The ultra-luxury cruise landscape has changed beyond all recognition
Looking at the the ultra-luxury cruise leaders, industry experts agree there is an ever-growing demand for high-end cruises from both past elite travelers and affluent yet-to-cruise passengers. The reports show that the industry will benefit from more than ten new exclusive cruise ships in the near future. The new vessels are echoing the best hotels & entertainment hubs of the world. Taking personalization even further, the travelers can choose from various thematic voyages, submarines, helicopters, unique dining experiences, special-interest tours, stunning wellness & spa offerings, and new insider experiences centered around small-group “access over acquisition, and experiences over owning stuff” mantra. Each of the best luxury cruises offers something precious, extravagant, remarkable, and most important, invested in emotional value.
According to cruise-adviser, “more than 10 ships are due to be built in the next four years, with two new vessels from Crystal Cruises and one from Regent Seven Seas Cruises in the mix, while river cruise giant Scenic and hotel group Ritz-Carlton are poised to enter – and shake-up – the market with superlative new yacht-styled craft.”
“Cruising continues to be a popular vacation choice for many, with demand increasing by 20% between 2011 and 2016 particularly from the US, China, Germany, the UK and Australia, according to 2018 CRUISE INDUSTRY OUTLOOK report by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).”
New satellite technology transforms cruise ship WiFi
The elite travellers are excited not only by the fixtures and fittings, but also by the rise in traveller-friendly on board technologies that enhance travel experiences. Customers expect not only a reliable WiFi connection while on board, but the “fastest internet at sea” which will allow travellers to do exactly what they do at home: stream, play games, upload and communicate on a variety of platforms.
The new implemented technology offers guests the ability to stream music and movies, use Skype, stay connected with work via VPN and you can even enjoy the ability to enjoy one of many 5 star online casinos, with a safe and secure connection.
“Silversea Cruises recently jumped on the gravy train and started offering free unlimited WiFi to all guests throughout its fleet from April. For the past two years, guests could enjoy only one hour of free unlimited WiFi per day. With the announcement, Silversea now joins Crystal Cruises, which first introduced free unlimited WiFi
on its fleet in April 2017,” said ship-technology.com.
One of Silversea’ rivals, Ritz Carlton Yacht Collection, will also include complimentary WiFi when it launches.
According to Marriott, the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection guests will enjoy an all-inclusive luxury sailing experience including spacious accommodations, onboard activities and entertainment, beverages, multiple dining venues, onboard gratuities, WiFi and watersports from the yacht’s marina. Signature experiences available for an additional fee include a culinary experience at Aqua, the yacht’s signature restaurant designed by Michelin- starred chef Sven Elverfeld, spa treatments, and immersive excursions offered through The Shore Collection.
“As the first luxury hotel company to bring the legendary service and ambience of its resorts to sea, we are thrilled to offer guests a new way to create memories with The Ritz-Carlton,” said Lisa Holladay, Global Brand Leader for The Ritz-Carlton. “From the yacht’s design, to programming onboard and ashore, every aspect of
the voyage has been carefully created to embody the signature service and casual luxury of a Ritz-Carlton resort.”
This June, Royal Caribbean Cruises announced it enters into ultra luxury cruise segment with the acquisition of Silversea Cruises.
What does this mean for you, the luxury consumer? asked Forbes. “Silversea — an award-winning luxury cruise line — will probably become even more distinguished and fun-filled for every passenger.”
Silversea Cruises announced it has awarded Fincantieri with an order for another ultra-luxury cruise ship, with delivery scheduled for Q4 2021. The contract is valued at over €320 million.
Named Silver Dawn, the new vessel will be a sistership of Silversea’s flagship, Silver Muse, which was launched from the Fincantieri shipyard of Sestri Ponente (Genoa) in April 2017 and was welcomed with great acclaim by guests. Silversea has therefore committed to constructing a new ship that will share Silver Muse’s
Personal concierge services sometimes go beyond what even the best hotels can offer: Regent Suites on Regent’s Seven Seas ships
Considered to be the crown jewel of Seven Seas Splendor, the 4,443 square feet Regent Suite rivals a luxurious home. Situated at the very top deck and boasting a 1,417 square foot balcony overlooking the bow of the ship, the biggest suite at sea includes a master bath featuring gilded golden accents, a private spa with steam and sauna, and the significant perk of complimentary in-suite spa treatments. In every port guests of the Regent Suite can go ashore and explore places with a personal car and guide, and each evening sleep on an exquisitely crafted hand-made bed. The butler service, the massive walk-in closet, one large master bedroom as well as an additional bedroom and two and a half baths are just some of this suite’s features.
Art on ships: Seabourn’s new Seabourn Ovation is a floating art gallery
Seabourn Ovation is the fifth ultra-luxury ship in the Seabourn fleet. Ovation features contemporary interiors by design icon Adam D. Tihany, culinary expertise by Michelin-starred chef Thomas Keller, specially commissioned entertainment by Sir Tim Rice and an exciting program of onboard speakers.
A sister ship to Seabourn Encore, Seabourn Ovation will feature 300 suites and maintain the line’s high ratio of space per guest, enabling highly personalized service. But one of the most striking features of the new ship is the art gallery by the curator and advisor group ArtLink.
“You could try, but with some 1,600 pieces of art produced by 120 international artists, you’ll never be able to see all of the Seabourn Ovation collection,” commented forbes. “While guests are admiring sculptures and paintings they might not realize that there’s a functional purpose as well to art on ships. As a captive audience, passengers have the time and occasion to linger over art much longer than in a hotel stay. Thus, the challenge for curators is that art must hold guests’ interest much longer,” added forbes.
The Ultimate World Cruise
Designed for discerning travelers with interests in history, art, music and cuisine, Chairman Torstein Hagen often says Viking offers guests “the thinking person’s cruise” as an alternative to mainstream cruises.
Viking was named the #1 Ocean Cruise Line for ships carrying 600–2,199 guests and one of the World’s Best River Cruise Lines by Travel + Leisure. In the three years since the launch of Viking’s ocean cruises in 2015, the company has been named a #1 Ocean Cruise Line every consecutive year. Viking has also been voted a World’s Best River Cruise Line every year since the award’s inception in 2010.
The milestone comes on the heels of last month’s launch of the company’s fifth ocean ship, Viking Orion, and the announcement of the 245-day Viking Ultimate World Cruise, the longest-ever continuous world cruise itinerary.
“For more than 20 years we have been offering guests the most culturally immersive journeys available in the industry and we are pleased to announce the most extensive itinerary in our history,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. “Our World Cruises offer guests the rare opportunity to unpack once and explore dozens of the best destinations on earth – at a value that is unprecedented in the travel industry.”
Mundy Cruising considers that “unusual curated pre- and post-cruise arrangements are appealing, and there is a high level of interest in the more far-flung, off-the-beaten-track destinations. To achieve the high level of personalisation today’s luxury buyer requires, you need to be operating small or mid-size ships (up to about 1,000 guests).”
Oceanographic expert Jean-Michel Cousteau is sharing tales from his lifetime of underwater exploration on three Crystal voyages this year. While on board, Cousteau is sharing tales and experiences from his lifetime of exploring and documenting the world’s oceans, as well as his ongoing work to continue the legacy of his famous father — Jacques-Yves Cousteau.