In the Lap of Luxury, At Sea

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Penthouse on the Crystal Serenity.
Penthouse on the Crystal Serenity.

“Cruise lines such as Norwegian Cruise Line, which has The Haven, Royal Caribbean International, which offers private lounges for their loyal past guests, and MSC, which features the Yacht Club for VIP guests, are all in high demand,” says Vicky Garcia, COO and co-owner of Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative.

These high-end onboard experiences are ideal for many types of clients: The seasoned cruiser who wants the full cruise experience with seclusion and privacy thrown in; the couple celebrating a honeymoon or anniversary; and the sophisticated traveler who expects the best service and quality on any vacation. Garcia says Cruise Planners’ travel advisors are selling more high-end suites and added amenities to their clients. “We are training [travel advisors] on how to market to a high-end client, providing exceptional service and upselling for the right client, which helps the agents earn even more commission.”

She adds that multigenerational groups can also take advantage of these exclusive amenities, which “are perfect for grandparents who are traveling with their family, but also want to enjoy a relaxed atmosphere.” What’s her favorite exclusive service on a cruise ship? The onboard butler service, of course. “Having a butler is awesome—you never realize how much they can help until you have experienced one. For example, they help with booking shore excursions, unpacking for you, drinks and food upon request, and dinner reservations.”

crystal cruises
Consider the penthouse suites on both the Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony. The 1,345-sq.-ft. Crystal Penthouse w/Verandah, for example, comes with personal butler service (available 24 hours a day), which includes unpacking and packing of luggage; dining, spa, and shore excursion reservations; in-suite afternoon tea, pre-dinner cocktails, and in-suite dining.

This specific cabin, on the Crystal Serenity, not only features a personal washer & dryer, but a master bath with a TV, heated floors, an oceanview spa tub, and a shower with a heated bench. The living quarters are also quite impressive with a spacious living room and a den with a sleeper sofa. The main bedroom can accommodate a queen-size bed or twin beds; there is also a large verandah and a guest bathroom with a shower. Noteworthy amenities include a complimentary bottle of Cristal champagne; unlimited WiFi; dining at the officer’s table and a Crystal Spa in-suite massage (rates apply).

Holland America Lines' Pinnacle Suite.
Holland America Lines’ Pinnacle Suite.

holland america line
On board the cruise line’s 15 ships is the Neptune Lounge, a retreat for guests booked in a Neptune or Pinnacle suite category. The lounge offers such amenities as a TV, WiFi, sofas and chairs, and refreshments and snacks served throughout the day. The Neptune’s concierge services also assist guests with shore excursions, car rentals, spa appointments, and dining reservations at the Pinnacle Grill restaurant. If you book your clients in a Neptune or Pinnacle suite, they’ll enjoy such amenities as a cocktail party with the ship’s officers, priority dining and seating requests, complimentary pre-dinner hors d’oeuvres served in the suite, and priority boarding at ports of call. The Neptune Suites feature two beds that convert into one king-size bed, a walk-in closet and a large sitting area with a sofa bed. The Pinnacle Suites feature a king-size bed, sofa bed for two, a dining room, mini-bar refrigerator, microwave, and floor-to-ceiling windows.

princess cruises
Princess Cruises has introduced two new ships to its fleet: the Royal Princess and the Regal Princess, which was christened by the cast of “The Love Boat” last November (check out the full onboard review in the December issue). Both ships feature 36 suites on board, which for the first time on a Princess ship provide passengers access to a dedicated concierge lounge.

The lounge area, also used as a private disembarkation lounge for suite guests, offers a private space to relax and work, and where Princess’ staff are available to help guests with shore excursion reservations, specialty dining options, and reservations at the Lotus Spa. Light snacks and refreshments are also served in the lounge. Highlights on both the Regal Princess and the 3,600-passenger Royal Princess include the SeaWalk, a glass-bottomed walkway that extends 28 ft. over the edge of both ships; private poolside cabanas; the Princess Live! television studio; and Chef’s Table Lumiere, a dining experience that surrounds diners in a curtain of light.

scenic cruises
On the river cruising front, Scenic Cruises’ guests are all pampered with onboard butler service; yet, the higher the accommodations level—which is uniform across the Scenic fleet— the more services guests receive. For example, for a passenger on the Jewel deck, the butler can set up shore excursions and salon appointments, as well as arrange a cocktail hour with fellow passengers. The level of services increases for guests booked in a cabin on the Sapphire deck—adding tea or coffee service in the morning, as well as breakfast served en-suite. Guests staying in a cabin on the Diamond deck receive all of the above plus laundry service, while guests staying in a Junior Suite are treated with canapes before dinner and petit fours after meals; and finally, passengers in a Royal Suite get the full list of services, which extends to include a complimentary bottle of Champagne; packing and unpacking luggage; $300 onboard credit; upgraded bathroom amenities; meals served en-suite; and private transfers.

Silversea Cruises, regardless of suite category, are also given butler service.
Silversea Cruises, regardless of suite category, are also given butler service.

For more exclusive onboard stays with Oceania Cruises and La Ponant, check out Luxury at Sea.

Archived related articles (available on recommend.com/magazine/issue-archive):
Regal Princess (December 2014)

contact information
Crystal Cruises: (888) 722-0021; crystalcruises.com or crystalcruises.com/agent
Holland America Line: (877) 932-4259; hollandamerica.com or hollandamerica.com/travelAgentHQ/Main.action
Princess Cruises: (800) 774-6237; princess.com or book.princess.com
Scenic Cruises: (866) 689-8611; scenictours.com or bookings.scenictours.com
Silversea Cruises: (877) 276-6816; silversea.com or silversea.com/travel-agent-centre

 

 

 

 

 

 

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