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Continuing a trend in upscale cruising, luxury yacht cruise line Compagnie du Ponant has ditched the pay-as-you-go model for onboard amenities in favor of a single price tag for the entire cruise. Effective immediately, pricing for all new bookings will now include meals, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages (both from the in-room mini-bars and onboard restaurants), welcome cocktail party, 24-hour room service, scheduled onboard entertainment, gratuities, port charges, and taxes and fees.
All-inclusive pricing has become the standard on luxury small ship lines like Seabourn, Silversea, and Regent Seven Seas, where the base price also includes shore excursions, round-trip airfare, and ground transfers. Crystal Cruises also began the transition to all-inclusive earlier this year with free alcoholic beverages and pre-paid gratuities.
Going solo on a cruise has traditionally put a dent in the wallet, thanks to the hefty single supplement added by most cruise lines a that’s 75 percent (or more) off the standard double occupancy rates. With only a few ships offering a handful of single-occupancy cabins, many travelers have no choice but to foot the bill. Lately, a slew of deals have been cropping up on smaller vessels and river cruise lines that have drastically reduced, or – even better – waived single supplements.
Boutique river cruise line, Uniworld is waiving the single supplement on 15 of its 2011 European itineraries, including the new Portugal, Spain, and Douro River Valley cruises on the Douro Spirit, and the classic “Castles along the Rhine” itinerary aboard the luxurious River Antoinette – the longest, and most innovative ship in the fleet that is sure to make heads turn. Rates are available on select dates, and are not valid on the holiday and Christmas market cruises.
Thailand’s indigenous wildlife, aromatic cuisine, and Zen-worship ignite wanderlust in many – a call not gone unheard by the cruise industry. However, recent eruption of civil conflict in Bangkok has had implications for voyages scheduled during the next few months. Roused by growing economic disparities between the Thai plebeian class and government officials, protesters arrived from rural areas of Thailand, taking refuge in temples located in the affluent business center of Bangkok. The government responded by sending in troops and blockading zones harboring protesters. With 53 dead and 399 injured, the tension remains thick.
The Luxury Last year brought the debut of the Silver Spirit, the first new vessel launched by lavish, small-ship cruise line Silversea in nearly a decade. Now the 540-passenger ship will travel the shimmering waters of the Mediterranean, taking guests on enchanting itineraries while affording them the largest suites on any Silversea vessel and personal butler service. June 5, Silver Spirit begins a seven-night sailing from Venice (after docking overnight) as it plies the Adriatic to reach the Italian hillside city of Trieste and then Hvar, Croatia, an island paradise of lavender fields and olive trees. The ship also sails the Aegean Sea to Greece, calling on Nafplio and Corfu before landing in Athens.
The Value The original price of $10,895 per person has been reduced 60 percent to $4,358. That all-inclusive rate includes round-trip airfare from select U.S. cities, gratuities, transportation in select ports, and onboard beverages.
The Catch The all-inclusive pricing does not cover shore excursions.
The Details 800/722-9955; www.silversea.com
From the Spring 2010 issue of Sherman’s Travel magazine.
Silversea’s golden child, the new Silver Spirit arrived in Port Everglades, Florida after a 16-day trek across the Atlantic. The fleets’ crowning achievement was welcomed Tuesday morning with a traditional fireboat escort, followed by an official Christening ceremony on Thursday, January 21. The all-suite luxury vessel is now sailing her Grand Inaugural voyage, the “Spirit of South America” which encompasses 20 countries and over 45 ports before being stationed in Europe this spring.
For more information, visit www.silversea.com.
Sure, that bargain cruise fare you spotted on one of the mainstream, big-ship cruise lines might look good at first glance, but the real sticker shock doesn’t actually set in until your vacation nears its end, and a whopping itemized shipboard statement arrives in your stateroom. Those à la carte cruise fees can rack up in no time at all – factor in a round of margaritas here, some sodas and bottled water there, and a round of tips for the cruise staff, and before you know it, your $599 “bargain” 7-night cruise has suddenly doubled in price. The luxury, small-ship cruise line, Silversea, comes to the rescue, with an all-inclusive pricing policy that promises what you see is what you get when it comes to its fares – freeing up your hands to snap photos and swim laps, rather than having to dig into your pockets the whole time. Ahhh, sweet carefree Silversea!
On Thursday evening, I set sail on luxury small-ship cruise line, Silversea, from Rio de Janeiro’s stunning harbor, bedecked in an evening gown, champagne glass in hand, all under the watchful gaze of the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue. Back in the stateroom, a personally assigned butler worked on unpacking my belongings, while the waitstaff buzzed about taking orders of complimentary top-shelf cocktails. Best of all, with butler service, alcoholic beverages, and all gratuities already included in the upfront Silversea fare, I wouldn’t need to reach into my pockets for any of it. Now this was sailing in carefree style! Read more
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