10 Reasons to Book a Luxury Cruise Right Now

by Donna Heiderstadt

10 Reasons to Book a Luxury Cruise Right Now

by Donna Heiderstadt
Smart Luxury

Taking a small-ship luxury cruise may seem like an extravagance, but once travelers experience the all-inclusive ease, exceptional itineraries, elevated cuisine, and five-star service, many become fans for life. Ready to splurge? Here are ten reasons to book a luxury cruise right now.

Taking a small-ship luxury cruise may seem like an extravagance, but once travelers experience the all-inclusive ease, exceptional itineraries, elevated cuisine, and five-star service, many become fans for life. Ready to splurge? Here are ten reasons to book a luxury cruise right now.

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Regent Seven Seas Splendor Suite
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The ships are designed to pamper you.

Boarding a small luxury ship is like checking into a chic boutique hotel. So much attention to detail goes into the vessel's decor, from furnishings and artwork to chandeliers and tableware. Plus, the staterooms and suites are more spacious and well-appointed (think super-comfy beds and luxe toiletries) than those found aboard most megaships. Moreover, the entire experience revolves around pampering you — the guest.

Boarding a small luxury ship is like checking into a chic boutique hotel. So much attention to detail goes into the vessel's decor, from furnishings and artwork to chandeliers and tableware. Plus, the staterooms and suites are more spacious and well-appointed (think super-comfy beds and luxe toiletries) than those found aboard most megaships. Moreover, the entire experience revolves around pampering you — the guest.

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The ports of call are wide-ranging.

Most luxury cruise lines offer itineraries that call on popular ports in always-in-demand regions such as the Mediterranean and Caribbean — plus special spots like  Portofino, Italy or swanky St. Barts that larger ships don’t visit. They also visit bucket-list locales in Asia, Africa, South America, the Indian Ocean, and the South Pacific — opening a world of amazing possibilities.

Most luxury cruise lines offer itineraries that call on popular ports in always-in-demand regions such as the Mediterranean and Caribbean — plus special spots like  Portofino, Italy or swanky St. Barts that larger ships don’t visit. They also visit bucket-list locales in Asia, Africa, South America, the Indian Ocean, and the South Pacific — opening a world of amazing possibilities.

Docking in Santorini
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You’ll spend more time in port.

Many small luxury ships spend more time in port, whether they offer later departure times or overnight stays. This allows you to enjoy a fuller experience — sunset cocktails overlooking the caldera in Santorini or a tango show in Buenos Aires, for instance — than when all-aboard time is 5:00 p.m.

Many small luxury ships spend more time in port, whether they offer later departure times or overnight stays. This allows you to enjoy a fuller experience — sunset cocktails overlooking the caldera in Santorini or a tango show in Buenos Aires, for instance — than when all-aboard time is 5:00 p.m.

Silversea S.A.L.T. programming
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Shore excursions tend to be more in-depth.

Many small luxury ships offer shore excursions that focus more deeply on local culture, history, natural wonders, and regional specialties (from wine, whiskey, and chocolate production to traditional cuisine and handicrafts). You may have opportunities to meet local chefs and artisans, visit with a family to experience daily life, or enjoy a private tour of a castle or museum. 

Many small luxury ships offer shore excursions that focus more deeply on local culture, history, natural wonders, and regional specialties (from wine, whiskey, and chocolate production to traditional cuisine and handicrafts). You may have opportunities to meet local chefs and artisans, visit with a family to experience daily life, or enjoy a private tour of a castle or museum. 

The Kitchen Table aboard Viking Ocean Cruises
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Local cuisine is often a focus.

Calling all foodies: Many small luxury cruise lines have culinary-focused programming such as visiting local markets (often with the ship’s executive chef), exploring vibrant street-food scenes (especially in Asia), and participating in cooking classes or special tastings. Several cruise lines, including Viking (pictured above), also have onboard culinary centers with classes centered around regional cuisines.

Calling all foodies: Many small luxury cruise lines have culinary-focused programming such as visiting local markets (often with the ship’s executive chef), exploring vibrant street-food scenes (especially in Asia), and participating in cooking classes or special tastings. Several cruise lines, including Viking (pictured above), also have onboard culinary centers with classes centered around regional cuisines.

Champagne glasses
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All-inclusive pricing means less hassle.

Luxury cruise fares may seem excessive at first — most range from $2,999 to $5,999 per person for seven nights — but you get a lot for that upfront price, such as incredible specialty dining; beverages including wine, beer, and top-shelf liquors; crew gratuities; transfers; wifi; and even some shore excursions. Plus, there’s no need to sign for every drink — and no big surprise bill upon disembarkation.

Luxury cruise fares may seem excessive at first — most range from $2,999 to $5,999 per person for seven nights — but you get a lot for that upfront price, such as incredible specialty dining; beverages including wine, beer, and top-shelf liquors; crew gratuities; transfers; wifi; and even some shore excursions. Plus, there’s no need to sign for every drink — and no big surprise bill upon disembarkation.

Reykjavik, Iceland
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Guest lecturers provide context to destinations.

There’s much to learn about the world’s great cruise destinations, and many small luxury lines schedule onboard lectures by specialists designed to enrich your appreciation of a port. There might be a volcano expert when calling on Iceland, a Renaissance art historian while cruising Italy, or a naturalist while in Costa Rica. This context adds a layer of cultivation to even fun-in-the-sun locales.

There’s much to learn about the world’s great cruise destinations, and many small luxury lines schedule onboard lectures by specialists designed to enrich your appreciation of a port. There might be a volcano expert when calling on Iceland, a Renaissance art historian while cruising Italy, or a naturalist while in Costa Rica. This context adds a layer of cultivation to even fun-in-the-sun locales.

Cuadro 44 by Anthony Sasso
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Dining options are world-class.

If fine dining is a favorite vacation indulgence, then small luxury cruise lines won’t disappoint. The onboard culinary offerings rival leading restaurants on land — from modern French and authentic Italian to flavorful pan-Asian and high-end steaks — and feature both ambiance and décor that’s refined, romantic, and transportive. Meals are to be savored: and enjoyed with expertly paired wines, of course.

If fine dining is a favorite vacation indulgence, then small luxury cruise lines won’t disappoint. The onboard culinary offerings rival leading restaurants on land — from modern French and authentic Italian to flavorful pan-Asian and high-end steaks — and feature both ambiance and décor that’s refined, romantic, and transportive. Meals are to be savored: and enjoyed with expertly paired wines, of course.

Scenic Eclipse Stateroom
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Ships are smaller, but there’s ample personal space.

Most small luxury ships accommodate just 200 to 900 guests, and while they are a fraction of the size of megaship behemoths, many actually offer more personal space. This is especially true on newer luxury ships constructed in the past 15 years, many of which offer mainly balcony suite accommodations that are generously sized with large bathrooms, comfortable sitting areas, and walk-in closets.

Most small luxury ships accommodate just 200 to 900 guests, and while they are a fraction of the size of megaship behemoths, many actually offer more personal space. This is especially true on newer luxury ships constructed in the past 15 years, many of which offer mainly balcony suite accommodations that are generously sized with large bathrooms, comfortable sitting areas, and walk-in closets.

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The entire cruise experience is more personal.

When a crew member says “welcome home” as you board, knows your name, and/or gives you a hug when you leave, you know this personal connection will become part of your vacation memory. The smaller scale and lower passenger-to-crew ratio of luxury ships (typically 1:3 to 1:5) create a convivial and close-knit ambiance that’s difficult to replicate on larger vessels.

When a crew member says “welcome home” as you board, knows your name, and/or gives you a hug when you leave, you know this personal connection will become part of your vacation memory. The smaller scale and lower passenger-to-crew ratio of luxury ships (typically 1:3 to 1:5) create a convivial and close-knit ambiance that’s difficult to replicate on larger vessels.

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