4. Upscale lines usually offer pre and post stays, and if you watch for specials, sometimes these are included in your fare. A smart cruiser arrives at least one day before departure so why not take advantage to explore your embarkation city and have this pre-cruise stay included. Ditto the end of your cruise when flights may not be convenient or available upon disembarkation day.
5. One of the biggest advantages in my opinion is that many luxury lines and river cruises have excursions and drinks included in your fare. Unless you are one of the very few who will not have soft drinks or alcoholic drinks, who never takes an excursion in port, who never eats in specialty restaurants, and adheres rigidly to just the cruise fare paid amenities, try completing this little exercise next cruise. Add up all the extras you paid for on your “inexpensive” cruise, and compare this to a similar itinerary on a luxury cruise line such as Regent Seven Seas or a comparable length river cruise where all these items are included in your fare. You will find the “luxury” fare is not that much different in the end and you receive so much more.
My favorite anecdote is getting the final billing shoved under my stateroom door for a 7 day river cruise and seeing the bottom line of $18.00 for extras bought on the cruise. Was I suitably impressed ! My final on board billing is usually in the area of $500 for a comparable length ocean cruise on a contemporary line. And that would be just my bill, not my husband’s, which could equal or surpass that amount. And on my $18.00 of extras luxury river cruise, I had everything I desired and then some.
One warning: The only downside of premium or luxury cruising as I see it, is that once you’ve tried it, it will be difficult to go back to the contemporary (mass market) lines again.