Book Your Luxury Cruise Travel With a Travel Agency

Luxury cruise travel means a vacation package which is a combination of cruising and land tours. On this type of vacation you can see everything. You will enjoy fabulous ports which are situated on the coast or beautiful cities. On your luxury cruise vacation, the land tours offer you the best accommodations in five star hotels and your tours will be escorted by experienced travel agents. Organizing a luxury cruise vacation through an agent will give you a lifetime of great memories.

Luxury cruise travel is sophisticated and offers an endless array of activities and entertainment. It is a dream-come-true for everyone because this type of travel offers special activities for kids and at the same time provides spa services, spectacular nighttime entertainment and countless adventure for adults. With cruise travel, usually families get to spend quality time together and can make the most of their vacation.

The most important part is that to make your Luxury cruise travel memorable you need a travel agent who will help you get information about destinations, maps, airport diagrams, and a worldwide time chart and currency conversion rates. On the whole, it can be said that these agents play a very important role in organizing your cruise vacation because they plan the best possible tours for you and help travelers with the necessary schedules, vacation packages, and food facilities. Depending on your budget you can ask your agent to plan an exclusive vacation or a themed one.

Travel agents are always there to help you with the best available travel arrangements. It is true that popular five star hotels, luxury resorts and Luxury cruise agencies use travel agents to highlight their exciting packages. These agents help in offering guidance and recommendations regarding many tourist destinations. For foreign trips, agents offer important information about passports, visas and foreign currencies. Travel and tourism is developing like never before and travel agents have a key role in helping you organize a well planned vacation.

Finding a travel agent for your cruise may be a tough job. When you book Luxury cruise travel through a travel agent, they offer you the best deals and discounts. A knowledgeable cruise specialist can help you find the best deals and also efficiently deal with essential queries regarding luggage and other rules and regulations.

Travel agents also help you to cancel your cruise if the need arises. Good agents will help if you are facing any problems and they will help you solve it and negotiate for you with the cruise authority. Travel agents are playing three important roles as advisers, planners and negotiators. Simply take their help to make the perfect vacation plan within your budget.

Treat Yourself: The Perks Of Luxury Cruises

Luxury cruises are on the rise, and it looks like they can’t be stopped. Over the last ten years, there has been 23% more growth in cruise vacations than their land-based counterparts. This growth has been helped by the fact that 80% of people who have been on a cruise stated that they would go again. And with the ever-growing range of perks available to luxury travelers, who can blame them?

Personalised Chef Service

Chefs on luxury cruise ships will respond to your personal food cravings. Want to try Capri’s famous ravioli Caprese while you float in the island’s crystal-clear waters? The ship’s multi-skilled staff will bring it to life for you.

Butler Service That Belongs In A Stately Home

The majority of luxury cruises will allocate a member of staff who will be responsible for, well, whatever you need during your journey, from mailing postcards to planning in-room cocktail parties. They’ll also transport your luggage directly to your room and straight to your car when you disembark.

Hypoallergenic Living

Dealing with allergies on holiday can ruin that care-free, no-work-for-me feeling. Luxury liners provide the option of booking an entirely hypoallergenic room, meaning that you can enjoy your luxury experience to the fullest.

Poolside Luxury

When you’re on a luxury cruise, you don’t just relax by the pool – you can have a full-scale spa service. Whether you’d just looking to have a manicure or a full body massage, your ship’s team of masseuses and beauticians have got you covered.

Endless Gaming

A lot of cruise liners also offer an endless gaming option, while you are booking your cruise you can opt for this and make a pre-booking for the casino or take a membership that will last while you are on the cruise.

Happy Hour At Any Hour

Many of the luxury cruise liners include unlimited drinks as part of your cabin price, meaning that you can just relax and enjoy that glass of champagne at sunset. You are on holiday, after all.

The key to enjoying your cruise holiday is to book the right one. Make sure you look around before making a booking. This is your little bit of indulgence, and you need to make sure you have a holiday that’s right for you. Whether you want to take a river cruise, sail around the Mediterranean or even take a world tour, do some research and make sure your cruise takes you where you want to go. But don’t wait too long – with many cruises on special offer at the moment, this might be the moment to book.

How a Luxury Cruise Differs From a Regular Cruise

Which do you prefer? Do you like the larger cruise ships that hold over 4,000 passengers or the smaller ships that hold under 1,000? Some ports don’t handle the larger vessels and the attention to the passenger is better on the smaller ships. So, check out the possibilities with these luxury cruise lines.

Some of the luxury cruise lines have smaller ships. I’m talking Azamara Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Seabourn Cruises. This means you get more choices of ports. Yes, they may cost more but the benefits may just make it worth it. These luxury cruise lines give you travel at its best, most are even all-inclusive. That means no extra drink packages, no extras that are unexpected.

Azamara Cruises

Azamara Cruises focuses on Destination Immersion where longer stays, more overnights and night touring are included on 100% of their voyages. You get to explore everything from nightlife in Stockholm and morning walks in the French Riviera to all-day adventures in Costa Rica’s rain forests. You’ll experience boutique-style ships with a maximum of 686 guests, staff and crew can quickly learn your name, tastes, and preferences. All of this with lots of inclusive amenities like standard spirits, international beers and wines, gratuities, and an AzAmazing Evenings event (on most voyages) – all with their compliments. Also included for all guests are bottled water, soft drinks, specialty coffees and teas, English butler service for suite guests, self-service laundry, shuttle service to and from port communities (where available) and concierge services for personal guidance and reservations.

Visit ports like Marseille, Amalfi, Crete or even to the doorstep of Bangkok (while other large cruise lines dock a few hours away), the heart of Seville, and the city center of Bordeaux. Experience the culture, cuisine, scenery and people of your destinations. The crew really like to mingle with the guests and are pleased to point out special things at sea and onshore and go above and beyond your expectations.

Crystal Cruises/Crystal River Cruises/Crystal Yachts

Another all-inclusive cruise line. this includes complimentary gratuities, unparalleled choices of dining options including specialty restaurants, complimentary fine wines and premium spirits, open bar service in all lounges, and all non-alcoholic beverages. Also, you get 24-hour room service, high tea, golf lessons, computer/technology classes and a technology concierge, Crystal Visions Enrichment Program, entertainment and complimentary launderettes. One shore excursion is included on every voyage as part of your “We Care/You Care” program. And, you can bring your own wine/liquor with no corkage fees!

Predominantly non-smoking indoors (except the Connoisseur Club Cigar bar) this is a great and elegant alternative to the large ships. They now offer river cruises, yacht cruises, luxury air and residences. Booking is open for 2017 and 2018. The yacht is an all-inclusive super-yacht with 31 luxury suites and two complimentary Crystal Adventures shore excursions in most every port, depending on the destination. Water sports from the yacht’s marina platform is also available and don’t forget the state-of-the-art deep-sea submersible accommodating two passengers and certified pilot. The river cruises will be home based in Paris and will have various length cruises, all suites and will have its first sailing in July, 2016 with 2-for-1 fares and overnights in popular ports.

Oceania Cruises

Oceania Cruises lets you see a spectacular selection of diverse and exotic destinations with elegance. They are unique itineraries specifically designed to showcase the most fascinating destinations. They are intimate and luxurious, visiting historic cities to modern meccas to charming seaside villages nestled along sparking coastlines. Each day offers exciting opportunities to experience the history, art and cuisine of a wondrous new destination. Enjoy dining inspired by Master Chef Jacques Pépin. Lavish complimentary amenities abound, and there are never supplemental charges in any of the onboard restaurants. Value packages ensure that sipping vintage wine, surfing the internet or enjoying a shore excursion is both convenient and affordable.

Oceania offers catering to its passengers as it holds just 684 to 1,250 guests, depending on the ship. It is country club casual ambiance with personalized service. It offers port-intensive voyages featuring overnight visits and extended evening port stays. Experience epicurean enrichment programs, including immersive Culinary Discovery Tours in the world’s most fascinating destinations. The spa is an acclaimed Canyon Ranch SpaClub.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Regent Seven Seas offers a truly sumptuous and very personal experience. You can anticipate an unforgettable journey to the world’s greatest destinations where everything is included, without exception and without compromise. Regent’s fares include 2-for-1 All-Inclusive fares, early booking savings, free unlimited shore excursions, free luxury hotel package in Concierge Suites and higher, free specialty restaurants, free unlimited beverages including fine wines and premium spirits, free open bars and lounges PLUS in suite mini bar replenished daily, free pre-paid gratuities, free 24-hour room service, free transfers between airport and ship and many other amenities. The dress code is elegant casual dress. An enriching onboard experience is brought to life through The Smithsonian Collection by Smithsonian Journeys. There are Broadway shows, virtuoso performances, culinary demonstrations and wine tastings and the spectacular Canyon Ranch SpaClub wellness programs.

There are enticing voyages to more than 250 ports around the world in the comfort of a smoke free environment throughout almost the entirety of their ships. These ports are some of the more intimate ports that larger vessels cannot reach on a vessel that is all suites with 97% of them with a private balcony. There are only 490 or 700 guests, resulting in stellar service, no lines and no waiting.

Seabourn Cruises

With Seabourn you sail with your own private club, where members share expansive open decks, inviting social spaces, and the personalized attention of an exceptional crew. There are unique itineraries to must-see cities and hidden gems where larger ships cannot go. These are intimate ships with no more than 300 spacious suites with sweeping ocean views, most with verandas. The intuitive staff is passionate about pleasing their guests. Gourmet dining experiences that rival the finest restaurants anywhere, complimentary welcome champagne and in-suite bar stocked with your preferences, complimentary dining venues where you dine where you wish, when you wish and with whom you wish. This is an all-inclusive experience with open bars throughout the ship and fine wines poured at lunch and dinner. Tipping is neither required nor expected.

Seabourn visits bucket wish destinations and small ports like Saint-Tropez, France and Palarmo, Spain. Visit the lesser traveled Caribbean islands of Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, the Grenadines, Guadeloupe and Saint Barthelemy and St. Kitts. Shore excursions are available for purchase with lots of time to explore each port of call.

Luxury Cruising Offers Advantages for Many Celebrations

This new trend taking hold in the elite industry of luxury small ship cruising is being taken up by some big corporate companies as well as individuals who are looking for an event offering something with a difference that will have their guests talking about it for a long time after.

Small intimate motor yachts are now being hired for private functions, such as weddings, honeymoons, birthday parties, family celebrations, anniversaries and company meetings or social events.

These yachts make the perfect venue for a small intimate event as they are equipped with a full friendly professional crew, fully furnished, have an open bar and onboard chef to cater for any event or function.

Yacht charters are available all over the world for the pleasure seekers and there are many fabulous famous vacation islands to choose from.

Having a celebration for your child’s sixteenth birthday on board one of these beautiful floating hotels will be an unforgettable experience for him or her and their guests.

You may choose to party on the boat, or cruise to a specific destination, such as a private island, and drop anchor and start your celebrations there. Either way you and your guests are sure to have a memorable event that they will talk about for years to come.

Couples are choosing to get married on a cruise ship as you can reserve a small, fully crewed, private luxury small ship just for you, your wedding party and your guests. Very intimate and very fabulous!

Some couples are even choosing to stay on and honeymoon with their guests. This is a perfect situation for those couples who would love to have their friends and family join them on their honeymoon. And some couples even arrange to have a double wedding and honeymoon together!

While it can be a lot of fun to have others along you are provided with you own private quarters for your more intimate moments, while choosing to celebrate this momentous occasion with your closest friends as well.

Many companies are beginning to reserve these small yachts for corporate events as well, such as company dinner parties and award banquets for employees.

Consider having your next boardroom meeting on a small luxury cruise ship that offers you absolute privacy away from everything.

With full internet services available and a full suite of technology that includes a large flat screen for presentations it is the most luxurious floating office around. A helipad will easily accommodate an out-of-town executive who wants to join the meeting once the ship has sailed.

After the business is completed it’s time to adjourn to the bar, kick back and enjoy the pleasure of some good team building and serious fun.

These small cruise yachts come equipped with everything you need for your corporate events from an open bar to a fully staffed kitchen. If you want live music to entertain your guests, this can also be arranged.

They also offer glamour and exclusivity as well as a range of adventures such as heli-golf excursions, deep-sea fishing, beach and exercise activities, wine trails, bush and island walks to give different choices to your guests on board.

Whether it’s shopping for souvenirs at the local village markets, swimming or sun bathing on the beautiful island beaches, heading off with the guys for some serious big game fishing or heli-golf, you won’t be disappointed with the style and luxurious offerings on a luxury small ship cruse.

Luxury Cruising From San Francisco to Hawaii on Princess Cruise Lines

In a recent article entitled “Three Reasons to Book Your Next Cruise our of San Francisco,” we wrote about the fun of spending part of a vacation in the famous City by the Bay, and part of it cruising to exciting destinations like Hawaii, Alaska, and the South Pacific. This story is about the cruise we selected to follow our own tour of San Francisco.

Selecting a cruise

As Mark Twain often noted, it can be a bit chilly in San Francisco regardless of the time of year, so we thought a cruise to some place warm would be the perfect other-bookend for a vacation.

We did an internet search and explored all the cruise line itineraries sailing out of San Francisco on our travel dates, and Princess Cruise Lines had exactly what we wanted – a roundtrip sailing from San Francisco to the Hawaiian Islands. We made the right choice, and here’s what you can expect if you decide to take the same plunge.

The day before the cruise

We arrived in San Francisco the day before our cruise departure to Hawaii. We toured our favorite sites in the city, had a nice dinner at Scoma’s on Pier 47, and checked into our favorite and always fashionable San Francisco Hyatt Regency. The hotel is directly across from the iconic Ferry Building on the Embarcadero, and a very short distance from the cruise terminal at Pier 35.

Sailing out of the Golden Gate

We settled into our port side stateroom, popped open a bottle of bubbly, and when the ship pulled away from the dock, we proceeded to our patio to watch the San Francisco skyline on slow parade. There was Ghirardelli Square lit up in its entire splendor, and the famous Transamerica Pyramid Building – outstanding among its traditional “square” neighbors.

We could see the Golden Gate Bridge coming up above the bow, and we bid a fond farewell to old Fort Point as we made our way out of San Francisco Bay and into the vast blue Pacific. All we could think at the time was, “What a spectacular way to start a cruise!”

Next stop – Hilo, on the big island of Hawaii. A future article will describe the Hawaiian ports of call in Hilo, Nawiliwili, Lahaina, Honolulu, and our final stop in Ensenada, Mexico, before returning to San Francisco. Why are cruise ships sailing to Hawaii from US ports required to stop in a foreign port like Ensenada? We will explain in the upcoming article.

This story features the many vacation pleasures aboard the Star Princess. Note: The Grand Princess has now replaced the Star Princess on the Hawaiian route out of San Francisco. They are sister ships, so the differences are minimal.

Sweet suites

The Star Princess has several luxury suites positioned throughout the ship. The Grand Suite is 1,314 square feet of pure indulgence, with a walk in closet, large bathrooms, and an oversized balcony. These elegant digs are for the truly fortunate among us.

Besides luxury accommodations, the suites come with supplementary amenities such as an exclusive Suite Breakfast at the Sabatini’s specialty restaurant – where you can start your day with a complimentary “Good Morning Mimosa,” and select other goodies from an extraordinary breakfast menu. We expected the service to be impeccable, and it was.

Did you know that the now famous champagne and orange juice “Mimosa” drink was first created and named at the Paris Ritz in 1925? Its namesake is the mimosa plant, which has bright and frothy yellow flowers.

There are also afternoon and pre-dinner cocktail and private nosh parties where suite passengers get to mingle and mix with the ship’s officers that drop by.

Care for a quiet dinner for two? Having a lavish room service meal served in a ship’s suite is the height of seagoing indulgence and sublime privacy.

Suite passengers are also provided with priority boarding, and disembarkation via the Elite/Suite Disembarkation Lounge. While visiting ports that require taking a launch to shore, suite occupants are furnished Priority Tender Disembarkation Tickets – a nice time-saving touch.

Time for dinner

It was soon time for our initial dinner on board the Star Princess. The first night aboard a cruise ship is a casual affair, so after cleaning up a bit, we made our way down to the Portofino Dining Room on Deck 6.

The Maître d’hôtel was busy orchestrating the process of showing the first diners to their assigned tables. Remember when everyone ate at either an “early” or, “late” sitting? These days you can dine in traditional fashion or decide to eat at any time you choose during dining hours. There are advantages to both practices – it is clearly a matter of personal taste.

That’s entertainment

After a sumptuous dinner, it was time for our opening night of entertainment in the Princess Theatre on Deck 6 and 7. The first show included the entire cast in an extravaganza review. The large two-story theatre was packed, but comfortable, and everyone enjoyed the lavish musical production.

We took a stroll around the Lido deck before returning to our stateroom after the show. Not quite ready for bed, we turned on the TV, and watched our first movie from the library of closed circuit films. It was an oldie,- An Affair to Remember, starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr – a quintessential tearjerker with the plot starting on a cruise ship. What could be more apropos for the setting?

Days at sea

It took four days to reach our first port of call in Hilo. We travelled 2,003 nautical miles (2,303 highway miles) from San Francisco. The time passed quickly.

Days at sea can be quiet or exciting – it’s your choice. You can shop endlessly in the myriad Ship’s Boutiques. You can visit the Internet Café to catch up on emails, listen to live Chamber Music, and attend lively Art Auctions. How about a workout in the extensive Gym, a Seminar at Sea, eating pizza, a hot dog, or hamburger, or trying your luck in the Casino?

Having your teeth whitened is another option, as is enjoying sundry Spa indulgences, snoozing by one of the Pools, and chatting it up while enjoying the entertainment at your choice of the many Bars and Lounges. There is also the opportunity to watch Movies outdoors or indoors, peruse the Library, read, and of course – eat.

The ship’s master

On one of our days at sea, we had an opportunity to interview the ship’s captain. At the time of our sailing, the master of the Star Princess was Edward Perrin who hails from Dorset, England. As is usually the case, Captain Perrin was most congenial and very willing to share stories about his ship and experiences at sea.

We always ask sea captains what they like best about their jobs. Captain Perrin revealed that he most enjoyed the ability to have a positive impact on people’s lives – both crew, and passengers. He gave an example of an elderly couple who saved all their lives to take a cruise. They approached him with the problem that they had no more money to spend while on the cruise. Captain Perrin summarily wrote a list of “free” things the couple could do on their cruise vacation. They were elated, and the good Captain was equally gratified – it made his day, and he has never forgotten the feeling of being able to help.

Where passenger services are concerned, an important member of the crew is the Hotel General Manager. On the Star Princess, that was Terri Lynn Cybuliak, and she greatly contributed to our fun discussion.

As we have mentioned in previous cruise articles, ship’s captains are contracted to be masters for months, not years, and therefore transfer from ship to ship quite frequently. Keep an eye out – you may very well find Captain Perrin at the helm of your next Princess cruise.

Attention on the bridge

After our meeting, Captain Perrin invited us to join him on the bridge. The ship’s bridge is always manned 24-hours a day by two officers working four-hour shifts in a three-watch system. It is interesting to witness the vast array of sophisticated systems that run these mega ships in a controlled and quiet atmosphere. We continue to be fascinated by the fact that the traditional ship’s steering wheel has been replaced by a tiny joystick on a desk panel.

Dining in the specialty restaurants

All the food aboard the Star Princess, and most other cruise ships for that matter, is quite delicious. It is amazing that seagoing chefs can prepare thousands of assorted meals daily, and do it with such finesse.

People always ask, “If all the sit down meals are included in the price of the cruise, why would anyone pay extra to eat in a specialty dining room?” The answer is quite simple – intimacy – and a little something extra special for an important occasion.

Each specialty restaurant has its own kitchen, so there is just a touch more attention to detail in the food preparation and presentation. The waiters have fewer tables to attend, and the overall experience is that of eating in a truly fine restaurant. The extra charge is never extravagant, and the experience is worthwhile.

Avoid disappointment, reserve your specialty restaurants early.

Our recommendations

Throughout the years, we have enjoyed many cruises, and Princess Cruises is one of our favorite lines. It provides first time cruisers with an enjoyable introduction to cruise vacationing, and it offers seasoned cruisers a nice selection of accommodations and amenities. Whatever your wallet dictates, a Princess Cruise will provide good value for your vacation dollars.

If you go

San Francisco International Airport is about 20 miles and a $65 taxi ride to the Cruise Terminal or Hyatt Regency. Your travel agent or Princess Cruises can also arrange transfers to and from the airport, but if there are two passengers involved, we recommend taking a cab, it’s a lot less hassle.

A final note

The San Francisco Cruise Terminal is presently located at Pier 35. That will change when the America’s Cup Headquarters pulls up stakes from Pier 27 sometime around September 2013 – after the US (hopefully) wins the Cup.

After a quick facelift and the addition of a new park at the site, the vastly improved cruise terminal at Pier 27 will be capable of handling larger ships, and will come with expansive views of the City including Telegraph Hill and Coit Tower, the Ferry Building, and the Bay Bridge.

Happy travels!