Luxury Cruises | Live Voyage Reports

© 2015 Ralph Grizzle
Crystal Symphony skirts past Hamlet’s Castle, across the sound from my home in Helsingborg, Sweden. © 2015 Ralph Grizzle

Live Voyage Reports allows you to experience luxury cruises through the words and photos (and videos) of two avid cruisers, who also just happen to be professional journalists and photographers, while we are on our cruises.

This allows you to cruise with us, virtually, and to engage with us during our cruises. If you have questions about our expedition cruises, all you have to do is ask. It is a lot easier for us to answer those questions while we are on board than it is to answer them once we are back at our shoreside desks.

Be sure to check our calendar current and upcoming luxury cruises. We may not have voyages scheduled at the moment, but we’re always scheduling, so be sure to check back. An easier way to stay informed of our upcoming expedition cruises is to subscribe to the Avid Cruiser newsletter. We’ll publish our voyages ahead of time in the newsletter.

On this page, you’ll find an archive of our past cruises. These posts are useful for planning your trips or simply enjoy them as armchair reading. We hope you enjoy our Live Voyage Reports featuring luxury cruises from Africa to the Mediterranean to Indonesia to Alaska and beyond.

What Are Luxury Cruises?

So long, it was a great cruise. Thank you Silver Cloud butlers. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

Luxury cruises represent the pinnacle of pampering. Typically operated on small ships, luxury cruises are often all-inclusive, which means that you’ll not pony up for drinks or pay gratuities, but you will pay for spa treatments, shore excursions (on most ships) and internet access (included on some ships).

You’ll also enjoy high space-ratios, which essentially means that you’ll experience a ship that is far less crowded than the large, mainstream ships.

The key luxury cruise operators are  Crystal CruisesCunard Line (grill class), Hapag LloydPaul GauguinRegent Seven Seas CruisesSilversea CruisesSeaDream Yacht Club and Seabourn.

Read our Live Voyage Reports to get a feel for what luxury cruises offer.

Europa 2 – Greece and Malta

Europa 2
Europa 2 anchored off La Savina (Formentera), Spain. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

She’s the top-rated cruise ship in the world according to Douglas Ward‘s respected Berlitz Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships, and Ralph Grizzle sets out on a voyage through the Mediterranean to uncover the many charms of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Europa 2. What is it like to sail aboard a six-star bilingual German-English luxury liner? Read on.

Europa 2 – Istanbul to Kusadasi

Sunset over Istanbul aboard Europa 2. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders
Sunset over Istanbul aboard Europa 2. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Not content to let Ralph have all the fun, Aaron sets sail on Hapag-Lloyd Cruises Europa 2 on a short segment of one of her Mediterranean voyages from Istanbul to Kusadasi, Turkey. Did you know Europa 2 has the largest collection of gins at sea, with nearly 30 different varieties onboard? Go gin tasting with Aaron, stand on the bridge for departure from the island of Lesbos in Greece, and take a tour of the ship’s public rooms and technical spaces with this quick six-day report.

Silver Shadow – Exotic Alaska

Silversea's luxurious Silver Shadow was built in 2001, and has sailed to Alaska nearly every year since. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders
Silversea’s luxurious Silver Shadow was built in 2001, and has sailed to Alaska nearly every year since. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

There’s Alaskan cruises – and then there are luxury Alaska Cruises. Aaron Saunders joins the intimately-sized Silversea Silver Shadow for a unique 10-night itinerary sailing roundtrip from Vancouver to Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Tracy Arm Fjord, Sitka, Wrangell, Prince Rupert and Victoria. Read the full Live Voyage Report here.

Silver Shadow – Bali to Singapore

Riding elephants in Bali.
Riding elephants in Bali.

It was a great trip, cruising from Bali to Singapore on the luxury vessel Silver Shadow. No matter how hard the day — hot and humid weather, bumpy roads, heavy traffic in under-developed Indonesia — those of us traveling with Silversea were well taken care of ashore. We returned afternoons and evenings to our luxury boutique floating hotel with its four restaurants, spa & fitness facilities, pool, and let’s get right to it, complimentary champagne, as well as wine, beer and spirits. Check out our Live Voyage Report here.

Silver Spirit – Athens to Venice

Silver Spirit in Venice. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle
Silver Spirit in Venice. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

From July 10 through July 19, Silversea Cruises’ Silver Spirit will sail from Pireaus (the port for Athens) across the Aegean Sea and up the Adriatic all the way to Venice. Our 9-night/10-day voyage represents one of the most beautiful and varied that I’ve ever cruised, with some of the most picturesque ports of call you could imagine. Check out our Live Voyage Report here.

Silver Wind – Rome to Malaga

Silver Wind docked in Valletta, Malta. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders
Silver Wind docked in Valletta, Malta. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Can you sail to the Mediterranean in November? You sure can – but be prepared for some stormy weather. After a rocky start leaving Rome, Silversea’s Silver Wind took Avid Cruiser’s Aaron Saunders through the Mediterranean in the winter, stopping in Sicily, Malta, Naples, and a host of other exciting ports. Free of crowds and full of adventure, this weeklong jaunt aboard the luxurious Silver Wind was one to remember. Read the full Live Voyage Report here.

Silver Wind – South African Safari

On safari with Silversea in South Africa. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders
On safari with Silversea in South Africa. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Silversea’s 296-guest Silver Wind proved to be the perfect floating resort for this unique exploration of South Africa and Mozambique. Sailing roundtrip from Cape Town, South Africa, Aaron Saunders explored the natural wonders of this stunning country on full-day excursions designed to maximize time in port to allow guests to venture further inland to see South Africa’s legendary “Big Game” animals. He gets chased by an elephant, too. Read the full Live Voyage Report here.

Silver Wind – Middle East from Oman to Greece

Amazing. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders
Petra, Jordan, as seen on-tour aboard Silversea’s Silver Wind. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

After sailing through South Africa and the Mediterranean aboard Silversea’s Silver Wind, Aaron Saunders decides to tackle the Middle East, sailing from Muscat, Oman to Piraeus (Athens), Greece via the Suez Canal. In addition to the gorgeous Silver Wind, Aaron explores Salalah, Oman; Safaga, Egypt (for Luxor and the Valley of the Kings); Aqaba, Jodan (for Petra); Port Said, Egypt; Ashdod, Israel; Haifa, Israel; and Kusadasi, Turkey. Check your misconceptions about the Middle East at the door and read the full Live Voyage Report here.

Luxury Cruise Reviews

Crystal Cruises Reviews

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.
Ship ReviewLive Voyage Report
Crystal Serenity Review
Crystal Symphony Review
Crystal Esprit Review

Cunard Line Reviews

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.
Ship ReviewLive Voyage Report
Queen Mary 2 Review• Eastbound Transatlantic Crossing
Queen Victoria Review
Queen Elizabeth Review

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises Reviews

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.
Ship ReviewLive Voyage Report
Europa Review
Europa 2 Review• Greece to Malta
• Istanbul to Kusadasi

Paul Gauguin Reviews

Ship Review 
Paul Gauguin

Regent Seven Seas Cruises Reviews

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.
Ship ReviewLive Voyage Report
Seven Seas Mariner Review
Seven Seas Navigator Review
Seven Seas Voyager Review
Seven Seas Explorer

Seabourn Reviews

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.
Ship ReviewLive Voyage Report
Seabourn Odyssey Review
Seabourn Quest Review• Antarctica
Seabourn Sojourn Review
Seabourn Encore Review
Seabourn Ovation Review

SeaDream Reviews

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.
Ship ReviewLive Voyage Report
SeaDream I Review
SeaDream II Review

Silversea Cruises Reviews

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.
Ship ReviewLive Voyage Report
Silver Cloud ReviewAn Antarctic Voyage: On Silversea, A Veritable Feast
Silver Wind ReviewSouth African Safari
• Rome to Athens
• Rome to Malaga
Silver Shadow Review• Exotic Alaska
• Bali to Singapore
Silver Whisper Review
Silver Spirit ReviewAthens To Venice

• Eastbound Transatlantic
Silver Explorer Review• Antarctica
• Greenland
• Arctic
• British Isles
Silver Galapagos Review• Western Galapagos Islands
Silver Discoverer Review• Christening Ceremonies
• Australia's Kimberley Coast
• Russia's Far East
Silver Muse Review• Keel Laying