When I go on a luxury cruise break, there are several facilities I believe the ship should have to ensure it stands out from a typical holiday. I work and save hard to afford to go away, so I expect my travel operator to offer me the best.
The first thing I look out for when researching different luxury cruises is how varied the itineraries are. By booking a cruise, it means I want to see and do as many different things as possible, rather than being left to explore ports of call with not much to entertain me.
If I was to go on a cruise around the Med, for example, I expect to see countries such as Greece, Croatia and Italy on the schedule. I also like to stop off at a couple of places in each nation so I can get a taste for what a country is like. Greece and Italy are brilliant for this, as they boast an array of gorgeous islands that each has its own history and culture.
The second thing I keep an eye out for when looking for luxury cruises online and in brochures is the type of accommodation on offer. While even the most basic rooms on ships these days are more than comfortable and offer value for money, I must admit I prefer to have a suite with a private balcony if my budget stretches that far.
Booking this type of room gives you a lot more space, with suites often having a separate sitting area to the bedroom. This means if my partner wants to take a nap, I can read my book on the sofa without worrying about disturbing him. I also love waking up in a new destination and flinging open my balcony doors to soak up the sight. I sit with a coffee and look forward to the day ahead, while I also enjoy sipping on a glass of wine in the evenings underneath a starry sky.
A holiday allows me to treat myself, so I like to see what duty-free goods I can snap up when on a cruise. A luxury ship should have all sorts of items on sale, from spirits and jewellery to clothes and bags. You might even find a lovely new outfit to show off at dinner in one of the a la carte or gourmet restaurants.
Another activity I like to get stuck into when on a cruise – apart from plenty of sightseeing, that is – is spa treatments. I’m that busy at home that I rarely get the time to wind down and relax, so I relish the chance to have a facial and massage as the ship sails to its next destination. While you will more than likely find beauty salons at the ports you visit, you’re not guaranteed to get an appointment, plus you don’t want to keep looking at your watch to see how much time there is until departure.
If the cruise is for a special occasion, or your budget allows for it, consider booking your party into an exclusive onboard club. These tend to provide you with an array of extras that other passengers do not have access to, such as a butler service, private pool and bar and extra-special suites that boast spectacular views.
What are the must-have features a luxury cruise should offer? Leave your top facilities below to help inspire other holidaymakers to look out for them.