1. ATTENTIVE AND ANTICIPATORY SERVICE
Expect 5-star service on a luxury cruise line. Truly exemplary service is what makes luxury cruising so distinctive and magical. The ship’s crew won’t merely wait for guests to approach them, but will go out of their way to anticipate your needs. It could be extra water bottles to take with you into port or drawing a bath for you upon your return from a day exploring ancient villages. Unlike other cruise lines that leave you seeking out assistance, luxury cruise lines pride themselves on having their staff stay vigilant for you and any other guests that require their assistance.
Luxury lines can achieve this exceptional level of service by having a passenger-to-crew ratio as low as one crew member for every one-and-a-half guests, with some ultra-luxury lines getting close to one crew member for every single passenger. Mainstream cruise lines, on the other hand, generally have a ratio of around one crew member for every two-and-a-half passengers, or even more. Lower passenger-to-crew ratio simply means there are more crew members to serve guests, meaning they have more time to attend to a guest’s needs.
Natalia, our butler, and I in the Royal Suite
On one of our voyages, our butler noticed we didn’t eat any of the canapes he left with the afternoon service but we did enjoy the chilled shrimp and cheese. After the second day, he took notice and brought a plate of chilled shrimp in a circle with cocktail sauce, along with cheese and crackers, and that’s what we got each day for the rest of the cruise. If we were in the room, he asked if we wanted any of the other hors d’oeuvres, just in case something tickled our fancy.
On another voyage, we informed the butler that we are not coffee drinkers; rather, we drink several sodas in the morning to wake us up. On all of our cruises, we tell the butler we like Diet Coke for myself and Coke Zero for my husband for the mornings, and Sprite Zero in the evenings (I can’t drink caffeine in the afternoon). The butlers gladly load up our refrigerator with our requests and keep it stocked throughout the cruise.
On luxury ships, you’ll notice your waiters and bartenders will almost immediately learn your name, specific preferences, and even make recommendations based on what they know you enjoy. This high level of pampering allows you to enjoy the ride, knowing you’ll be taken care of throughout your voyage.