Looking forward in the New Year, we’ll see new ships cruising the world’s oceans and rivers, as well as renovations, upgrades - and even one total transformation, of older ships.
Aclient, who also happens to be a relative, recently asked me to suggest a Mediterranean cruise. Like any good travel agent, I tried to determine what was more important...the ship or the itinerary. “Both,” said the client. That’s a dilemma we all face, and requires a lot of professional knowledge, experience and asking the right questions to get the right answers.
After asking many more quesions, I finally suggested the Oceania Regatta’s 12-day mediterranean cruise from Istanbul to Lisbon. I determined that the itinerary included five ports that my much-traveled cousin had not experienced, and that the Regatta is the size of ship on which they would feel comfortable. Added to that is Oceania’s reputation for excellent value and wonderful customer service. Not only did my cousin book, but also “insisted” that I come along. It wasn’t a hardship.
No surprise: Mom and Dad are cruising with kids of all ages - more than 1.5 million a year. What’s notable is the 50% bump in families with children under the age of three, a trend that might be fed in part by the discounted fares offered by some lines for tots younger than two.
In general, the most family friendly cruise lines are: Disney Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean International, Cunard Line, Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line and Princess Cruises.
Luxury, like beauty, can be in the eye of the beholder. This is especially true for luxury cruises, when it’s the client’s wish list that decides which cruise is truly “luxurious.” Is it all about service that begins before the guest even arrives at the dock, that allows easy crowd-free boarding and proceeds with a glass of champagne and a personal escort to the stateroom? That means a small ship carrying relatively few passengers.