When you’re booking your luxury cruise it’s easy to get bogged down with strange terms and mixed up in what exactly makes up the best deal, and another one of the biggest conundrums for you luxury travellers is whether you want to go for a 5*, or an even fancier 6* cruise line.
You’re probably wondering what the real difference is in that one extra star? Well, we’ve decided to look into it for you and pick out the key differences between 5 and 6-star cruising, so now you can relax, read on and figure out which is the right one for you…
Six Star Cruising
It’s All Inclusive
With a 6-star line, absolutely everything will be included. We’re talking roundtrip flights and shore excursions (on board Regent), alcoholic and soft beverages, open bars and even an in-suite mini bar that’s stocked with all your favourite drinks and gets replenished daily. You don’t have to worry about carrying around extra money for tipping either because gratuities are included in your fare.
You’ll also get to enjoy free Wi-Fi, transfers to and from the port with Regent, 24-hour room service, complimentary use of the gym AND with most 6* lines you’ll get an exclusive stay in a 5* hotel when you’re at port. Phew! How’s that for all inclusive?
Our Specialist cruise consultant Alison recently went on 6* Regent and she said: “Regent Seven Seas are six-star cruise ships and are all inclusive. All inclusive in this case means free flights and transfers, which is even free business class on certain sailings.
All dining, including the speciality restaurants, is in the price as are all drinks including fine wines and premium brand spirits and this is throughout the day, not just at mealtimes, and even includes your mini-bar.” Click here to read more about Alison’s time on Regent Seven Seas Navigator!
Only Suites Allowed
One of the key differences with 6 star cruises is that almost all the rooms on board are suites, with most having balconies or private verandas. Regent boasts a whopping 90% of suites with balconies on all their ships, excluding their Navigator ship. The rooms are ultra-luxurious featuring separate sitting areas, furnished balconies and most, if not all, will have an ocean view.
One of the biggest luxury lines, Silversea, will treat you to a lavish Butler, and you even have the option to personalise your suite before you board, you can select what size bed you want, the firmness of your mattress, what toiletries you want, and you’ll even get your own personalised stationery!
Cruise line Regent even have Versace plates! So every little detail is covered with a 6* line; every suite will be designed by a top interior designer and your bathrooms will be styled indulgently with marble décor and you can find the best beauty products in your bathroom to top it all off.
The Finest Dining At Sea
A huge perk to 6 star is the fact that all drinks and food are included! There’s restaurants with close partnerships with top chefs and restaurants including: Grands Chefs Relais & Chateaux on board Silversea and Michelin starred Thomas Keller on Seabourn! Due to the popularity of some of the speciality restaurants, booking is essential and you may have to pay a small fee to reserve a table, but who can complain about that when you’re being treated to the finest food at sea?
You’ll even get optional extras for an extra luxury experience (if that’s even possible). With lavish line Seabourn you can purchase a premium wine package and sample some of the finest premium wines from their well-stocked cellar. Whereas with Regent you’ll get all premium wines included in your fare.
Five Star Cruising
Not Everything Is Included
Now don’t jump to conclusions and think that it means it’s not as grand, because it’s still extremely luxurious. On most 5* lines the majority of things will be included, but be prepared to see a few add on charges for extra services, including treatments at the spa.
Shore excursions could also sometimes be extra but most lines offer well priced packages, unless you’re cruising with Azamara because they offer an exclusive evening excursion on most sailings.
Staterooms Are Available
On a 5* cruise your accommodation options are much more varied as they’re not all suites, because there are staterooms available too! So that’s good news for those of you who want to go on a luxury cruise without completely breaking the bank.
Although they’re more affordable, the spaces will still be contemporary with clean stylish décor, and private verandas available in the majority of staterooms on Oceania. There are still suites available on the 5* lines and you’ll be living in the lap of luxury with Azamara because their suites have their own personal butler!
Drinks and Dining May Be Extra
Where soft drinks, tea, coffee and room service will usually be included as standard, you may have to watch your alcohol intake on a 5* line as alcohol may not be included. But don’t let that put you off! All lines will have the option to purchase a reasonably priced beverage package and you never know, it may help you resist over indulging! However, with Azamara you’ll get unlimited drinks included in your fare, now including prosecco.
The restaurants on 5* will still be top of the line and inspired by top chefs, but speciality dining will usually be an additional charge. With Azamara, speciality restaurants will be an extra fee for stateroom guests and the popular Prime C and Aqualina will cost $25 per person. There are always exceptions to the rule of course because with Oceania you won’t be charged extra for any of the restaurants on board!
So there you have it. As you can see there’s not too much in that one star, the key difference being that absolutely everything you can think of is included with 6*, and there are usually less guests than on 5* lines, so you’re basically paying for exclusivity.
But what do you think? Do you think a 5 or 6 star cruise suits you best? Have you noticed any more key differences? Have you sailed with 5 or 6 star lines before? Let us know in the comments!
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