through then you are price driven versus knowing which line, itinerary OR date! So, your ballparks were very helpful boom boom.

Thanks!
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