Exclusive Luxury ( Image: Norwegian®)
Exclusivity Within the Familiar
Many loyal followers of cruise lines have the opportunity these days of “stepping up” to luxury but still cruising on their favorite ships with the advent of a “ship within a ship” concept. Cruisers are familiar with the difference between reserving a lower entry-level stateroom and booking an Owner’s Suite (or what ever the top class of accommodation is called on the ship). That difference has now been taken further with the creation of distinct luxury areas reserved for top level staterooms on some cruise lines in addition to all the added perks. This article will examine three such offerings.
Norwegian ® was one of the first to offer this exclusive and private approach to cruising. Reserve a suite in The Haven and you will enjoy not only all the ordinary perks of cruising with this popular mass market line but also perks unique to your accommodation such as a private sunning courtyard with deck and pool, private gourmet restaurant, and a private cocktail lounge.
Haven Courtyard ( Image: Norwegian®)
It is more than just a dedicated butler, and priority on embarkation/disembarkation, tendering, dining reservations, VIP seats at theatre productions, and so on. With entry by key card only, it is a world away from the other guests aboard – a true “ship within a ship”.
The Suite Life
Celebrity Cruises® is considered a premium cruise line as compared to Norwegian® but that didn’t stop it from creating private, luxury areas for select suite guests to further enhance their cruise experience.. There is a private butler at one’s service day and night, reserved seating on Evening Chic nights, a private restaurant (Luminae) and an exclusive lounge for Suite guests only.
Celebrity also has the AquaClass experience for those who prefer the healthy wellness approach to life. These staterooms have exclusive perks such as daily flavored teas, Wellness Channel programming in suite, a personal spa concierge, and in-room wellness related amenities. There is also a restaurant reserved exclusively for this Class of suites (Blu) and they enjoy unlimited use of the spa lounge (Persian Garden).
Persian Garden (Image: Celebrity Cruises®)
The additional amenities of both these comes close to a ship-within-a-ship status – it certainly sets one apart from the average cruiser.
The Yacht Club
The MSC Yacht Club is more akin to Norwegian’s Haven. It is a distinctly private area aboard many of its ships and is reserved for only those guests who book the Club staterooms. You have a private 24-hour butler service and all-inclusive service in luxury accommodations, a private scenic lounge, a free time choice dining restaurant, and pool deck with whirlpools, pool, sunning solarium and bar reserved exclusively for Club access. Drinks are unlimited throughout these areas and the ship. If you wish, you can take in all the other on-board happenings with priority access to venues and activities. The Yacht Club is another distinct ship-within-a-ship.
Why not just book a luxury cruise you might ask? First, there may be brand loyalty as mentioned previously. Secondly, it gives one many of the benefits of a very small luxury ship with the added benefits that come with a larger one. And thirdly, in the age of multi-generational travel, it provides families the opportunity of creating ultra-relaxing and private retreat space for some members and high energy activity and excitement for others in the same group on the same ship, a win-win.
Whatever your cruising situation or preferences may be, it might be worthwhile to check out some of these ship-within-ships for your next cruise.