Kuki from CruiseMates.com explains the real cost of cruising Luxury, and finds it is considerably less than you might suspect.

While all cruise line’s advertising, at some time, will refer to themselves as a “luxury cruise”, it’s a simple process to determine, and recognize a true “luxury cruise” from all the other pretenders.

The number one criteria is price. Simply put; the higher the fare, the more luxury you’re going to find onboard.

Upfront costs

While the true “luxury cruise lines” cruise fares may initially seem 3 or 4 times higher than fares of other lines you may be investigating, the actual cost differences will narrow considerably, when you learn the pricing on the luxury lines is almost always all-inclusive.

Luxury cruise lines most always include all drinks (both non-alcoholic, and alcoholic), also including in suite mini-bar contents (often stocked with a list based on your request).

Gratuities are a non-issue on the majority of the “luxury cruise lines”, as they have a no tipping policy in place.

Often the “luxury cruise lines” will include shore excursions during ports of call, or at least a shipboard credit to cover the cost of shore tours. Whereas less luxurious lines will sell shore excursions; using the shore tour department as a profit center.

At this time many of the “luxury cruise lines” are also adding free airfare to attract passengers for their slower selling sailing dates, or the option of reduced rates for upgrading to first class seating for your flights”.

It all adds up

One must do only minor mathematics before you realize that the total cost of cruise on one of the “luxury cruise line” brands will be much closer to the cost of sailing on a lesser brand than an initial glance would show.

And any difference that still exists is quickly recovered in the value by the higher quality of service, the improvement in the entire dining experience, including quality of food, and the larger space to passenger ratio.

When planning a cruise, don’t disregard looking at a luxury cruise experience because of the assumption they are going to cost too much. After working with the numbers you may be quite surprised how equivalent the total cruise vacation costs will be when compared to the more mass market cruise lines

To read more from Kuki, head over to www.cruisemates.com

Click the cover to view the most recent issue of: Cruise International

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