When it comes to elegance and pampering in travel, you canít go wrong with either a luxury cruise or a luxury hotel. However, in some instances one might suit your needs better than the other. How do you decide which indulgence is the best for you? Read on.
What is a Luxury Cruise?
While luxury can be found on many cruise ships, a luxury cruise is a cut above the rest. Opulence and exquisitely high quality are the hallmarks of a luxury cruise. Luxury cruises are taken by those who have a taste for the finer things in life, and who expect nothing but personalized service at its very best. The aspects that truly set a luxury cruise apart are service, atmosphere, accommodations, itineraries and destinations, and the sailing vessels themselves.
What is a Luxury Hotel?
Both hotels and cruise ships follow six star rating systems. A six star rating indicates the adherence to the highest standards. A hotel would only be considered a luxury hotel with a rating of five stars or higher. Luxury hotels are very similar to their nautical sisters in regards to top-notch quality and personalized service. While luxury hotels offer incredible amenities, where they truly shine is in the area of service.
Luxury hotels and cruises both have truly decadent amenities. While most luxury hotels can be counted on to have certain amenities such as the highest thread-count sheets and opulent dťcor, these hotels compete with one another in an effort to offer their guests unique amenities found nowhere else. Some of these high-end amenities include iPads with room controls and the ability to contact the concierge directly, e-readers, pampering for pets and even pets for guests to walk or run with.
Luxury cruise ships also have a standard of high-end amenities including the best china, linens, silverware and crystal, as well as wine cellars, fully-stocked in-room bars, beautifully appointed public areas with rare woods and fine art, and truly spacious suites. Guests aboard a luxury cruise ship can expect 24-hour room service in addition to three main meals a day and optional high tea or snacks.
Exceptional, seamless service is what sets luxury hotels and cruises apart from the rest. Both have an extremely low staff to guest ratio, with the best luxury cruise ships having one staff member for every two passengers. Butler service and enhanced concierge service is the latest trend in luxury travel, with hotel butlers providing a range of services from drawing the perfect bath to rocking your baby to sleep.
During a luxury cruise, the staff caters to every whim a passenger might have and takes care to not only remember your name, but also remember your preferences. If you enjoyed a morning espresso on your first day aboard, you can bet that your espresso will be waiting for you the following morning. The attention to detail given by the staff in anticipation of their passengersí needs borders on clairvoyant.
Price and Value
While stays at luxury hotels and aboard luxury cruise ships is not for budget traveler, an all-inclusive luxury cruise does provide more value than a stay at a luxury hotel. The cost of a night at a luxury hotel will cover the room and amenities; however, the cost of a luxury cruise will include airfare, meals, beverages, gratuities, entertainment, and possibly shore excursions. When it comes to value, a luxury cruise wins hands down.
A luxury cruise does have the advantage of traveling to and between destinations while obviously a hotel cannot. But that doesnít mean luxury hotels donít offer their own high-end excursions. Excursions such as truffle-hunting expeditions and exotic cooking classes are offered by some luxury hotels.
Luxury hotels do have an edge when it comes to providing transportation for guests. The use of a high-end vehicle such as a Ferrari, Porsche, or Bentley is a guest perk at some luxury hotels while at others, even the use of a helicopter or private jet is not out of line.
Which is Best?
Deciding whether a luxury hotel or a luxury cruise is best for you can be difficult. Both offer the ultimate in excellent service and luxury travel, and with the availability of baby butlers at both luxury hotels and aboard luxury cruise ships, luxury travel with children is now an option when it might not have been practical before.
Ultimately, the very nature of a cruise is what puts a luxury cruise just slightly ahead of a stay at a luxury hotel. A luxury cruise provides the wind over the water and the scent of surf while youíre whisked away to an exotic location. From an elegant river cruise in France to the frigid waters of Antarctica, the range of activities and exploration available during a luxury cruise is simply incomparable.
This post was provided by Shannon Pierce, a freelance writer and cruise coordinator. She helps people book both luxury and cheap cruises and believes that whether you are booking cruises from Baltimore or visiting San Francisco, it is important to get out and experience the world.