NEW YORK -- To
hear luxury cruise lines tell it, theyre all pretty great. Food?
Great. Service? Wonderful. Destinations? Fantastic. Appointments?
have been upgrades in beds and bedding, toiletries, food, wine and
wireless and cell phone services.
asked Mary Jean Tully, CEO of Cruise Professionals in Mississauga,
Ontario, to sift through a few of the announcements and tell us why
theyre important. Cruise Professionals is a top producer for
Crystal Cruises, Silversea, Radisson Seven Seas and Cunard
News: Crystal introduced the second vintage
bottled under its C Wines brand.
Crystal:Featuring softer tannins, the six new 2004 California
wines are the perfect complement to the fresh, quality ingredients
distinguishing Crystals cuisine.
Tully: I really dont
think the wine makes more of a difference. It is nice that they
have their own wines, but it is the service, other amenities, the
Learning Institute and the enrichment program that makes Crystal a
" " "
News: Crystal will host a photography exhibition
through May called Documenting China: Contemporary Photography and
Crystal:Focusing on the impact of urbanization and
industrialization in China, the exhibit portrays the country from
an insiders point of view.
Tully: This adds to the
enrichment programs passengers expect. Not only are they going to
fabulous ports, but on sea days they are learning and feeling
News: The Degrees of Difference refurbishment
includes adding Bose SoundDocks to cabins and lending passengers
iPod Nanos, while a new partnership puts LOccitane toiletries in
Windstar:Apple iPod Nanos fully loaded with a ... selection of
music may be checked out. [LOccitane is a] maker of fine, natural
body products manufactured with ingredients from
Tully: I just dont feel
that this has anything to do with luxury other than extra choices
for the passenger. The bathroom amenities are nicer than before,
but that alone does not make a product luxurious.
News: Starting in March, Seabourn plans to
transform casual Veranda Cafes into venues called 2, to feature
tasting menus and small plates of paired dishes.
Seabourn:A stylish, contemporary dining venue serving
imaginative tasting menus that will feature playful pairings and
creative culinary combinations.
Tully: With all of the
cruise lines offering different dining venues, it was important for
Seabourn to change theirs.
" " "
News: Seabourn will offer wine packages that allow
passengers to select wines off a specific list of premium
Seabourn:Experience these special wines at prices you will never
see on land.
Tully: No one wants to
feel that they do not have an abundance of choices. This includes
wines, menus, etc.
News: The line forgoes nightly themed dinners in
the Terrace cafe for an Italian restaurant called La
Silversea:The new dining concept and menu for La Terrazza ... are
a further product enhancement designed to reflect the lines unique
concept of luxury -- one that arises from ... its Italian
Tully: It certainly
reflects [Silverseas] Italian heritage, and it is some of the
finest Italian food that I have ever eaten.
" " "
News: Silversea added wireless Internet service
and revamped its Internet centers with new computers and
Silversea:Many of our sophisticated, well-traveled guests need to
stay connected with family, friends and business associates while
Tully: It is a definite
move in the right direction, as ships are finally understanding the
importance of how connected passengers need to be.
Rebecca Tobin, managing editor of the print edition of Travel
Weekly, send e-mail to [email protected].