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Luxury vs. Premium Plus cruise lines

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On 8/26/2019 at 6:55 AM, Gourmet Gal said:

I would not put Crystal in the luxury category.  Premium at best.  The food is not great and the service is almost comical in their effort to feign luxury.  

 

So that’s it? Your opinion on food and service consigns Crystal to Premium - I think you’re in a very small minority with that assessment 

 

No other reasons? 

 

I guess we need to go back and revisit what defines Luxury then 

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The World is very different.

 

Is it luxurious?  Yes.

 

But keep in mind its itineraries and amenities are designed with owners in mind.

 

In other words itineraries are structures to spend several days in a port as that is what owners want.

 

The World is not mentioned when people discuss the luxury cruise lines just as X condominium in New York City is not mentioned (even though you might be able to rent a room from the owner) when discussing Luxury hotels.

 

I am not sure why anyone would think the ship looks funny though.

 

Keith

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On 8/30/2019 at 4:15 AM, Heidi13 said:

Wow!, dull cruise with Australians is one I have never experienced. Spent 4 months Aussie cruising and more recently a WC R/T from Sydney and the pax most certainly weren't dull. 🙂

But they are if you are Australian.

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On 8/30/2019 at 12:55 AM, English Voyager said:

I thought dull Australian was an oxymoron.

Not to other Australians. 

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This is a brilliant thread! As I was about to post something similar!

 

Can we add Premium "light" cruises to the list?

 

By premium "light", I believe it would include cruise lines like

 

Celebrity

Holland and America Line (HAL)

Cunard

 

Any other suggestions? I'm planning to try Celebrity and HAL next year and currently considering all the premium light cruises.

 

 

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Luxury - best food, butler service etc, no water slides or casinos, limited entertainment at night, about £1000 per day (all this is just from reading as I've never been on a luxury cruise)

 

Premium Plus - Similar to the above but much cheaper? 

 

Premium Light - Good food, more entertainment options and bigger ships compared to luxury/premium ships, about £300 per day, great buffet.

 

Mainstream - Long queues, massive ship, water slides, average food, lots of entertainment, cheap buffet.

 

Please feel free to add or edit the summary above.
 

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1 hour ago, zltm089 said:

Luxury - best food, butler service etc, no water slides or casinos, limited entertainment at night, about £1000 per day (all this is just from reading as I've never been on a luxury cruise)

 

Premium Plus - Similar to the above but much cheaper? 

 

Premium Light - Good food, more entertainment options and bigger ships compared to luxury/premium ships, about £300 per day, great buffet.

 

Mainstream - Long queues, massive ship, water slides, average food, lots of entertainment, cheap buffet.

 

Please feel free to add or edit the summary above.
 

 

Crystal is considered luxury and has a casino. Also, the entertainment at night is varied and top notch.

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9 hours ago, zltm089 said:

Luxury - best food, butler service etc, no water slides or casinos, limited entertainment at night, about £1000 per day (all this is just from reading as I've never been on a luxury cruise)

Almost.  My luxury experience is limited to Crystal, but they have great entertainment each night, and do have a small casino.  In addition to their evening shows, they have soloist or small groups playing music throughout the day and evening in one of their lounges.   Their butlers are limited to penthouse accommodation.  As for food - that's pretty personal, but I think a majority people who've travelled on both luxury and "premium plus" prefer the luxury cruise's food.

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17 hours ago, zltm089 said:

Luxury - best food, butler service etc, no water slides or casinos, limited entertainment at night, about £1000 per day (all this is just from reading as I've never been on a luxury cruise)

 

Premium Plus - Similar to the above but much cheaper? 

 

Premium Light - Good food, more entertainment options and bigger ships compared to luxury/premium ships, about £300 per day, great buffet.

 

Mainstream - Long queues, massive ship, water slides, average food, lots of entertainment, cheap buffet.

 

Please feel free to add or edit the summary above.
 

While some of the luxury lines have butlers not all do or if they do not in all categories.  We have seen casinos in most luxury lines.  There actually is a premium line (Viking) that does not have casinos.

 

Luxury cruise lines are not all the same and vary to some extent and part of the reason is the size of the ship.  Even within cruise lines (Silversea comes to mind) the luxury experience varies with respect to entertainment because of the size of the ship.  In Crystal's case their ships are larger than any of the other luxury lines which for some is a positive and for others not. Because of their size they can provide much more entertainment and enrichment than any other luxury line.

 

 

When I think of luxury on cruise lines I think of:

 

A higher ratio of crew to guests providing more personal service.  

 

A more seasoned staff able to anticipate more of the needs of the guests.

 

Very few announcements and in some case none other than those associated with a muster drill or words of alert/caution.

 

A somewhat more refined experience on board the ship.

 

A higher level of cuisine across the majority of restaurants.  

 

A greater level of items which are part of the cruise fare.

 

Greater quality of bed mattresses and linens and bath products. 

 

In some cases (not across all luxury lines) higher levels of lecturers and entertainers.

 

In general it is the entire package.  Again this will vary by degrees across all luxury lines and luxury ships and you might find certain components on a premium line whether that is an experience offered on the entire line or to certain guests (eg., on some non-luxury lines for suite passengers).

 

This brings us to the Premium lines and as you mentioned there are similarities but the difference is the total package.  I would not say they are always much cheaper and just like the luxury lines these premium lines also vary to some degree among each others.

 

The bottom line to me is the total package.  It is possible that one will find food to be better (now better is subjective) than that of one or more luxury lines.  Or they might find the suite to be of higher quality or the guest rooms to be of higher quality.  However, usually the total package on a luxury line is what sets it apart from a premium line.  

 

And again one size does not fit all because all luxury lines, all premium lines and all mainstream lines do not mirror one another when one looks at each component separately.

 

Keith

 

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On 9/20/2019 at 11:41 PM, Keith1010 said:

While some of the luxury lines have butlers not all do or if they do not in all categories.  We have seen casinos in most luxury lines.  There actually is a premium line (Viking) that does not have casinos.

 

Luxury cruise lines are not all the same and vary to some extent and part of the reason is the size of the ship.  Even within cruise lines (Silversea comes to mind) the luxury experience varies with respect to entertainment because of the size of the ship.  In Crystal's case their ships are larger than any of the other luxury lines which for some is a positive and for others not. Because of their size they can provide much more entertainment and enrichment than any other luxury line.

 

 

When I think of luxury on cruise lines I think of:

 

A higher ratio of crew to guests providing more personal service.  

 

A more seasoned staff able to anticipate more of the needs of the guests.

 

Very few announcements and in some case none other than those associated with a muster drill or words of alert/caution.

 

A somewhat more refined experience on board the ship.

 

A higher level of cuisine across the majority of restaurants.  

 

A greater level of items which are part of the cruise fare.

 

Greater quality of bed mattresses and linens and bath products. 

 

In some cases (not across all luxury lines) higher levels of lecturers and entertainers.

 

In general it is the entire package.  Again this will vary by degrees across all luxury lines and luxury ships and you might find certain components on a premium line whether that is an experience offered on the entire line or to certain guests (eg., on some non-luxury lines for suite passengers).

 

This brings us to the Premium lines and as you mentioned there are similarities but the difference is the total package.  I would not say they are always much cheaper and just like the luxury lines these premium lines also vary to some degree among each others.

 

The bottom line to me is the total package.  It is possible that one will find food to be better (now better is subjective) than that of one or more luxury lines.  Or they might find the suite to be of higher quality or the guest rooms to be of higher quality.  However, usually the total package on a luxury line is what sets it apart from a premium line.  

 

And again one size does not fit all because all luxury lines, all premium lines and all mainstream lines do not mirror one another when one looks at each component separately.

 

Keith

 

 

Agree with all of the above!  Having now cruised on Crystal, Silversea and Regent, in my opinion, they are all luxury cruise lines.  The experiences are different but I would not hesitate to recommend these cruise lines.

 

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Here is my breakdown.  Note that I'm including Ship in a Ship experiences too such as The Haven, The Yacht Club and Cunards grills.

 

Luxury

 

Regent

Silverseas

Seabourne

Crystal

Hapag Lloyd 

Cunard's Queens Grill (Ship in a ship)

Ponant

 

Deluxe

 

Oceania

Azamara

Viking (I'd argue that Viking is actually somewhere in between Deluxe and Luxury)

Norwegian's Haven (Ship in a ship)

MSC's Yacht Club (Ship in a ship)

Cunard's Princess Grill (Ship in a ship)

Celebrity (Galapagos sailings only)

 

Premium

 

Celebrity

Holland America

Princess

Cunard

P&O

 

Mainstream

 

Royal Caribbean

Norwegian

Carnival

MSC

Costa

 

Niche

 

Windstar (Premium quality)

Paul Gauguin (Deluxe quality)

StarClippers (Deluxe Quality)

Seadream (Luxury quality)

Disney (slightly above Premium but slightly below Deluxe quality)

 

 

It will be interesting to see where Virgin and Ritz Carlton fits.  I suspect Virigin at Deluxe level and Ritz at Luxury

 

Edited by bamelin

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33 minutes ago, bamelin said:

Here is my breakdown.  Note that I'm including Ship in a Ship experiences too such as The Haven, The Yacht Club and Cunards grills.


Is there any significance to the order you’ve listed them within categories?

 

I don’t agree with including mainstream lines with areas set aside for luxury experiences in the same category as luxury lines as while they’re exclusive in some aspects there are elements where you will end up sharing with the masses whereas a luxury line is luxury across the whole ship 

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1 hour ago, Stickman1990 said:


Is there any significance to the order you’ve listed them within categories?

 

I don’t agree with including mainstream lines with areas set aside for luxury experiences in the same category as luxury lines as while they’re exclusive in some aspects there are elements where you will end up sharing with the masses whereas a luxury line is luxury across the whole ship 


No significance to the order.

 

The reason I include ship in a ship ... for luxury cruisers doing intergenerational cruises with kids and/or grandkids it is helpful to have these on the list ... it’s a way to get luxury while still giving the younger ones the ra ra ra water slides, arcades, bumper cars etc you get on a mainstream cruise.  Well maybe not with Cunard’s Grills but certainly with Norwegian’s The Haven and MSC’s The Yacht Club.

 

The reason I include these but not suites on mainstream lines is one reason alone ... The Haven and Yacht Club are GATED experiences with fairly extensive luxury facilities and staff set aside for those guests only accessible by keycard. 

 

Pricing is also in line with luxury line pricing.


I certainly agree it’s not exactly the same as a full fledge luxury cruise but represents a good compromise for cruises with family.   A lot of luxury clients aren’t aware of these two options.

 

We could have a Ship in a Ship category instead to differentiate?  Maybe with a disclaimer that this is a gated Deluxe or Luxury experience on a mainstream ship.  It’s good information for certain luxury cruisers to know this option exists.

 

 

Edited by bamelin

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A ship within a ship is not luxury unless you NEVER NEVER NEVER  leave that area. The moment you step into the regular ship you are in a mass-market hell.

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Apropos this discussion, perhaps it is worthwhile to have a look at how one major agency ranks the lines/ships.  Presumably, since they do it for a living, their opinions are based on a fairly comprehensive data base??!!

 

The below is a cruise ship rating list provided by a major on-line agency.   I'm sure everyone is familiar with the name, which of course can't be mentioned. Sub headings are mine, and sub lists are in no particular order.

 

Luxury  (6 star ships)

Regent

Crystal

Seabourn

Silversea (expedition ships excepted)

Scenic

Ritz-Carlton

 

Premium (5.5 star ships)

Silversea (expedition ships)

Oceania

Celebrity (Edge and Solstice class)

Paul Gaugin

Azamara

Ponant

Viking

SeaDream

 

High Mainstream (most/all ships are 5 star)

Disney

Cunard

Windstar (no not really a "mainstream" line but at the 5-star level of quality)

Celebrity (Millennium class) 

 

Mainstream  (individual ship ratings vary but highest is 5 star)

 

(Note that in many cases the lowest rating applies to just a few older ships operated by that line)

 

RCL -- range from 3.5 to 5

NCL -- range from 3.5 to 5

Princess -- range from 4 to 5

Holland-America -- range from 4.5 to 5

 

Low Mainstream

MSC -- range from 4 to 4.5

Carnival -- range from 3.5 to 4.5

Costa -- range from 3 to 4.5


Personally I would sub-divide the premium category further; it can be argued that Celebrity is superior to (other) mainstream-style lines, but I wouldn't myself place it quite as high as Oceania, Viking, Azamara, etc. Just MHO.

 

None of this takes account of ship-within-a-ship distinctions.

 

Comments?  Agree?  Disagree?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by jan-n-john

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I do not believe any cruise line is a 6*  no matter you makes up the lists

 

JMO

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I just received the Berlitz guide 2020 last week.

Europa 2 and Europa did receive 5 stars plus, Hanseatic Nature 5 stars , Sea Cloud and Sea Cloud II also 5 stars;

All the other companies  in the "luxury" level did receive a 4 star plus rating,

even Seadream I and II .

Viking ocean ships were granted  some higher marks as the Crystal Serenity and the Symphony.  Silver Spirit and Muse above the Seabourn ships , the Seabourn Quest only 4 stars . ( and quite a severe comment towards Hal management on page 158)

Nearly all Mein Schiff ships did receive a 4 star +

Ship with the lowest ratings is the Marco Polo operated by CMV. 2 stars :classic_wacko:

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Why are we discussing lists of deluxe, premium and mainstream ships on a luxury board?

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1 hour ago, wripro said:

Why are we discussing lists of deluxe, premium and mainstream ships on a luxury board?

First, I wasn’t aware that CC has a “luxury board.” Last I checked it was organized by cruise lines.

 

That said, I think I share your sentiment that this thread has long since worn out it’s welcome, unless you’re brand new to cruising, in which case this kind of basic, relatively obvious intel would be mildly helpful. My issue is that there are a ton of other significant factors that also differentiate the higher tier cruise lines, such as unique itineraries, length and location of available cruises, quality and innovation of newer ships, as well as benefits of the various loyalty programs. 


At this point, don’t we all know what lines include drinks, specialty restaurants, and excursions? Does it matter? 

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This is the luxury board. Look at the heading. It says Luxury Cruising. NMyabe you should read here you are posting before doing so.I'm sorry you feel my sentiments have worn out their welcome but until you stop flaunting the purpose of this board I will keep voicing them. Premium and Deluxe lines have no place here.

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10 hours ago, wripro said:

This is the luxury board. Look at the heading. It says Luxury Cruising. NMyabe you should read here you are posting before doing so.I'm sorry you feel my sentiments have worn out their welcome but until you stop flaunting the purpose of this board I will keep voicing them. Premium and Deluxe lines have no place here.

I’m sorry, but I think you interpreted my post incorrectly. I don’t think either of us are fans of this thread. You don’t like it because this is a luxury board (and you’re right, I’m wrong, it is). I don’t like it because I think it’s sort of pointless to endlessly parse the various differences between luxury, luxury light, premium plus, etc. 

 

Isn’t it somewhat obvious that the luxury lines include more in the standard fare, such as alcohol, excursions and specialty restaurants? When I was new to cruising, I just assumed that the luxury lines offered the best experience, so our first two cruises were on Crystal in 2015 and Regent in 2016, the third on Viking Ocean. Right now, we’re on our 18th cruise on the Holland America Noordam from Honolulu to Auckland. 
 

We wound up realizing that there are many other factors that contribute to a great cruise, aside from what is or isn’t included in the fare. My wife and I wound up loving Celebrity because it’s a lot of fun, Aqua Class is great, and the ship design appeals to us, particularly the Edge Class. And we love HA because their loyalty program is incredible, the ships are super comfortable, and the itineraries longer, unique, and more creative. 

Edited by BarbarianPaul
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BarbarianPaul. 

 

The best experience varies by person.

 

For some sailing Luxury would be a great experience and for some it would not be.

 

Similarly for some sailing a mainstream line would be a best experience for some and for others it could be a disaster.

 

Same goes for many products.  

 

In the end the only opinion that matters is your own.

 

I also will add that peoples opinion can change overtime because of various factors including their age.

 

With that said this board is supposed to be about Luxury Cruising so I am not sure why this thread now includes listing of many cruise lines that have nothing to do with Luxury Cruise lines.

 

I also agree with Wripro and Stickman.   A luxury cruise line and a luxury cruise ships are luxury because of the total package.  A hybrid ship is not luxury.

 

I have sailed on the QM2 in a Queen Grill Category.  IF I ate, slept and stayed inside the Queens Grill 7x24 you might have convinced me it is luxury.  However, as soon as I left the Queen Grill and went to other areas of the ship it was not a luxury product and this includes back to our accommodation.  

 

Keith

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I agree in full with Keith, especially  concerning the last item , I also was in Queens Grill and in a small PH on Cunard , however the total package was not luxury. The complimentary bottles for QG suites   on Cunard were basic : Gordons and Smirnoff.

The unpleasant  pressure by sommeliers to buy a more expensive bottle…

I was in a Yacht Club on MSC  - lots of premium drinks included  - people can have a great experience but it is not luxury.

And nearly all luxury companies do perform something that is not so luxurious - i will not put names on it  just a few items : late embarkation  , early compulsory  vacancy of stateroom, use of prosecco , no fresh orange juice , very dated entertainment...

I just heard about Scenic from friends  : complimentary wines superb but continental breakfast not so great … ( maybe a very "European view " )

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I too sailed in OG on QM2 and agree that as soon as you leave the QG and its lounge you are no longer in a luxury product. Same goes for all these "ships within ships." As long as you stay coddled in that area you are ok. But you have to move into the main area of the ship for many events, disembarkations, etc. and then it's bye bye luxury.

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20 hours ago, wripro said:

I too sailed in OG on QM2 and agree that as soon as you leave the QG and its lounge you are no longer in a luxury product. Same goes for all these "ships within ships." As long as you stay coddled in that area you are ok. But you have to move into the main area of the ship for many events, disembarkations, etc. and then it's bye bye luxury.


Well said . Queens grill was stuffy and only appealing if one is into 1950-60’s food.

All the glitz in the world does not make this anywhere near a luxury experience.

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