Australia’s love of luxury lines has meant the upcoming cruise season is about to see more competition than ever before.
And while lines which sport white-gloved butlers and free-flowing champagne would like you to believe money is no object, it certainly is – for passengers, at least.
Suddenly the rise of choice means passengers can enjoy that all-inclusive holiday at a great price. Perhaps not a bargain – but certainly good value.
Cruise Passenger compared four luxury lines – Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn, Silversea and Crystal Cruises. All great lines with good service, fine food and excellent ships.
We checked out the daily rate on the Mediterranean, cruising from Barcelona to Rome.
And we found some relatively large disparities. Crystal (pictured above), frequent winner of luxury awards, was far and away the best “deal” – if you can use that word in the rarefied atmosphere of luxury cruising.
And Royal Caribbean’s “partner” Silversea was by far the most expensive.
We also compared their onboard amenities and food offerings which are often what sets these lines apart from their closest rivals. A glass of champagne may be fine for some, but for these discerning sailors, it’s all about the label.
We compared the daily rates for balcony cabins offered on all four cruises.
Crystal Serenity has a 6-day itinerary from Rome to Barcelona departing on May 17, 2019 starting from $3,810 per person. Price: $635 per day per person.
Regent Seven Seas Explorer has an 12-day itinerary from Barcelona to Rome departing on April 5, 2019 starting from $7,970 per person. Price: $664 per day per person.
Seabourn Ovation has an 8-day itinerary from Piraeus to Barcelona itinerary departing on April 27, 2019 starting from $6,299. Price: $787 per day per person.
Silver Spirit, part of Silversea fleet, has a 7-day itinerary from Barcelona to Rome departing on April 25, 2019 starting from $6,660 per person for a balcony suite. Price: $951 per day per person.
Size of cabin
For Crystal Serenity, the penthouse with veranda offers 403 square feet of space, including the private veranda. The room also features a walk-in closet.
On Seabourn Ovation, the veranda suite offers up to 302 square feet inside and up to 83 square feet of balcony space.
The veranda suite on Regent Seven Seas Explorer offers 306 square feet inside and 50 square feet balcony, with walk-in closet.
Silver Spirit is 376 square feet inside and 35 square feet for the balcony.
The cabins on Crystal Serenity and Seabourn Ovation cruises offer a queen-size bed or two twin beds. The Seabourn Ovation also provides fine Egyptian cotton linens, a fluffy duvet, down or hypoallergenic pillows, robes and slippers.
The Regent Seven Seas Explorer offers a European King-Sized Suite Slumber Bed with Regent Plush Bathrobes and Slippers.
The Seabourn Ovation provides you with fine soaps such as L’Occitane and exclusive Therapies bath products by Molton Brown, London.
Meanwhile, the Regent Seven Seas Explorer has L’Occitane® Mer & Mistral Soaps, Shampoos and Lotions.
Bvlgari reigns on Silversea and Crystal.
Free wifi on Crystal and Silversea.
However, internet access on board the Seabourn Ovation is subject to a nominal service charge based on usage. The basic charge is 40 cents ($.40 USD) per minute. Several different advance purchase plans are available on board at lower rates, to accommodate individual needs.
The Regent Seven Seas Explorer has free unlimited WiFi for one log-in, one device, per suite.
Dining on luxury lines is all about fabulous culinary experience.
Regent Seven Seas has the delicious Prime 7 which is the pick of the steakhouses at sea.
On Crystal Cruises, you get a complimentary evening of specialty restaurant dining in Prego and at least once in Silk Road or The Sushi Bar (additional reservations or visits available for a modest fee. You just can’t get enough of the black cod with miso at Nobu Matsuhisa’s sea-going restaurant, Umi Uma & Sushi Bar.
Seabourn has The Grill by acclaimed chef Thomas Keller, the godfather of American cuisine, and the restaurant known for their beautiful steaks and wine vintages from the Napa Valley in California.
Onboard Silversea, there’s excellent French fine dining at the La Dame by top chefs from the Relais & Chateaux team. You’ll find delightful French classics like frogs legs, bouillabaise, glazed duck breast and an impressive Grand Marnier souffle.
Complimentary Spirits/Mini bar
All fares includes all beverages including fine wines, champagne, premium spirits and all non-alcoholic beverages such as bottled water, soft drinks and specialty coffees.