Smiling young woman enjoying her day on a ship and looking away.

For high-end amenities and services, from specialty restaurants to private pools to well-appointed suites with private butlers, reserve a cabin in an exclusive ship-within-a-ship enclave. (Getty Images)

Today's large cruise ships boast enticing amenities, from water parks to spacious common areas to specialty dining options to shopping promenades. But these grandiose extras don't appeal to everyone in the cruise segment. For travelers who yearn for luxury on the high seas without compromising the nightlife and entertainment offerings of larger ships, booking a cruise cabin category with its own exclusive ship-within-a-ship experiences and amenities may be the best of both worlds. Read on for eight selling points for booking an a premium ship cabin on your next cruise.

[See: 10 Things You Shouldn't Do on a Cruise.]

Consider the Perks of The Haven on Norwegian Cruise Line

The Haven by Norwegian is an exclusive enclave that offers luxurious perks. Guests staying in The Haven will be pampered with privacy, personalized service and complimentary amenities. Among other privileges, guests staying in The Haven will enjoy 24-hour butler and concierge service, priority embarkation and disembarkation and priority boarding when tendering to shore. Guests who opt for accommodations in The Haven also benefit from in-suite espresso and cappuccino machines, gourmet treats delivered each evening, a Bliss Collection mattress, a pillow menu and plush bathrobes and slippers. In addition, guests have access to a dedicated concierge to make all arrangements and reservations upon climbing aboard.

The Haven experience is available on a variety of ships, including Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Joy, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Jade.

"The Haven by Norwegian brings together the best of the exclusive service and amenities available on smaller cruise lines, with the award-winning entertainment, exciting activities and wide variety of gourmet dining found on larger ships," says Vanessa Picariello, senior director of public relations at Norwegian Cruise Line.

You Can Enjoy Access to a Yacht Club

The MSC Seaside will debut in Miami in December and promises to be one of the most elegant ships launching this year. Among the amenities of its Yacht Club, MSC Cruises' ship-within-a-ship concept, are 24-hour butler service and concierge services, complimentary wines and spirits, beers and soft drinks and open-seating dining in private MSC Yacht Club restaurants. What's more, those who book accommodations in the Yacht Club can take advantage of a private entrance to MSC Aurea Spa (with treatment rooms dedicated to MSC Yacht Club guests), private shore excursions and priority check-in and disembarkation.

"Designed as an entirely self-contained private club area on the foredecks of the ship and offering the highest level of customized service, guests staying in the MSC Yacht Club are able to enjoy a vacation of privacy and exclusivity with discrete features, while still having access to the variety of choices and amenities only available on a larger ship," says Roberto Fusaro, president of MSC Cruises USA. "In addition to enjoying their own private lounge, pool and specialty restaurant, added perks such as round-the-clock butler and concierge services, superior suites and priority check-in, make the MSC Yacht Club worth the splurge."

[See: 10 Top Cruises for Health Nuts.]

You Can Leverage Value

The ship-within-a-ship experience gives the guest the best of both worlds, says Uf Tukel, co-president of WMPH Vacations, a travel agency in Florida. "Affluent guests can have the luxury accommodations, inclusiveness and personal service that they are looking for in a small-ship luxury vacation, but also a variety of activities, dining options and entertainment to suit an active lifestyle," Tukel says. "Shoppers understand that there is a difference between value and price. Price is what you pay for something. Value is what you get for the price. And this ship-within-a-ship experience provides a tremendous amount of value for what you pay."

You Can Escape the Crowds

Tukel says among the biggest objections to taking a cruise vacation by noncruisers and resort vacationers is that cruise ships feel over crowded. However, exclusive sections such as The Haven and Yacht Club provide guests with an escape from thousands of other passengers and provide amenities that are conveniently located within steps of the front door of their suites. "Amenities like mattress-covered deck chairs and beach beds with sunbrellas are included, as is lunch service by the pool and private restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Lounges for cocktails and even spa services are all benefits that mean less time waiting and more time enjoying," he says.

You Can Enjoy VIP Access

In premium cabins, you can take advantage of exclusive areas and concierge service that helps save time. Tukel highlights "priority access to get on and off the ship, reservations in the alternative restaurants, assistance with shore excursions and tours, and reservations and great seats for entertainment," as added perks that translate to added time spent relaxing and in seclusion.

Perks Abound

Cabins in premium room categories are often bundled with additional amenities that may not always be included with other staterooms on the ship. For example, certain blackout times or exclusions apply, but there are often added benefits for guests staying in the Haven through Norwegian's Free at Sea and other promotions.

Foodies Can Savor Elevated At-Sea Cuisine

According to travel journalist David Yeskel, aside from offering a great value for a luxury experience (think: a dedicated butler and concierge and a private pool area and sundeck), MSC's differentiator is its cuisine. "The food is very good in all restaurants aboard, but the cuisine in the Yacht Club's dedicated restaurant is notched up even further with a quality array of homemade pastas, seafood and meat dishes that transcends those on competing lines," he says. "And after enjoying all of the other activities and entertainment available on MSC's 4,000-passenger ships, it's a special pleasure to slip back into your private Yacht Club enclave for a luxe escape," he adds.

[See: 10 Amazing Cruise Ship Amenities.]

Families Can Take Advantage of Extra Space

Cruisers traveling with kids in tow will appreciate premium cruise cabins that offer more breathing room and can comfortably accommodate five or more guests, with separate bedrooms. "Every mom and dad wants to make sure their kids are having fun. The small ship, luxury cruise lines simply do not cater to families with small children and teenagers," Tukel says. "But with the larger ships, families can enjoy the exclusivity and privacy of Haven and know their kids are having a ball in the kids' program, on the water slides, playing basketball and meeting other kids," he adds.


The Best Cruise Lines of 2017


Photo Gallery
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Aerial Celebrity Eclipse
The Disney Magic crew wouldn’t be complete without Captain Mickey and First Mate Minnie, who greet guests onboard the ship. Special visits from favorite Disney characters are guaranteed to delight the entire family every day on the Disney Magic.
Crystal Cruises
All 2017 Disney Cruise Line sailings from Port Canaveral and Miami to the Bahamas and Caribbean will include a stop at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island paradise. In a setting of crystal-clear turquoise waters, powdery white-sand beaches and lush landscapes, the island offers activities for every member of the family.
Silversea Cruises
Crystal Cruises
|

Which cruise is right for you?
According to the Cruise Lines International Association, the largest cruise industry trade organization in the world, a rising number of travelers are choosing cruise vacations. The association predicted that 24 million people would take their vacations to the sea in 2016, and that number is only expected to increase in 2017. As demand heightens, so do travelers' cruising choices. To help you wade through the options and determine which cruise line best caters to your needs and budget, U.S. News evaluated 15 top ocean liners, using health scores and expert and passenger ratings, among other factors. Read on to find out which cruise lines came out on top.
(Courtesy of Regent Seven Seas Cruises)

Best Cruise Lines for the Money
Celebrity Cruises debuts as the No. 1 Best Cruise Line for the Money in 2017. Though its fleet is smaller than some of its competitors, Celebrity's ships offer personalized service and an average ship capacity of fewer than 2,700 passengers. Plus, the line offers big-ship amenities, such as outdoor movie screens and children's programming, while keeping rates as low as $100 per person, per night. Royal Caribbean International comes in at No. 2 and Norwegian Cruise Line ranks No. 3 on the Best Cruise Lines for the Money list.
(Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises)

Best Cruise Lines for Families
For the fourth consecutive year, Disney Cruise Line tops the list of Best Cruise Lines for Families. The line's character deck parties and specialized kids clubs are sure to please the younger crowd, while exclusive adults-only areas give parents a place to unwind after a day of activities. Other family favorites include the No. 2-ranked Royal Caribbean International and the No. 3-ranked Carnival Cruise Lines.
(Courtesy of Disney Cruise Line)

Best Cruise Lines for Couples
If you're hoping to sail away with your sweetheart, look no further than Crystal Cruises, which is this year's No. 1 Best Cruise Line for Couples. Twosomes can take advantage of all-inclusive stateroom amenities, such as feather beds, Frette terry cloth robes and complimentary wine and spirits. Plus, you can up the romance factor by splurging on couples spa treatments and specialty private dining. Other high-ranking cruise lines for romance include Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises, which rank as the No. 2 and No. 3 Best Cruise Lines for Couples, respectively.
(Courtesy of Crystal Cruises)

Best Cruise Lines in the Caribbean
Disney Cruise Line also claims the Best Cruises Line in the Caribbean title. Not only does Disney travel to more than 15 Caribbean destinations, its ships also sail to its own private island – Castaway Cay in the Bahamas. Cruisers can choose from itineraries to other popular ports of call in places such as Cozumel, Mexico, Jamaica and Puerto Rico, as well as lesser-known islands, including Grenada and Curaçao. Celebrity Cruises takes the No. 2 spot and Crystal Cruises sails in at No. 3 on the Best Cruise Lines in the Caribbean ranking for 2017.
(Courtesy of Disney Cruise Line)

Best Cruise Lines in the Mediterranean
Celebrity Cruises is the No. 1 Best Cruise Line in the Mediterranean for 2017. The line's mid-size ships sail to beloved European destinations, including Santorini, Greece, and Naples, Italy. After exploring popular Mediterranean ports of call, cruisers can dine at upscale eateries, which offer everything from French fare to juicy steaks, before retiring to their accommodations. Regent Seven Seas Cruises takes the No. 2 spot and Oceania Cruises claims the No. 3 spot on the Best Cruise Lines in the Mediterranean ranking for 2017.
(Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises)

Best Luxury Cruise Lines
Those looking to indulge should consider booking a vacation with the No. 1 Best Luxury Cruise Line, Crystal Cruises. Crystal provides a nearly 1-to-1 passenger-to-crew ratio, which means travelers can expect personalized service. Plus, more than half of the staterooms on the line's two ocean-going ships offer private verandas. What's more, those staying in penthouse suites receive personal butler service. Other luxurious lines include Regent Seven Seas Cruises, which takes the No. 2 spot, and Oceania Cruises, which claims the No. 3 spot on the Best Luxury Cruise Lines list.
(Courtesy of Crystal Cruises)

Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Aerial Celebrity Eclipse
The Disney Magic crew wouldn’t be complete without Captain Mickey and First Mate Minnie, who greet guests onboard the ship. Special visits from favorite Disney characters are guaranteed to delight the entire family every day on the Disney Magic.
Crystal Cruises
All 2017 Disney Cruise Line sailings from Port Canaveral and Miami to the Bahamas and Caribbean will include a stop at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island paradise. In a setting of crystal-clear turquoise waters, powdery white-sand beaches and lush landscapes, the island offers activities for every member of the family.
Silversea Cruises
Crystal Cruises

Which cruise is right for you?
According to the Cruise Lines International Association, the largest cruise industry trade organization in the world, a rising number of travelers are choosing cruise vacations. The association predicted that 24 million people would take their vacations to the sea in 2016, and that number is only expected to increase in 2017. As demand heightens, so do travelers' cruising choices. To help you wade through the options and determine which cruise line best caters to your needs and budget, U.S. News evaluated 15 top ocean liners, using health scores and expert and passenger ratings, among other factors. Read on to find out which cruise lines came out on top.
(Courtesy of Regent Seven Seas Cruises)

Best Cruise Lines for the Money
Celebrity Cruises debuts as the No. 1 Best Cruise Line for the Money in 2017. Though its fleet is smaller than some of its competitors, Celebrity's ships offer personalized service and an average ship capacity of fewer than 2,700 passengers. Plus, the line offers big-ship amenities, such as outdoor movie screens and children's programming, while keeping rates as low as $100 per person, per night. Royal Caribbean International comes in at No. 2 and Norwegian Cruise Line ranks No. 3 on the Best Cruise Lines for the Money list.
(Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises)

Best Cruise Lines for Families
For the fourth consecutive year, Disney Cruise Line tops the list of Best Cruise Lines for Families. The line's character deck parties and specialized kids clubs are sure to please the younger crowd, while exclusive adults-only areas give parents a place to unwind after a day of activities. Other family favorites include the No. 2-ranked Royal Caribbean International and the No. 3-ranked Carnival Cruise Lines.
(Courtesy of Disney Cruise Line)

Best Cruise Lines for Couples
If you're hoping to sail away with your sweetheart, look no further than Crystal Cruises, which is this year's No. 1 Best Cruise Line for Couples. Twosomes can take advantage of all-inclusive stateroom amenities, such as feather beds, Frette terry cloth robes and complimentary wine and spirits. Plus, you can up the romance factor by splurging on couples spa treatments and specialty private dining. Other high-ranking cruise lines for romance include Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises, which rank as the No. 2 and No. 3 Best Cruise Lines for Couples, respectively.
(Courtesy of Crystal Cruises)

Best Cruise Lines in the Caribbean
Disney Cruise Line also claims the Best Cruises Line in the Caribbean title. Not only does Disney travel to more than 15 Caribbean destinations, its ships also sail to its own private island – Castaway Cay in the Bahamas. Cruisers can choose from itineraries to other popular ports of call in places such as Cozumel, Mexico, Jamaica and Puerto Rico, as well as lesser-known islands, including Grenada and Curaçao. Celebrity Cruises takes the No. 2 spot and Crystal Cruises sails in at No. 3 on the Best Cruise Lines in the Caribbean ranking for 2017.
(Courtesy of Disney Cruise Line)

Best Cruise Lines in the Mediterranean
Celebrity Cruises is the No. 1 Best Cruise Line in the Mediterranean for 2017. The line's mid-size ships sail to beloved European destinations, including Santorini, Greece, and Naples, Italy. After exploring popular Mediterranean ports of call, cruisers can dine at upscale eateries, which offer everything from French fare to juicy steaks, before retiring to their accommodations. Regent Seven Seas Cruises takes the No. 2 spot and Oceania Cruises claims the No. 3 spot on the Best Cruise Lines in the Mediterranean ranking for 2017.
(Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises)

Best Luxury Cruise Lines
Those looking to indulge should consider booking a vacation with the No. 1 Best Luxury Cruise Line, Crystal Cruises. Crystal provides a nearly 1-to-1 passenger-to-crew ratio, which means travelers can expect personalized service. Plus, more than half of the staterooms on the line's two ocean-going ships offer private verandas. What's more, those staying in penthouse suites receive personal butler service. Other luxurious lines include Regent Seven Seas Cruises, which takes the No. 2 spot, and Oceania Cruises, which claims the No. 3 spot on the Best Luxury Cruise Lines list.
(Courtesy of Crystal Cruises)

×

Tags: travel, vacations, cruises


Erica Lamberg has contributed to U.S. News & World Report since 2015. In addition, she has worked as a correspondent for Gannett for over 15 years, writing business features, book profiles, special section features and travel articles. Under Gannett’s news umbrella, Erica was recently named a lifestyle and travel expert for USA Today's 10 Best platform. Erica’s writing credits also include Bankrate.com, where she writes about personal finance, real estate and travel topics, and she is a regular contributor to well-regarded travel sites including Fodor’s Travel and Cruise Critic. Erica is also a former education and travel correspondent for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Erica is also a sought-after author of health content and writes several monthly features for the digital platform of Reader’s Digest. She is also a writing consultant and is retained by corporations in the real estate, higher education and healthcare industries. Erica is based in suburban Philadelphia. Follow Erica on Twitter.

Recommended Articles

How to Find Cheap Flights

Holly Johnson | Dec. 13, 2018

These tips can help you see the world at prices you can afford.

5 Ways to Save Money on Honeymoon Travel

Nicola Wood | Dec. 11, 2018

Create priceless honeymoon memories without breaking the bank.

9 Small Towns That Go All Out for Christmas

Dec. 4, 2018

You don't have to travel to a big city to experience nonstop Christmas fun.

17 Family Ski Vacations to Take This Winter

Nov. 26, 2018

These family-friendly mountain resorts offer exceptional snow sports and activities for all ages.

The 50 Most Scenic Mountain Resorts

Nov. 19, 2018

Get away to enjoy the views and activities at these properties around the world.

The 5 Top Health and Wellness Trends in Cruising

Nicola Wood | Nov. 13, 2018

Find out how taking a cruise can support your health, fitness and nutrition goals.

10 New Cruise Ships and Amenities to Check Out

Nov. 13, 2018

See how cruise lines are raising the bar with tech-savvy touches and improved luxury experiences.

The 2019 Best Cruise Lines for the Money

Nov. 13, 2018

Find out which lines will help you save big on your next cruise vacation.

10 Travel Photography Tips for Getting Better Photos

Nov. 8, 2018

These tips can help you snap stunning and creative images without a fancy camera – or any experience.

What Is a Boutique Hotel?

Lyn Mettler | Oct. 22, 2018

Learn more about these accommodations and why they are so popular.