My First Day On Star Flyer (or) First Impressions Of A Ship Snob
During the past year, I’ve cruised my share of ultra-luxury ships, including those operated by Silversea, Regent and Seabourn. I’ve come to expect a certain standard — palatial staterooms, superior service, exquisite dining, and yes, sadly, Bvlgari bath amenities.
I have become, much to my dismay, something that I never dreamed I would become: a ship snob.
This is somewhat surprising for someone who was once content to backpack through third-world countries and for whom a splurge for luxury meant plunking down cash for a room in a three-star hotel.
Am I to apologize for the occupational hazard and my addiction to Bvlgari? I think not.
On Star Flyer, SeaDream-like stateroom, But Alas, No Bvlgari
When I walked into stateroom 326 on Star Flyer, I confess to some disappointment. I don’t know why I would have thought that the stateroom would have been larger, but I expected to peer down a long room with a balcony at the end, despite the fact that Star Flyer clearly features no balconies. It is habit, you understand. Insert the key and express awe. Rinse and repeat with each new ship. Instead, I inserted the key and found myself looking at a small room — with a porthole.
Scanning the room, I did a quick comparison. In place of the flat-panel televisions that I’ve become accustomed to was a small and boxy Panasonic television perched high in a corner so that it could be seen from the bed.
The bed: No ultra-luxurious, super deluxe dreamer mattress here — or even a pillow menu as many of the luxury ships have nowadays. Rather, the bed was shoved against one side of the room, a queen capable of being made into twins with only two pillows (did I hear someone gasp? My apologies for alarming the more sensitive among you.)
The bathroom was of a size and function that merely pivoting the hips would allow one to accomplish all tasks that one would want to accomplish in a toilet. The shower, sink and toilet are in such close proximity that one could, theoretically, put all three to use at once.
The bathroom and the stateroom reminded me of those on SeaDream, whose two vessels are more than two decades old (Star Flyer turns 20 next year). While SeaDream’s staterooms are moderately larger and its bathrooms are a tad bigger, both vessels share the same dark wood trimmings and non-balconied staterooms.
There are other similarities between the vessels, although it should be pointed out that SeaDream offers an ultra-luxury experience, meaning that yes, SeaDream satisfies the Bvlgari addiction.
A cruise on SeaDream, however, will set you back several hundred dollars per person per day whereas a sailing on Star Flyer can be had for less than a couple hundred dollars per day per person. So it’s not really fair to compare the two beyond that of the initial impressions of the staterooms.
Before boarding a friend told me that I would have to “let go” of my luxury ship expectations. She must have pictured me to be like the millionaire Thurston Howell III trapped on Gilligan’s Island, for those who remember the corny television show of the 1960s. All these years later, I am certain that Thurston was a Bvlgari man.
Can I break my Bvlgari addiction and adapt to the easy lifestyle on Star Flyer? Stay tuned for the riveting conclusion later this week.