If you enjoy being pampered, a luxury cruise is a no-brainer. Passengers who are used to the take-a-number approach of a mega-ship will find themselves delightfully overwhelmed at the personal touch they receive from staff on a luxury cruise. With attentive service from your butler, wait staff, pool attendants -- even extra staff like gentlemen hosts -- you might never want to leave.
Here are 12 cool things that luxury cruise crew members will do to enhance your vacation.
A buckwheat pillow to prop up an aching neck? Or perhaps a full body pillow that you can hug all night? Or one of everything to create your own fort? Whatever scenario spurs snoozing, your room steward or butler on a luxury cruise will help you find it. (And if one doesn't work, don't be afraid to send it back and try another –- that's the whole purpose of a menu!)
Prefer wine to beer? Or perhaps you're a closet Diet Coke fiend. On a luxury cruise, your suite attendant will customize your mini-bar so only your favorites appear -- and he or she will restock it when you start running low. So, go ahead and enjoy your G & T on the balcony; on luxury cruises, it's all included.
On luxury cruises, the bathroom comes already stocked with luxury bath brands like Bvlgari and Hermes. But why stop there? Luxury lines usually have more than one brand available, and your cruise butler can stock your bathroom with an assortment so you can try them all. If you'd really like to indulge, ask your steward or stewardess to draw you a bubble bath --- almost all luxury cruise suites have full tubs.
Overwhelmed with all of the activity choices, dinner reservations and spa appointments? Your butler can help you figure it all out. He knows your ship backward and forward, and can also give you insight into which restaurants are most full, and at what time. Consider him your go-to expert on what makes your luxury cruise ship tick and let him help you take advantage of it all.
After a long shore excursion, it's nice to have some downtime before dinner -- and perhaps a snack. No problem! Ring room service and they'll deliver a cheese plate or yummy canapes directly to your suite. Chill out on your balcony and watch the sunset with snacks and some Champs, all served on a white tablecloth.
Exploring the off-the-beaten path and small ports that are the hallmarks of luxury cruises can get dusty and dirty. No worries. Your suite attendant will take your muddy shoes and render them spotless. Keeping it clean goes beyond shoes though; on some luxury cruises, the butler even gets your suitcase shipshape before you leave.
Your room steward isn't the only cruise staff member who wants to make your vacation memorable -- excellent service prevails throughout the ship. In dining rooms and specialty restaurants, sommeliers have been trained to perfectly match your meal with the ship's wine list. Why not ask for course-by-course pairings to make dinner memorable?
On a long cruise, you can begin missing the comforts of home, or tire of typical cruise ship fare. If you've got a craving that only an off-the-menu entree can fix, just ask the dining room manager if the chef can whip it up for you. Ask for anything from your grandmother's meatloaf to a feast of Italian or Indian specialties. Special requests can usually be satisfied with 24 hours' notice.
Traveling solo without a dining partner? Many luxury cruise lines employ gentleman hosts to lead dancing lessons and run solo cocktail hours. If you want company at dinner, they'll gladly accompany you to your table for conversation and even escort you to the show afterward. (Just keep in mind that other solos will likely join you; gentlemen hosts are required to mingle and avoid playing favorites.)
What makes a luxury cruise ship pool better than the one in your yard? Attendants who make the rounds with cool towels and even colder drinks. Suntan lotion can lead to smudged sunglasses, but even here, luxury cruise ships lend a hand by making the rounds with microfiber cleansing cloths so you can actually read that book in your hand.
Feeling peckish at the pool? Sure, you could mosey over to the outdoor grill that most cruise ships have on the lido deck. But isn't it more luxurious to have your pizza delivered loungeside? We thought so. (On Seabourn, up the ante with the line's signature caviar delivery.)
If you're cruising for a milestone birthday or anniversary, you've come to the right place. The entire staff, from the cruise director to your butler to the dining manager, will go out of their way to make the occasion unique. Arrange a private course-by-course dinner in your suite, along with a special bottle of wine. Or go festive with suite decorations and a cocktail party. Crystal even does a special birthday breakfast in your suite or in the main dining room. However you choose to celebrate, your luxury cruise crew will make it happen.