The Norwegian Jewel’s arrival in Sydney won’t just be the city’s first experience of a Norwegian ship in a long time.
It will also herald the arrival of The Haven – its incredibly upmarket ‘ship within a ship’ concept that harks back to the old First Class categories of the liners of the last century.
The Jewel’s Haven has deluxe suites and multi-bedroom villas, 24-hour personal butler service, priority bookings and luxe amenities.
In fact, the list goes on and on: Marble bathrooms, pillow menus, generous staterooms ranging up to 395 square metres, and luxurious Bvlgari bathroom amenities.
Of course there are personal butler and a concierge to cater to your every whim, 24 hours a day. And that includes unpacking luggage and even serving breakfast in bed, booking shore excursions, scheduling spa treatments or ensuring priority boarding and disembarkation, access to tenders to shore and the best seats in the house for on-board entertainment,
You’ll get best seats in the theatres, a private pool, parties with the ship’s officers.
But all of that does come at a price. Cruiseabout has a sailing on November 12 from Sydney to Hobart for 5 nights. An ocean view cabin will set you back $1,200 pp, while a garden villa in the Haven is $4,609 pp.
If you’re thinking no-one would pay that mark up, think again. The cruise is almost sold out, and the Haven’s courtyard and penthouse suites have already gone!
Norwegian is not alone in plugging in to our love of a status upgrade.
MSC has the Yacht Club – “A place where you can savour exclusivity and privacy in a world of choice. Where you can indulge in the luxury of a private club, while enjoying access to the myriad recreation and entertainment possibilities that the rest of the ship affords,” says the brochure.
The butlers, all-inclusive à la carte meals served at your preferred time in a private restaurant are included, as are unlimited drinks in all MSC Yacht Club areas or from your mini-bar and exclusive access to The One Sun Deck and Top Sail Lounge are just some of the other privileges.
Tailor-made shore excursions sounds like a great additional service. And at $2897pp for a seven day Arabian Peninsula cruise, it appears great value.
Celebrity Cruises is about to produce something that will revolutionise the “ship within a ship” concept – their new Celebrity Edge class ships, to be launched late in 2018, will feature The Eden.
Eden is in three levels with three stories of windows that look out to the ocean, two areas of al fresco seating on both sides.
Celebrity claims Eden is “by far the grandest space we’ve ever designed that purposefully connects you to the sea -and the exciting destinations beyond. In fact, Eden has more outward-facing glass than any other room at sea”.
There will be hands-on cooking classes, hand-crafted cocktails “garnished with fresh herbs from the living library of plants”. Wine tastings with master sommeliers and “a fusion of performance art and unique culinary experiences”
Finally, let’s not forget where it all began – and still continues today. Perhaps the “classiest”ships of them all.
Cunard’s “Queens Grill” – newly refurbished on the Queen Mary 2 and smaller Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, recreates the golden age of sea travel.
Opulent interiors, formal dining and white-glove service, a marble bathroom in your suite with bespoke perfumer Penhaligon’s toiletries and a complimentary mini-bar stocked with your choice of wines and spirits.
Your butler welcomes you with Champagne and strawberries, and you can dine when you want in the superb Queens Grill restaurant (reserved for Queens Grill passengers).
Vote in this year’s special Readers’ Choice Awards
No doubt 2020 will go down in cruise history as the year of the pandemic – a once in a generation event. And this year’s Cruise Passenger Readers’ Choice Awards will reflect it.