Luxury cruise lines are in an all-out war for your high-end travel dollars. Companies are trying to one-up each other with celebrity-chef-driven restaurants, Vegas-quality entertainment and once-in-a-lifetime excursions. But in no category is the high-seas competition fiercer than with over-the-top suites. These days, brands are pulling out all the decorative stops, filling units with gold embellishments, grand pianos and gorgeous living spaces.
But you don’t have to navigate this wave of can-you-top-this accommodations on your own. Forbes Travel Guide editors scoured the world’s finest ships and found these standouts in the sea of sumptuous suites.
The 2,000-plus-square-foot Owner’s Suites (found on larger ships Marina and Riviera) are the crown jewels among this fleet of luxury liners. Stylishly clad in furnishings from Ralph Lauren Home, the designer digs also boast king-sized beds, two walk-in closets, indoor and outdoor hot tubs and a music room. Prime perks include access to the Executive Lounge and its private library.
Designed with Silversea cofounder Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio in mind, the Silver Muse’s 1,055-square-foot Balsorano Owner’s Suite serves as a tribute (d’Ovidio’s personal trinkets and art decorate the space) and a treasure (marbled bathroom, personalized stationery, 55-inch TV). The two worlds come together one night during your voyage with dinner at the officer’s table, a treat reserved for guests of the special suite.
With new finishes and fresh furnishings across the ship, there’s a lot to be excited about with Wind Surf’s fall renovation. Still, the aspect of the makeover we’re most intrigued about is the super-exclusive Officer’s Suite, a 242-square-foot escape in the officer’s quarters — there’s even a “Staff Only” sign in front of it — consisting of a dining area, museum-worthy replicas of other ships in Windstar’s fleet and that priceless feeling that you’re a part of the crew.
A luxury cruise line internationally revered for its excursions roster, Regent Seven Seas finds itself in a bit of a quagmire: The Seven Seas Explorer’s Regent Suite is filled with so many amenities — we’re talking more than 4,400 square feet filled with two bedrooms, a glass-enclosed garden, a grand piano and much more — that you may decline the disembarkation.
No matter which of the four Mickey Mouse-emblazoned vessels you embark on, you’ll find a regal retreat in the Concierge Royal Suite with Verandah. Decked out in art-deco elegance, these posh accommodations feature marble-and-granite bathrooms, pillow menus, furnished verandahs (with a whirlpool no less) and extra perks, including priority boarding, dedicated concierge services and access to the exclusive Concierge Lounge.
Wake up to ocean views from the comfort of the Club World Owner’s Suite onboard the boutique-size Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey. A 233-square-foot furnished veranda lets you soak up sea breezes, but a chic marble bathroom (complete with a soaking tub) and butler service help you luxuriate indoors, too.
Sure, 1,300-square-foot suites are nice, but the butler-serviced Crystal Penthouse with Verandah aboard ocean liners Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity ups the ante with Swarovski chandeliers, Frette-linen-dressed beds, and bathrooms with heated floors, built-in HDTVs and Jacuzzis with ocean views.
Board the Expedition to revel in the two-story Grand Wintergarden Suites. A sculptured staircase leads up to the master bedroom with a queen-sized Duxiana Axion 15 adjustable bed facing the windows. Though if you need a closer look at the scenery outside, peer through the tripod-mounted Swarovski ATX Interior scope.
Celebrity delivers modern, fresh design, and it ups the ante with Edge’s Iconic Suites. At 1,892 square feet, they are the largest suites in the fleet, and this doesn’t include the vast terrace, complete with a hot tub and double daybed. Inside the window-lined suites are two bedrooms and bathrooms — each with a shower and whirlpool tub — and a fresh aesthetic (slate-colored wood floors, a white-and-gray palette) that you will covet for your home.
When the Sky Princess debuts in October, you’ll find us in the lavish Sky Suite, which comes with a 1,000-square-foot continuous balcony — the largest at sea — countless amenities (a personal shopping concierge, access to the spa’s Enclave thermal suite, reserved theater seats) and a dedicated suite experience manager to tend to your every need.