Cruising has come a long way since the advent of the steam engine and the era of the transatlantic ocean liners. Once a luxury enjoyed exclusively by the bourgeoisie, cruising has been adapted to serve the vacationing public. The industry as a whole has made great strides in luxury cruises, creating and equipping cruise ships today with the ultimate in amenities and style. The options for cruise travel are infinite.
Luxury Cruises - A Distinctive Selection
There are many different types of luxury cruises, each simultaneously elegant and exciting. Luxury adventure cruises, luxury sailboat cruises, and five star luxury cruises abound, and are available in just about any corner of the globe. Luxury cruises sail across the world, as evidenced in luxury Australia cruises, Alaska luxury cruises, and Caribbean luxury cruises. Different lines specialize in this type of travel; you'll find many different options, including luxury Crystal cruises, luxury Windstar cruises, luxury Holland America cruises, and luxury Cunard cruises.
Luxury Cruises - A Brief History
Following the end of World War I, the 1920s heralded an era of great shipbuilding, and despite a brief decline resulting from the Depression, the building of great ocean liners continued well into the 1930s. This decade saw the construction of Cunard's famous Queen Mary, the predecessor to Cunard's recently-unveiled Queen Mary 2 (QM2), the flagship liner of the British company.
Luxury Cruises - QM2
Perhaps the most eagerly anticipated luxury cruise ship of the millennium, the Queen Mary 2 set sail on her maiden voyage in January 2004, setting new standards for the industry and dramatically raising consumer expectations. She is 113 feet longer than the original Queen Mary and is currently the longest, tallest, and largest cruise ship in the world. Requiring an estimated $800 million to build from inception to completion, the Queen Mary 2 accommodates 2,620 passengers in addition to 1,253 crewmembers.
Some features exclusive to the Queen Mary 2 include a full-scale planetarium that also functions as a 500-seat cinema, auditorium, and lecture hall, and the Canyon Ranch Spa, a 20,000 square foot facility focused on improving physical wellness. The QM2 boasts the largest library, wine collection, and ballroom at sea, while 80% percent of her accommodations are outside cabins and over 94% have private balconies. Awarded a maritime Oscar by Berlitz in their 2005 Guide to Ocean Cruising and Cruise Ships, the Queen Mary 2 is perhaps the most magnificent of the luxury cruise ships.
Luxury Cruises - Destinations
Luxury cruise ships circumnavigate the globe, cruising into over 2000 ports of call worldwide. Whether you are interested in a brief jaunt through the Caribbean or a 24-day transatlantic voyage, a luxury cruise ship is in service to fit your individual needs. For example, during one single voyage, you could sail through the Mediterranean and discover the ancient mythology of Greece, the canals of Venice, and the exciting nightlife in downtown Barcelona.
Or, you could immerse yourself in eastern culture and explore the mystique of Bangkok and then treat yourself to authentic Thai cuisine, often made with fresh basil, lime, coconut, and chilies. Head to the Bahamas over your next three-day weekend and discover the former stomping ground of Blackbeard himself. Luxury cruise ships are available to transport you to your next great adventure, no matter where in the world you want it to be!