We are very excited to introduce Kanise, our new team member and Luxury Cruise Specialist. Kanise comes to us with an extensive travel background. She has experience working in the airlines as both a flight attendant and customer service specialist, and most importantly she brings us luxury cruise industry knowledge from her recent time as a cruise consultant with Silversea Cruises. Her passion for travel has taken her all over the world (such as Santorini in the photo) and her favorite time was spent teaching English in Korea. We are very happy to welcome her to the J5Travel team!
Guess what the Top 5 theme is this week?.....
What's new in luxury cruising.
Luxury Cruise News TOP 5
1. Scenic Eclipse
Although the delivery date of this ultra-luxury ship has just been delayed again, by the fall of 2019 the face of small-ship cruising will change dramatically. Scenic Eclipse will set the new standard in ocean cruising in terms of technology, size and luxury. Designed to deliver the ultimate experience of a lifetime for only 228 guests (only 200 in the Arctic and Antarctica), the ship will take small luxury cruises to a whole new level – marrying luxury, discovery and safety, and giving guests the opportunity to explore above and beyond what was previously imaginable with onboard helicopters and a submarine.
Artist renderings of the Penthouse Suite (above) and the helipad (below) give just a glimpse of what is to come.
2. Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection
Another new entry to the luxury cruise market, the first of 3 Ritz-Carlton Yachts is due to launch in February 2020. Although it won't have the expedition qualities of the Scenic Eclipse, the luxury elements are going to be phenomenal. Itineraries over the first year will include the Caribbean, Canada and New England, the Mediterranean, along with Northern Europe and the Baltic. Lowest category Terrace Suites will still have nearly 380sq ft of space to relax in, and if you want to try the Owners Suite (below), you will enjoy a dedicated personal concierge and over 1,600sq ft of living space.
3. Virgin Voyages
Yes, another new cruise line! Sir Richard Branson and partners have 3 ocean liners on order, with the first, named Scarlet Lady (below), due for delivery in Spring 2020. Though itineraries are yet to be released, the Caribbean is the likely area for the first season, and Miami will be the ship's home. Virgin Voyages is going to be Adults-Only, a bold decision. Think upscale rockstar influenced cabins, and expect to be called a Sailor, not a passenger. The ship will feature over 20 dining and drinking options, and will do away with buffets, main dining rooms and assigned dining times like you'd find on traditional cruise ships. As for formal wear nights - um no, this is Virgin...
More on Virgin Voyages in a few weeks, as we might just have some inside info.
4. The Suite Trend
Cruise lines across the board are realizing that the demand for high end suite accommodation, especially on 7-nights and longer cruise itineraries is strong and growing. As well as all the new options that are about to flow our way, established cruise lines are upgrading current vessels at a rapid rate. Top suites on popular itineraries regularly sell out 18 months in advance, so this wasn't rocket science. Azamara, a wonderful small ship cruise line many will not have heard of, recently took 40 or so regular staterooms on its revitalized Azamara Pursuit (below) and upgraded those to just 20 Club Continent Suites. Then it also added more high-end suites of other types, such as Club World Owner’s Suites and Club Spa Suites.
5. Bijagos Archipelago (above and below)
You achieve a big gold star if you know where the Bijagos Archipelago is located. With previously inaccessible regions of the world now reachable in the throes of deep luxury, there are not many destinations left to explore, but this is another trend especially among small ship cruise lines...go somewhere no-one else is going. As an example of the extraordinary routes that are possible these days, Ponant will sail you to the Bijagos Archipelago, a UNESCO biosphere reserve comprising 88 mostly uninhabited islands off the West African coast. Sailing round trip from Dakar on a brand new ship this year, Le Dumont-D’Urville, you'll get to meet the Bidyogo people, a matriarchal society existing for thousands of years. You'll also enjoy plenty of wildlife, from saltwater hippos and crocodiles to snakes, gazelles, and monkeys all whilst enjoying a 92 Suite-only capacity luxury ship and a truly unique cruising experience.