Luxury cruising is one of the most effortless holiday experiences one could have
The definition of luxury – that overused word beloved of marketeers – nonetheless does fit with the upmarket cruise industry: top brands deliver personalised service, exquisite gourmet food and first-class entertainment in the most sumptuous of surroundings.
Moreover, smaller contemporary vessels find it just as easy to traverse the Antarctic Ocean or Amazon basin as the calm Mediterranean seas. Therefore, they are able to offer the perfect compromise for travellers who want to explore the world’s most exciting destinations in comfort and for thrill-seekers who crave deep-sea diving, Antarctic expeditions and watersports; all of which luxury vessels happily provide.
It is a market that is constantly growing, and thanks to the high-level of competition prevalent in the industry, one can expect to pay less for a prestige three-week cruise than for a week’s holiday at an equivalent five-star hotel. That said, if you are only satisfied with the best and seek to charter your own private yacht, then the costs will be much greater.
But, ultimately, the only inherent problem with this thriving industry is knowing who to entrust with your holiday plans. For, just as ‘some animals are more equal than others’, some lines are more luxurious than their rivals.
ADVENTURE – SILVERSEA SILVER EXPLORER
Custom-built to sail the waters of the Antarctic, Silversea’s Silver Explorer provides an effortless and all-inclusive method of exploring the most spectacular and haunting continent on Earth (from £8,950, silversea.com).
Larger than Australia, Antartica lacks fences, frontiers and indeed an infrastructure, making a luxury cruise the safest and most reliable method of seeing the magnetic south in high-definition. Part of Silversea’s luxury expedition fleet, the Silver Explorer has a strengthened hull which enables the cruise ship to safely sail through ice floes without difficulty.
The vessel also boasts a fleet of Zodiac ships which give guests the opportunity to visit some of the more obscure locations. However, hedonistic pursuits should not be omitted from this discussion – the Silver Explorer is dedicated to mercilessly pampering its guests, from the sumptuous onboard accommodation to the enticing range of dining options.
“Explorer has one of the highest staff-to-passenger ratios in the industry”
Moreover, with a capacity of 130 guests and 113 crew, the Explorer has one of the highest staff-to-passenger ratios in the industry, which ensures that service is attentive, intuitive and pretty much spot-on. Indeed, Silversea is celebrated for its service.
The nearest competition would be the MS Hanseatic, owned by German shipping firm, Hapag-Lloyd. In 2017, Hapag-Lloyd is offering a total of ten enriching itineraries operated in both English and German, sailing aboard the world’s only five-star expedition ship (from £8,660, hl-cruises.com). The Hanseatic, an extremely handsome and well-equipped vessel, is adept at exploring remote regions such as the South Pacific, the Amazon River and Latin America.
They are renowned for their immensely popular Amazon River expeditions: with its small size (175 guests), shallow draught and its on-board Zodiacs, Hanseatic can cruise deeper into the jungle of the Amazon than other cruise ships.
Regardless of your final choice of ship and destination, an adventure cruise offers the pinnacle of contemporary luxury travel – the world’s most breathtaking landscapes and inaccessible destinations, with all the creature comforts of a five-star hotel.