Q – If I may offer a critique – you seem to really gloss over another luxury option for people like us. We are willing to pay for private, top-drawer accommodations with, perhaps, a private dining option, butler service. etc. But we are also interested in going to the on-board shows, art sales, lectures and classes, and the quick buffets. I know that some of these options are better than others. Who offers true luxury within the body of a mass market (to use your term) larger ship and who would you recommend? We’re “players” – we like to sleep with the snobs but we like to play with the commoners.
A – Your choices really boil down to MSC’s “Yacht Club”, NCL’s “Haven”, and the Cunard Princess and Queen’s Grill Suites. These are all luxury spots with unique accommodations for upper end travelers on top of a few thousand just plain folk. Of these, the Cunard brand is unique and Queen’s Grill on an Atlantic Crossing is still recommended. But the line that seems to be pulling off this concept most successfully is Norwegian Cruise line with their Haven concept. Think butler service, a private dining enclave, and an absolutely off limits to any but Haven guests exclusivity. You are correct. We have not done it justice because of our feeling that if you are going to pay for something really excellent, it needn’t be located directly above the rock-climbing wall or the bingo lounge.
The real advantage of The Haven and the top suite accommodations on Celebrity,, is the opportunity for families to enjoy top accommodations while their kids still have access to a full menu of organized games and activities.