Countdown: The Five Most Expensive Cruise Vacations
The Most Extravagant, Most Expensive Cruise Vacations
Cruises are one of the most luxurious ways to travel - very low employee to passenger ratios, on-board entertainment almost 24 hours a day, constant food, fun, and good company.
And of course, though cruises with ship lines like Carnival and Royal Caribbean are fun, there are a select group of high class cruises that give a stunning amount of attention to detail, and treat the passengers, quite honestly, like royalty.
That's why I've selected the best of the best here, the world-class, around-the-world tours that turn what would have been an exciting, albeit simple cruise vacation into a true experience in fun, learning, and visiting other countries.
#5: Princess Cruises
The Cruise Line
The Princess cruise line is probably best recognized by fans of the old "Love Boat" TV series, in which two Princess cruise ships were prominently featured. Today, the line is a world-class ocean vessel, especially well known for the their trans-Atlantic voyages. The ships are large and well-equipped with recreational activities for everyone.
The Princess Cruise
This cruise also departs from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, though it maps a very different route across the planet. You'll be traveling in the Pacific Princess, one of the more intimate ships on the Princess lineup, yet it still comes equipped with such high-end options as ballroom dancing rooms, advanced spa and massage treatments, a steakhouse, and onboard entertainment from magicians and comedians.
From its departure, the Pacific Princess heads through the Panama Canal, briefly touches down in Hawaii, sails past New Zealand and Australia (with several stops along the way), then heads north again, to China and Thailand, then India and Vietnam, stops at several ports in North Africa, then makes its final docking at your departure city of Rome, Italy.
This 107-day world tour will set you back $22,000.
The Cruise Line
Silversea cruises are known for being small and spectacular. Every room is a suite, and 95% of the rooms have balconies. World-class chefs are employeed aboard, and on many cruises they offer complimentary cooking lessons to patrons on the at-sea days. You are offered champagne as you step on to board the ship for the first time by European-trained stewards. Are you drooling yet?
The Silversea Cruise
In 91 days, Silversea's Silver Spirit doesn't get very far, distance-wise, but its attention to detail as it visits even the tiniest ports in South America is reflected in its overall atmosphere of intimate luxury and high-class charm. Every room on the Silvers Spirit is a suite, and all come equipped with walk-in closets, marble bathrooms, and full-size bathtubs. Flat-screen TVs and DVD players are also a new addition to every room.
After leaving Florida, this South American world tour visits the Caribbean Islands before following the eastern coast of South America to its tip, then hugging the coast north again to California, entering the Panama Canal, and concluding this voyage in New York City.
#3: Crystal Cruises
The Cruise Line
Crystal cruises are known for being medium-sized, luxury vessels that are good buys for the quality of services and all the amenities they have to offer. This world cruise takes place on the Serenity, Crystal's largest ship, well-known for its high-end sushi restaurant with offerings from Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa. Additionally, almost all staterooms are suites with private balconies.
The Crystal Cruise
This cruise is unique to this list because it skips the traditional "Australia/New Zealand/West Asia" ports and instead heads up the west coast of the African continent. Apart from skipping that region, however, it's generally a very thorough tour of the most developed parts of the world in 108 days, especially for those who may have wanted to visit Africa in their lifetimes but have been scared off by the stream of terrible news reports from the region. You really can't go wrong in South Africa, Tanzania, and Kenya.
The Crystal Serenity leaves out of Miami, Florida, and heads straight south to touch on varios ports on the east coast of South America, including Brazil and Uruguay, before making the trans-Pacific voyage, docking in South Africa, and working its way back north from there. There are overnight stays in South Africa, India, Dubai, Greece, and Spain, so you can receive a more meaningful experience in these countries. For an all inclusive cruise and an experience like this, you should be more than willing to pay the meager $58,000 fare they ask of you!
#2: The Yachts of Seabourn
The Cruise Line
Imagine 111 peaceful days and nights on the Seabourn Sojourn, a futuristic vessel scheduled to take its maiden voyage next year. All rooms are ocean view suites, and the vast majority have their own private balconies. Nevertheless, this is a tiny ship: it's easy to see where the "Yachts" part of the cruise line name comes from when you realize this ship has only a little over 200 rooms.
The Seabourn Cruise
Despite its size, the standard suites in the Sojourn are relatively large (around 350 square feet), and there are four distinct restaurant venues, six bars, and a spa center on board. In January 2011, the Seabourn Sojourn will depart from Los Angeles, California for three and a half months at sea, heading first to Oceania before turning north to East Asia, then into the Middle East and past Europe, and concluding the voyage in the United Kingdom.
Great things are expected of this petit ship, and if you've got a spare $60,000 just lying around, you too can be a part of nautical history.
Living on the Regent Voyager
AND FINALLY #1: Regent Seven Seas
The Cruise Line
Formerly known as the Radisson Seven Seas cruise line, Regent offers some of the most extravagant cruises available to modern cruisers. Their ships are relatively small, partly because so few people can afford Regent's luxury cruises, but mostly to better offer top-quality service to their patrons. Unsurprisingly, the Seven Seas Voyager, a truly world-class ship, falls well into this category. Featuring balconies for every cabin, and with every cabin designed as a suite, this is truly an unforgettable experience.
Of course, all the usual amenities you would expect to be present on a cruise ship are available (fitness center, jogging track, boutiques, pools, spas), but how about tennis courts? Complimentary alcoholic beverages available at all times?
The Regent Seven Seas Cruise
In December 2009, passengers board the Regent Seven Seas Voyager for a world tour that leaves from Fort Lauderdale, California, meanders through Central America and passes California, heading toward Australia. After 108 nights on board the Voyagers, passengers finally conclude the trip of a lifetime in Capetown, South Africa. The price tag? It's a steal for $62,000.
For more information (or if you're lucky enough to have the money to consider purchasing a ticket), visit the Regent Seven Seas website at RSS.com.