There is no doubt that luxury cruising has taken a crushing blow in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, there is strong evidence that the industry will rebound, as avid cruisers won’t give up their favorite obsession. The question used to be, are they worth the money. And to that, I give you an unequivocal yes! Here’s why…

Once you board a luxury cruise ship, you will be overwhelmed by the level of service they offer. Whether it’s on a Regent Seven Seas ship, where you are handed a glass of champagne as you board, or Amawaterways, where the crew knows your name and what you like to drink by the second day. From suite butlers to large staterooms to gourmet cuisine, the refined style of luxury cruising incomparable to any experience in the world.

What makes a luxury cruise worth the money?

• No waiting in lines and more space for passengers.

These ships are significantly smaller than a mega liner. Riverboats often hold as few as 125 guests, while Seabourn ocean liners hold about 600 passengers. Alternatively, some mega-ships can hold over 5,000 passengers.

• More personal attention from a proportionately larger staff.

On a luxury cruise, there are usually two crew members for every three passengers. On a regular cruise, it’s one crew member for every two passengers.

• More port options

Luxury cruise ships visit more than 2,000 ports around the world, with itineraries that will satisfy almost anyone. From glaciers and, fjords, to the Mediterranean, Asia, Hawaii, Fiji,

and the Caribbean each offer something incredible, yet completely different.

• No nickel and diming on a luxury cruise.

Often luxury cruise lines can truly be all-inclusive, including excursions and liquor. Regent Seven Seas for example, includes round trip business air on intercontinental flights, and round-trip coach on domestic flights, unlimited shore excursions, 2 or 3-night land programs, unlimited beverages, free open bars, pre-paid gratuities, specialty dining, transfers, and unlimited wifi. Regent actually did a price comparison between cruising in a suite on the more luxurious Regent vs. less pricey big non-luxury lines and found that the total price differences at the end of the day were negligible.

Click here for a more in-depth blog on the value of a luxury cruise.

Today, the question isn’t just are they worth the money, but how are they going to keep me safe?

As cruise companies create new protocols to regain their reputations, it will change cruising as we know it today.

• Strict health screenings

Enhanced health care measures will need to include larger public spaces, enhanced sanitation procedures, and stringent passenger health screening such as non-touch temperature screenings. They will also need to examine their air filtration systems to assess potential upgrades. There will also be new, stringent, cabin cleaning guidelines and they certainly will be disinfecting more often. Medical facilities may include isolation areas.

• Embarkation and Debarkation

There will be staggered embarkation and debarkation to eliminate crowd potential. Shore excursions may no longer include large groups.

• Dining

There most likely won’t be buffet options on ships going forward. Seating between tables will be farther apart and silverware, plates, and glasses won’t be left on tables. And certainly, disposable paper menus may become more popular.

What’s Next for Luxury Cruising?

These extensive changes will require a substantial financial investment at a time when the industry is fraught with unknowns and financial losses. Hearing from my luxury cruise line partners, I feel sure that many will make these improvements. At least the ones that I will recommend to my clients!

I’ve heard from many travelers and the consensus seems to be that there will be a shift from touring crowded cities to off-the-beaten-path destinations, making smaller luxury ships perfect for this new era of travel, as small ports aren’t equipped to handle either the docking needs of mega-ships or the influx of so many passengers at once.

In this time of uncertainty, some cruise lines have relaxed their cancellation policies through the end of the year. Silversea for example is allowing passengers booked on any voyage departing before Dec. 31 to cancel without penalty up until two days before departure. Those who cancel will receive a future cruise credit in the amount of 100% of what they paid.

Will travelers flock back to luxury cruising? Only time will tell, but almost all my clients whose trips were canceled opted for the cruise credit instead of a refund. And many of my clients are waiting for word that it is once again safe to go back on the water.

If you have any questions about luxury cruising or traveling in general, I am happy to answer them. Feel free to reach out to me at toni@beyondboutiquetravel.com or at 732-233-2721.

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