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Premium Category Cruise Review

Stateroom design underscores what you find throughout Celebrity Solstice: taste & class. Some say Celebrity’s premium-class vessels are formidable competitors to the luxury lines.

Premium cruises are a bit difficult to define, so let’s start at the beginning. People who follow the cruise industry with regularity know that cruise lines fall into specific categories that often (but not always) connote the quality and value of the on-board experience.

Big Ship cruise lines, such as Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean International and NCL – typically offer the lowest lead-in prices and the fewest added extras. Don’t expect free booze, upscale bath amenities or other perks, but don’t discount mass-market cruises either. They deliver pretty good value with often exceptionally low lead-in pricing.

Next are premium-category cruise lines, such as Holland America Line, Celebrity Cruises and some of the ships in Princess Cruises fleet. Typically, premium ships are smaller, carrying 2,000 or fewer passengers, which is why you may consider some of the Princess ships to belong in the Big Ship category. Space ratios on premium-category ships are greater, meaning that the ship will feel less crowded, than on big ships. You’ll get better bath amenities and other perks. Free booze? Forget about it on premium cruises.

Oceania Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises characterize themselves as upper premium. You’ll get a little more, such as speciality coffees at no charge, wine with dinner (on Azamara), gratuities (on Azamara) and a few other perks.

You will get free booze on luxury lines that operate small ships – Seabourn, Silversea CruisesRegent Seven Seas Cruises and, since the spring of 2012, Crystal Cruises. You’ll also get larger staterooms, better bath amenities, even greater space ratios than on premium-category ships and pampering aplenty. You’ll typically pay more for a luxury cruise, but not always.

So where do premium-category ships fit in? They offer good value on a product that is slightly more upscale than what the big ships offer. As noted, you’ll feel the ship is less crowded than the big ships, but premium ships still fail to match the luxury lines for service and cuisine, although some are coming close. See Celebrity Solstice, A Formidable Competitor To The Luxury Lines? One Person’s Perspective: ‘Crystal Light’

Premium Cruise Reviews By Company

Premium Cruise Reviews By Ship

To read a review of a particular ship, click the link under "Read the Review." If applicable, our Live Voyage Reports offer a day-by-day overview of an actual cruise onboard. In some cases, there may be more than one report, to be sure to see if your favorite destination is represented.
Cruise LineShip ReviewLive Voyage Report
Celebrity CruisesCelebrity Century Review
Celebrity CruisesCelebrity Constellation Review
Celebrity CruisesCelebrity Eclipse Review
Celebrity CruisesCelebrity Equinox Review
Celebrity CruisesCelebrity Infinity Review
Celebrity CruisesCelebrity Millennium Review
Celebrity CruisesCelebrity Reflection Review
Celebrity CruisesCelebrity Silhouette Review
Celebrity CruisesCelebrity Solstice Review
Celebrity CruisesCelebrity Summit Review
Celebrity CruisesCelebrity Xpedition Review
Holland America LineAmsterdam Review
Holland America LineEurodam Review
Holland America LineKoningsdam Preview
Holland America LineMaasdam Review
Holland America LineNieuw Amsterdam Review
Holland America LineNoordam Review• Mediterranean Explorer - Rome to Barcelona
Holland America LineOosterdam Review
Holland America LinePrinsendam Review
Holland America LineRotterdam Review
Holland America LineRyndam Review
Holland America LineStatendam Review
Holland America LineVeendam Review
Holland America LineVolendam Review
Holland America LineWesterdam Review
Holland America LineZaandam Review
Holland America LineZuiderdam Review
  • David

    Ralph: Please stop using the word “free” when reviewing cruises. The correct word is “included.” Unless you are not paying for passage, nothing is “free.”