The photo above was snapped yesterday from the balcony of stateroom 720 on Seabourn Sojourn during a transit of Norway’s UNESCO World Heritage Geirangerfjord. Avid cruisers know that small ships such as Seabourn Sojourn, carrying a maximum of 450 passengers, can easily navigate the Norwegian fjords and dock or drop anchor in small ports of call where the big ships can’t.
Small ships offer several other advantages, such as fewer lines for activities ranging from dining to disembarking, and greater space ratio, meaning fewer guests per square foot. Small ships generally feel more intimate and less crowded than large ships.
While luxury cruise fares on small ships are almost always quite a bit more than fares for similar cruises on large ships, luxury cruises are more inclusive, which should be factored in to the total amount paid.
For example, alcohol is served free of charge as are specialty coffees and soft drinks on luxury vessels. Gratuities, which are added to passengers’ final bills on large ships, are included on luxury cruises. (Crystal is an exception, but it skirts the issue with on-board credits.)
Luxury cruise fares are also at – or near – historic lows, making luxury cruises an even greater value than there were just a short while ago. Today, for example, Seabourn announced cruises beginning at less $200 per day per person during a special One Week Sale. The lowest fare, $2499, is for a 13-day transatlantic from Monte Carlo to Fort Lauderdale on December 6 (on Seabourn Odyssey). That’s $192 a day, champagne-inclusive. “Cheaper than business class (airfare),” says Jeff Black, from Los Gatos, California and cruising this week on Seabourn Sojourn.
More typically, luxury cruises can be found for around $300 per day per person, not bad when you consider the fare includes wining and dining in gourmet restaurants – or on your balcony as you sail by some of the world’s most attractive sites.