You’ve booked your European cruise and you’re so excited to kick it off, and then you remember that excruciating 30-hour air flight from Australia to the other side of the globe.
So we have compiled the 10 ultimate ways to get your European cruise and still arrive bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
Etihad: A380 The Residence
Perk: it’s literally an apartment in the sky
It is the world’s most expensive cabin in the sky and worth every cent.
You will be in seventh heaven when you travel on Etihad’s newly launched Residence as it will be like a luxury three-bedroom sky home at 30,000 feet above sea level – with a personal butler on call.
And the butler is no ordinary waiter, he will be a Savoy Butler Academy London trained.
This will allow you to move in sheer comfort from a separate living room to the double bedroom which comes complete with an ensuite bathroom.
Available for double or single occupancy, the cabin also has two television screens with hooked to the Panasonic eX3 entertainment system featuring 750 hours of entertainment.
First class passengers will also be given black silk pyjamas.
Emirates: A380 First Class Private Suite
Perk: two words – Shower Spas
If there’s one thing the United Arab Emirates knows, it’s luxury and comfort.
And Dubai’s official carrier, Emirates, is the epitome of both.
Emirates’ First Class Private Suites are available in all of the line’s A380s, A340-500 and most of its B777 aircraft.
They are designed for privacy with sliding doors dividing the suites.
The seats convert into flat beds with mattresses.
To keep passengers refreshed, the airline has installed two shower spas in each first class cabin allowing passengers to have an inflight bath.
First Class passengers will also have access to a personal mini-bar, a vanity table, Wi-Fi and Ice Digital Widescreen entertainment with 1,600 channels.
There’s also the onboard lounge, where passengers can mingle and enjoy canapés and cocktails.
Emirates also has a chauffer limousine service for Business and First Class passengers for transfers between home-airport-hotel.
Singapore Airlines: A380 First Class
Perk: culinary bliss – serving food from across the globe.
Cruisers will love Singapore Airlines’ First Class because of its service and food.
First class passengers are served a full five course meal from a menu designed by a panel of world-acclaimed chefs, including Australia’s very own Matt Moran.
And no meal is complete without the mandatory glass of vintage 2004 Dom Perignon.
Dishes vary depending on route. Australian travellers flying from Sydney and Melbourne to Europe can choose from eleven dishes including a grilled beef in green peppercorn sauce with seasonal vegetables and gratin potatoes; the Cantonese roast duck with vegetables and steamed rice; and an Indian lamb shank curry with vegetables and pilaf rice.
First class seats are 35-inches wide and recline into a bed length of 82-inches.
All First Class passenger also receive a complimentary turn down service and Givenchy pyjamas and bedroom slippers.
British Airways: B777-300ER and B747 First Class
Perk: Orlando Bloom is the face of the airline’s First Class cabin – need I say more?
The First Class British Airways experience kicks off at home, with a Jaguar or Landrover transfer on both departure and arrival at Sydney Airport.
Once onboard, guests receive their own private, spacious suite with a fully flat bed with mattress and duvet.
Each passenger receives a 15-inch screen with noise cancelling headphones. The entertainment system also allows guests to connect their USB sticks, laptops, iPod or digital camera.
This year, the airline launched a new first class amenity kit, which offers tailored products for men and women.
The Aromatherapy Associates First Class wash bag for women includes an firming eye serum, a moisturiser, cleanser, deodorant stick, lip balm, cotton wool, toothbrush and toothpaste and a hairbrush and mirror.
The men’s Refinery First Class kit includes a moisturiser, eye gel, shaving gel, lip balm stick, deodorant stick, razor, brush and comb, toothbrush and toothpaste and a pen.
Last year the carrier recruited Orlando Bloom to be the face of its First Class.
Swiss Airlines: A340-300 First Class
Perk: you’re boarding the world’s first allergy-friendly airline
The airline became the world’s first allergy-friendly airline, serving lactose and gluten-free snacks as well as offering synthetic pillows and gentle-to-the-skin soap.
It also introduced a pre-order tailored meal system to meet the needs of allergy sufferers, including gluten-free dishes.
For those prone to allergies, you can take comfort during meal times.
The airline has reclining seats, which turn into 80-inch beds.
Entertainment in the cabin includes a 10.4-inch screen.
China Southern: B787 First Class
Perk: an arch dome to offer blue sky lighting
It’s a dream flying in China Southern’s B787 First Class cabin.
China Southern is the first airline with a first class cabin in the Dreamliner 787, while other carriers are flying with business cabin and economy.
The airline has installed four cocoon-designed seats offering privacy and space at 26-inches wide and 78-inches long when converted into a fully flat bed.
In the entertainment department, China Southern passengers receive a 17 inch monitor with noise cancelling headphones and USB power outlets.
The airline also offers extra storage in the private hand luggage bin.
Meanwhile, the line’s Dreamliner has higher cabin air humidity and a more efficient air purification system for passenger comfort.
Anyone with claustrophobia will love the airline’s arch dome, which offers blue sky lighting and gives the impression of being in the outdoors.
And for the light sensitive, China Southern has also equipped its Dreamliner with electronic dimmable windows.
Lufthansa: A380 First Class
Perk: heat-regulating blanket
Lufthansa is an Australian favourite when it comes to First Class service and has been voted ‘Best Offline Airline’ by Australian travel agents for seven consecutive years.
First Class passengers will experience optimum comfort thanks to user-friendly, ergonomically designed seats, which convert into a two metre-long bed. The airline provides a cosy mattress, soft duvet and a special pillow for a good night’s sleep.
For those struggling to adjust to the plane’s air conditioning system, you’ll be offered a heat-regulating blanket.
The airline’s First Class menu has been created by top chefs from around the world and food is served in modern white china.
While the same menu is used throughout the year, the wine list is altered regularly to feature four different red and four different white wines every month.
When you aren’t dining or sleeping, the airline keeps you busy with a 17-inch entertainment monitor with noise-cancelling headphones.
The entertainment system has audio and video in eight languages with a selection of more than 50 films and 110 TV programs.
Passengers will also get a Porsche designed amenity kit and van Laack pyjamas.
Thai Airways International: A380 First Class
Perk: award-winning service
Thai Airways travels over 40 times a week between Australia and Bangkok and has received a number of awards for its customer service and inflight service.
In Bangkok, Thai Airways knows how to spoil first class passengers – on arrival at the airport they will be met with a VIP butler to check them in.
Passengers are also spoilt for choice at meal times with over 22 entrees alone on the menu which can be pre-ordered
First Class passengers will also receive a turn down service with duvet, plush pillows, a Bulgari amenity kit and cotton sleepwear.
One non-First Class option:
Cathay Pacific: A330-300s Business Class
Perk: slide back and have a chat with your companion
In Cathay Pacific’s Business Class you’ll feel like you’re travelling in First.
It’s probably one of the more versatile cabins in the air, with seats spacing 11-inches that move back for privacy or forward so you can have a chat with your travelling companion.
Just like First Class, Cathay Pacific’s Business Class seats also recline into fully-flat beds over two metres long.
You’ll never feel cluttered with your very own personal storage space – the side cabinet can fit your headset, glasses and other little gadgets. It also has a small vanity mirror inside.
You’ll never get bored, with the airline’s 15.4-inch touch-screen personal TV with over 100 movies, 500 TV Shows, 888 music CDs, 22 radio channels and 70 games. You can also plug in your iPod and iPhone in the USB port.
Virgin Atlantic: A380 Upper Class Suite
Perk: Have a drink with your fellow passenger at the bar or at your very own flip down cocktail table.
Virgin Atlantic doesn’t have a first class or business product, but offers a mixture of both with its Upper Class Suite.
Seats are arranged in a Herringbone arrangement, whereby seats are partially askew in one direction. This style of seating gives each isle its own access to the bathroom so passengers don’t need to worry about stepping over anybody’s knees to get to the bathroom.
Seats in the Upper Class Suite transform into fully flat beds with an extra padded sleep sheet.
In true Virgin Atlantic’s style, the Upper Class Suite has also been equipped with an in-flight bar and swinging stools.
Each suite also has a 12.1-inch touchscreen loaded with an entertainment system called JAM. It allows passenger to connect their phone, USB stick or tablet to watch, read or listen.