Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Travel&Dining > Cruises
Reload this Page >

Luxury Cruise Lines

Luxury Cruise Lines

Old Oct 31, 19, 11:01 pm
  #151  
formerly htang333
Four Seasons Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Wi-Fi
Programs: Virtuoso, FSPP, Rosewood Elite, RC STARS, Belmond Bellini, Hyatt Prive, Shangri-La, SPG LP, etc...
Posts: 1,121
Have had a number of clients book/sail the Aqua Expeditions (Mekong / Amazon). However, their new luxury yacht is about to sail and looks very interesting having spoke with their team about what the experience will be like:
https://www.aquaexpeditions.com/cruise-ship/aqua-blu/

Typically love the Aman cruise in Indonesia but Aqua Blu will certainly be a nice alternative to have.
lb8001 likes this.
BESVISOR is offline  
Old Dec 1, 19, 3:18 pm
  #152  
Aman 10+ BadgeMandarin Oriental Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Enroute to ? & likely flying in ' A ':)
Programs: TPPS, UA, EK ...; Marriott BONVOY , HH, GP, GC..
Posts: 2,803
Like KatW , am usually on Luxury Hotels and Travel Forum .
Tried Seabourn this September for the first time as we have heard rave reviews from friends ( also from here ) .
Found out , “ to my horror “ , that there were no butlers on Odyssey . Bathrooms are small for a suite . Loved their coffee bar .

May do a TR .

Still prefer Oceania for her excellent range of restaurants serving delicious decent meals and her butlers !

What do others think of Ponant ?

How early does one need to reserve Tauck ? Always full when I check !
FlyerEC is online now  
Old Dec 1, 19, 4:27 pm
  #153  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Programs: statusless these days
Posts: 19,409
My wife and I spent nearly a month on a Ponant ship earlier this year. The main caveat is that it should be considered a more-luxurious expedition line rather than a luxury line. It is also French with all the idiosyncrasies that go with it Crew to max pax ratio is 1:2 and a service isn't smooth or fast if the ship (at least the "star" class) has more than 200-220 pax. Ships are small (all ~260 pax at the maximum) compared to any of the other luxury lines which are not only larger and getting larger. Lots of Zodiac lift capacity too (I counted 16 on the "star" class hips which is enough to lift over 160 pax if all are used). Interestingly, ships headed for the Antarctic have emergency supplies (tents, sleeping bags, food, communications equipment, etc.) all stashed in barrels in case the ship has to be abandoned.

Tauck likes to charter Ponant ships, or at least take a large number of cabins on some cruises (none of my 2 cruises had any groups on board).
FlyerEC and Hoyaheel like this.
YVR Cockroach is offline  
Old Dec 2, 19, 2:43 pm
  #154  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Programs: Delta Silver (2019)
Posts: 1,977
Interesting you prefer Oceania to Seabourn - we did our first Seabourn last year and adored it - getting ready to do the first Oceania in a couple weeks. The ship is so many more people than we're used to as we're on Riviera (we would have preferred the R class but my in-laws booked this trip - they love Oceania which is why we're going with them; they do NOT like the R class ;-) I keep looking at Ponant but eek nothing I've read in reviews seems to justify their rates most of the time.....YVRCockroach has found all the deals ;-)
Hoyaheel is offline  
Old Dec 2, 19, 7:24 pm
  #155  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Programs: statusless these days
Posts: 19,409
Originally Posted by Hoyaheel View Post
I keep looking at Ponant but eek nothing I've read in reviews seems to justify their rates most of the time.....YVRCockroach has found all the deals ;-)
Deals are definitely scarce on Ponant in the past year. The cruise sale or whatever motivated mgmt to try selling through VTG ~September-October last year must have been a one-of (broadly, 47 or 53% off (I forget which) of most of the less-popular cruises (e.g., not Antarctic). Nothing close to it ever since (<USD 200 pp pd including gratuities, a very few selected excursions, unlimited internet, and for those having booked a 2nd cruise, free laundry and OBC).

Though we can afford it and would like to, $1,000 pp pd for an Antarctic cruise is (much) more than we want to pay.

As for reviews, Ponant seems to put off only the Americans, and not Australians (I've heard it's Ponant's 2nd largest geographical market after the French).
Hoyaheel likes this.
YVR Cockroach is offline  
Old Dec 4, 19, 5:55 pm
  #156  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: MEM
Posts: 569
Just did Seabourn

Originally Posted by Hoyaheel View Post
Interesting you prefer Oceania to Seabourn - we did our first Seabourn last year and adored it - getting ready to do the first Oceania in a couple weeks. The ship is so many more people than we're used to as we're on Riviera (we would have preferred the R class but my in-laws booked this trip - they love Oceania which is why we're going with them; they do NOT like the R class ;-) I keep looking at Ponant but eek nothing I've read in reviews seems to justify their rates most of the time.....YVRCockroach has found all the deals ;-)
Just did Seabourn. Previous Oceania cruises ( Marina specifically). Overall, we slightly prefer Oceania. We don't drink alcohol, so no need to pay for that on O. Yes, the ships are larger, but we didn't really notice the difference. Public space is great on O for a larger ship. We felt the food in the specialties on O, which are included were as good, if not better than SB. We did not care for the TK grill on SB. We did love Earth & Ocean. Balcony stateroom size about the same.

We cruise itinerary 1st, then line. The SB was an expedition cruise, which O doesn't offer, that's why we chose SB. But if all things being equal, would chose O over SB. Also have sailed Azamara. Balcony statrooms much smaller, but itineraries very nice.
stan1162 is offline  
Old Dec 4, 19, 6:06 pm
  #157  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Programs: Delta Silver (2019)
Posts: 1,977
Yeah, we did Azamara a couple years ago and love it. But their prices have skyrocketed. We got my in-laws on Az but they don't like the R ships....They did Oceania and loved it (O ships not R ;-) so wanted us to try. We almost booked but then found very similar Seabourn itinerary for not much more per diem and booked that instead (Alaska, last year). So we'll see how we feel. To me - there's a BIG difference between 450 passengers (on Seabourn Sojourn) and 1200 (Oceania Riviera). We haven't done the larger Seabourn ships, which would probably be a more similar comparison to the larger Oceania ships. Ah well. Such troubles to have! ;-)
gretchendz likes this.
Hoyaheel is offline  
Old Dec 4, 19, 8:58 pm
  #158  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: San Antonio, TX
Programs: AA EXP, DL Silver, Global Entry
Posts: 1,655
Originally Posted by Hoyaheel View Post
Yeah, we did Azamara a couple years ago and love it. But their prices have skyrocketed. We got my in-laws on Az but they don't like the R ships....They did Oceania and loved it (O ships not R ;-) so wanted us to try. We almost booked but then found very similar Seabourn itinerary for not much more per diem and booked that instead (Alaska, last year). So we'll see how we feel. To me - there's a BIG difference between 450 passengers (on Seabourn Sojourn) and 1200 (Oceania Riviera). We haven't done the larger Seabourn ships, which would probably be a more similar comparison to the larger Oceania ships. Ah well. Such troubles to have! ;-)
Interesting situation. I haven’t looked recently but when RCCL bought a controlling interest in Silversea I wondered how they would integrate similar but still separate markets. At the time Azamara was actually more expensive than Silversea for very similar itineraries. Interesting as Azamara is notionally a premium line but not an all-inclusive luxury line like Silversea. I figured at the time there would be adjustments but haven’t checked to see if they’ve been made.
Randyk47 is offline  
Old Dec 4, 19, 11:43 pm
  #159  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: HNL
Programs: Pt: UA; Au: AA, Marriott, Hilton; Ex-HA Pt (now not), GE
Posts: 5,359
Originally Posted by Hoyaheel View Post
So we'll see how we feel. To me - there's a BIG difference between 450 passengers (on Seabourn Sojourn) and 1200 (Oceania Riviera). We haven't done the larger Seabourn ships, which would probably be a more similar comparison to the larger Oceania ships.
The larger Seabourn ships can transport 600 passengers, marginally greater than the smaller Seabourn ships, but much less than the 1200 passenger Oceania...
747FC is online now  
Old Yesterday, 10:51 am
  #160  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Programs: Delta Silver (2019)
Posts: 1,977
Originally Posted by 747FC View Post
The larger Seabourn ships can transport 600 passengers, marginally greater than the smaller Seabourn ships, but much less than the 1200 passenger Oceania...
Sorry - my misunderstanding! I remembered "double the passenger load" from some conversation I was having, and that clearly was the Little Sisters (around 220?) up to the Sojourn size of 450. 1200 is just so many people. My in-laws really don't understand how much we don't like that many people! Sure, it's fewer than 3000 or 5000 but just kill me before I'll go on a ship with that many people.....I would never leave my balcony and I am being dead serious. I'm a misanthropic introvert ;-)

Randy - Azamara in the past year has sort of rebranded itself for in depth location based cruises. Whatever that means. More time in port, more & longer excursions? Not what I'm really interested in (we typically cruise to get an overview of some place we haven't been before - to see where we want to spend more time on land - or to do things better seen by water, like Alaska -which we've done by car too). Will be interesting to see if they can remain in that market with the R ships. I love them - but MANY think the cabins and especially bathrooms are too small (they're small) and you can't fix that with the best dry dock, unless you start inserting sections to lengthen and ugh....AZ does include alcohol, Oceania doesn't, Seabourn & Silversea do AND I think they're nicer. So would decide based on itinerary and per diem there, really.

Anyway, we cruise by itinerary and then ship and fare, BUT I'm not going to take an itinerary I'd love on a ship I wouldn't be caught dead on. So, we're limited. Which is ok. Lots of other kinds of travel out there while we're mobile.....
Hoyaheel is offline  
Old Yesterday, 12:00 pm
  #161  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Programs: statusless these days
Posts: 19,409
I spent a few evenings closing the bar with a retired MD (included drinks are always nice though we never got the absinthe rumoured/promised to exist in the ship cellar) on my Ponant cruise. He liked Ponant because of the size of the ship, but was disenchanted by the inconsistent service (he was on the ship from Ushiaua all the way to Japan, over 7 weeks if not 8) though he had sailed Ponant before. 40% discount was a big draw. At any rate, he wasn't sure if he'd cruise in the future as all the luxury ships were getting way too big for him. I ran through the list of luxury cruise lines I know (or rather, heard about) and he thought every single one was way too big.
Hoyaheel likes this.
YVR Cockroach is offline  
Old Yesterday, 12:42 pm
  #162  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: MEM
Posts: 569
Ship size

Originally Posted by Hoyaheel View Post
Sorry - my misunderstanding! I remembered "double the passenger load" from some conversation I was having, and that clearly was the Little Sisters (around 220?) up to the Sojourn size of 450. 1200 is just so many people. My in-laws really don't understand how much we don't like that many people! Sure, it's fewer than 3000 or 5000 but just kill me before I'll go on a ship with that many people.....I would never leave my balcony and I am being dead serious. I'm a misanthropic introvert ;-)

Randy - Azamara in the past year has sort of rebranded itself for in depth location based cruises. Whatever that means. More time in port, more & longer excursions? Not what I'm really interested in (we typically cruise to get an overview of some place we haven't been before - to see where we want to spend more time on land - or to do things better seen by water, like Alaska -which we've done by car too). Will be interesting to see if they can remain in that market with the R ships. I love them - but MANY think the cabins and especially bathrooms are too small (they're small) and you can't fix that with the best dry dock, unless you start inserting sections to lengthen and ugh....AZ does include alcohol, Oceania doesn't, Seabourn & Silversea do AND I think they're nicer. So would decide based on itinerary and per diem there, really.

Anyway, we cruise by itinerary and then ship and fare, BUT I'm not going to take an itinerary I'd love on a ship I wouldn't be caught dead on. So, we're limited. Which is ok. Lots of other kinds of travel out there while we're mobile.....

We just got off SB Quest. 450 pax. The Azamara was 600 odd, and the O Marina 1200. Quite frankly, the way the public space is designed has a LOT to do with how spacious a ship feels. DH and I do not really like people. We don't socialize. We dine at tables for 2. We don't go to parties, don't go to shows or bars on a ship, and have very few close friends. All that, and we still didn't feel the 1200 pax on O felt much different than 450 or 600 on the other lines. When the kids were small we sailed Celebrity. Mercury and Galaxy days. I believe those were 1800 pax, and those felt big looking back, but not at the time. The staterooms on AZ are very small. I would have to be a perfect itinerary for us to chose that over O bigger ships. But included alcohol is a very big deal I understand for a lot of people. Not us. Also, we did notice as non-smokers, there were many, many more smokers on SB than O. My 2 cents.
stan1162 is offline  
Old Yesterday, 1:18 pm
  #163  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Programs: Delta Silver (2019)
Posts: 1,977
Yes, space ratio is important - I get that. But here's how spoiled my husband is - "we have to go up FIVE DECKS to get coffee in the mornings" (on our upcoming Oceania cruise) Vs right down the hall when we were on Seabourn, because we were on the same deck as Seabourn Square. As I've stated (elsewhere if not here) I know we'll have a lovely vacation and enjoy ourselves just fine. But it will have to knock our socks off to want to get on a ship that big again....

(I might be an introvert but my husband is more extroverted - our compromise is alternating dining - table for 2 and then as large a table as possible the next night - so he can talk to people more. The larger the table - the less it's noticed if I don't participate as much in the conversation and it lessens the impact of any individual blowhards who might be present. Forgot to ask if that's an option in the Oceania dining room -I think it is, but my in-laws prefer to eat in the Terrace so didn't give us info on that and I haven't read about it at cruisecritic....)
Hoyaheel is offline  
Old Yesterday, 2:30 pm
  #164  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: MEM
Posts: 569
You can absolutely dine with as few or as many other pax as you want on O. As for coffee... One thing that we really liked on O ( I think we're again a minority here). We are very early risers. 5-5:30 am. Seabourn Sq doesn't open that early. On Oceania, there are self service coffee machines out all the time in the Terrace. Make our own if we want, and nothing is open. And we bring our own insulated, re-usable mugs.
Hoyaheel likes this.
stan1162 is offline  
Old Yesterday, 8:08 pm
  #165  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Programs: Delta Silver (2019)
Posts: 1,977
Seabourn did have self-serve coffee, too, says husband. He did most of the morning coffee runs that trip ;-) [I *love* that you suggested self-service coffee, because most people on CC say "use room service" but that never works because I don't know what time I want my coffee! Plus it's often not all that hot -husband loves but I need mine HOT]
Hoyaheel is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread