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PhotoGal07

Favorite Luxury Cruise Experience

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I'm getting a little antsy for our next vacation, and am starting to look at Crystal for our next potential family vacation, and a few other lines for an anniversary trip for H and I. 

Since I'm currently without a vacation, I'd love to live vicariously for a few minutes and hear about your favorite luxury cruise experience.  Was there a great shore excursion that was arranged, a wonderful meal that was prepared, or just something unexpected that surprised you?  

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I was awed the first time they uncoiled the sails on Windstar.  Maybe their yachts are one step down from luxury but it was amazing,  It was the first time on a small ship (150 passengers) and for us at the time that was a luxury in itself.   Our recent luxury was flying business class to Europe on Regent. We will be sailing the Caribbean again on the  Wind Surf in Feb. Still love the sails.

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Our first time on Hebridean Island Cruises, we did a back to back.  The purser booked us a cab and sent us to see the Burrell Collection in Glasgow.  While we were gone, they did our laundry for us, free of charge.  All of this was paid for by the ship. 

 

Later, during our cruise, we stopped at Sanda Island, an uninhabited, privately owned property where there are seals and wild deer (the deer were imported by the owners).  We walked the island, checked out the natural arch and lighthouse, watched the seals play-- they had pups at the time-- and when we got back to where the tenders were picking up and dropping off passengers, the purser was there with a hamper full of treats, coffee, tea, whisky, and Bailey's.  I enjoyed hot coffee with Bailey's while taking in the views of Sanda, and its amazing natural beauty.  Hebridean only takes about 50 people per cruise, so it was very intimate.

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My very first luxury cruise was in 2003 on the Seabourn Pride.

 

One evening after dessert I asked if they had After Eight Mints.

I was told by the Maitre D that they did not , but they would obtain some the next day while Copenhagen.

 

The following evening, without my enquiring, after dessert I was duly offered the mints.

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Tomorrow I embark on my 5th Crystal cruise, and I can't say there's a specific stand-out experience.  Rather, it's the overall quality and comfort - rather personal service (staff knowing my preferences after a day or two), the lack of crowds, and the comfortable atmosphere (not too fancy, but not worn or bare bones).  Things like a great library and quality lectures on sea days.  And being all inclusive -- the experience of never having the count or even consider money is part of the luxurious feeling for me. 

 

Things like unique shore experiences or sightings can happen anywhere, regardless of whether the cruise is luxury or not (that's about luck and timing) -- it's the on-board experience where their luxury happens. 

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The after-hour access to the Hermitage inclusive of a classical concert in the Italian Room on a HL Baltic cruise was one of my absolute highlights.

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Most of our cruises have been on Regent but we have also sailed on Silversea three times and Crystal once (after which we are now satisfied that Regent is the best cruise line for us).  

 

Our favorite luxury experience is when we did a Scandinavian cruise for almost a month - every port was amazing!  In one port we took a boat/raft(?) that has seats that is like sitting on a saddle.  It was cold (even though it was the middle of summer) so they provided outfits for us.

 

On the way to the site, we stopped to pick up a huge amount of King Crab*.  I couldn't watch them kill the crabs but, once they were ready to cook, we went into a very large tent where we watched the enormous pot of crabs - hung above a roaring fire - cook in sea water.  It was all you can eat crab and we ate a lot.  It was the best crab that I've had in my life.  While the entire cruise was amazing, this was definitely a highlight.

 

 

*A bit of history ........ many years ago, Stalin wanted to get food for people in Siberia.  He had difficulty getting the crab from Alaska to Norway without them dying.  He finally managed it.  Apparently the crab has no predators so they keep multiplying and are killing off fish in Norway.  The crabs are so big that we took pictures with one (don't know where the photo is or I would post it).  When you held the legs up by our face, the other legs reached your knees.  Another amazing experience for us.

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