Cruise Companies: Mainstream, Premium, Deluxe or Luxury (Part 4)

| March 16, 2009

The cruise industry slots each cruise company into one of four categories. Here are the definition and occupants of each category.

Princess also offers traditional dining as well as "Personal Choice" which allows guests to dine when they want, and with whom they want. Unlike Norwegian's Freestyle, Princess does have suggested dress codes each evening, and guests are expected to dress appropriately for designated formal nights throughout the ship. There is a great deal of leeway in the definition of formal, however, to the point where slacks and a Polo shirt are close enough.

Princess also features a 24-hour Horizon Court (buffet restaurant) for those who want to dine in a casual setting or for late night snacks, coffee etc. princess was the first and is still one of the few cruise lines to keep their buffet area open 24-hours/day. Most cruise lines do offer the dining alternative and have some food throughout the night, mostly pizza, and all offer 24-hour complimentary room service (except Royal Caribbean who just started a $3.95 service charge between midnight and 5:00 am).

Princess' evening entertainment is almost on par with the contemporary cruise lines and a cut above the other premium lines. Standard cabins on Princess are a bit on the smaller side in size.

Unlike Holland America, the service staff on Princess is an international mix. You can expect very attentive service in most cases, which helps to keep the line in the premium category. Food quality is generally good in the dining room and very good in Grill.

DELUXE CRUISE LINES Sometime in the early part of this decade a new category of cruise lines emerged. In an unusual set of circumstances three different cruise lines all offer deluxe cruises all based on identical ships - the former R-ships of Renaissance Cruises.

Deluxe is meant to be a cut above premium, most significantly in terms of the passenger capacity and the size of the ships. Deluxe ships are about 30,000 tons and only carry about 700 passengers. But they are also a step below luxury, our next category, because they do not feature the same levels of service and do not have all-inclusive pricing.

Oceania Cruises The first cruise company to claim the "deluxe" category was Oceania Cruises. Frank Del Rio, the former president of Renaissance joined up with a former president of Crystal Cruises, Joe Watters, to start the company. It was targeted to appeal to Crystal cruisers (a luxury cruise line) but at a lower price point. Eventually, however, the actual customers were largely former fans of Renaissance and the Crystal fans stuck to Crystal.

Continue Article >> Oceania Cruises (Cont.) (Part 5)

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