This year I've been lucky enough to sail with three separate cruise
lines in three distinct price categories, luxury, mid-price and budget, and let me tell you, they "vary". Here is my Kuki view on the differences -- loosely based on actual observations, but slightly twisted and all in good fun. The names have been changed to protect the guilty.
- Luxury Line: we were met at the airport by white gloved crewmembers, who immediately found our luggage and delivered it to our shipboard cabin.
- Mid-price Line: we carried our bags to the dock where we tipped a longshoreman to make sure our luggage made it aboard the ship.
- Budget Line: We tipped a longshoreman who lost our luggage anyway, but we got it in the second port of call.
- Luxury Line: the cabin stewardess stocked our cabin refrigerator daily with our favorite soda -- compliments of the house.
- Mid-price Line: we were charged for the drinks we took from our cabin refrigerator -- including gratuities added to the tab.
- Budget Line: we didn't have a cabin refrigerator -- and we were charged for ice.
- Luxury Line: our bathroom had a tub AND a shower, with a separate area for an extra sink and toilet.
- Mid-price Line: the bathroom was so small I thought the toilet was the sink.
- Budget Line: the toilet was the sink, and we had to purchase toilet paper in the gift shop.
- Luxury Line: our butler hand-delivered gourmet delicacies from around the world to our cabin each afternoon.
- Mid-price Line: we were treated to delicacies from last night's midnight buffet during the captain's cocktail party.
- Budget Line: no delicacies, no parties, and when we asked what the choices were for dinner, we were told "yes or no."
- Luxury Line: the entertainment was provided by guest lecturers and Broadway stars.
- Mid-price Line: entertainment was provided by people I thought were previously deceased (and possibly some were).
- Budget Line: entertainment was provided by a guy who could belch in seven languages while chugging a pitcher of beer.
- Luxury Line: the entire crew went out of their way to please us.
- Mid-price Line: our cabin steward and waiter worked to please us until the tip envelopes were handed out -- then they disappeared.
- Budget Line: the entire crew went out of their way to avoid us. And I'm sure, after reading this you understand why.
Of course, this is a facetious look at cruising. The truth is, while I know many luxury ships really are as good as what I describe above, I have yet to sail on any ship as bad as what I wrote for the "budget line". Cruises come in all different styles and price ranges, and I have thoroughly enjoyed each one. I would be packed and ready to go on any of them again in a New York minute, if the opportunity arose.