I write this blog post with all of my clients in mind: you don’t have to be a cruise aficionado – you could even be in the ‘I’m not sure about cruises camp’ – to find inspiration in the five brands I highlight below. Journeys by sea are truly some of the most unique ways to experience certain areas of the world and are definitely efficient in affording travelers opportunities to experience multi-city and/or multi-country travel in condensed time periods (a week, 10 days, two weeks etc.).
The zeitgeist of cruising in opulence may well have been at the turn of the twentieth century with boats such as the Titanic and the maiden voyage of the Britannia (Queen Elizabeth’s Royal Yacht)…however I’m here to tell you that this avenue of travel is having a renaissance in the luxury space. The below lifestyle brands offer exquisite, unique and covetable experiences that we’d love to talk to you further about if any catch your fancy. So let’s dive in, shall we…
A brand that you all are likely familiar with, Viking is a luxury cruise line with Scandinavian heritage. Perhaps most well known for its range of River Cruises, Viking enters 2024 following an expansive 25th anniversary and continued investment in its Ocean and Expedition itinerary offerings. Leading with minimal nordic design elements, energy efficiency in ship engineering and exclusivity in capacities, experience and staff, we have long been fans of this brand. One itinerary that we’re really excited about as we head into the New Year? Viking’s Fjords and Shores Ocean Cruise.
While there are many incredible destinations across the globe that welcome visitors easily by land or by sea, the Fjords of Norway are best experienced by sea. This immersive eight day itinerary gives guests a visual and experiential journey through the Norwegian Fjords. Beginning in Amsterdam, meandering past Denmark’s famous fishing village of Skagen and into the Fjords of Norway, this cruise leads with breathtaking luxury at every turn. With a dedicated Historian on board to share tidbits of legends, trade and culture you are invited to immerse yourself in the rich heritage steeped in Nordic tradition.
With cosmopolitan shore excursions in Amsterdam and Oslo, the majority of this itinerary keys into off-the-beaten-path locations. Admire tranquil old fishing villages, the fortress of Kristiansand, go back in time on a stroll among Stavanger’s remarkably preserved wooden buildings (from the 18th & 19th centuries) and marvel at the rich landscape the Fjords provide. This trip is a spectacular excursion into Scandinavia’s most scenic and fascinating corners.
Explora is a newer line of luxury journeys by sea where guests are hosted elegantly and effortlessly across the brand’s growing fleet of ships. With a wide range of bespoke transoceanic voyages, Explora has been celebrated by travel writers as the most hotel-like experience on the water. For individuals, couples and families that enjoy the luxury of Belmond & Ritz-Carlton Resorts, Explora is a cruise line worth digging into.
Inclusive pricing allows passengers to enjoy each ship’s amenities and compliments without adding any à la carte additions; there are however certainly à la carte upgrades and experiences available throughout each journey. Featuring 5 upscale inclusive restaurants, 12 bars and lounges, 7,500 square feet of wellness space, infinity pools, cabanas and more, Explora is targeting a younger demographic that may previously have been turned off by more mainstream cruising as a form of travel. Each ship’s 461 suites are spacious (there are three levels of categories: entry level to state rooms) and include a large private veranda with a daybed and outdoor dining table; at maximum capacity, the ships can accommodate 992 guests.
We are currently eyeing the Explora itinerary through Greece and Croatia – in our opinion, there is no better way to explore these countries than by the water. For travelers open to setting sail this year, we’d love to talk through Explora options with you.
Bringing the Ritz experience to the sea, we love the Ritz Carlton Yacht Collection and journeys by water the brand offers to our travelers. The hospitality you are accustomed to on land is elevated by the thrill of adventures by water across the fleet of yachts and itineraries on offer each season. Leading with exceptional service, epicurean delights, curated adventure experiences and enriching amenities, we are most excited about the Caribbean itineraries currently available. There are a host of 7-night itineraries that take passengers to the British Virgin Islands, Guadeloupe, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Barbados. The exclusivity of the yachts’ maximum capacities being 298 passengers ensures a heightened level of comfort, privacy and luxury.
If you are the land traveler that prevers intimate curated settings and experiences as opposed to grand open-plan marble lobbies filled with hotel guests, I’d wager a guess that you’d love an experience aboard one of the Ritz’s Yachts. Through the lens of exclusive, individualized spaces, the current Ritz Yachts feature bookcase-lined cocktail lounges, chic entertainment spaces, a cozy humidor for enjoying a hand-rolled cigar, an immaculate spa and the list goes on. Tailored in design to mirror all facets of the beloved Ritz brand, boarding one of these Yachts to the Caribbean or elsewhere (they have a number of destinations) is seafaring adventure at its finest.
Well suited for the whole family, Celebrity Edge offers a highly tailored yet more casual approach to cruising as compared to the above listed sea travel options we’re loving for our clients. From cruises to Alaska to Australia and from the Greek Isles to the Galapagos, Celebrity Edge itineraries offer passengers as much to experience on ship as throughout the journey visiting different destinations.
Two recent ships have debuted, Ascent and Beyond, both of which are equipped with exquisite bells and whistles. From inclusive spaces for kids to exclusive wellness respites for adults, each of these boats feature a range of dining, entertainment and relaxation options for everyone to enjoy. In our experience, Celebrity Edge offers a bit more of a mainstream traditional cruising experience but with an edge of luxury and bespoke experience.
Disney Cruises | Hear Us Out
We love Disney and we get that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But hear us out! Kids love Disney and many parents love the idea of a Disney World adventure. What we love most about Disney Cruise Lines is that the magic of the brand is bottled up into a well-appointed ship fit for the whole family. In many ways a Disney Cruise itinerary is less stressful for mom and dad because the kids are safely confined to the boundaries of the ship and the outstanding kid-friendly staff is there to inspire and occupy the little ones if and when the parents want to visit the spa, read a book by the adults-only pool or enjoy a lunch date.
Offering a range of short itineraries to the Caribbean and longer itineraries on the horizon for 2024, we consistently receive great feedback from clients who take a family adventure aboard a Disney ship. With each suite decked out in a Disney theme, character breakfasts, live Disney shows, resort style amenities in line with what you’d experience as guests of the Grand Floridian etc, the promise of the brand is experienced across every touchpoint. For those looking for an outstanding Disney experience, a family friendly adventure or a new way to experience the spirit of Walt Disney… trust us, a Disney Cruise just might be the ticket.
As always, if you’re interested in cruising or want to chat more about what cruise line fits your travel style, reach out to Major Traveler by filling out our contact form here.