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A Star is Born: Viking Cruises Celebrates the Launch of the World's Newest Luxury Ship

A Star is Born: Viking Cruises Celebrates the Launch of the World's Newest Luxury Ship | Luxury cruise | Scoop.it
Marking the first new cruise ship line to launch in a decade, Viking Ocean Cruises has just christened its first ship, the 930-passenger Viking Star.
Walter Christen's insight:

Viking Star.  What a fantastic looking ship with some amenities I think are fantastic.  The infinity pool off the stern looks great and the clean Nordic inspired décor is something to see.

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The 4 best new luxury cruises

The 4 best new luxury cruises | Luxury cruise | Scoop.it

Cruise lines have always tried to top themselves, whether it’s with towering ships, luxurious spas, or decadent cuisine. And these companies show no sign of resting on their laurels.

 

Their latest vessels up the ante in terms of luxury and forward-thinking design. With interiors by some of the world’s top hospitality designers, including Lauren Rottet and Richmond International, cuisine by Michelin-starred chefs, and boutiques that would be right at home on Madison Avenue, these ships offer five-star amenities as they sail to their ports of call.

 

Whether you’re planning a transatlantic voyage or a quick river cruise, these stylish ships offer trips of a lifetime.

 

Viking Ocean Cruises’ Viking Star


Ponant’s Le Lyrial

 

Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas


Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Escape

 

Walter Christen's insight:

Three of the four new cruise ships mentioned are on my short list. And the only reason that Ponant’s Le Lyrial is not currently on my list is I need to do more research.

I am in the beginning stage of the planning a family cruise for later in 2017 and I am considering both Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas and Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Escape. I think Viking Ocean Cruises’ Viking Star would be better suited for a cruise with just my wife.

 

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Cunard to launch wine education courses at sea

Cunard to launch wine education courses at sea | Luxury cruise | Scoop.it

Luxury travel brand Cunard partnered with the largest provider of wine and spirits qualifications in the world, WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust), to launch certified wine and spirit courses for its passengers.
The partnership with Cunard is the first time WSET courses will be available to guests on a Transatlantic and round-world cruise line with WSET courses initially available on Queen Mary 2’s westbound Transatlantic crossings and world voyages. Courses are expected to be available on Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth later in 2017.
Guests aboard crossings from Southampton to New York can embark on a 5-day course to achieve WSET Level 1 Award in Wines. The course gives a hands-on introduction to the world of wine in an interactive and relaxed atmosphere for beginners, while covering the basics of wine types and styles through sight, smell, and taste, as well as how to store and serve wine and pair with food.

Walter Christen's insight:

Cunard Is bringing the wine tasting sessions other cruise lines have to a whole new level. Availability of the class will start on the Queen Mary 2 during transatlantic crossings and world cruises.  Sounds like a great way to spend some time learning something new. 

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Windstar Cruises propels onward – with or without sails

Windstar Cruises propels onward – with or without sails | Luxury cruise | Scoop.it

While there’s been lots of buzz about big cruise ships as of late, it’s not just the gargantuan floating palaces of the sea that offer a wonderful cruise experience. In fact, I’d argue that most of the cruisers I meet (myself included) count small ships among their favourite cruise experiences. And one of my favourite small-ship lines is Windstar Cruises.
Based out of Seattle, Windstar has a fleet of six unique ships. Wind Star, Wind Spirit and Wind Surf are all known as “motor-ship-yachts” thanks to their masts of billowing white sails, but decidedly cruise-like on-board amenities. Of the three, Wind Surf is the biggest, with a capacity for 310 guests. Wind Star and Wind Surf are smaller; these identical sister-ships carry just 148 guests apiece.
Windstar also has three “power yachts” — small, luxury cruise ships that the line recently acquired from Seabourn. Known as Star Breeze, Star Legend and Star Pride, these ships have just 212 guests and no sails — but what they lack in sail power, they make up for in terms of lavish accommodations. Suites are, on average, larger aboard these power yachts, which longtime cruisers might remember better under their former names of Seabourn Legend, Seabourn Pride and Seabourn Spirit.

Walter Christen's insight:

The Windstar Cruises lineup of three cruise ships that have sails (Wind Star, Wind Spirit and Wind Surf) and the three power yachts (Star Breeze, Star Legend and Star Pride) have been on must do cruise list for a long time. I really want to cruise on a ship with sails.  I have seen these while on other cruises and they are all beautiful ships and I feel that the small ship experience is enhanced by Windstar Cruises attention to detail.  

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We preview Seabourn's newest luxury cruise ship, Encore

We preview Seabourn's newest luxury cruise ship, Encore | Luxury cruise | Scoop.it

 

As the curtains close on 2016, the lights will come up on the all-suite, all-balcony Seabourn Encore when she emerges from the shipyard in December. Seabourn’s new 40,350-gross-ton flagship, with interiors designed by Adam D. Tihany, strikes a balance between modern design and traditional yacht stylings. This small-ship cruise line has built upon the success of its Odyssey class with a larger vessel that will accommodate 600, but will still maintain the same personalized service that’s delivered by approximately one staff member per onboard guest. This all-inclusive ship pampers guests with open bars throughout and a deep selection of wines available at both lunch and dinner. Gratuities are included, as is one special shore experience per itinerary. Seabourn Encore will sail several routes in December before her official inaugural voyage on January 7, 2017. While that sailing is sold out, there are plenty of other itineraries to choose from. seabourn.com.

Walter Christen's insight:

For a pure luxury cruise experience, the new Seabourn Encore, looks like the ship to book starting December 2016.  The amenities are simply stunning and the  all balcony suites look amazing.

 

Interesting note is that the 2 Wintergarden suites at 1550 square feet, are larger than many homes.

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A Star is Born: Viking Cruises Celebrates the Launch of the World's Newest Luxury Ship

A Star is Born: Viking Cruises Celebrates the Launch of the World's Newest Luxury Ship | Luxury cruise | Scoop.it
Marking the first new cruise ship line to launch in a decade, Viking Ocean Cruises has just christened its first ship, the 930-passenger Viking Star.
Walter Christen's insight:

Viking Star.  What a fantastic looking ship with some amenities I think are fantastic.  The infinity pool off the stern looks great and the clean Nordic inspired décor is something to see.

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SeaDream adds new wine-themed voyages in 2017

SeaDream adds new wine-themed voyages in 2017 | Luxury cruise | Scoop.it

Whenever I talk about cruises, people get a wistful look in their eyes when I mention SeaDream Yacht Club. Founded 15 years ago by Norwegian cruise pioneer Atle Brynestad, SeaDream Yacht Club has made a point of sending its two 112-guest luxury yachts, SeaDream I and SeaDream II, where other lines can’t — or simply won’t — go.

Now, SeaDream is rolling out a number of new itineraries for 2017, including seven special wine-themed voyages. Sailing through the sun-splashed Mediterranean, these dedicated wine sailings provide guests with premium tastings from celebrated wineries such as Château Gassier, Tenuta San Guido and Taittinger Champagne.

Walter Christen's insight:

In the cruises I have been on, I have always enjoyed the wine tasting classes onboard. I love learning more about the different types of wine and the places they are produced.

I like SeaDream Yacht Clubs business model of going to smaller ports that the large cruise lines cannot go to. Sometimes it is nice to get off the beaten path and explore the lesser know ports.  The SeaDream I and SeaDream II are fantastic ships to accomplish this.

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This is the most epic, luxurious round-the-world cruise

This is the most epic, luxurious round-the-world cruise | Luxury cruise | Scoop.it

Better start saving that vacation time: Regent Seven Seas Cruises has announced a new 137-night Navigate the World cruise for 2018 on the luxe 490-passenger Seven Seas Navigator. 

Beginning and ending in Los Angeles, the 38,528-nautical-mile, five-continent voyage departs on January 18, 2018, and is focused on the southern hemisphere, with stops in 28 countries and 64 ports of call.

After a gala at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, the ship will sail for Hawaii, French Polynesia, American Samoa, and Fiji; hit several ports in Australia and New Zealand; and then head to Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia.

Next up are several stops in South Africa, followed by Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil in South America, and Aruba and Curacao in the Caribbean. Finally, the ship will make its way through the Panama Canal and up the Central American coast to Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Guatemala before docking in L.A on May 25, 2018.

Walter Christen's insight:

2018 may sound a long way off but if you are thinking of taking a cruise of this length, there is a lot of planning that needs to be done.  This around the world cruse aboard Regent Seven Seas ship the Seven Seas Navigator sounds fantastic and quite luxurious.

If you are going to go you may as well go in style and comfort. I agree this will be one epic journey.

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Onboard Wind Spirit's Tahiti itinerary

Onboard Wind Spirit's Tahiti itinerary | Luxury cruise | Scoop.it

Windstar Cruises has reinstated a year-round ship in Tahiti

I stood waist-deep in the ocean while several stingrays silently glided by; one even brushed my leg. I wasn’t afraid, though — I was captivated.

I was in Bora Bora, participating in one of Windstar Cruises’ special shore excursions during the seven-day “Dreams of Tahiti” itinerary onboard the Wind Spirit sailing yacht. Our guide, Roberto, informed us that stingrays don’t sting unless they are provoked. As he assuaged our fears and encouraged me to pat one, Roberto slowly broke off pieces of tuna and suet to give to the rays, who were behaving like puppies looking for a snack.

I reached out to touch a passing stingray and felt its sleek, wet skin.

“You see?” Roberto said. “They are very friendly.”

So is the entire crew of Wind Spirit, a 440-foot-long, four-masted ship that doubled as my home for the week.

Walter Christen's insight:

What better way to cruise Tahiti than on a Windstar sailing yacht.  Windstar Cruises' Wind Spirit is a fantastic looking ship and the "Dreams of Tahiti" itnerary sounds fantastic.

 

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New entertainment coming to Regent Seven Seas Explorer

New entertainment coming to Regent Seven Seas Explorer | Luxury cruise | Scoop.it

Regent Seven Seas Cruises announced that it had partnered with Norwegian Cruise Line’s entertainment team to help develop an entertainment lineup for its newest ship, the Seven Seas Explorer.

When the Seven Seas Explorer debuts, it will feature four new shows in its the Constellation Theater. Some of the shows include Peggy Lee (an homage to American jazz singer Peggy Lee), Burn the Floor (a tribute to the British Invasion), Paradis (Parisian-style entertainment) and A Day in Hollywood (Tony Award-winning movie-themed show).

The shows will be performed by a cast of 12 singers and dancers with a live seven-piece orchestra, but the upgrades don’t just apply to the Seven Seas Explorer. Regent Seven Seas Cruises is also investing in entertainment upgrades for its entire fleet.

Walter Christen's insight:

Quality entertainment while cruising is important.  Regent Seven Seas Cruises has some very interesting shows on tap for the new Regent Sever Seas Exployer. I am very excited about the British Invasion show called Burn the Floor and also the Peggy Lee show.  My type of music.

 

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Taste a bit of Napa Valley on these cruise ships with menus by Thomas Keller

Taste a bit of Napa Valley on these cruise ships with menus by Thomas Keller | Luxury cruise | Scoop.it

Seabourn announced last year that it was partnering with celeb chef Thomas Keller in offering fresh cuisine on-board its ships. Now the time has come to taste it.

The small-ship cruise line recently revealed what's on the menu on for Seabourn's Odyssey, Quest and Sojourn ships.

Keller, the chef known for his French Laundry restaurant in Yountville, Calif., and Bouchon in Beverly Hills and Las Vegas, developed recipes for comfort food items like barbecue ribs served in the Colonnade and Keller's signature Napa Burger served at the poolside Patio Grill.

Walter Christen's insight:

The sample menus from Thomas Keller sound fantastic I think Seabourn has a winner here.

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Paul Gauguin Cruises announces 2017 voyages featuring new itineraries in Fiji and Bali

Paul Gauguin Cruises announces 2017 voyages featuring new itineraries in Fiji and Bali | Luxury cruise | Scoop.it

Paul Gauguin Cruises, operator of the highest-rated and longest continually sailing luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific, m/s Paul Gauguin, announces 2017 voyages that feature popular favorites along with new, exotic 16- and 17-night Fiji & Bali itineraries and a collaborative program with the Wildlife Conservation Society.
  The 16-night Fiji to Bali voyage departs April 29, 2017, from Lautoka, Fiji, and visits Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu; Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands; Samarai Island, Papua New Guinea; Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; Merauke, Indonesia; Dili, Timor-Leste; Komodo Island, Indonesia; Lembar, Lombok Island, Indonesia; and Benoa, Bali, Indonesia. The reverse itinerary, Bali to Fiji, is 17 nights and departs June 7, 2017.
  In 2017, The Gauguin will also be showcasing its most sought-after itineraries: the 7-night Tahiti & the Society Islands; 7-night Tahiti, the Society Islands & Tuamotus; 10-night Society Islands & Tuamotus; 11-night Cook Islands & Society Islands; and 14-night Marquesas, Tuamotus & Society Islands. Also in 2017, the popular 12- and 13-night Society Islands, Cook Islands, Tonga & Fiji itineraries return. In addition to sailing to beautiful islands in the South Pacific, and showcasing Polynesian culture and hospitality, these voyages feature complimentary access to Paul Gauguin Cruises’ two exclusive retreats - Motu Mahana, an islet off the coast of Taha’a, and a private beach in Bora Bora. At Motu Mahana, guests enjoy a day of watersports, Polynesian activities, a barbecue feast, and cocktails from full-service and floating bars. In Bora Bora, guests can relax on a white-sand beach and enjoy refreshments, a game of volleyball, and snorkeling in crystal-clear waters.

Walter Christen's insight:

If you wanted to cruise the South Pacific in style,  Paul Gauguin Cruises would be my recommendation.  The itineraries look fantastic and the collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society is a added bonus.
 

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A luxury cruise renaissance begins

A luxury cruise renaissance begins | Luxury cruise | Scoop.it

A luxury cruise renaissance is on its way as Crystal Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line and Silversea Cruises all expand their operations from now into 2018 and beyond.

Crystal Cruises

No single line in the group is growing as much as Crystal Cruises as the company, recently purchased by Genting Hong Kong, prepares to introduce entirely new brands and new ships. Until now, the line has consisted primarily of two ships, but now it has three new Exclusive-class vessels on order. Illustrating the magnitude of the company’s growth is Genting HK’s decision to buy the Lloyd Werft shipyard in Germany where they will be built.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

As for Regent Seven Seas Cruises, the luxury line is coming out with the new Seven Seas Explorer, which the line is calling "the most luxurious ship ever built,” on July 20, 2016. Onboard will be an impressive set of decadent features including 375 total suites, sporting the largest verandas in the cruise industry, the crème de la crème of which will be a 3,975-square-foot, two-room Regent Suite situated at the top front of the ship with its own spa and Vista Garden glass-enclosed observation area

Seabourn Cruise Line

Later in 2016, Seabourn Cruise Line’s newest Seabourn Encore will set sail with an inaugural itinerary scheduled for January 2017. The more intimate 600-guest luxury liner will be just 40,350-gross-tons in size and feature a second sister ship, the Seabourn Ovation, to be introduced in 2018. Both are based on the country-club style Odyssey-class vessels with one extra deck and expanded public areas this time around.

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Walter Christen's insight:

There are exciting new luxury cruising ships coming from the three big names in luxury cruising, Crystal Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, and Seabourn Cruise Line.

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World's 5 most luxurious around-the-world cruises

World's 5 most luxurious around-the-world cruises | Luxury cruise | Scoop.it

There are few more aspirational travel experiences than a six-month vacation that hits upward of 30 countries.

Sure, the first round-the-world sailing trip back in 1521 didn't go as planned -- legendary Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan died, along with 50 of his crew during the 1,082-day voyage.

Thankfully, today's global journeys are infinitely safer and more comfortable.

In fact, on many ships, you'd be forgiven for thinking you've checked into a five-star hotel suite, such are the levels of luxury on offer.

Walter Christen's insight:

An around the world cruise is the pinnacle of a diehard cruiser.  Not sure if even I could afford one on of these trips (price for only the top accommodations are shown), I could be away for such a long time.  I am willing to try though.

The 5 cruises mentioned:

  1. Silversea - Silver Whisper
  2. Cunard - Queen Elizabeth
  3. Crystal Cruises - Crystal Serenity
  4. Oceania Cruises - Insignia
  5. Regent Seven Seas - Navigator


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Oceania Cruises introduces evening tapas menus in the Terrace Café

Oceania Cruises introduces evening tapas menus in the Terrace Café | Luxury cruise | Scoop.it

Travelers with an appetite for global flavors will enjoy the introduction of Oceania Cruises’ new evening Tapas Menus. Offered each evening in the Terrace Café, the new menus comprise a distinct and different array of destination-inspired flavors. Guests can choose from an ever-changing selection of crostini, fruit- and vegetable-based salads, rolls, fresh fish, and seafood tapas, crudités and other small dishes artfully presented in tasting spoons and verrines.

With more than five-dozen dishes included in the 14 new menus, bon vivants will enjoy spending a relaxing evening in the Terrace Café, sharing small plates, toasting the day’s memories, engaging in sparkling conversation and sharing the breathtaking vistas all around. The Tapas dishes are available every evening of the cruise, in addition to the Terrace Café’s amazing assortment of starters, soups, salads, main courses, carving station, and desserts.

“Cuisine and the overall dining experience are such integral parts of the Oceania Cruises’ culture and the fabric of the destinations we visit. We are always looking to provide our guests with unexpected moments of surprise and delight,” stated Bob Binder, president and chief executive office of Oceania Cruises.

Walter Christen's insight:

Tapas is one of my favorite dining experiences.  I like to sample many different foods and flavors.  Oceania Cruises, with their destination inspired tapas menus definitely piqued my interest.

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New Seven Seas Explorer preps special culinary classes and tours for the Caribbean

New Seven Seas Explorer preps special culinary classes and tours for the Caribbean | Luxury cruise | Scoop.it

Currently on its way to Miami, Florida for the first time from the Mediterranean, Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ brand new Seven Seas Explorer is preparing for the Caribbean with a series of Gourmet Explorer Tours.
Beginning in December, the liner, said to be “the most luxurious ship ever built,” will make its North American and Caribbean debut sailing on 10- and 14-night voyages this winter and next spring. Besides the special shore excursions, the ship will also present new courses at its onboard Culinary Arts Kitchen.
The Culinary Arts Kitchen is ideally situated on deck 11 with scenic ocean views and 18 individual cooking stations.

Walter Christen's insight:

I think it is a great idea to have a dedicated cooking class area.  Regent Seven Seas brand new Seven Seas Explorer has this covered. Instead of watching a demonstration of someone cooking, actually doing the cooking is a better way to actually learn how to make some of the iconic dishes of the Caribbean. 

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What sets Viking Ocean Cruises apart in the Caribbean

What sets Viking Ocean Cruises apart in the Caribbean | Luxury cruise | Scoop.it

Fresh off Viking Ocean Cruises’ inaugural cruise to the Caribbean, it can be said that the company is well on its way to making a bigger splash in the industry. Up until now, Viking Cruises, with its Viking River Cruises brand, has predominantly covered the European continent, but as its ocean fleet expands, so too does its international itineraries.
The 2015-launched Viking Star and 2016-launched Viking Sea initially started out with sailings in the Baltic and Mediterranean with farther jaunts west to the British Isles and north to Norway. The Viking Star has now left from Bergen, Norway to cross the Atlantic and visit Canada and New England before calling on the United States In New York City (where we boarded) for the first time on the way down to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Currently, it is embarking on a season of roundtrip 11-day West Indies Explorer itineraries.
Most remarkably on the first run, the Viking Star was almost always the only ship in port, only encountering two other Carnival Cruise Line ships and a Royal Caribbean International one in San Juan. Even in those cases, one of the greatest benefits to sailing on Viking was apparent in seeing ample lines for guests returning to the larger ships as we swiftly boarded the intimate 930-guest Star with no wait.

Walter Christen's insight:

Viking Ocean Cruises is on my must do cruise list. The luxury amenities, destination immersion, complementary excursions and the attention to detail is why Viking Ocean Cruises is on my list.  The infinity pool is also big plus.   

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Seabourn’s exceptional cuisine from Thomas Keller

Seabourn’s exceptional cuisine from Thomas Keller | Luxury cruise | Scoop.it

When a luxury cruise line decides to team up with the best American chef, something special is bound to happen, and Seabourn’s partnership with Thomas Keller has proved a treat for the senses.

The Seabourn Quest does not have a plethora of dining options like some larger mainstream cruise ships, but what it does have in the form of a main dining room, singular specialty restaurant, buffet, pool grill and room service is exceptional. While I cannot speak to what the cuisine was like before Thomas Keller, the offerings onboard are now certainly some of the best at sea if not anywhere in the world thanks to the multiple Michelin-starred chef’s contributions.

My cousin is a culinary instructor and swears by Keller’s creations, and now I know why. I first became acquainted with his stylings, thanks to Blu-Ray special features, from his serving as a consultant on the hit Pixar film “Ratatouille,” where his modern rendition of the vegetable stew was animated to perfection.

Walter Christen's insight:

The dining experience plays an important part for my enjoyment of cruising.  Looks like the Seabourn Quest has hit it out of the park with their partnership with world renowned American chef Thomas Keller.  Jason Leppert's description of some of the menu items aboard his cruise had my mouth watering. Also great news that this enhanced dining experience will soon be fleet wide for Seabourn.

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Bask in luxury at the Haven with Norwegian Cruise Line

Bask in luxury at the Haven with Norwegian Cruise Line | Luxury cruise | Scoop.it

Haven (noun): a place of safety or refuge.

Norwegian Cruise Line offers its passengers a true place of refuge and serenity with The Haven, home to the cruise line’s most luxurious, well-appointed and spacious accommodations. A private oasis tucked away at the top of the ship, The Haven provides guests with unparalleled access to top-of-the-line services and amenities – such as free shore excursions, WiFi, specialty dining and unlimited beverages—taking their cruise from memorable to unforgettable from the second they embark.

Guests can select from eight cabin categories including a deluxe Owner’s Suite with a large balcony and floor-to-ceiling windows or the 3-bedroom Garden Villa, which sleeps up to eight guests in more than 4,890 square feet of spacious living at sea. Families will want to take advantage of the 2-bedroom family villa with balcony, where kids can enjoy movies on their own flat-screen TV, or connecting staterooms, which are perfect for families or a group of friends traveling together. The Courtyard Penthouse offers up a romantic get-away with a private balcony and a round, queen-size bed. The Haven’s Spa Suite is indulgence at sea with a hot tub, oversized waterfall shower, easy access to the Mandara Spa and Fitness Center and complimentary access to the Thermal Spa Suites during regular spa hours.

Walter Christen's insight:

I have friends that love the Haven aboard Norwegian Cruise Lines for the luxury feel aboard a mainstream cruise line.  For them the additional cost is well worth it for all of the extras included including Wi-Fi and included drink package. 

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Over the top opulence: First look at Regent's Seven Seas Explorer

Over the top opulence: First look at Regent's Seven Seas Explorer | Luxury cruise | Scoop.it

When you call your newest cruise ship “the most luxurious ship ever built,” you must be able to back it up. So what sets Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ 750-guest, 55,254-ton Seven Seas Explorer apart … and is it truly above and beyond?

There are the obvious features. Consider that the Regent Suite, the biggest and most opulent on the ship, measures a whopping 4,443 square feet. Not only does it boast a $250,000 custom-designed Steinway Arabesque grand piano, the bed is worth more than many homes. It has a Savoir No. 1 mattress worth $90,000, and between linens, the duvet, pillows and installation, the bed alone ended up costing about $150,000.

While those are over-the-top luxury features, the important thing is that the luxurious feel extends throughout the ship, not just in the fanciest suite.

Walter Christen's insight:

With all of the pictures I have seen and the articles describing the amenities aboard the new Regent Seven Seas Explorer, I can see why this new ship is being touted as the "most luxurious". Adding to this is Regent Seven Seas all inclusive cruising which includes such things as  round-trip air, fine wines and spirits, unlimited internet access, sightseeing excursions in every port, and all gratuities. Luxury cruising at it's best.

 

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Luxury cruise ships that aren't floating hotels

Luxury cruise ships that aren't floating hotels | Luxury cruise | Scoop.it

It may have been the best night's sleep I've ever had. Setting sail aboard the Star Flyer out of Athens in the middle of the night was serene and dreamy.

A gourmet meal, a cocktail (or two) and I was ready to collapse in my quarters.
The Star Flyer -- a four-masted, 16-sail luxury sailing ship -- holds only 170 passengers maximum (and there weren't that many on my trip).
But it offers the deluxe amenities of the larger cruise ships combined with the romance and adventure of a time-tested, fully rigged vessel that draws its power from the wind.
Walter Christen's insight:

 Cruising on a cruise ship with sails is my ideal luxury cruise vacation. There is something special being on a ship that is powered by the wind.  Also being smaller, these luxury cruise ships can gain access to ports that the larger ships cannot. of the 8 ships presented, all but 2 are cruise ships with sail power. The exceptions are The La Estrella Amazonica which cruises the Amazon River in Peru and the Queen of the West which is a Mississippi sternwheeler.

My wife and I do plan (someday) on taking a cruise on a cruise ship with sails.  Right now we are looking at WindStar (Wind Spirit, Wind Star and Wind Surf) and Star Clipper (Star Clipper, Star Flyer and Royal Clipper).

 

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World's 5 most incredible around-the-world cruises

World's 5 most incredible around-the-world cruises | Luxury cruise | Scoop.it

There are few more aspirational travel experiences than a six-month vacation that hits upward of 30 countries.

Sure, the first round-the-world sailing trip back in 1521 didn't go as planned -- legendary Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan died, along with 50 of his crew during the 1,082-day voyage.
Thankfully, today's global journeys are infinitely safer and more comfortable.
In fact, on many ships, you'd be forgiven for thinking you've checked into a five-star hotel suite, such are the levels of luxury on offer.
Walter Christen's insight:

If you are really into cruising and travel, a world cruise may be what you aspire to embark upon.  These are not inexpensive cruises and I imagine that there would be a huge amount of planning required to spend 6 months at sea, but to see and experience upward of 30 countries around the world, I think would be worth the effort.

The five around the world cruises mentioned:

Silversea, Silver Whisper

Cunard, Queen Elizabeth

Crystal Cruises, Crystal Serenity

Oceania Cruises, Insignia

Regent Seven Seas, Navigator

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Crystal Cruises launches its first jet & unveils Crystal Endeavor

Crystal Cruises launches its first jet & unveils Crystal Endeavor | Luxury cruise | Scoop.it

When you write about the cruise industry, you tend to see a lot of ship launches. You see keel-laying ceremonies, shipyard tours where the skeleton of the vessel is barely recognizable, and christening events that take place, as they have for hundreds of years, before a vessel sets out on its maiden voyage.

Rarely do we get invited to see the unveiling of an airplane – but that’s exactly what luxury line Crystal Cruises had in store for us this evening on the first day of the 2016 Seatrade Global Cruise Conference in sunny Fort Lauderdale, Florida. And ironically enough, the physical airplane became a footnote once Crystal unveiled details of its first ultra-luxury mega-yacht expedition cruise ship, Crystal Endeavor.

First, to the airplane in the hangar: Crystal had previously announced it would begin offering air service with two Boeing aircraft: a Boeing 777 and a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. But the plane sitting in the hangar at the private aviation terminal at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport was a small Bombardier Global Express BD-700 Business Jet. And it’s just another prong in Crystal’s aggressive expansion plans.

Walter Christen's insight:

Exciting announcements from Crystal Cruises at the Seatrade Global Cruise Conference. Luxury travel has a new benchmark that will be tough to beat. Whether it be by land, sea or air, Crystal Cruises will be able to offer customized travel plans for the luxury traveler.

Not to be outdone, Crystal Cruises also unveiled the plans for the Crystal Endeavor which will be a polar compliant megayacht for expedition travel to Antarctica and the Far Arctic. What a fantastic looking ship.

 

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Cruise ship tours: The charm of the Royal Clipper

Cruise ship tours: The charm of the Royal Clipper | Luxury cruise | Scoop.it

The 227-passenger vessel is a fully rigged, five-masted tall ship.

Looking for something different for your next cruise? Our latest Cruise Ship Tour, in the carousel above, offers a deck-by-deck look at one of the most unusual passenger vessels afloat: sailing line Star Clippers' Royal Clipper.

Measuring 439 feet long and 54 feet at the beam, the five-masted, fully rigged sailing ship is billed as the largest square-rigger at sea and, as can be seen in the tour, it's a sight to behold. With room for 227 passengers, the 5,000-ton vessel is based on the design for Preussen, a legendary German windjammer built in 1902.

Designed as a research tool for vacationers considering a voyage, the Royal Clipper photo tour -- by veteran cruise writer and ship photographer Peter Knego

Walter Christen's insight:

Star Clippers' Royal Clipper is a beautiful ship. If you were looking for a different type of cruise ship for your next adventure, this maybe the ship for you.  Although it looks like a sailing ship from the early days it has all the amenities of the best luxury cruise ships.  I for one would love to sail on this amazing ship.

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Windstar Cruises to add James Beard chefs to 3 themed itineraries

Windstar Cruises to add James Beard chefs to 3 themed itineraries | Luxury cruise | Scoop.it

Gourmet dining at sea just keeps getting better and better. Like a perfect wine-pairing at a Michelin-star restaurant, award-winning Windstar Cruises has partnered with the James Beard Foundation to serve elevated culinary experiences aboard three 2016 themed cruises to France, Morocco, Portugal and Spain. The James Beard Foundation Collection will offer a trio of bespoke small-ship sailings catering to food and wine aficionados, and guiding passengers to the best culinary experiences at each port.

“It’s very important to us to expose our guests to local culture and cuisine throughout their time on board, creating a more intimate connection to the world around them,” said Hans Birkholz, Windstar Cruises’ chief executive officer. “Our new James Beard Foundation Collection takes Windstar’s commitment to local food culture a step further and is perfect for any traveler who approaches a new city with their next meal in mind.”

The 2016 James Beard Foundation Collection by Windstar itineraries includes three sailings with two itineraries. Embarking on April 24, 2016, the eight-day “Culinary & Wine Delights of Southern Spain & Morocco” sails on Wind Surf from Lisbon to Barcelona, docking in Tangier, Morocco, and Málaga, Granada, Cartagena, Ibiza, and Tarragona, Spain. On June 10 and August 9, 2016 the 10-day “Culinary & Wine Delights of Spain & France” cruise aboard Star Legend, sails from Dublin to Lisbon in June. The reverse occurs in August with ports including Saint-Malo, La Rochelle, and Bordeaux in France, Gijon and El Ferrol in Spain, and Porto in Portugal.

Walter Christen's insight:

A big part of the cultural experience on a cruise I believe is the tasting of foods from the region.  What better way to do this is on a Windstar cruise and the James Beard Foundation.   

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Smooth sailing on Regent Seven Seas Mariner

Smooth sailing on Regent Seven Seas Mariner | Luxury cruise | Scoop.it

On the night of our sail-away from Lisbon on Regent Seven Seas Mariner, my husband and I joined a small group of fellow passengers in an intimate lounge for a “first-timers-to-the-line” orientation. Regent cruise consultant, Brian O’Brien, hosted the get-together over cocktails and led off with a weather forecast, of sorts.

“If you are running into foul weather on a Mediterranean cruise, it means the Captain has taken a wrong turn,” said O’Brien.

Everyone chuckled but his comment was spot-on. During peak season—which runs from May through August—cruisers can usually count on near-perfect weather. Each time we’ve sailed the Med, sunshine has been abundant, temperatures hovered around the 70s and 80s, and cool sea breezes made it appealing to relax on the deck.

Walter Christen's insight:

The Luxury 700 passenger cruise ship, the Regent Seven Seas Mariner, sounds like it is the perfect size ship to cruise the Mediterranean.  I like the port-intensive cruise where you can go to many different locations without packing and unpacking. Also the all inclusive nature with many sight seeing tours included makes budgeting easier.


The Western Mediterranean is on my bucket list and Regent Seven Seas may be the perfect cruise line to satisfy this want 

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