Not all cruises lines are created equal. When living in the United States, I always saw plenty of advertisements for some of the biggest cruise ship companies. Those ads never made me want to book a cruise. I just imagined a gigantic cruise ship, filled to the brim with people, long buffet lines, and cheap drinks. My perspectives have changed though. Now, particularly since moving to Spain I’ve been thinking more about luxury cruise travel.
I’ve been doing my research on the best cruise lines for luxury travel. It made me realize there are a few things to consider when looking for the best luxury cruises. There are so many cruise companies in the world, so how is a traveler to choose the right one. Here’s our list of the top reasons why you should choose one of the more luxury cruise lines.
5 Reasons to Choose Luxury Cruise Travel
Luxury Cruise Lines Mean High-End Gastronomy
Of course, there’s no surprise that I would start with food and wine, what we live for! One way to ensure a luxury experience is to book with one of the European cruise lines, or a French luxury cruise line. Who better to offer a luxury cruise ship experience than the French? At least you know the ship will offer top gastronomy and wine.
We’ve met chefs who’ve worked on some of the top cruise ship lines, and the focus is never on how to feed the masses. There is a focus on how to produce top-quality cuisine, often inspired by the destination and the local ingredients for passengers with a highly developed palate. That certainly is the case with some of the more European-focused and exclusive cruise lines. Many of them have a goal of offering Michelin-Star quality cuisine, particularly for dinner. European cruises also mean loads of cheese!
Intimate Cruise Holidays
Not all cruises offer the same experience. That should be obvious. We’ve found that the best luxury travel experiences are ones where we get to know the crew or staff, and they get to know us. They know us by name. They know what we like to drink. It makes the entire experience that much better. The best small luxury cruise lines can provide this kind of service. The most exclusive cruises are going to offer this type of experience.
We also would prefer booking with one of the best cruise lines for couples. Many of the larger cruises ships cater to families. That’s fine for family travel, but we want a small cruise ship, that offers a relaxing experience, whether that is by the pool, or in the dining room.
A Luxury Cruise Trip Means Exploring Unique Destinations
Just like not all cruise companies are created equal, not all cruise destinations are created equal. It’s more than a simple boat cruise, it’s a unique luxury experience. When trying to compare cruise lines, many travelers start with their destinations. This is one of the reasons why I’ve shied away from cruising. In my mind, I imagine a line of cruise ships at a port in Cancun. That’s not how I want to explore the world.
Instead, luxury cruise travel means exploring unique destinations and learning about other cultures. This can mean a cruise to Antarctica, Cape Verde, Martinique, or French Polynesia. These are all destinations I would love to explore on a luxury ship.
And, some of the more high-end cruises, on small and exclusive ships, can reach smaller ports of call than the larger ships. This means luxury cruise holidays are possible for some of the lesser-known and exclusive destinations in the world. Many people are hesitant to book a cruise holiday because they think it means not getting to explore the destination fully. But, the luxury only cruises ensure that this is not only possible but a focus of the journey.
Learn more about luxury travel experiences in our Luxury Travel Guide
Luxury Cruise Line Ships Mean Attention to Detail
The best cruise is an easy cruise, one where you have nothing to think about or worry about, from the moment you’ve stepped on board. The benefit of booking with one of the best luxury cruise lines is that they are often small ships. They generally host a maximum of 200 or 300 passengers, and plenty of crew to take care of every detail. From fresh flowers in the cabin each morning to a freshly made cappuccino at breakfast, to a properly-made cocktail made before dinner. This can also include room service, laundry service, and sometimes even butler service. And, yes, this also means meals that leave me not just satisfied, but wowed. It’s all a primary focus of some of the best luxury cruise ships. This attention to detail is not going to come from a mega-cruise liner with thousands of passengers.
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Luxury Cruise Ship Companies are Always Innovating
Sometimes I am amazed at what different cruise lines offer. The first time I heard about a climbing wall on a cruise ship I was shocked. But, deluxe cruises are not happy with keeping up with what the big cruise companies offer. The most exclusive cruise lines are always trying to innovate, to bring luxury travel to the sea in a way never done before. They are consistently investing in new ships specifically for the luxury cruise market. That means underwater lounges, creative wine cellars, top-notch spa treatments, and super unique cruising experiences. Because luxury cruise travel today is like never before seen in the industry, and it is indeed something experience.
Amber Hoffman, food and travel writer behind With Husband In Tow, is a recovering attorney and professional eater, with a passion for finding new food and drink destinations. She lives with her husband, Eric, in Girona, Catalonia, Spain. Together over the last 20 years, they have traveled to over 70 countries. Amber is the author of the Food Traveler’s Guide to Emilia Romagna.