Cruise like a Millionaire, Live like a King
Long before people donned suits to step onto a trans-Atlantic flight upon a Don-Draper styled Pan-Am 707, they were traveling the world aboard luxurious ocean liners, in which steerage was an unmentionable necessity, and most passengers enjoyed a lifestyle of eat-all-you-can, drink-all-you-can lounging by the Bikini-decorated pool-side.
Today’s liners are 20 stories high and more akin to a Las Vegas family resort than a Viking vessel of yore. More cabins line the inside than the window-lit outside, dinner is a scramble to the buffet, and the pool is that little puddle of water you might get a glimpse of if you avoid getting trampled by the 8-kid family with the vocal chords.
A Boat Apart
Still, if you have the bucks, you can still enjoy a luxury cruise amongst the elegant classes for a lot less than what you’d expect. Here, you’ll be rubbing elbows with the quiet class, people who don’t talk about their wealth, but prefer to tell tales of their travels, play a quiet game of cards or listen to live music in an atmosphere of cocktails and gracious living. Meals are Michelin Star quality, and staterooms offer ocean-side balconies and widescreen televisions.
Aboard Seven Seas Explorer, your 4000-foot suite will cost you $5,000 a day, but there are less prohibitive offerings on the market today. Seabourn’s Legend tours the Caribbean for less than half that price and Crystal’s Serenity even attracts families with children.
Cruise ships serviced nearly 15 million passengers, and most of them are certainly not millionaires. It’s a growing industry, and the competition is forcing many cruise lines to discount their prices. Besides the mass buffets, many also offer private dining rooms and gourmet restaurants to intersperse your binges with; and 10-night trips at anywhere between $1,000 and $6,000 are becoming the standard.
The Silversea line offers 2-week Mediterranean vacations at about $3,500 per person; Holland America will take you to Alaska for $600, and most Carnival cruises range between $60 and $100 per night for the eat-all-you-can style that is certainly a favorite amongst families with children.
Elbow Room Included
So, if you’re sick of sitting for hours on end in an airline chair designed somewhere in the dungeons of the Spanish inquisition,
sick of wondering if the non-English cab driver is taking you for a ride to hell and back on a rich man’s budget, sick of wondering if the hotel room you booked has anything to do with your travel agent’s promises and photos, take a step back in time to a period when sailing the seas meant adventure, romance and relaxation.
It’s an investment program whose returns are personal growth and peace of mind.