Navigating the globe on a cruise has come a long way from the days of Loveboat and Club Med packages for the over-60 crowd.Cruise ships are responding to the challenge to modernize with state-of-the art equipment and unique amenities. There are a number of luxurious lines that travel to almost anywhere you can imagine and cater to the water world equivalent of the jet-set crowd.
So if you have the cash, and an all-taken-care-of approach is your idea of true relaxation, check out these options for your next trip.
On January 12, 2004 the Queen Mary 2 set sail on her maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with 2,620 passengers on board.
On January 10, 2007 it started its first world cruise, circumnavigating the globe in 81 days.
The Queen Mary 2 is home to fifteen restaurants and bars, five swimming pools, a casino, a ballroom, a theatre, dog kennels, a nursery, and the first planetarium at sea. It's one of the few ships left with a loose class system- most apparent in the dining options.
In 2005 the Queen Mary 2 carried, in a locked steamer trunk, the first US copy of J. K. Rowling's autographed Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
The Freedom of the Seas is part of a Caribbean-based fleet and can accommodate 3,634 passengers and 1,300 crew members.
The ship has an interactive water park, two adults-only whirlpools, a sports court, a coffee shop, Sorrento's Pizzeria, a Ben and Jerry's ice-cream shop, Vintage's winery, the Bull and Bear Irish pub, and many Duty-free shops.
A four to seven day Caribbean cruise ranges in price between approximately $580 and $1,440. A sample trip departs in Florida, travels to the Bahamas, St.Thomas, and Maarten, and returns to Florida.
The luxurious Regent Seven Seas cruise liners are headquartered in Fort Lauderdale and travel to over 300 ports world-wide. They offer a more intimate experience, with space for hundreds, rather than thousands, of guests and an-all inclusive approach. The ticket includes round trip airfare, shore excursions, all tips, and all drinks.
For those who can afford it, an 18 night journey from Istanbul to Dubai starts at $12,250, and 14 nights from Ft. Lauderdale to Reykjavik starts at $7,100.
In the summer, the Windstar sails the Mediterranean and in the winter in the Caribbean and to the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. The four star luxury ship can accommodate 300 passengers.
The line is known for its modern computer-controlled sailing ships.
The high-end ships includes flat screen TVs in the rooms, a spa, sports on deck, and scuba diving.
A 7-day Rome to Athens trip costs from $2000 to $4000 and a 14 day transatlantic journey from Lisbon to the Barbados starts at $1,500.
The Crystal Symphony was chosen the #2 best ship in the world by Condé Nast traveller in 2008 and 2009. On-board amenities include luxury dining, a pool, a casino, a spa, a bar, and life entertainment. The ship fits 940 passengers and 545 crew members.
Twelve to 21 day trips, with 59 itineraries all over the world, offer a huge range to chose from.
The South America Antarctic Discovery cruise, which travels from Valparaíso, Chile to Buenos Aires, Argentina, is an 18 day journey through the fjords, lakes, and snow-capped mountains of Patagonia, and costs $7,700 including airfare.
SIlverseas cruises stop at hundreds of destinations around the world and offer great accommodations. Their suites provide panoramic views, and additional perks include no assigned dining time or tables, complimentary beverages, and classical concerts and lectures by known authors and destination specialists.
A 10 day Istanbul to Venice trip costs approximately $6,000, and 9 days from Bangkok to Singapore is $4,900.
Cruises on the Ruby Princess include destinations in the Caribbean, Europe, South America, Alaska, Australia, and New Zealand. The ship has a dramatic piazza-style atrium and offers various entertainment options, a fitness centre, a spa, a children and teen's centre, a wedding chapel and close to 900 staterooms with private balconies.
The Iceland to Greenland to British Isle Grand Adventure last 14 days and allows passengers to explore Ireland and Greenland, and stop along the coastline of St. Johns. It costs approximately between $1,700 and $3,000.
Orion cruises specialize in 5 star luxury trips to Australia's Kimberley region, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia, New Zealand & Antarctica. The point of the trips is it get out and explore, but when you do feel like staying on board you have access to internet, flat-screen TVs, DVD/CD, marble bathrooms, a health spa, a gym, a sauna, and a jacuzzi.
A 7 night expedition to Australia's Arnhem coastline is hosted by pre-eminent collectors of indigenous art, and allows passengers to get out and exlores the region's remote art communites.
Prices range from approximately $4,400 to $9,2000.
The fleet providing Seaborn cruises consist of yachts that accommodate from 208 to 450 guests. The idea is an intimate, lush experience for journeys to the South Pacific, Africa, Asia, New England, Northern Europe, and the Caribbean.
Each yacht offers all-suite accommodations, Seabourn's signature water sports Marina, open-bars, and menus by celebrity chef, Charlie Palmer.
A 20-day trip from Hong Kong to Kobe, Japan costs around $7,800. 21 days from Barcelona to Monaco will set you back approximately $9,100.
The Oasis of the Seas is the word's largest passenger vessel (weighing in at 100,000 tons- almost twice as much as the Titanic). It houses over 6,000 passengers and travels from Fort Lauderdale to the Carribean. The Oasis is its own floating world, offering: two-story loft suites and luxury suites measuring 1,600 sq. ft., a zip-line, a casino, a mini-golf course, multiple night clubs, several bars and lounges, a karaoke club, comedy club, four swimming pools, volleyball and basketball courts, theme parks and nurseries for children.
Prices range from $1,649 per person based on double occupancy for an inside stateroom to $16,659 for the luxurious 1,524- square-foot Royal Loft Suite.
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