Think luxury cruising, and the first thing that comes to mind is a spacious suite the size of an opulent apartment.
But that may not be the best of luxury cruising. There’s the intimate environment of small luxury ships, the incredible personalised service, fine dining, and the opportunity to pull up at smaller ports and enjoy exclusive experiences.
So what happens if you book the cheapest cabin on a luxury ship – cruising’s equivalent of the property market’s rule of thumb: for the best value, buy the worst house on the best street.
A Cruise Passenger survey of the cheapest cabins on luxury lines found it was possible to have the luxe experience at great value prices. Sleeping in an inside cabin still has lots of luxury benefits – and new ship designs mean even the lowliest stateroom might have a balcony.
The cheapest cabins on lines like Regent Seven Seas and Ponant are balcony suites while on lines like Silversea and Crystal Cruises, the lowest tier cabins are window staterooms. On Seabourn Cruises, it depends on which ship you board. The cheapest cabin on their newest ship Seabourn Ovation is a balcony suite, while on older makes like Seabourn Quest offer window staterooms as the cheapest option. Oceania Cruises offers inside cabins.
In terms of cabin space, Silversea’s Silver Muse takes the crown with a total of 31 sq metres of in-suite area for their window stateroom and the Seven Seas Voyager and Seabourn Quest tie in second place with 28 sq metres. The Voyager however has an additional 5 sq metres of balcony.
On Regent Seven Seas, the cheapest balcony cabins on their older ships also offer significantly more room than new makes like the Seven Seas Explorer, with difference of almost 8 sq metres of in-suite space.
Oceania’s cabins are the smallest, starting from 14.9 sq metres but their sailings also come at almost a third of the price of the most expensive lines like Silversea and Regent Seven Seas. Another line with small cabins is Ponant whose balcony suites only come up to 19 sq metres in total.
Some cabins also do not have baths and only feature showers due to space constraints. Lines like Crystal also do not offer butler service to the bottom two cabin tiers and Ponant only have them on select ships and cabin tiers. So if having a butler to attend to you is must have for a luxury experience, go with other lines.
Beyond that, most amenities in the room are rather similar.
For prices, we selected sailings that are around two weeks long and departing in October and November 2020. While majority of the sailings are in the Mediterranean, others are going to places like the Panama Canal, Mexico and Australasia. So use those prices as a rough guide while keeping in mind that different luxury lines offer different inclusions as well.
The cheapest luxury cabins at sea start at $199 per day on Oceania’s Sirena and go up to $708 on the ‘most luxurious ship at sea’ the Seven Seas Explorer. Tempted yet?
In fact, according to Kathy Pavlidis a cruise specialist at Travel Associates, many seasoned cruisers are open to move up to the next level of luxury cruising when presented with an amazing ‘one off’ deal.
And Ms Pavlidis warns, “once they have experienced luxury it is very hard to go back to the mass market. I’ve never had a client who tried luxury cruising come back saying they didn’t like it!”
Regent Seven Seas
Seven Seas Voyager
Year built: 2003, last refurbishment 2016
No. of guests: 700
Deluxe Veranda Suite – H
Suite: 28 sq metres
Balcony: 5 sq metres
Total: 33 sq metres
Layout and Amenities
European King-Sized Suite Slumber Bed®
1 Marble Bathroom
Walk-in Closet With Safe
Accommodates Up To 3 Guests
FREE Unlimited WiFi includes one log-in, one device, per suite*
Welcome Bottle of Champagne with Fresh Fruit Arrangement
In-Suite Mini-Bar Set-Up and Refill
24-Hour Room Service
L’Occitane® Mer & Mistral Soaps, Shampoos and Lotions
Regent Plush Bathrobes and Slippers
Vanity and Hair Dryer
Interactive Flat-Screen Television With Extensive Media Library, Complimentary Movies-on-Demand