The results are in for our wine survey. About a third of our readers who responded enjoy wine, but wine service really doesn’t figure into their cruise decision. Another third are wine lovers like us who appreciate a knowledgeable staff and attentive wine service. Other cruisers, about a sixth, prefer beer or mixed drinks, and another sixth are not drinkers at all. Perhaps the most important concept to take away from this survey is that different cruisers have different needs and desires. As the cruise lines expand they need to find ways to appeal to all of these groups.
We usually choose to cruise Celebrity because the more traditional cruise with emphasis on anticipatory service and attention to detail appeals to us. Celebrity has a large staff of trained Sommeliers to go along with this modern elegant atmosphere. Celebrity also offers this modern luxury experience at a fairly affordable price point. However, they don’t just appeal to the wine lovers as their ships offer a multitude of other beverages including craft beer, specialty martinis, molecular cocktails, and fabulous non-alcoholic treats. Contemporary lines like Carnival and Royal Caribbean also have beverage offerings ranging from craft beer to fine wine. Though these lines, along with Holland America and Princess, don’t have the extensive specifically trained Sommeliers staff, they usually have waiters or at least one dedicated staff member or cellar master that can answer questions and provide recommendations about the wine. Deluxe and Luxury lines tend to place even more emphasis on food and beverage service in an elegant atmosphere.
Here’s a look at the final poll responses.
So with all this talk about the different types of cruises and the wine service, it got us thinking about what type of cruise experience we would choose if our cruise budget could afford a suite or luxury type cruise. Luxury and Deluxe lines like Oceania, Azamara, Regent, Crystal, Seaborne, and Silver Sea offer a very upscale experience at the price of the finest suites on the Contemporary and Premium. So if we had a choice of a Penthouse or Owners Suite on a Contemporary or Premium line, or a standard suite on a deluxe or luxury line, which would we choose? Would we want all the entertainment and physical activities of a ship like Breeze or Oasis of the Seas? Or would I want the more intimate experience of a smaller ship with a focus on the culinary arts and enrichment type activities. Norwegian and MSC even offer another option with exclusive suite areas, a ship with-in a ship, with their own separate public lounges and pool areas. After thinking about it for a while, we came to the conclusion that would probably rotate between a couple of different options: a suite in a contemporary line where I could enjoy the ice shows, cirque show, and Broadway shows and a standard suite on a Premium + line where I could enjoy the more intimate environment. Please respond to our new survey and let us know how you would choose to cruise if the price of a suite was always with-in budget.