Beverly Hills, California Travel Agent
Luxury Ocean and River Cruise Specialist
Whether you are going on an ocean liner, an expedition ship or a river cruise, you will find that each line has a distinct personality. The trick is to find the ship that matches your taste. The same is true of hotels, but it is more important with a ship, where you might spend two weeks or more.
In addition to aesthetics and service style, I look at the demographics of each line and who your fellow passengers might be. Many Americans do not want a line that caters to Europeans, where announcements are made in several languages and English is clearly a second language. Some lines are known for truly gourmet food; others for their large cabins. Some cater to active travelers; others attract a more sedentary clientele.
My clients tend to enjoy smaller ship luxury lines such as Regent, Crystal, Silversea, and Seabourn. Most people who cruise on luxury ships become loyal to a particular brand. Part of that comes from making a good match. In addition, cruise lines recognize their repeat cruisers in many ways, from special parties to added-value amenities, and I am always alert to these for my clients.
Nevertheless, finding the right line is just the start of having the best possible cruise experience. Itineraries can be deciding factors so I often send clients the latest brochures to give them a tactile picture of the itineraries. There is something nice about paging through a brochure.
Another important thing I do for cruising clients is keeping track of the calendar. If you book a year in advance, often you have to remember to book shore excursions, dining, spa, and hairdresser appointments at the appropriate times to get exactly what you want.
I also keep tabs on the latest ships and itineraries. For example, Ponant has some beautiful itineraries that no one else offers and its ships are truly deluxe. In Alaska, they sail through the Aleutian Islands to Juneau. No one ever does that part of Alaska. You set out from South Korea and meet the cruise in Russia. It is a true expedition cruise where you go out each day in your boots and parka and feels as exotic as cruising Antarctica.
Cruises are wonderful for multigenerational groups because they appeal to such a variety of interests. I recently booked seven cabins for a family on a Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic cruise to Alaska. Many think children need the onboard activity of a large ship, but these kids were thrilled with the adventure of going out in Zodiacs each day and loved the nature talks each evening.
For families—and often couples--private excursions make sense economically as well as experientially; the cost can be comparable to group excursions and saves you from waiting for 40 other people to get on and off the bus at every stop. Plus, you set the pace and follow your own interests.
River cruising has become very popular and not just in Europe. Lines such as AmaWaterways also cruise the rivers of Africa and Asia and American Cruise Lines has some wonderful itineraries in many areas of the U.S.
If you are interested in learning more, please contact me.