Affordable Luxury Cruising

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Courtesy photo

Regent Cruise Lines, an all-suite, all-balcony upscale cruise line, offers one of the lowest guest-to-crew ratios in the business, meaning better service.

I recently read an article about the customer reaction to the recent slashing of cruise prices to make them more affordable for passengers of “lower financial status” — seems some of the blue bloods on the major cruise lines were offended by the influx of passengers of “average” means, and therefore these snooty snoots were looking at deals on the luxury lines. So just for fun, I decided to compare.

Consider Regent Cruise Lines, an all-suite, all-balcony upscale cruise line with 700 passengers and 445 crew. This is one of the lowest guest-to-crew ratios in the business, meaning better service. Additionally, the space-to-guest ratio is one of the highest in the industry, meaning more space onboard per passenger. Regent is a true all-inclusive line, meaning that shore excursions, beverages, gratuities, free alternative dining in up to four specialty restaurants, and transfers are included at no charge.

Let’s compare a Baltic/Northern Europe cruise in late June 2011. Regent’s fare is $7,999 per person, including the early booking discount. Remember that airfare including taxes, transfers, shore excursions, specialty restaurants, gratuities, and alcoholic, carbonated beverages and bottled water are all included in that price. Holland America, Celebrity, and Princess fares are listed as $3,899, $4,999, and $3,379 respectively. However, when the airfare, transfers, shore excursions, gratuities, alcohol, soft drinks, and alternative dining are added to the above prices, the total cruise fare could jump to $7,683, $8,453, and $7,532*.

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Courtesy photo Regent Cruise Lines offers a 356-square-foot veranda cabin.

Regent Cruise Lines offers a 356-square-foot veranda cabin.

To get a more accurate figure, we need to divide the total number of days on the cruise into the above prices to get an approximate cost per day: Regent is $800, Holland, $768, Celebrity, $704, and Princess, $685. Wait a minute — Regent is still the highest.

Well, how much would it be worth to you to sail on a ship that carries 700 passengers vs. 2,104, 2,034 or 3,080? Remember also the guest-to-crew and space-to-guest ratios, which are all superior with Regent.

*Airfares are approximate, and are figured from the West Coast. Fares are figured on Regent‘s early booking discount of up to $3,000 savings per person.

If we look at a seven-day Alaska sailing in June 2011, the per day cost could be only $64 more on Regent than the least expensive fare on the other lines. Passenger counts on these ships are Regent 490 vs. 1,432, 2,034 and 1,970 on the other lines. And remember the better service because of more crew per passenger, and more elbowroom because of more space per passenger.

*Airfares are approximate, and are figured from the East Coast.

Now to be completely fair, these comparisons are only valid if you normally book a veranda cabin similar to the 356-square-foot Regent cabin. If you usually book an ocean view or interior cabin, the fare would obviously be much more expensive on Regent. Likewise if you don’t normally reserve an alternative restaurant, drink much alcohol, soft drinks or bottled water, or go on shore excursions, Regent’s inclusive price would be more.

So now you probably want to know what other destinations Regent sails to.

In addition to the Baltic and Alaska, they sail to the Mediterranean, Africa and India, the Far East, Australia, Canada and New England, the Caribbean, and South America. Dress is smart casual, with formal nights optional on longer sailings.

Regent Seven Seas is just one of the upscale cruise lines that we represent. If you value outstanding service, spacious cabins, a true all-inclusive experience and fewer fellow guests, then you might want to consider Crystal, Silversea, Oceania, Cunard or Azamara Club Cruises.

Whatever your price range, we can find the cruise line and itinerary to suit your fancy. We can also help you with escorted and small group or fully independent tours, expedition and adventure tours, religious travel and pilgrimages, river cruises and train journeys, resorts, hotels, flights, and rental cars. Cruise Port Travel is located at 900 W Driftwood Dr. in Payson. Visit us on the Web at www.travelpayson. You can also book your own flights from our Web site.

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