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There's no better way to escape the commotion of everyday life than to indulge in a vacation that offers all the elements of luxury. Fortunately, a trip that combines lavish amenities with exceptional service can easily be found aboard some of the world's most extravagant cruise lines.
From personalized service to gourmet dining, here's what four of the most luxurious cruise lines have to offer.
Seabourn has one of the most loyal client followings in the international travel and cruising industry, according to Mollie Fitzgerald, co-owner of Frontiers International Travel, an international travel agency based in Gibsonia, Penn. Seabourn trips range from a 7-day cruise through the Caribbean islands of Aruba, St. Lucia and St. Maarten, to a 41-day journey with stops in foreign countries such as Turkey, Greece, Israel, Egypt and Jordan.
— Mollie Fitzgerald, co-owner of Frontiers International Travel
"Three of the ships are quite small, with just 208 passengers at maximum capacity, while the other three ships take 450 passengers," Fitzgerald says. Due to their smaller size, the staff is able to create a very personalized experience for each passenger. In fact, "Seabourn is the only cruise line in the industry that serves caviar on a complimentary basis," Fitzgerald says.
For international travelers who enjoy gourmet dining, Silversea offers unparalleled experiences in dining, due to its affiliation with Relais & Chateaux, a world-renowned collection of hotels and gourmet restaurants.
"Each ship has a Relais & Chateaux cooking school onboard, and the chef will do featured menu items, give guests tours of the kitchen and even conduct cooking classes," Fitzgerald says.
Silversea offers a variety of voyages, including cruises with ports in Portugal, Spain and Monaco; and journeys around Japan and Guam.
Travelers aboard Silversea cruise ships are also offered free butler service. "They'll coordinate your shore excursion, they'll polish your shoes, they'll pack and unpack your belongings, and they'll even serve you dinner on your private balcony," says Karolina Shenton, marketing and sales operations manager at The Cruise Web, a cruise-only travel agency based in Calverton, Md.
Widely regarded as the most family-friendly luxury line at sea, the Regent Seven Seas is unique in that it offers free, unlimited shore excursions for its trips to Alaska, Denmark, Argentina and more.
The staff-to-guest ratio is virtually one to one, which translates to exceptional customer service, Shenton says. "My husband and I recently traveled on a Regent cruise, and I casually mentioned that I loved doing puzzles," she says. "I didn't think anybody heard me."
The following day, Shenton recalls entering her suite to find three puzzles placed on the table. "I didn't even request it - they just listen and go the extra mile for you," she says.
SeaDream Yachts tend to cover less ground to accommodate a more in-depth itinerary. "It's a great option for travelers who don't want to be in a different country every day," Fitzgerald says. For example, travelers can enjoy a cruise exploring destinations between Rome and Athens, Greece or between Singapore and Phuket, Thailand.
Individuals can also treat themselves to one of the SeaDream's most popular services: Balinese Dream Beds. "You can book a private veranda on the outside deck area and the staff will make up a bed for you so you can sleep under the stars," Fitzgerald says.
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