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8 sensational luxury cruises

Experience the ultimate luxury on the high seas; from floating boutique hotels to the feeling of owning your own private yacht. Choose from unusual exotic itineraries, see some of Europe’s gems or discover the rugged beauty of the Hebridean Islands. Learn piano, polish your golf, go to caviar and Champagne beach parties, or go diving with the son of Jacques Cousteau. Check out these eight cruise options, which are amongst the most sensational luxury cruises available. Silversea Cruises – almost infinite possibilities and traditional luxury The smaller ships of Silversea Cruises can enter most ports around the world, opening up almost infinite possibilities. Each of the fleet’s six ships has ocean-view suites, beautiful interiors, Egyptian cotton bed linen, butler service and Bulgari bath products. The service is impeccable, yet friendly, and you can enjoy discussions about fine wines with your fellow passengers, as the wine continues to flow. The authentic gourmet food is excellent and guests enjoy the traditional luxury on offer. Silversea cruise ideas Africa, Arabia and the Indian Ocean Alaska and the Pacific Coast Asia Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific Canada and New England Caribbean, Mexico and the Panama Canal Mediterranean Northern Europe and the Baltic South America World Cruise Crystal Cruises – an exceptional fine dining experience and lots to learn Renowned for an exceptional fine dining experience, Crystal Cruises have 2 ships which both carry around 1000 passengers. Choose from the exclusive collection of wonderful boutique restaurants and be amazed at the incredible service offered by the crew. Crew members have been trained to memorise your preferences and anticipate passengers’ needs. Take part in enrichment programs on board, which include learning to play piano, polishing your golf with the ship’s PGA pros, learning another language, and wellness classes. Crystal cruise ideas Explore the Pacific Rim for 98 days Baltic Sea and Russia Mediterranean Trans-Atlantic Western Europe Panama Canal World and Grand Cruise Regent Seven Seas Cruises – sophisticated, youthful, floating boutique hotels The three ships of Regent Seven Seas are like floating boutique hotels. The vibe is youthful and well-heeled. Two of the three ships are all-suite and all-balcony, and butler service comes with many of the staterooms. Sophisticated well-off couples enjoy first rate dining experiences in a good choice of restaurants, plus the cost includes shore excursions, all tips, drinks and meals at all on-board venues as well as airfares from selected gateway cities. The ships are mid-sized, carrying between 500 to 700 passengers. European and Alaskan summer cruises are popular with families, but generally the guests are sophisticated, younger couples looking for laid-back stylish luxury. Regent Seven Seas cruise ideas Barcelona to Rio de Janeiro San Francisco to New York Bangkok to Dubai Athens to Istanbul Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro Seabourn Cruises – elegant but unpretentious, exotic itineraries The smaller Seabourn ships offer intimacy, carrying only 208 passengers and visiting some of the most exotic ports in the world. The newer ships are about twice the size, yet still not too big, and contain many contemporary amenities. Standard cabins in these 450 guest ships are 300 square feet, and there are plenty of private balconies. There is a vast spa and fitness centre, with classes which are included in your cruise cost. The dreamy cuisine offers both the traditional and the innovative. Service is intuitive, and the feeling is elegant but unpretentious. The older ships tend to attract older guests whereas the newer ones have a larger forty something crowd. Seabourn has a reputation for outstanding shore excursions, plus there is a caviar and champagne beach party. Seabourn cruise ideas Visit places in Asia, India and Arabia that most cruise lines don’t (32 days) Athens to Dubai Bali to Sydney Venice to Athens Sydney to Singapore SeaDream Yacht Club – almost like your own private yacht This is a truly superb experience, which almost feels like you own your own private yacht. The 110 guest yachts have superb cuisine and service in sumptuous surroundings. The SeaDream cruises are top of the list for the most all inclusive cruise options, with round the clock caviar included if you feel like it, as well as tips, cocktails and watersports from the ship’s platform. Guests of all ages enjoy casual, yet refined elegance while doing what they please at sea. Don’t expect a packed itinerary, this is a more personal experience, but do look forward to the weekly picnic which happens on a private beach. SeaDream cruise ideas Rome to Monte Carlo Athens to Bombay Bridgetown to Balboa Singapore to Phuket Bali to Queensland San Juan to London Paul Gauguin CruisesPaul Gauguin – French Polynesia and the South Pacific all year round Lovely, good sized staterooms, many of which have their own verandahs combined with wonderful food and service makes the Paul Gauguin ship a top choice for cruising French Polynesia and the South Pacific at any time of the year. The 332 guest ship was designed specifically for French Polynesia, so the art and interiors reflect your itinerary right back at you. Paul Gaugin The crew are super knowledgeable about the area. You can enjoy expert lectures, and Jacques Cousteau’s son, Jean-Michel, comes aboard to lead dives and lecture many times during the year. During the family season, children between 9 and 17 can sign up to become Ambassadors of the Environment, which gives them some amazing hand-on experiences. Paul Gauguin cruise ideas Society Islands and Tuamotus Australs and Society Islands Cook Islands and Society Islands Carnival Cruises – Carnival Spirit – one for the single ladies and families The Carnival Spirit underwent a massive refurbishment in 2012, which cost $7 million and walking around the ship, it seems like you’re taking a journey around the world. The design style is inspired by so many worldwide genres such as Art Deco, English manor house, Egyptian, French, Shangai and Chinoise. Complete with its own wedding chapel, Nouveau Steakhouse, a gym which is like a Roman amphitheatre, lots of entertainment for all ages; the experience on the Carnival Spirit is a fun one. There are play areas and kids clubs for the younger family members. It offers a more casual type of luxury. However for single ladies there are escorts provided to accompany you to dinner. Carnival Spirit cruise ideas 3 to 11 nights South Pacific cruises Hebridean Island Cruises – Hebridean Princess – fit for royalty The British Queen celebrated her 80th birthday on board the Hebridean Princess in 2006, and she’s been back on board since. The ship only takes 49 guests around the highlands and islands of Scotland, so it is very intimate. It is somewhat like being on board a small refined, beautifully decorated country house. There are 38 crew members for the 49 guests, so you can imagine the level of personal service. This cruise experience is very different to larger ships, with almost no entertainment in comparison. It is perfect for those who enjoying learning more about nature, geography, history, art and architecture. Herbridean Island cruise ideas A classical cruise of the Hebrides West of Skye to Barra West Highland and Island Gardens The Clyde and Argyll Lochs Jackie de Burca is Co-owner of Holiday Home Advice. 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  1. I’ve sailed on Silversea, Seabourn and Regent. Each of the lines offers a wonderful luxury experience. One of the exciting itinerary trends for 2013 and 2014 are the unique itineraries these companies are developing for those of us who have been there and done that. I’m especially excited about sailing from Nome, Alaska, to Sapporo, Japan on the Silver Explorer (Silversea’s adventure ship). Adventure + luxury – I can’t think of a better combination.

  2. I totally agree, Donna, these unique itineraries are really exciting. This is what travelling is all about- adventure, discovery, immersion and lots of amazing experiences. Have a great time when you go!

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