By Patti Pietschmann Travel Diva

Small luxury cruise lines vs behemoth boats

Small ships aren’t for every seafarer.  But you sure can’t beat the creature comforts. Especially on all-inclusive lines  which come with tips, all beverages hard and soft, WiFi, other amenities that run up big tabs on other lines. Regent Seven Seas even throws in shore excursions and all restaurants (no surcharges).

Mainstream mega lines nickle and dime passengers with a surcharge for anything extra. They are also more rowdy.

On the big guys you do get head-spinning diversions. There are even bowling alleys, race tracks, wall climbing, Zip-lining and other adventures at sea. But for those who prefer a more relaxed voyage, you can’t beat Paul Gauguin, Seabourn, Silversea, Regent or Wind Star.

When you are up on deck of any of those ships you might hear a trio playing or some light background music bit no ear-piercingly loud music.

There are tame parties but that’s it. Plus you’re pampered by the pool on ships of Seabourn, Silversea, Crystal or Regent by deck stewards bearing cold towels and drinks.

Can’t top the personalized service

Butler on Silversea Silver Muse

There are also plenty of towels to go around ships like Princess keep beach towels in stateroom and you have to remember to bring them up on deck (in all fairness if you do forget a steward will provide one). Speaking of the deck, lounge chairs are often much more comfortable on luxury ships.

Bottled water is always available to take ashore on luxury ships. And, when they return, given cool towels and refreshing drinks. The crew also remembers you name where on most large ships passengers are just a number (there are exceptions).

Also luxury liner cabins come with amenities such as robes, slippers, sewing kits, lint removers, upscale bath and body cosmetics, sunscreen and eyeglass cleaners (on Seabourn) and binoculars in your stateroom on Crystal and Silversea ships. You just don’t get that kind of service on the ginormous ships.

Special perks

You also get extra treats when you go upscale such as caviar on request (no fee) on Seabourn. There is always plenty of Champagne being served, too.  One perk my husband and I enjoy is being able to order full dinners in our stateroom.

Caviar and Champagne is always available on Seabourn

Of course size does matter to some folk who prefer to cruise with thousands of ship mates. Beats me that anyone would want to wait in long lines to board or disembark in ports. Or for that matter have to sign a chit with a tip every time they order a drink, wine or specialty coffee.
The luxury ships mentioned also give you complimentary cappuccinos, espressos, lattes etc. which will run up a hefty tag on the big guy

Pick a ship that suits your personality

Picking a cruise ship that’s right for you is the same as choosing a hotel or destination, it’s all in the fit. For this seasoned seafarer small and luxury is best, nothing larger than the Crystal Symphony or Serenity.

Cream of the crop cruise ships

Crystal Serenity and Symphony—these sister ships dole out seamless service from stern to bow. The crew is taught to never say “no” and when put to the test several times they passed with flying colors. Fares include measured free WiFi except in top suites where the sky’s the limit, wines, spirits, just about anything you drink save premium labels plus all your tips. Book a cabin on the Penthouse deck and you get a butler who handles all your needs. The food is superb in all dining venues. Offers dine when you want options.

Paul Gauguin—luxury in paradise is what this little charmer is all about. The food is always exceptional, the service great and the ambiance tres French. She sails French Polynesia with a flair.

Regent Seven Seas—these food-centric ships appeal to gourmet seafarers–vegans and carnivores alike–who want to eat well while they cruise. Some of the passengers who take these ships have been to every port in the world and often on Regent Seven Seas but they go for the food and comfort of a luxury line. This is actually the only cruise line that means “all inclusive”. On RSS you get wines and spirits, tips, some shore excursions, WiFi, and in some itineraries free or greatly reduced airfare.

Seabourn—every time we sail on Seabourn the passengers are almost identical,  seasoned travelers, well off,  often retired, and usually with homes all over the world. They prefer Seabourn for its cosmopolitan style, excellent cuisine and luxurious appointments. Fares also include all wines, Champagne, spirits, soft drinks and tips.

Windstar Cruises provides the most unique experience of sailing ships with billowy masts that sail to exotic mostly tropical ports where passengers can actually dive into the sea from a retractable marina. It’s ideal for scuba divers, snorkelers and other water buffs.

For more information contact a Pavlus cruise specialist. They will help you decide which option is best for you at the best fare.