Luxury cruising continues to be a growing segment of the market, as demand for an all-inclusive vacation that encompasses spacious accommodations, gourmet dining, destination immersion and impeccable service continues to grow. The following is a look at some of the world’s most luxurious ships afloat, and a few yet to come.
Seabourn Ovation is currently the newest kid on the luxury block, having entered service in May 2018. The 600-guest ship was designed by Adam D. Tihany, whose portfolio includes luxury hotels, resorts and top rated restaurants around the world. Sleek lines and curves adorn the vessel’s contemporary and elegant interior. Every suite has a veranda, starting at 300 square feet, then moving through penthouses to the impressive forward-facing 900+ square foot Signature suites with wraparound verandas that rival the size of the suites themselves. Walk-in closets and baths with tub and shower complete the pampering package.
Seabourn’s cuisine is curated by another renowned celebrity - Chef Thomas Keller, proprietor of three Michelin-starred restaurants; and onboard the Ovation, guests can enjoy Chef Keller’s menu at The Grill chophouse. Four other dining venues include the main restaurant which also features Keller’s creations, an al fresco eatery, and a sushi restaurant. Topping off the Ovation’s culinary experience is free-flowing champagne and unlimited caviar.
Seabourn also requires formal evening dress in the main restaurant on select evenings.
Seven Seas Explorer
When it was launched in 2016, the Seven Seas Explorer was dubbed “the world’s most luxurious ship ever built” by its owner Regent Seven Seas. At a price of $450 million, the 750-guest vessel was built with no expenses spared. It boasts over an acre of marble and granite, endless sparkling chandeliers, and priceless art. Accommodations are all-balcony, all-suite with walk-in closets and marble baths. Lead-in suites measure 219 square feet, followed by a selection of penthouses and suites, culminating in the grandiose 4,443 square-foot, two-bedroom Regent Suite complete with a $100,000 Savoir bed, a private in-suite spa with sauna, steam room and heated tiled loungers.
Guests dine on haute cuisine served in Chartreuse (French) and Pacific Rim (Asian) specialty restaurants, or opt for the steakhouse, all at no extra charge. In the Compass Rose main dining room, in addition to the chef’s recommendations, Regent introduced a culinary first - the ability to create your own entree every night, from an extensive list of seafood, meats, sides and sauces.
Regent is the most inclusive luxury cruise line, with roundtrip airfare, transfers, all beverages, Wi-Fi, gratuities, and unlimited shore excursions included in its fares.
Launched in spring 2017, Silver Muse is the flagship of Silversea Cruises. With a capacity of 596 guests served by 411 crew, the Muse offers personalized, white-glove service. Luxury is expressed through spacious accommodations, culinary excellence and exemplary service. Although lead-in suites do not have a balcony, they are nonetheless roomy at 334 square feet with marble baths, walk-in closets and butlers. Many of its upper-end suites can be combined to form two bedrooms of up to 1,970 square feet.
For a small ship, the Muse boasts eight dining venues, including Asian and Italian specialty restaurants as well as an outdoor grill serving meat and seafood cooked on hot rocks. The pinnacle of French dining can be had at La Dame – the Relais & Chateaux specialty restaurant (cover charge applies).
Although the ship operates on a resort-casual dress code, some evenings onboard are formal, requiring gentlemen to wear jackets and ties.
Crystal Cruises brought its six-star experience to yachting with the Crystal Esprit in 2015, serving just 62 guests. Originally the Chairman’s own private yacht, the vessel was fully renovated to reflect Crystal’s classy décor and luxurious standards. Although the Esprit is an intimate yacht, no sacrifices were made in her accommodations, which feature true king beds, marble baths, sitting area, Nespresso machines, and large picture windows. Yacht Suites measure 280 square feet and the Owner’s Suite is 515 square feet with a separate living room.
The Esprit mainly sails in warm water destinations; a marina located on the aft offers complimentary watersports and snorkeling equipment. Zodiacs provide remote shore landings, and a two-passenger submersible can take guests for underwater excursions (fee applies).
Launching in January 2019, Scenic’s first luxury expedition yacht will treat its 228 guests to a world of discovery, with its own submarine and two helicopters onboard.
Seven Seas Splendor
All eyes will be on Regent’s newbuild coming in February 2020, to see how she compares to her “most luxurious” twin sister Seven Seas Explorer.
Ritz Carlton Collection
February 2020 will mark the luxury hotel chain’s entrance into the cruise world, with a 298-guest all-suite yacht. Guests sailing onboard will experience the hallmark Ritz Carlton service.
Crystal Cruises will launch its first expedition yacht in August 2020. The 200-guest Crystal Endeavor will have six dining options, two helicopters and one submersible.