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Thread: Cruise lines go big on pampering, family suites

  1. #1
    Super Moderator Tati's Avatar
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    Default Cruise lines go big on pampering, family suites

    Some cabins are floating houses for 14 with own butlers, private balconies, adjoining spa

    Cruise ships are getting so luxurious it's like being in an episode of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. And there's plenty of extra pampering to look forward to this year.

    In the industry's ongoing game of one-upmanship, cabins were the first to get an overhaul. Beds got bigger and linens became more luxurious. Bathrooms were next. They are often lined with marble (or faux marble) and stocked with spa-quality lotions and potions, thirsty towels and sumptuous bathrobes.

    Then the butlers arrived. Certain staterooms include a butler to unpack and pack your luggage, iron your shirts, shine your shoes and run errands for you – whether it's returning towels to the pool, books to the library or anything else you require 24/7.

    Now cabins are getting supersized — to apartments of about 457 square metres that accommodate up to 14 guests. These are increasingly popular for the newest cruise group at sea – multi-generation families who are making a cruise their annual reunion. Many smaller cabins are getting connecting doors so parents can keep close to their kids while still giving them their own space.

    Here is a sampling of other lap-of-luxury amenities and services to enjoy.

    CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES: When the 3,006-passenger Carnival Splendor arrives this July, it will feature the line's first spa staterooms, next to a luxurious 6,400-square-metre spa. Accessed through a private elevator and stairway, the 68 spa suites include priority spa appointments, free fitness classes and unlimited use of the elaborate Thalasso-therapy pool and thermal facilities. carnival.com 888-CARNIVAL

    AZAMARA CRUISES: Azamara's two 694-passenger ships, Journey and Quest, offer guests in all staterooms butler service, fresh-cut flowers, afternoon canapés, plush bathrobes, European linens and towels and one night of free dining in the specialty restaurant. The ships also have six penthouse suites, four royal suites and 32 sky suites. These suites are more spacious, more luxurious and in areas for optimum privacy and the best views. Guests receive champagne, two nights of free dining in the specialty restaurant, some spa services in the suite and many more treats. azamaracruises.com 877-999-9553

    CELEBRITY CRUISES: Guests of certain suites get priority check-in and departure; welcome champagne; priority tender services in some ports; dining room seating preference; invitations to exclusive cocktail parties and a private portrait photography sitting. Butler service, full meals served in your suite if you want, as well as hors d'oeuvres, espresso, cappuccino or tea served every afternoon in your cabin, are also included. celebritycruises.com 800-647-2251

    NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE: Guests can cruise in style in a Garden Villa. These villas span up to 1,750 square metres and offer a living room, dining room and three separate bedrooms, each with a private bathroom. Garden Villa guests also enjoy their own private sun beds, hot tub and steam room in a private garden, plus butler and concierge service. Other luxury stateroom categories include Courtyard Villa suites. These 10 suites share a private courtyard and have their own lap pool, hot tub, steam rooms and fitness area. ncl.com 866-625-1166

    REGENT SEVEN SEAS CRUISES: No need to ponder the pros and cons of suite accommodation on the Mariner or Voyager because both ships offer nothing but suites, some as large as 610 square metres and all with private balconies. In-suite amenities include high-tech TV systems, marble-appointed bathrooms with separate showers and full tubs, separate sitting areas, walk-in closets and, in Penthouse B suites and above, butler service. The Navigator ship also features oceanview suites and 90 per cent have balconies. About 10 of the suites are interconnecting, creating a living space of more than 457 square metres. rssc.com 877-505-5370

    ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL: With more than 609 square metres of indoor and outdoor living space, the Presidential Family Suite can be found on the line's Freedom Class ships accommodating up to 14 guests. It has four bedrooms, including two with ensuite bathrooms and 30-inch flat-screen TVs, a common area with two additional bathrooms with showers, a spacious living room with a sectional sofa that sleeps two and an extensive entertainment centre. The balcony has a hot tub, wet bar, lounge chairs and dining table. If the Presidential Family Suite is too large, consider the two-bedroom Royal Family Suite. royalcaribbean.com 866-562-7625

    Diane Tierney, Toronto Star, TheStar.com
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    Elite Member Penny Lane's Avatar
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    Yea.. what about prices? They're exhorbitant.

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    Elite Member VenusInFauxFurs's Avatar
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    Cruises are fun though.
    When your daughter plays "House," she pretends to be an annoying doctor with a pill-addiction and a limp.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    When are we going?
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    Elite Member Honey's Avatar
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    I'd LOVE to go on a cruise

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    Elite Member mizglam's Avatar
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    I went on the Azamara "Journey" back in a August. It was pretty nice, except for about four days the water was extremely rough and i am not good with motion whatsoever! lol
    I didn't leave my room at all those days... sooooo sick! lol

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    Gold Member lonestar's Avatar
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    cruise ships scare the bejeesus out of me. never will happen. i'd rather take 3 valium on the plane and wake up in paradise then spend a week on a boat.
    I'm a hard act to follow because when I'm done, I take the microphone with me.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    and they all dump their garbage overboard which ends up joining the massive continent sized soup of the shit
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    and they all dump their garbage overboard which ends up joining the massive continent sized soup of the shit

    There was a show on last week I think that talked about the plastic waste that's floating through all layers of the world's oceans. It's sad.

    I went on one cruise and didn't care for it much. Outside of eating there wasn't that much to do really, you're stuck on a moving boat and you don't really have that much time to spend off shore. I wouldn't do it again no matter how luxurious. I did it once just to say that I did it.

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    Elite Member mizglam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by celeb_2006 View Post
    I went on one cruise and didn't care for it much. Outside of eating there wasn't that much to do really, you're stuck on a moving boat and you don't really have that much time to spend off shore. I wouldn't do it again no matter how luxurious. I did it once just to say that I did it.
    yea, the food's pretty good.
    I don't think i would go on one again either. it's just not my thing.
    especially after the storm we went through on the last one i swear we were going to end up like poseidon or something! LOL

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Yeah, see i'd rather spend my time at a resort where I could veg on the beach for 2 weeks, go hiking through tropical mountains, scuba dive, snorkel..
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Hit By Ban Bus!
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    ^ same for me

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    Silver Member Fran's Avatar
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    Those family suites sound nice, but you need a bathroom for each bedroom, in case someone gets norovirus or gets seasick. You don't want to be waiting for a bath room when you are ill.

    I get air sick, car sick, bus sick- I have even gotten sick on elevators. But I didn't get sick on the 2 cruises I have been on- until I got off the ship. Then I was dizzy and sick for a week. Of course, I was wearing a scopolomine patch on the ship.

    I loved being on the boat- it was such fun to feel the ship move, to see the sun set, and relax. I liked the at sea days better than the port days.

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    We went on a cruise for our honeymoon and it wasn't all that. Our room was terribly small. The shore excursions were exhorbitant. Drinks were not included. I was shocked at how much extra money we had to spend. We won't be cruising again, especially with 2 kids. We couldn't afford it anyway. A room big enough for all of us would be more than we could spend and you've also got airfare and shore excursions for 4 to pay.

    We rent a beach house for a week every year, rent a mountain cabin for 3-4 days a couple of times a year. When the kids get older we'll go on a plane somewhere and stay at a resort.

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    Elite Member dolem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotncmom View Post
    We went on a cruise for our honeymoon and it wasn't all that. Our room was terribly small. The shore excursions were exhorbitant. Drinks were not included. I was shocked at how much extra money we had to spend.
    I had the exact same experience on my honeymoon! We had a good time, but ended up spending WAY more than we thought we would. We did 3 shore excursions and 2 of them were totally lame, not worth the $$ at all. We did an Alaskan cruise, which was amazing and beautiful. It's probably the only way I'd make it up to Alaska, so that part was worth it.

    I'd still rather fly somewhere and travel that way, the cruise was just too cheesy for me.

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