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Please help me decide on a cruise to choose.

Who- husband and wife- mid 30s- 

What- 10 year anniversary cruise

Where- Mediterranean 

When- late August/ September 

 

We have two small children - but they are NOT coming with. 

 

Budget- around $10,000 not including air fair, excursions, hotel before or after ect. Not a strict budget but around that. 

 

What we like- upscale , luxury, not big party scene, don’t mind being youngest, good food, quality drinks , we love private areas ( like the retreat on holland America). 

 

Our options 

1) Oceania - 7 days - concierge level vacancy - INCLUDES air fair - $9,096

2) azmara journey- 7 days- club level balcony - no air fair - $6,506

3) azmara- 9 nights- club level balcony- no air - $9,374

4) halland america - 7 days- Neptune suite - no air - $5,558 or veranda suite - $3,342

5) seabourn- 7 days - veranda suite - no air- $7,642

6) Cunard - 7 days- queen suit with butler - no air- $7251

 

Please help me!

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I assume you are aware that the Med is usually * very hot* in August and September, and tends to be crowded. Hot weather  makes having a less full pool and good AC, and/or shorter lines, more important for a sense of luxury and to minimize frustration. 

 

Only Seabourn (SB), and possibly Cunard, are "luxury" lines, the rest are premium/upper premium, with some nickel and diming and some lines/crowds. 

 

Cunard is very sedate, and a bigger ship, with a stricter dress code.

 

I think SB would be  a good fit:  lots of space, good AC, fewer kids so pools are emptier, few if any lines, as close to "quiet luxury" as you can get, though a short cruise of just 7 days might have TA or corporate events, and they can be rowdy.  Food/beverage are about as good as you can get on all but one other (more expensive, and foreign) line. Most staff are very nice, even if some are still training and not perfect. 

Be sure and have your TA alert SB that you are on an anniversary cruise, and confirm that when you board (there may be a special checkin desk to confirm). They will decorate your room and make it even more special. 

SB poolside tends to fill up early with hot weather, but there is a "retreat" area where you can pay extra for more space and more pampering. 

Be sure and book spa treatments in advance, and also specialty restaurant (currently Thomas Keller, this is changing) they are popular and fill up.

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Seabourn.  It's the only luxury line among your choices, and I'm sure you would enjoy it.  Fewer  passengers, less crowded venues, fewer lines.  No nickel and diming, no frequent announcements.  Really good food, if you stay out of the main dining room -- Earth and Ocean poolside is the best place to eat on the ship, but it gets busy. 

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I put Silversea on the other post.

Smaller ships, no crowds, no hassle, decent food and a choice of dining.

I sailed Seabourn last time, and the basis of that one trip ... never again.

You pays your money and makes your choice🤪

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I also recommend Seabourn for the reasons already mentioned. We were in our 40’s when we discovered Seabourn and have sailed with them 15 years. I will say the demographics have trended lower on our last few cruises. This is especially true for 7 day cruises in the summer. 

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One suggestion, as its not clear from your post.  If you don't already have one I would look into getting a good TA who specializes in luxury cruising.  

I would also try and determine what ports are most important to you.  Mediterranean cruises can be very port intensive often with no sea days.  This combined with overseas flights can overwhe!m some travelers, even younger ones.  Not sure how much time you can take but given the option I would think about a 9 or 10 day cruise combined with at least one day pre and post cruise stay.  Sounds like a great trip, have fun.

 

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On 1/6/2024 at 4:39 PM, mrstraveler1987 said:

Please help me decide on a cruise to choose.

Who- husband and wife- mid 30s- 

What- 10 year anniversary cruise

Where- Mediterranean 

When- late August/ September 

 

We have two small children - but they are NOT coming with. 

 

Budget- around $10,000 not including air fair, excursions, hotel before or after ect. Not a strict budget but around that. 

 

What we like- upscale , luxury, not big party scene, don’t mind being youngest, good food, quality drinks , we love private areas ( like the retreat on holland America). 

 

Our options 

1) Oceania - 7 days - concierge level vacancy - INCLUDES air fair - $9,096

2) azmara journey- 7 days- club level balcony - no air fair - $6,506

3) azmara- 9 nights- club level balcony- no air - $9,374

4) halland america - 7 days- Neptune suite - no air - $5,558 or veranda suite - $3,342

5) seabourn- 7 days - veranda suite - no air- $7,642

6) Cunard - 7 days- queen suit with butler - no air- $7251

 

Please help me!

Why not consider Viking Ocean?   We are doing that, leaving in a few days.

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  • 1 month later...

Of the choices listed it would be a no-brainer for us....Seabourn!  As to the others, O is not a luxury product nor is Azamara.  If considering the "R" ships of either line, keep in mind that the normal cabins are far from a luxury product and have postage stamp bathrooms.

 

Cunard is an interesting product if one is cruising in their "grill" suites.  It becomes somewhat of a ship within a ship experience which does suit some folks.  Cunard will also offer pretty decent entertainment.  

 

HAL is simply a mass market line which, IMHO, has been in decline for several years.  While Neptune Suites certainly give you a lot of space, outside of the suite it is just another mass market ship.  There are also many quality differences from ship to ship.  We make no secret that we no intention of booking any more HAL (until they make some improvements) and we are 5* Mariners with that line.

 

Hank

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