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Suite guests on many mass market ships are enjoying the best of both worlds. Ship-within-a-ship concepts combine the luxury services and amenities traditionally found on small ships with the opportunities for activities and entertainment of the larger ships. Special services that include priority embarkation and disembarkation, 24-hour butlers and concierge and dedicated areas of the ship are just the beginning of the extras suite guests can expect.
Ship-within-a-ship areas are gaining in popularity, according to Sarah Kennedy, a spokesperson for Cruise Lines International Association. She sees “upscale travelers” and “those celebrating a romantic or milestone occasions” as ideal prospects.
“Agents can position this to the right clientele as a great secret as many other passengers on the cruise don’t even know these VIP areas and exclaves exist,” Kennedy said. “The exclusive ship-within-a-ship concept is a luxury worthy of the spend.”
Read on for details on the ship-within-a-ship concepts offered by major cruise lines.Celebrity CruisesCelebrity Cruises’ fleetwide Suite Class accommodations currently feature an exclusive lounge and restaurant for Suite Class guests only, but the line is taking it one big step further with Celebrity Edge and the Edge Class. It will now include a private area called The Retreat, with a private pool deck, a lounge with 24-hour butler services and a restaurant. As part of its fleet revitalization program, The Retreat will be added to all ships. Depending on the suite, guests also receive complimentary premium beverage and specialty dining packages and unlimited nternet access, among the extras.
CunardQueen and Princess Grill Suite guests on Cunard have exclusive access to private dedicated restaurants and lounges.
“The Grill Suite tradition began on the original Queen Mary in 1936 when guests paid an extra tariff for an evening of dining and dancing in the sophisticated Verandah Grill,” said Josh Leibowitz, chief strategy officer for Carnival Corporation and senior vice president of Cunard North America. “Today the demand is still very high for Queen and Princess Grill Suites on board all of Cunard’s ships. They are typically the first accommodation to sell out on voyages.”
MSC Cruises MSC Cruises is finding great success with its MSC Yacht Club, with the private ship-within-a-ship self-contained club area “entirely sold out, and sold quickly” on “nearly every sailing where the area is offered,” said Roberto Fusaro, president of MSC Cruises North America.
“We find that our guests appreciate having a private, luxurious escape, but did not want to forego the amenities of a mega ship as you would with a strictly luxury cruise line,” Fusaro said. “By offering the MSC Yacht Club, we are able to create an ideal balance of experiences, serve a wider range of guest needs and continue to elevate the cruise vacation.”
The MSC Yacht Club is available on all Fantasia class ships as well as new builds. Staterooms vary by ship, but range from interior to apartment-sized Royal Suite options. MSC Yacht Club amenities include a private pool deck with its own pool, whirlpool, bar and grill, and gelato cart; a private lounge; a private restaurant; and exclusive areas on select private islands. Special services include complimentary wines and spirits, beers, and soft drinks in all MSC Yacht Club venues and direct private spa entrance with dedicated treatment rooms and one complimentary thermal suite session.
Norwegian Cruise LineNorwegian Cruise Line developed its ship-within-a-ship The Haven by Norwegian based on seeing “a need in the market to offer our guests luxury and accessibility together,” said Camille Olivere, senior vice president of sales for Norwegian.
“The Haven by Norwegian provides all of the benefits of a small ship experience because it is a private access area (by key-card only), while also offering the activities, entertainment and dining options that only a large ship can offer,” she added.
The Haven by Norwegian is available on 10 of the line’s 16 ships, though each ship differs in the type of accommodations available. Options range from Spa Suite with Balcony to Three-Bedroom Garden Villa. Special onboard facilities include a private restaurant; a bar; and a concierge and courtyard area with a pool, whirlpools and sundeck on Norwegian Epic, Breakaway-Class ships and Breakaway Plus-Class ships. Jewel-Class ships offer similar facilities except for a private restaurant.
Guests who book The Haven on most itineraries receive all five perks of Norwegian’s “Free at Sea” promotion, which adds up to $2,700 in value to their cruise, Olivere says. The promotion includes unlimited open bar, a specialty dining package, a $50 credit on shore excursions per port and per stateroom, 250 minutes of complimentary Wi-Fi access and Norwegian’s “Friends and Family Sail Free” offer that allows the third and fourth guests to sail for free in the same stateroom.
www.ncl.comRoyal Caribbean InternationalThree classes of suites at different price tiers are part of Royal Caribbean International’s Royal Suite Class. It is available on Oasis Class ships, as well as Anthem of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas (Singapore and Sydney Departures only). Star Class is the top level with perks such as a dedicated suite guests-only restaurant and suite lounge and sun deck access; complimentary beverage package and specialty dining; best seats in the house in select entertainment venues; unlimited internet access; complimentary gratuities; and an exclusive suite guest area on Royal Caribbean’s Labadee private destination.