When you board your cruise ship and head to your cabin, there are a small elite group of cruisers who have already been onboard for hours who have unpacked and are drinking champagne and eating canapes in their own private area.
The concept of the ‘ship within the ship’ has taken cruise lines by storm with lines like Dream Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, MSC Cruises and others offering premium packages for loyal guests.
Aimed at the upscale traveller, this concept is usually on mass-market ships and offer guests a private area where guests are in separate accommodation, have their own pool and lounge area, restaurants as well as the perks of having butlers.
Most of the time, guests won’t know the entrance to these private enclaves but if you’ve got a bit of spare change, these areas are absolutely top notch.
Check out what’s available on these cruise lines.
The Dream Palace
Dream Cruises, the newest cruise brand which launched in Asia last year, has a giant private area for premium guests. The Dream Palace has its own separate entrance as well as sitting room, bar, gym and dining room. This is also where you’ll find the ship’s top accommodation including the Garden Penthouse. At 224 square metres, the penthouses feature original artwork, a whirlpool spa, sauna, private sundeck and even a grand piano. Guests can entertain in the dining room. Another perk of being a Dream Palace guest is that you get your own butler who will make shore excursion and spa reservations as well as cater to your every whim.
Norwegian Cruise Line was one of the first lines to roll out this concept on their ships. Now available on 15 of its fleet, The Haven is home to luxurious and spacious accommodation. Guests will be treated to first choice of embarkation and disembarkation, shore excursions, entertainment as well as dining times. Like Dream Cruises, you’ll have your own lounge and bar, restaurant as well as courtyard and deck. You’ll also be treated to 24-hour butler service as well as little touches like sparkling wine, bottled water and fruit on embarkation day, treats delivered to your suite each evening, invitations to exclusive cocktail parties and more. Now, if you want lap up luxury, the three-bedroom garden villa sleeps up to eight guests and has three full baths as well as a hot tub and private dining area.
Like Norwegian Cruise Line and Dream Cruises, MSC also offers private access as well as luxury accommodation. The Yacht Club also has private venues for its guests which include the Top Sail Lounge as well as a fully dedicated restaurant as well as the One Pool Deck which has its own private swimming pool, whirlpool baths, sun deck and bar. The Yacht Club also has its own dedicated restaurants on each ship serving the finest cuisine. Also on the Yacht Club is a private life to the Aurea Spa where you’ll also find the exclusive MSC Yacht Club massage and treatment room.
Cunard, one of the most prestigious brands has The Grills category. Perks of being part of this category include private restaurants, a lounge, sun terrace as well as priority boarding and concierge service. Cunard prides itself on its cuisine and guests in The Grills will be treated to delicious fare like Sturegeon Caviar on Buckwheat Blini, Crab & Baby Shrimp Thermidor in a Parmesan Brioche, Pan-roasted Halibut, Lobster Americaine Flambe and more. Aside from beautiful art-deco accommodation, The Grills experience includes luxurious touches like hand-made cakes and savouries for Afternoon Tea, chilled champagne on embarkation day, fresh fruit and flowers and even personalised stationary.
While Princess doesn’t have its own dedicated area, guests in premium stateroom categories get features similar to exclusive areas like VIP amenities and dining. Full-suite passengers also receive the same benefits including priority check-in and debarkation. Passengers in these categories will also get exclusive menu options.
While the line doesn’t have an exclusive area, guests in the Royal Loft Suites on the Oasis and Quantum-class ships are given access to a Royal Genie who will try and fulfil your every whim. You’ll also get priority bookings for shows and dining venues and the suite is pretty darn amazing – two floors of sweeping views and you’ll have your own hot tub and dining area.