The ultimate experience of luxury sailing in the open sea is enhanced by a voyage aboard some of the world’s finest cruise ships. It is not just the make and design of these massive vessels but also the wide range of plush suites, offering bespoke amenities and the utmost comfort, that make the cruise ships’ journey unforgettable.
The swankiest cruise ship suites can pamper guests beyond their imagination. Each treats guests like true royals who are served by a dedicated crew. Additionally, some ships even offer personal round-the-clock butler service as well.
Besides these features, a common theme in all such suites on cruise ships is the outdoor personal space that includes premium lounge amenities or floor-to-ceiling windows for uninterrupted viewing of the vast seas, if not both. The location of top-tier suites is on the highest decks and usually towards the front, delivering the best view of the ocean from vessels the size of cruise ships.
Everything — from fine dining to a fun-filled family time — becomes exclusive and pleasing for travellers. And along with such facilities, guests also have access to areas that are open to others on board, such as general water sports and other adventure activities, offering them the best of both worlds in style.
Having said that, all this certainly comes at a price. While the highest-level accommodations are the costliest, the price would depend on the type of ship, the size of the suite, the duration of the voyage and the destination, among other factors.
Here are the finest luxury suites on cruise ships
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- Regent Seven Seas Cruises' Regent Suite
- Ponant Le Commandant Charcot’s Suite de l’Armateur
- Norwegian Cruise Line’s Garden Villa
- Royal Caribbean's Ultimate Family Suite
- Holland America Line's Pinnacle Suite
- Oceania Cruises Owner’s Suite
- Cunard's Queens Grill Suite - Grand Duplex
- Virgin Voyages' Massive Suites
- Disney Cruise Line's Concierge Wish Tower Suite
- Celebrity Cruises' Iconic Suites
The Regent Suite offers the highest level of luxury on board three Regent Seven Seas Cruises ships — Seven Seas Explorer, Seven Seas Splendor and Seven Seas Grandeur. On each vessel, the Regent Suite covers an area of 412 sq metres. All of them are decked in hand-blown Lalique art vases and are adorned with two rare, original lithographs by the famous Spanish painter and sculptor Pablo Picasso.
The suite comprises two large bedrooms, a living room, a dining room and 2.5 bathrooms designed in marble and stone, along with two private balconies. For comfort, guests can relax at the heated MiniPool spa, the steam room, the jacuzzi and the in-suite spa with sauna. They can also opt for personal care products from brands such as Guerlain, Acqua di Parma and L’Occitane.
Although there are subtle differences in the Regent Suites depending on the ship, the cruise liner offers the same plush experience across these accommodations. For instance, while the Regent Suite on Seven Seas Splendor has a king-size Hastens Vividus bed in the master bedroom, a similar suite in Seven Seas Explorer has a king-size Savoir bed with a Mollissima duvet. However, the suites of both ships have a custom Steinway Grand Maroque piano by Dakota Jackson, but the same is not mentioned by the liner for Seven Seas Grandeur.
Image credit: Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Le Commandant Charcot is a Ponnat ship, which the French luxury cruise operator describes as “the world’s only luxury icebreaker powered by liquefied natural gas.” It is the latest addition to the Ponant fleet of ships and is capable of polar exploration.
The most luxurious accommodation on this vessel is the Suite de l’Armateur, or Shipowner’s Suite. A massive 115 sq metres top-of-the-line suite, it has a single bedroom with a king-sized bed, a living room with armchairs, two sofa beds, a dining room with a table for six and a steam fireplace to keep the cold out. Its bathroom has a Balneo bathtub and a minibar with Riedel crystal glasses.
Part of the other amenities includes butler service and two one-hour spa treatments per person for up to two guests in a space designed for wellness. While the comforts are delightful, what perhaps catches the eye is its outdoor private terrace which, at 186 sq metres, is larger than the interior space. Wide sliding glass doors open onto the terrace which has an outdoor lounge with deckchairs, a hot tub and a second dining table.
For those who truly want to feel like an explorer, there are two pairs of Swarovski CL Companion 10 x 30 binoculars and a Swarovski Optik ST VISTA telescope for the ultimate observation of the polar regions of the sea.
A highlight of the ship is its 484 sq metre restaurant, featuring dishes by legendary French-born Monégasque chef Alain Ducasse, who has 21 Michelin stars to his name altogether.
Image credit: Ponant
One of the most luxurious cruise ship suites, Garden Villa is among the suites and penthouses available on two Norwegian Cruise Line ships — Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian Star.
Depending on the ship, the Garden Villa can measure up to 622 sq metres. It can easily sleep up to seven people in its three bedrooms. Additionally, the suite includes a living room and a dining room.
Its most notable parts are perhaps its private garden with a hot tub and the outdoor terrace, from where the view of the sea is breathtaking.
Image credit: Norwegian Cruise Line
Perhaps no cruise line has an in-suite slide as part of their accommodation. And that is where Royal Caribbean scores a point over others. The Ultimate Family Suite is part of the highest class of accommodation options in the cruise operator’s Royal Suite Class collection. The suite is available on only three ships — Symphony of the Seas, Spectrum of the Seas and Wonder of the Seas.
As the name suggests, the luxurious suite is designed for a plush vacation on the seas for the entire family. The suite has two indoor levels, with the in-suite slide running through it. The slide is large enough for adults, too.
Measuring 105 sq metres, the indoors include an air hockey table and video game lounge, a cinema section and bunk beds for kids. Adults can sleep in the primary suite on the second level which is complete with a king-size bed, featuring Frette linens and Duxiana mattress and pillows. The balcony, which is around 19 sq metres, has a play area with a Luckey Climber, a ping-pong table that can double up as an outdoor dining section, and a jacuzzi.
Being part of the Star Tier of the Royal Suite Class Collection, guests in the Ultimate Family Suite enjoy VIP perks, such as speciality dining, complimentary drinks and internet, at sea. They get a dedicated Royal Genie service for any assistance during their stay as well.
Image credit: Royal Caribbean
Holland America Line is one of the biggest cruise operators in the world, with its service extending to multiple destinations in Asia, including Bangkok and Singapore. Most of the ships of the cruise liner have a specific high-end luxury accommodation called the Pinnacle suite.
The suite measures around 119.8 sq metres and has a spacious bedroom as well as a veranda. The bedroom features the ship’s signature king-size bed with Mariner’s Dream hospitality mattress from the Sherwood Bedding Group and a sofa bed for two. It has a dressing room, a guest bathroom and a main bathroom with an oversized whirlpool bath. The living area, dining area and veranda whirlpool combined is what primarily takes the Pinnacle Suite a notch above the second-best option, Neptune Suite.
Among the several amenities available to guests here are Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth audio system, exclusive use of Neptune Lounge and personal concierge service.
Image credit: Holland America Line/@HALcruises/Twitter
Oceania Cruises has six ships — Insignia, Marina, Nautica, Regatta, Sirena and Vista. All of them have a range of high-end cruise suites such as Vista Suite, Oceania Suite and Penthouse Suite. Among these, the Owner’s Suite is the most luxurious.
Vista has the largest of all the Owner’s Suites. Measuring up to 223 sq metres on Vista, Owner’s Suites, of which there are three and all are by Ralph Lauren Home, span the entire beam of the ship. It has floor-to-ceiling windows in every room of the suite, which allows natural light to fill every corner of the space. The dining hall has a Brook Street Salon dining table surrounded by Holbrook Director’s Chairs. The view of the sea from the dining area is spellbinding.
The suit comes with a bar and a glass wall that opens to a wide teak veranda. The master bedroom has a Cote d’Azur king-size bed with walk-in closets. Next to the master bedroom is a second teak veranda, providing a private space for the guests.
Image credit: Oceania Cruises
There are two types of Grill Suites on Cunard ships — Queens Grill Suites and Princess Grill Suites. The Queens Grill Suites have more amenities, are more luxurious and are larger than the Princess Grill Suites.
Located on all four of Cunard’s vessels, Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria and Queen Anne, Queens Grill Suites consist of luxurious accommodations of varying sizes, starting from 45 sq metres. But only Queen Mary 2 has the largest of them, a Grand Duplex Queens Grills suite measuring 209 sq metres.
Spread across two floors and served by a personal butler, it has a spacious lounge area and a dining room with a seating capacity of eight. Its bedroom has a Sealy Cunarder bed, which can be configured to king-size or two single beds. The bathrooms, of which there are two, are made of marble. Additionally, there are dressing areas, an office space and a personal gym.
Next to the living area is a large private deck. The suite has a complimentary mini-bar as well. Services, as is the case with all Queens Grill Suites, include pre-dinner canapés, a choice of champagne and a range of pillows — from roll neck style to downy goose feather out of nine varieties.
Guests of Queens Grill Suites have exclusive access to the Queens Grill Restaurant, which offers one of the finest world-class fine-dining experiences on the seas. Guests will have a table exclusively reserved for them throughout the duration of the cruise. They can go for breakfast, lunch and dinner whenever they please. But just in case guests would want to take their meals in their suits, they can opt for the in-suite dining services from the Queens Grill menu as well.
Image credit: Cunard
Part of the Mega RockStar Quarters accommodations on the adults-only Virgin Voyages ships, the Massive Suites measure 200 sq metres. The suites are available on only two ships of the liner — Scarlet Lady and Valiant Lady.
The suites are located towards the front side of the ships, making it possible to have an unobstructed view of the seas from its rooms and private terrace. It comes with an outdoor hot tub and a personal music room, lending authenticity to the “rockstar” theme of the suite. The curated in-room bar is stocked with guests’ favourites. On the outdoor sundeck are hand-woven hammocks, a private whirlpool, seating space and daybeds.
Image credit: Virgin Voyages
Disney Wish is one of the most majestic ships in Disney Cruise Line’s fleet, and its 182.6-sq-metre Concierge Wish Tower Suite is the pinnacle of luxury on the ship. It is uniquely positioned in the funnel above the upper decks and spans two decks with floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Its decor is inspired by Disney’s animated film Moana (2016).
The Concierge Wish Tower Suite houses two main bedrooms with walk-in closets, in addition to a separate children’s room. There is a library room which can also function as another bedroom if needed. Of the 4.5 bathrooms, two have stand-alone bathtubs and walk-in rain showers. Children have their own bathroom with a shower. Guests can find an open dining salon, a pantry and a wet bar in the suite as well. Entry to the tower suite is via a private elevator.
Among the several special amenities for guests of concierge suites and staterooms on the ship are down duvets made of feathers and options of pillows from hypoallergenic to therapeutic memory foam.
Additionally, guests who book the concierge suite get priority check-in and boarding, a private welcome reception and exclusive access to special areas such as Concierge Lounge where they can enjoy a quiet moment with a cocktail or non-alcoholic beverages. They also get access to the VIP sun deck featuring a wading pool and whirlpools for relaxation.
Image credit: Artist Rendering/Screenshot/Disney Parks/YouTube
Edge series Celebrity Cruises line of ships, such as the new Celebrity Apex and Celebrity Beyond as well as the soon-to-be-launched Celebrity Ascent, have a special section called The Retreat.
Besides featuring multiple types of accommodations, The Retreat has a private restaurant, exclusive lounge and sundeck for its guests. Among the suites that are part of The Retreat is Iconic Suites, the largest of all the accommodations. It has 176 sq metres of interior space and an additional 64 sq metres of private terrace, offering one of the finest luxury travel experiences on any cruise ship.
The suites are positioned above the ship’s bridge, offering a panoramic view of the sea from its terrace and floor-to-ceiling windows. Iconic Suites come with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. A whirlpool tub is located on the terrace. Guests at Iconic Suites get two complimentary bottles of premium spirits, VIP canapés and unlimited lunch and dinner in all speciality restaurants, among other amenities.
Image credit: Celebrity Cruises
This story first appeared on Prestige Malaysia.
Hero image: Courtesy Virgin Voyages; Featured image: Courtesy Ponant
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answer: The cost of a suite on a cruise ship depends on the tour, duration of stay and type of accommodation.
Answer: The biggest suites on a cruise ship are generally over 100 sq metres and can go up to 650 sq metres, too, in some of them. For instance, while the Suite de l’Armateur on Ponant's 'Le Commandant Charcot' measures 115 sq metres, Norwegian Cruise Line’s three-bedroom Garden Villa measures 622 sq metres.
Answer: The cost depends on the tour itinerary, the type of suite and the season you're travelling in, among other factors.
Answer: No singular vessel can be labelled as the finest in terms of luxury. In fact, several cruise ships, such as Celebrity Cruises' 'Celebrity Apex', Cunard's 'Queen Mary 2' and Royal Caribbean's 'Wonder of the Seas', are among the many luxurious options one can opt for a plush experience.
Answer: Royal Caribbean's 'Allure of the Seas' is reportedly the most expensive cruise ship ever built, costing over USD 1.4 billion.