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nosapphire

What IS luxury anyway?

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What do people consider to be luxury? Whether on a cruise, or anywhere else?

I always thought of it as comfort and service combined - may not be the most glamorous or have expensive artwork, but makes me feel at ease, relaxed and comfortable.

How do others define it?

 

 

 

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Difficult to define and is subjective.  I've been on CC for a long time and have seen posters that generally cruise on mainstream cruise lines that find premium cruise lines (like Celebrity) luxury while other people find a luxury section of a mainstream cruise line to be luxurious (I do not).  

 

We have done 38 cruises on 3 luxury cruise lines and have tried a mainstream, premium and premium-plus cruise line.  It should be noted that when I discuss luxury cruise lines, I look at the "big 4" that people in the U.S. and Canada sail on the most (Crystal, Regent, Seabourn and Silversea).  

 

On a luxury cruise line we expect excellent food and service - large suites (ships with suites only), and a large space to passenger ratio.  A luxury cruise ship does not have long lines to get into a dining venue, does not have wet t-shirt contests or ultra loud music.  The majority of passengers on luxury cruise lines are above the age of 50 (but there are some on the younger side that enjoy the sedate luxury and lack of a party atmosphere).  Children are rare but are seen during the summer with family members (which is why many regular luxury cruisers avoid summers).  

 

A luxury cruise ship is not boring but is not loud or boisterous.  There are plenty of activities for passengers.  

 

Luxury cruising is definitely not for everyone.  In my younger days, we would have loved the activities that are available on NCL (for instance - we were able to drive a small car on a 2-deck race-track - really fun).  Now, we enjoy sitting on the balcony with our included drinks - served by our butler (only in some suites) sitting on the balcony and watching for flying fish.  In the evening, there is dancing and music played in lounges.  

 

I could almost write a book about why we love luxury cruising.  Our cruise line of choice is Regent.  It is the most inclusive of the luxury cruise lines (including international business class flights as well as some included excursions at each port).  This is in addition to included high end alcohol and tips.

 

I'm sure that others will chime in and will share why they sail on the luxury cruise line of their choice.

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21 hours ago, nosapphire said:

as comfort and service combined

That's an excellent summary of what it means to me as well; I know it varies from person to person.  With respect to cruising, here's why I sail on a luxury line:

 

All inclusive:  To me, that's a huge part of "comfort" -- not needing to ever even think about money for those X number of days.   Not signing a chit, not swiping my card, not even having to think about value or budget.  To me, the escape from the commercial world while still enjoying the comforts of a lovely "hotel" is wonderful.

 

Less crowded:  I don't refer to number of passengers but the proportion of passengers to public space.  I actually don't want a ship with a small number of passengers (my sweet spot seems to be about 800 or so), but I do want lots of available seats in the lounges, no line ups for anything from dining to customer service, and lots of available outdoor places to sit without being in the middle of some activity or musical event. 

 

Great food:  I don't always want fancy food or service, but I do want the food I choose to be very good, whether it's a sandwich on the Lido deck, a bowl of soup in the coffee shop, or a Japanese meal in a specialty restaurant. 

 

Good service:  This is harder to explain, but is still important - Yes, it's nice to be recognized by staff and have my service requests fulfilled (whether it's how I like my Arnold Palmer with just a splash of lemonade, or that I want an extra napkin with lunch), but it's really about how those things are done.   In my experience, service many mainstream lines is so often obsequious and fawning, but on Crystal (my luxury line of choice), I find it seems much more sincere -- eye contact, a smile, and a few words.  Either they are truly happier in their jobs and so behave less desperate, or they're better actors.

 

Little personal things: there will always be little personal touches that an individual will value more than others do.  For me, which I recognized on my last cruise, I loved the fact that I could go into a public bathroom on the ship and dry my hands with a "towel" (actually a washcloth) rather than paper towels.  And that they offered a tissue dispenser beside the door so I could use one to open the door without actually touching the handle.  That was so appreciated. 

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9 hours ago, nosapphire said:

Travelcat2 - thank you. That is a brilliant summary.

 

Thank you:classic_biggrin:

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8 hours ago, calliopecruiser said:

 

Little personal things: there will always be little personal touches that an individual will value more than others do.  For me, which I recognized on my last cruise, I loved the fact that I could go into a public bathroom on the ship and dry my hands with a "towel" (actually a washcloth) rather than paper towels.  And that they offered a tissue dispenser beside the door so I could use one to open the door without actually touching the handle.  That was so appreciated. 

 

 

Do you (general you, but quoting calliopecruiser for reference) find that a luxury cruise encompasses all the positive "little things" without the negatives associated with mainstream lines?  Carnival also has the (agree, much appreciated) tissue dispenser, but I don't think anyone would accuse them of being luxury 😉 

 

What is the general difference between luxury versus premium?  I have read on these boards that lines like Azamara, Oceania, and Viking Ocean are not luxury, but they seem to have many of the luxury options (less or no children, more mature activities, all or nearly all inclusive feel).

 

We had what I considered an extremely luxurious specialty meal on a Princess cruise (Winemaker table), but I agree that they are not a luxury line.  It is hard to articulate even what made the meal so special, and maybe that is the difficulty with defining a luxury cruise line too.

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48 minutes ago, pacruise804 said:

Do you (general you, but quoting calliopecruiser for reference) find that a luxury cruise encompasses all the positive "little things" without the negatives associated with mainstream lines? 

No.....there are certainly "little things" that aren't covered.  They can't be, because everyone's "little things" are different; likewise, all the negatives associated with mainstream lines will also be different for everyone.  Ultimately, only an individual can decide if the pros outweigh the cons.

 

50 minutes ago, pacruise804 said:

We had what I considered an extremely luxurious specialty meal on a Princess cruise (Winemaker table), but I agree that they are not a luxury line.

That's very possible -- there absolutely can be individual luxurious experiences that pop up in unexpected places.   Dining is a perfect example: I find nothing luxurious about dining in the main dining room of a cruise ship, even on a luxury line and even with excellent food.   I think those locations are simply too big to allow for a luxurious experience (by my definition of luxury), but others don't agree......lots of different opinions.

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Thank you for the responses.

It has made me realise that one of the things that would make it luxurious for me would be the feeling that the staff/crew serving me were enjoying their work and knowledgeable about it.

While all cruise lines have hard working and very helpful staff, it can be sad when you realise that the crew are totally exhausted, or that the smile vanishes as soon as they turn away.

It is also annoying when even the simplest question  (do you have salted butter? for instance) means that the person gets panicked and has to find somebody senior to ask.

And yes, I never thought about it before - but having to queue to enter the restaurant, or have to arrive very early or very late to avoid a queue, certainly does remove any aspect of luxury in one swipe.

 

 

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I agree  about knowledgeable staff

On our last cruise a table mate  asked  about  getting an Irish coffee   ..the waiter  said he never heard of it ..went off to get someone else ..nope  then the Sommelier came ..gave some song & dance about having to go to the other side of the ship to get it & it would take time

She settled  for  a shot of Kahlua  to put in her coffee

Later  we found the bar outside the dining room (maybe a  hundred ft away) had Irish coffee  & guess where the waiter had to get the Kahlua  from

This is Luxury??

 

 

 

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26 minutes ago, LHT28 said:

n our last cruise a table mate  asked  about  getting an Irish coffee   ..the waiter  said he never heard of it ..

Wow -- that's a pretty common drink, too.   It should be a part of a standard waitstaff repertoire.  

 

At least my request was unusual.  I had to ask a couple of times about whether I could get a "shrub", which is a cocktail (or mocktail) based on a sweetened vinegar........I know that shrubs are unusual, so I wasn't surprised the it took a few people to get an answer.   Unfortunately the final answer was yes, the bartender knew what it was but no, he didn't have the right ingredients. 

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1 hour ago, calliopecruiser said:

Wow -- that's a pretty common drink, too.   It should be a part of a standard waitstaff repertoire.  

 

 You would think so 🙄

It is  on the menu at the bar  less than a 100 ft away   so not  an out of the ordinary  request

They did  not know what a Pink Squirrel  was either  in 3 of the bars  on Crystal

A regular  drink on Oceania  which is not Luxury

Go Figure

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The biggest issue for me is space, overall quiet, 

lack of lines, and being able to get seamless excellent service even if you are not someone special or well-known to the line. Good food helps, but that is a bit subjective.

 

I also have a pet peeve about crew making random answers up as they go along, or more bluntly stated, lying, when they either do not know an answer to a question and are uninterested in finding out, ( especially if they think you will be easily snowed), or they are just very poorly trained, and/or  from cultures where evasion and/or  lying is a common and accepted behavioural trait.

 

EX:  on Holland America, when I brought a  crew member’s . attention to the fact that the fridge was not cooling properly, he tried to insist the fridge was not a fridge but a “cooler” and that is why my diet Cooke was only lukewarm and not cold , all with a very sincere face.  I am from HOT CA and know when a fridge is broken so I didn’t buy it and had to insist on a supervisor.  Within an hour I had a new fridge, which was cooling properly. This was in the Neptune Suite “luxury” area.

 

EX: on my now discontinued luxury cruise on Seabourn, a guest services rep adamantly told me cars could not be reserved for disembarkation pickup.  That was incorrect.  She also insisted the airport bus was full, which was also incorrect.  She was too afraid to admit she did not know, so just bluffed.  A waiter also insisted there was no Pinot Noir, not anywhere on the ship, when there were obviously several Pinots on board and he just did not want to go get it as it was not handy.

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8 hours ago, Catlover54 said:

The biggest issue for me is space, overall quiet, 

lack of lines, and being able to get seamless excellent service even if you are not someone special or well-known to the line. Good food helps, but that is a bit subjective.

 

I also have a pet peeve about crew making random answers up as they go along, or more bluntly stated, lying, when they either do not know an answer to a question and are uninterested in finding out, ( especially if they think you will be easily snowed), or they are just very poorly trained, and/or  from cultures where evasion and/or  lying is a common and accepted behavioural trait.

 

EX:  on Holland America, when I brought a  crew member’s . attention to the fact that the fridge was not cooling properly, he tried to insist the fridge was not a fridge but a “cooler” and that is why my diet Cooke was only lukewarm and not cold , all with a very sincere face.  I am from HOT CA and know when a fridge is broken so I didn’t buy it and had to insist on a supervisor.  Within an hour I had a new fridge, which was cooling properly. This was in the Neptune Suite “luxury” area.

 

EX: on my now discontinued luxury cruise on Seabourn, a guest services rep adamantly told me cars could not be reserved for disembarkation pickup.  That was incorrect.  She also insisted the airport bus was full, which was also incorrect.  She was too afraid to admit she did not know, so just bluffed.  A waiter also insisted there was no Pinot Noir, not anywhere on the ship, when there were obviously several Pinots on board and he just did not want to go get it as it was not handy.

 

So your point is ???

 Neither HAL or Seabourn is luxury or both have crew that lie ?

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On 3/17/2020 at 2:05 AM, Catlover54 said:

EX:  on Holland America, when I brought a  crew member’s . attention to the fact that the fridge was not cooling properly, he tried to insist the fridge was not a fridge but a “cooler” and that is why my diet Cooke was only lukewarm and not cold , all with a very sincere face.  I am from HOT CA and know when a fridge is broken so I didn’t buy it and had to insist on a supervisor.  Within an hour I had a new fridge, which was cooling properly. This was in the Neptune Suite “luxury” area.

 

4-star Mariners, we always stay in Neptune suites. You are mistaken about the fridges; they are not BROKEN, they are actually coolers. Perhaps they did indeed find you a fridge that cooled more, but it is actually in your documentation--in the fine print, even on their website--that it's a cooler, not a refrigerator. That is why they advvise you to request a fridge in advance if you need to keep your insulin (for instance) at a certain temp. Also in your documentation. And if you are not in a suite, there is now an upcharge for a fridge instead of a cooler...

Edited by sofietucker

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On 3/10/2020 at 7:02 AM, calliopecruiser said:

Little personal things: there will always be little personal touches that an individual will value more than others do.  For me, which I recognized on my last cruise, I loved the fact that I could go into a public bathroom on the ship and dry my hands with a "towel" (actually a washcloth) rather than paper towels.  And that they offered a tissue dispenser beside the door so I could use one to open the door without actually touching the handle.  That was so appreciated. 

 

Cloth towels and tissues near the door are standard on HAL ships. 

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Last year, on a luxury cruise.

 

Arrived at the Piraeus Cruise Terminal at 12:05.

Checked in, boarded the ship on deck 4, walked up to Deck 5 for the admin work. En route, welcomed - by name - by two separate members of staff!

Up to the bar, pre lunch cocktail, total time was less than 15 minutes.

Went for lunch, again greeted by name. Excellent food.

Enquired about a special request for dinner in a couple of days ..... a Chateaubriand for the two of us ... no problem Mr B. anything else?

Nothing ostentatious or obsequious .. just pleasant and polite. Nothing was too much trouble. Having said that there were a couple of people who, rather than ask with a smile on their face ... demanded and failed the attitude test!

 

A Totally chilled out experience.

 

 

 

There are three types of sea sickness.

(1) Is where you think you are dying!

(2j Is when you wish you were dead!

(3) On a long trip you think ‘This is the sea and I am sick of it’

 

 

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