Some common advice given by many regular cruise travellers to a first-timer is not to worry about what type of cabin you’re in – you won’t spend much time in there anyway.
If you’re staying in one of these though, we beg to differ. In fact, not only would you likely spend plenty of time in there yourself, you’d want to invite in as many people as you could.
Every ship has one – that one suite which sits head and shoulders above everything else. We all dream about spending a night in one, let alone a whole cruise, but the associated price tag often pushes us down a category or two…or three.
Naturally, these suites are significantly larger in size than your average interior or ocean view stateroom. Offering multiple rooms such as separate living & dining areas and a bedroom reminiscent of an average city apartment. Then there’s the bathroom….
Cruise ship bathrooms are usually little more than an oversized closet. In suites however, shower and toilet are separated by another wall, with at least one, if not two vanities and the coup de grace – the full size spa bath which takes pride of place.
The services available alongside such opulence too are reflective of the price tag one pays. Often, but not in every case, these guests are housed in a separate wing of the ship dedicated exclusively to the highest-end. From being whisked onboard earlier than other passengers through to having access to private facilities and exclusive shore excursions, these guests are looked after extremely well throughout their voyage.
Check out some of the best and most luxurious big ship suites sailing the high seas.
1. Regal Princess – Suite with Balcony
Up to 63 square metres in size, this suite offers a separate seating and entertaining area, room for four people on the balcony in the form of two loungers and a table and two chairs. Some suites come with a hot tub, while two flat-screen televisions will keep everyone happy.
2. Celebrity Reflection – Reflection Suite
Rightly named after the ship itself, this suite is tucked away in a top corner. Perhaps the most visually stunning part about this suite is the cantilevered shower, which is made up of one-way glass (meaning only you can see out) and offers a full sea view. The suite also features full size dining room and separate bedroom with customisable mattress.
3. MS Eurodam – Neptune Suite
Holland America Line is in the midst of a US$300 million upgrade program of its suites which will see full refurbishments carried out including new décor. Amenities such as an individual Espresso coffee machine are now available to Suite guests. HAL also caters to its ultra VIP’s with personalised stationary, laundry, pressing and dry cleaning throughout the voyage, fresh fruit on request, corsages and boutonnieres for formal nights as well.
4. Crystal Serenity – Crystal Penthouse
Already a luxury ship throughout, but Penthouse living on Crystal Cruises takes housing at sea to a new level. Forget only one penthouse on this ship though, there are actually 35 of them, each described as Fifth Avenue elegance also reflecting Hollywood Glamour. Personal butler service allows for in-suite dining course-by-course, whether selecting from an in-suite menu or from the major restaurants. Bathrooms offer a heated floor, television embedded in the vanity mirror and flotation tub with ocean views.
5. Queen Elizabeth – Queen’s Suite
What could you expect Britain’s royal cruise line would not think of for guests travelling in its highest-tier suites such as the Queen’s Suite and Princess Suite? The answer – not much. Personal butler service, daily delivered flowers, nine options in the pillow menu, a personal atlas to help you follow the ship’s progress, unpacking and packing service and more of those little but memorable things. On a larger scale, suites include walk-in wardrobes, marble bathrooms with a whirlpool bath, all over a space up to 208 square metres in size.
6. Viking Star – Explorer Suite
As luxurious as this suite is, it’s the advance access that passengers travelling in this category receive that helps get this suite onto this list. As good as 11am embarkation sounds – nice and early ahead of everybody else, guests can book their shore excursions up to 97 days prior to sailing, have up to three guaranteed tables at each specialty restaurant booked 90 days prior. During the voyage itself, guests enjoy a plush King bed, in-suite binocular, coffee maker and cashmere blanket for sitting on the balcony admiring the shore.
7. MS Astor – Astor Suite
This ship spends the Southern Hemisphere summer sailing from Perth, making this suite one of the most accessible to Australian cruisers, if your pockets are deep enough to afford it. At 59 square metres, this suite sits on the ‘Boat Deck’ and features separate sleeping and living areas. Guests can enjoy a view over the bow with a floor-to-ceiling window, access to a terrace up the front of the ship. A television is embedded in the bathroom mirror.
8. Riviera – Owner’s Suite
At a massive 185 square metres, Oceania Cruises’ Owner’s Suites offer an oversized shower and private verandah, with a bath on the deck itself and two walk-in closets. These suites offer quite a bit of technology to help guests to stay connected, from two flat-screen televisions to a personal laptop and iPad for personal use during the voyage. Round-the-clock butler service comes standard along with a daily newspaper of choice, cashmere lap blankets and garment pressing on embarkation.