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Latest Luxury travel articles

QM2 leaving Southampton in August 2010

Cunard to launch wine education courses at sea

December 6, 2016

From via

Luxury travel brand Cunard partnered with the largest provider of wine and spirits qualifications in the world, WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust), to launch certified wine and spirit courses for its passengers.

The partnership with Cunard is the first time WSET courses will be available to guests on a Transatlantic and round-world cruise line with WSET courses initially available on Queen Mary 2’s westbound Transatlantic crossings and world voyages. Courses are expected to be available on Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth later in 2017.

Guests aboard crossings from Southampton to New York can embark on a 5-day course to achieve WSET Level 1 Award in Wines. The course gives a hands-on introduction to the world of wine in an interactive and relaxed atmosphere for beginners, while covering the basics of wine types and styles through sight, smell, and taste, as well as how to store and serve wine and pair with food.

Walter Christen's insight:

Cunard Line Is bringing the wine tasting sessions other cruise lines have to a whole new level. Availability of the classes will start on the Queen Mary 2 during transatlantic crossings and world cruises.  Sounds like a great way to spend some time learning something new. 


At the Culinary Arts Kitchen, you'll learn how to prepare exquisite dishes in an environment reminiscent of a  prestigious cooking school.

New Seven Seas Explorer preps special culinary classes and tours for the Caribbean

December 2, 2016

From via

Currently on its way to Miami, Florida for the first time from the Mediterranean, Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ brand new Seven Seas Explorer is preparing for the Caribbean with a series of Gourmet Explorer Tours.

Beginning in December, the liner, said to be “the most luxurious ship ever built,” will make its North American and Caribbean debut sailing on 10- and 14-night voyages this winter and next spring. Besides the special shore excursions, the ship will also present new courses at its onboard Culinary Arts Kitchen.

The Culinary Arts Kitchen is ideally situated on deck 11 with scenic ocean views and 18 individual cooking stations.

Walter Christen's insight:

I think it is a great idea to have a dedicated cooking class area on a cruise ship. Regent Seven Seas brand new Seven Seas Explorer has this covered with a very nicely designed cooking area. Instead of watching a demonstration of someone cooking, actually doing the cooking is a better way to actually learn how to make some of the iconic dishes of the Caribbean.

The additional cost shore excursions also sound like they would be fun and entertaining for any foodie.  


Wind Spirit, a computer-controlled yacht-style sailing ship, now sails to Tahiti.

Windstar Cruises propels onward – with or without sails

December 1, 2016

From via

While there’s been lots of buzz about big cruise ships as of late, it’s not just the gargantuan floating palaces of the sea that offer a wonderful cruise experience. In fact, I’d argue that most of the cruisers I meet (myself included) count small ships among their favourite cruise experiences. And one of my favourite small-ship lines is Windstar Cruises.

Based out of Seattle, Windstar has a fleet of six unique ships. Wind Star, Wind Spirit and Wind Surf are all known as “motor-ship-yachts” thanks to their masts of billowing white sails, but decidedly cruise-like on-board amenities. Of the three, Wind Surf is the biggest, with a capacity for 310 guests. Wind Star and Wind Surf are smaller; these identical sister-ships carry just 148 guests apiece.

Windstar also has three “power yachts” — small, luxury cruise ships that the line recently acquired from Seabourn. Known as Star Breeze, Star Legend and Star Pride, these ships have just 212 guests and no sails — but what they lack in sail power, they make up for in terms of lavish accommodations. Suites are, on average, larger aboard these power yachts, which longtime cruisers might remember better under their former names of Seabourn Legend, Seabourn Pride and Seabourn Spirit.

Walter Christen's insight:

The Windstar Cruises lineup of three cruise ships that have sails (Wind Star, Wind Spirit and Wind Surf) and the three power yachts (Star Breeze, Star Legend and Star Pride) have been on must do cruise list for a long time. I really want to cruise on a ship with sails.  I have seen these while on other cruises and they are all beautiful ships and I feel that the small ship experience is enhanced by Windstar Cruises attention to detail.  


An aerial of Seabourn Encore, the luxury ship that debuted in early 2017.

Seabourn takes delivery of its new ship Encore

December 1, 2016

New ships are entering service at a rapid rate this year and one of the most anticipated in the industry, Seabourn Encore, was delivered to Seabourn today during an official handover ceremony at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy.

Seabourn Encore joins the fleet of ultra-stylish ships operated by Seabourn that offer all-inclusive fares, exceptional cuisine, seamless service and a chic but not stuff country club-like onboard ambience. 

The ship begins pre-inaugural sailings this Sunday and on Dec. 20 with VIPs, travel writers and a small number of guests as it gets ready for its christening Jan. 7 in Singapore.

Seabourn president Richard Meadows calls Seabourn Encore "a stunning ship that will set a new standard in ultra-luxury cruising."

The 600-passenger, all-balcony-suites Encore will deliver the high levels of personalized service expected by the line's upscale clientele along with a high staff to guest ratio.

Silver Cloud passes under London's Tower Bridge at dusk.

Silver Cloud prepares for transition to expedition cruises

November 16, 2016

While the debut of Silversea's Silver Muse in March 2017 is garnering all the attention, the luxury cruise line is also busy with the transition of Silver Cloud from a globe-trotting luxury ship into an ice-class expedition ship. Her inaugural voyage is one year away. 

Super-luxe, all-inclusicve Silversea Cruises, one of the world’s leading luxury cruise lines, is celebrating one year to go until the inaugural voyage of the Silver Cloud as an ice-class expedition ship by releasing detailed renderings of the ship’s refurbishment. The ship, which was long one of the company's original small luxury vessels, is being been totally refurbished for a November 2017 launch, which will be an industry defining moment as Silversea will once again redefine luxury and comfort in expedition cruising.

The inaugural voyage will be to Antarctica and will provide the highest space-to-guest and crew-to-guest ratios in expedition cruising. The ship's guest capacity of 260 in non-polar regions and just 200 in polar regions means that guests will enjoy the highest levels of personalized and attentive service on board.

A Veranda Suite on Silver Cloud after it transitions into an expedition ship.
Courtesy of SilverseaA Veranda Suite on Silver Cloud after it transitions into an expedition ship.

Silver Cloud’s transition to the expedition fleet will bring expedition guests the luxury, style and comfort synonymous with Silversea’s classic fleet. The renderings (see right) clearly showcase the luxurious, all-ocean view suites that will be elegantly decorated with new furnishings and upholstery in a refined color palette. Silver Cloud will have the largest suites in expedition cruising, and over 80 percent of the suites have a private veranda.

You can find details  at the newly posted Silver Cloud 2018 digital brochure, which highlights the ship’s itineraries following her transition into the expedition fleet. During this time period, she will travel more than 70,500 nautical miles, visit almost 190 destinations, with over 380 ports of call, and make more than 30 maiden visits. She will embark on 11 Antarctic and eight Arctic voyages; sail under London’s Tower Bridge; discover the history and culture of the British Isles; explore the Norwegian Fjords; transit the Panama Canal; provide culinary discoveries in Europe and South America and spend Christmas in the Falkland Islands.

The ship will feature 18 new Zodiacs, enabling shipwide simultaneous explorations in groups of no more than 14 people. Silver Cloud will also have a team of up to 19 dedicated experts on hand to ensure guests leave with the best experiences from their voyages, whether they be the sights, the sounds, the history or the stories. Daily presentations and lectures by experts in the state-of-the-art theater will also be streamed live to all suites.

To watch a video that showcases the ship. click here.  For more information on Silver Cloud and her 2018 itineraries visit here.

Silversea is well known for its seamless onboard service with butlers in all staterooms, fine food and tasteful experiences.  Fares include gratuities, all beverages from Champagne to spirits and beyond, and guests find a chic but casual and welcoming ambience.

As always, contact the Cruiseable Business Department at 1-877-322-3773 if you're interested in a cruise on Silver Cloud.

Spend a relaxing afternoon on the Aquavit Terrace on  Viking Star.

What sets Viking Ocean Cruises apart in the Caribbean

November 1, 2016

From via

Fresh off Viking Ocean Cruises’ inaugural cruise to the Caribbean, it can be said that the company is well on its way to making a bigger splash in the industry. Up until now, Viking Cruises, with its Viking River Cruises brand, has predominantly covered the European continent, but as its ocean fleet expands, so too does its international itineraries.

The 2015-launched Viking Star and 2016-launched Viking Sea initially started out with sailings in the Baltic and Mediterranean with farther jaunts west to the British Isles and north to Norway. The Viking Star has now left from Bergen, Norway to cross the Atlantic and visit Canada and New England before calling on the United States In New York City (where we boarded) for the first time on the way down to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Currently, it is embarking on a season of roundtrip 11-day West Indies Explorer itineraries.

Most remarkably on the first run, the Viking Star was almost always the only ship in port, only encountering two other Carnival Cruise Line ships and a Royal Caribbean International one in San Juan. Even in those cases, one of the greatest benefits to sailing on Viking was apparent in seeing ample lines for guests returning to the larger ships as we swiftly boarded the intimate 930-guest Star with no wait.

Walter Christen's insight:

Viking Ocean Cruises is on my must do cruise list. The luxury amenities, destination immersion, complementary excursions and the attention to detail is why Viking Ocean Cruises is on my list.  The infinity pool is also big plus.   


Virgin Voyages, the former Virgin Cruises, announced it has ordered three 2,700-passenger cruise ships that will provide a boutique experience.

Virgin Voyages set to launch three ships starting in 2020

October 20, 2016

Look for three new spiffy and most likely definitely different ships coming out starting in 2020 when flamboyant billionaire-entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson launches his much-anticipated cruise line, Virgin Voyages.

Apparently the mogul likes alliteration since he just announced he changed the company name from Virgin Cruises. Virgin first ship is scheduled to launch and home port in Miami in 2020 for a series of Caribbean cruises; the second ship will sail in 2021 and the third in 2022.

Three ships, currently under construction at the famed Fincantieri Shipyard, will each carry about 2,700 passengers. As Cruiseable's Ship Discovery Tool will tell you, that's roughly the same size (in terms of passengers) as Golden Princess, Holland America's Koningsdam, Carnival Victory, Celebrity Solstice or MSC Magnifica.

Branson recently did a telephone press conference where he said Virgin Voyages would create boutique experiences that are as "magical" as those offered by his other enterprises, which include Virgin Atlantic airline, a Chicago hotel and a game reserve and lodge in South Africa. The company is also developing spaceship tourism through the Virgin Galactic venture.

He also said his fleet will be the first major cruise line to adopt a new clean energy technology called Climeon Ocean that transforms waste heat from ship engines into electricity for onboard use. A Virgin spokesman said the green tech will save up to 5,400 tons of carbon dioxide per year per ship and it would take 180,000 trees 30 years to absorb that amount of carbon dioxide, providing a large positive impact for the environment. 

Branson suggested that the ships might also sail into Cuba.

La Dame will offer French fare in an elegant setting with bespoke menus created by top chefs from Relais & Châteaux.

Silversea's Silver Muse previews top-flight dining choices

October 19, 2016

Silversea's upcoming flagship Silver Muse sounds like a knockout. The company released new yummy details today about the eight dining choices that will include an ultra-exquisite Relais & Chateaux restaurant called La Dame, Asian eateries named Kabuki and Indochine and an innovative eatery called Silver Note that will provide entertainment and tapas.

The small luxury cruise line has always excelled in its culinary efforts and these new entries should put  them at the top of any cruiser's must-dine list.

Silver Muse, which will make her debut in April 2017 in Monaco, will eventually call at 34 countries and 130 ports in 2017 alone. The ship will redefine  luxury with her all-suite accomodations that are butler-manned and signature Silversea ambiance and amenities.

Silver Muse dining

All wines and beverages are complimentary (included in your fare).

  • La Dame will offer French fare in an elegant setting with bespoke menus created by top chefs from the Relais & Châteaux team. The menu will be underpinned and enhanced with locally sourced ingredients and guests can enjoy carefully paired wines to enrich the dining experience.
  • Kabuki and Indochine. Kabuki, inspired by the ancient art of Kabuki theatre, honors traditional Japanese culture with a chorus  of flavors. Indochine delivers a journey for each and every one of the senses. From the spice markets of Mumbai to the fragrant aromas of Thailand, guests are encouraged to explore the diverse flavors for which this fascinating region is renowned.
  • Silver Note allows passengers to  snack on tapas while enjoying Manhattan-style live jazz from top musicians. 
  • Hot Rocks, a staple on the nine ship fleet, will offer one of the most creative restaurant concepts on board Silver Muse. I happen to love this outdoor venue where your veal chop or steak cooks on a 400-degree lava stone at your table.
  • La Terrazza draws inspiration from Silversea’s distinctive Italian heritage, this traditional restaurant uses the freshest ingredients to recreate the finest Italian cuisine. Whether enjoyed al fresco or in the ocean-view restaurant, guests can make the most of the interactive food stations, an olive oil cellar, mozzarella bar, seafood station and salumeria.
  •  Regina Margherita will be open throughout the day  serving relaxed Italian favorites, including its signature home-made Italian Pizzas from the pool-side.
  •  Atlantide will feature the best of the ocean’s yield. Bespoke dishes such as royal crab, blue lobster and Verbena infused red snapper will be showcased alongside the best steaks sourced from offshore.

“Fine dining has always been at the heart of the ultra-luxury Silversea service. We are proud to develop this further with our new flagship, Silver Muse, where our eight restaurants offer an unprecedented dining experience at sea,” Roberto Martinoli, CEO of Silversea Cruises, said in a statement.

Silversea offers fares that include  shipboard gratuities, all beverages from Champagne and beyond, butlers in all suites and special perks such as free WiFi and more.

Interested in a cruise on Silver Muse?

Early sailings on Silver Muse have already sold out. Interested in booking a stateroom? Contact Cruiseable's Business Department at 1-877-322-3773 to speak to a travel advocate, or send an email query.

Here's more info about Silver Muse. And see Cruiseable's listing of Silversea itineraries.

We preview Seabourn's newest luxury cruise ship, Encore

October 17, 2016

From via



As the curtains close on 2016, the lights will come up on the all-suite, all-balcony Seabourn Encore when she emerges from the shipyard in December. Seabourn’s new 40,350-gross-ton flagship, with interiors designed by Adam D. Tihany, strikes a balance between modern design and traditional yacht stylings. This small-ship cruise line has built upon the success of its Odyssey class with a larger vessel that will accommodate 600, but will still maintain the same personalized service that’s delivered by approximately one staff member per onboard guest. This all-inclusive ship pampers guests with open bars throughout and a deep selection of wines available at both lunch and dinner. Gratuities are included, as is one special shore experience per itinerary. Seabourn Encore will sail several routes in December before her official inaugural voyage on January 7, 2017. While that sailing is sold out, there are plenty of other itineraries to choose from.

Walter Christen's insight:

For a pure luxury cruise experience, the new Seabourn Encore, looks like the ship to book starting December 2016.  The amenities are simply stunning and the  all balcony suites look amazing.


Interesting note is that the 2 Wintergarden suites at 1550 square feet, are larger than many homes.


Seven Seas Voyager will receive a multimillion-dollar upgrade later this month.

Seven Seas Voyager next up for luxury upgrade

October 5, 2016

Another Regent Seven Seas Cruises ship is about to experience a luxurious  transformation with Seven Seas Voyager scheduled to undergo renovations later this month as part of the luxury line’s $125 million fleet-wide refurbishment program.  Following the refurbishment effort, Seven Seas Voyager will feature the same elegant style and indisputable attention to detail famously featured on Seven Seas Explorer, providing guests with a consistent look-and-feel, no matter which Regent Seven Seas Cruises ship they choose to sail. 

Seven Seas Voyager joins Seven Seas Navigator as the second ship to receive this stylish new update to the public spaces and suites onboard, with Seven Seas Mariner scheduled to receive a similar makeover in April 2017. Seven Seas Voyager will emerge from this refurbishment with a sophisticated new look reflective of the pinnacle of luxury. 

Watch the chef cook right before your eyes during dinner at The Colonnade during your Seabourn sailing.

Seabourn’s exceptional cuisine from Thomas Keller

September 28, 2016

From via

When a luxury cruise line decides to team up with the best American chef, something special is bound to happen, and Seabourn’s partnership with Thomas Keller has proved a treat for the senses.

The Seabourn Quest does not have a plethora of dining options like some larger mainstream cruise ships, but what it does have in the form of a main dining room, singular specialty restaurant, buffet, pool grill and room service is exceptional. While I cannot speak to what the cuisine was like before Thomas Keller, the offerings onboard are now certainly some of the best at sea if not anywhere in the world thanks to the multiple Michelin-starred chef’s contributions.

My cousin is a culinary instructor and swears by Keller’s creations, and now I know why. I first became acquainted with his stylings, thanks to Blu-Ray special features, from his serving as a consultant on the hit Pixar film “Ratatouille,” where his modern rendition of the vegetable stew was animated to perfection.

Walter Christen's insight:

The dining experience plays an important part for my enjoyment of cruising.  Looks like the Seabourn Quest has hit it out of the park with their partnership with world renowned American chef Thomas Keller.  Jason Leppert's description of some of the menu items aboard his cruise had my mouth watering. Also great news that this enhanced dining experience will soon be fleet wide for Seabourn.


The Haven on Norwegian ships features a sun deck, private pool, premium accommodations, 24-hour butler and concierge service and other perks.

Bask in luxury at the Haven with Norwegian Cruise Line

August 16, 2016

From via

Haven (noun): a place of safety or refuge.

Norwegian Cruise Line offers its passengers a true place of refuge and serenity with The Haven, home to the cruise line’s most luxurious, well-appointed and spacious accommodations. A private oasis tucked away at the top of the ship, The Haven provides guests with unparalleled access to top-of-the-line services and amenities – such as free shore excursions, WiFi, specialty dining and unlimited beverages—taking their cruise from memorable to unforgettable from the second they embark.

Guests can select from eight cabin categories including a deluxe Owner’s Suite with a large balcony and floor-to-ceiling windows or the 3-bedroom Garden Villa, which sleeps up to eight guests in more than 4,890 square feet of spacious living at sea. Families will want to take advantage of the 2-bedroom family villa with balcony, where kids can enjoy movies on their own flat-screen TV, or connecting staterooms, which are perfect for families or a group of friends traveling together. The Courtyard Penthouse offers up a romantic get-away with a private balcony and a round, queen-size bed. The Haven’s Spa Suite is indulgence at sea with a hot tub, oversized waterfall shower, easy access to the Mandara Spa and Fitness Center and complimentary access to the Thermal Spa Suites during regular spa hours.

Walter Christen's insight:

I have friends that love the Haven aboard Norwegian Cruise Line for the luxury feel aboard a mainstream cruise line.  For them, the additional cost is well worth it for all of the extras included including Wi-Fi and included drink package. 

Here are some recent articles in Cruiseable about The Haven and luxury accommodations: