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While many resort-style cruise lines provide a sense of luxury by offering spacious suites or enclaves exclusive to their top guests, at Q Cruise + Travel, we tend to reserve the term “Luxury Cruises” for another class of cruise lines.
When we say “Luxury Cruise”, we mean those cruise lines that distinguish themselves by consistently offering service levels similar to a grand hotel or a Four Seasons resort. In addition, we know all about the newer category of Deluxe, also known as Upper-Premium cruises.
When considering luxury cruises, the cruise specialists at Q Cruise + Travel are especially well-placed to assist. After all, we are the city of Chicago’s certified luxury cruise travel agents. Not only have we had the pleasure of personally experiencing many of the luxury cruise ships, we are also a member of Virtuoso, the travel industry’s key luxury network. That means that we can offer our clients a range of amenities and extras not available otherwise. Our Virtuoso Voyages Program, for example, provides Q Cruise + Travel clients with an onboard Virtuoso host, a welcome reception and your choice of a Virtuoso exclusive shore event, credits to spend onboard, Virtuoso travel credits or, in some cases, a private car and driver in one of your ports of call. We offer Virtuoso Voyages on hundreds of cruise departures.
The smaller ships (from 100 to 1,000 guests) of the true luxury cruise lines can access ports that are out of reach for the megaships in the Contemporary category. You can expect fewer passengers and thus more personalized attention and hand-crafted meals designed by award-winning chefs. Most “six star” cruise lines offer an almost “all-inclusive” experience. Your initial cruise fare may appear higher, but generally offers great value, as fares typically include gourmet meals in a variety of restaurants, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, minibars, gratuities, transportation to nearby port cities, and of course spacious accommodations in luxurious rooms and suites. Some lines even include airfare, pre- or post-cruise hotel stays, excursions, Internet access, laundry and other services.
Newer is the “Upper Premium” or Deluxe cruise category. Bridging the gap between the Premium lines and the Luxury lines, these cruise companies have small to mid-size ships that allow for a focus on unique destinations and a “country club” casual atmosphere. Although not all deluxe lines include alcoholic beverages or gratuities, non-alcoholic beverages and specialty coffees are par for the course, just like attention to detail and a higher level of service than the premium lines can offer.
On either type of line, most of the guests onboard are typically well-traveled and have likely been on numerous cruises, and are collecting new adventures and destinations. When there are first-time cruisers aboard a luxury ship, they’re generally experienced travelers that avoid the “big name” places and brands, and look for a sense of exclusivity and privacy.
Click on a cruise line logo below to see cruise itineraries offered by your preferred luxury or deluxe/upper-premium cruise line.
This “Deluxe” cruise line with its two 690-guest ships is all about Destination Immersion: with late and overnight stays, visits to ports that larger ships must skip and unique programs such as AzAmazing Evenings and Insider Access you are certain to get the insider scoop on the places you visit.
The two oceangoing ships of Crystal shine with service befitting a grand hotel. A recent quest for expansion has seen Crystal add the Crystal Esprit, a 62-guest yacht that explores the Seychelles and the Adriatic, the launch of Crystal River Cruises with the new Crystal Mozart and more to follow. Crystal will also add three new ocean liners, and future world voyages or private flights by Crystal aircraft. What all these new luxury cruise products have in common are wonderful service, exceptional itineraries and excellent entertainment.
This Upper-Premium line with its mid-size ships offers a country-club casual atmosphere onboard, global itineraries, world cruises as long as 180 days. But it is probably even better known for its culinary excellence: not surprising, considering famous French chef Jacques Pepin is the culinary consultant for the line.
If Tahiti and French Polynesia are on your list, you should simply sail on the cruise line and ship that were designed for that region. The beautiful Paul Gauguin features the high service levels you’d expect of a luxury line, combined with features unique to the South Pacific: a watersports platform, a group of cultural ambassadors, Polynesian designs.
With its fleet of small luxury ships that sail to all seven continents, Ponant combines the characteristics of a luxury line with that of an expedition company. Ponant’s French heritage and guests make for a very international atmosphere onboard.
The larger ships (from 450 to 750 guests) of this luxury line offer a range of entertainment and dining options and sail around the world. Regent positions itself as the “most inclusive” luxury cruise line: you can do as many shore excursions as your schedule allows, included in your cruise fare.
There is so much to love about this luxury line: modern ships with clean lines and great design, excellent food, wonderful service, a watersports platform and more. Ask us about “Caviar in the Surf” as well!
If you or a friend had two wonderful luxury yachts that could accommodate just a total of 50 couples, this would be it. SeaDream prides itself on the fact that it does not provide a cruise, but a relaxing, casual, luxury yacht experience, in the Caribbean or the Mediterranean.
While most know the luxury Silversea Cruises on its fleet of elegant, small, classic ships that roam around the world, its expedition class fleet adds a whole range of luxury and destinations – think Galapagos, Antarctica, the Arctic, and the lesser visited ports of the Pacific, Melanesia, Micronesia and Australia. New in 2017: the beautiful Silver Muse will join Silversea’s classic fleet.
Deluxe Windstar combines three gorgeous motor assisted sailing yachts with a fleet of three luxury yachts, each up to 212 guests. If you’ve always dreamt of sailing through the Greek Isles or the lesser known islands of the Caribbean, or even Tahiti and French Polynesia, we should have a chat about Windstar.