Best Premium Suites

New York Tour Bus
New York Tour Bus // Photo by Medioimages/Photodisc/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

 

Oceania Cruises’ Owner’s Suite
Oceania Cruises’ Owner’s Suite foyer boasts a baby grand piano and a swank bar.

 

Want the lifestyle of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat from a seagoing perch? Simply book a top suite on a premium or upper premium cruise line.

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Celebrity Cruises’ Reflection Suite
Celebrity Cruises’ Reflection Suite has two-story expanse of glass that takes guests into the middle of cruising action.

Top Performers

Highly recommended are the Owner’s Suites on Decks 8, 9 and 10 of Oceania Cruises’ Riviera and Marina. Larger than some single family homes, they span the ship’s beam. Guests admire aft views and the ship’s wake from two private balconies.

Inside, these suites seem clubby, yet refined, with design and décor by NY-based Tocar Interior Design and Ralph Lauren Home. Step into the large rotunda-like foyer and you’ll spot the baby grand piano and bar ahead. To the right is the living room area with comfortable furniture, a separate dining area and large flat-screen TV; guests enjoy 3-D movie viewing and a media library. Watch An Affair to Remember or Titanic while snacking on popcorn, chips or nuts provided by your butler.

On the opposite side of the foyer is the master bedroom with a king-sized Prestige Tranquility Bed, dual walk-in closets and a master bathroom. Both the living room and master bedroom have sliding doors that open onto teak balconies. A second bathroom is off the foyer.

Stay in touch with family at home via the line-provided laptop with Wi-Fi access and an iPad. To relax, soak in the suite’s indoor whirlpool tub or another on the balcony which faces an exterior TV. Or, simply curl up on an outdoor lounger with a line-provided cashmere blanket.

 

Azamara Cruises’ Owners Suite
Azamara Cruises’ Owners Suite living room affords great scenic views, thanks to floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors.

At dinnertime, just order off menus from any of the ship’s six restaurants; the suite’s butler will serve guests course by course en suite. For a gourmet experience, order from Jacques, Oceania’s signature Jacques Pepin restaurant. Entrées include traditional veal stew with wild mushroom and glazed pearl onions, and Brittany-style Maine lobster baked in the shell with tarragon and coral butter. For dessert in the Caribbean, an apt choice is “Baba au Rhum,” a freshly poached pastry in aged French island rum.

Owner’s Suite guests enjoy priority 11 a.m. check-in and early embarkation with priority luggage delivery as well as a private executive lounge with dedicated concierge. Guests also enjoy welcome champagne, unlimited access to the Canyon Ranch SpaClub private Spa Terrace, Internet plan discounts, complimentary in-suite bar set-up with four large bottles of premium spirits plus wine, gourmet evening canapes, priority online specialty restaurant and shore trip bookings and more.

Another seriously fantastic suite that’s creating buzz is the Reflection Suite on Deck 14 forward of the new Celebrity Reflection. It’s Celebrity Cruises’ (www.cruisingpower.com) first two-bedroom suite. Entering the suite’s foyer, the living area is just ahead. Check out the two-story expanse of glass, which puts guests in the midst of the cruising action. Order champagne and caviar and sink into one of two Tresserra Casablanca chairs window-side. They’re unique with sculptural arms, wood accents, leather straps and horizontal pleating. They provide a great perch when the ship sails into Istanbul or any other exotic locale.

 

Powerhouse Trio

Premium suites aren’t just on premium cruise lines. Increasingly, contemporary lines have created posh, spacious suites. Among the biggest and best?

* Two Levels: Royal Loft Suites on Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.

* Humongous Suites: Garden Villas on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Star.

* Ship-within-a-Ship Perks: Royal Suites within the MSC Yacht Club onboard MSC Cruises’ Divina, Fantasia and Splendida. For a robust look at these suites, visit www.luxuryta.com.

Royal Loft Suite aboard MSC Cruises
Royal Loft Suite aboard MSC Cruises ships spells out royalty with its grandeur and chic settings.

 Light and airy, the living room is decorated in pleasing tones of cream, tan, brown and burgundy. Guests have a comfortable couch (convertible to a queen bed) and four upholstered chairs to relax on. Amenities include a mini-refrigerator and large flat-screen TV. European butler service is round the clock and, if desired, the butler will serve meals at the suite’s 10-seat dining table.

Love Italian cuisine? Select the Tuscan Grille’s calamari with marinara sauce and lemon garlic aioli; Bufala Mozzarella and tomato salad; and veal scaloppini served with sauteed vegetables and garlic mashed potatoes. Pair with Vinsanto Tenute Marchese, a classic Chianti wine. For dessert, choose the Pistachio marble creme brulee.

Both bedrooms have Reverie Dream Sleep System mattresses with settings that can be customized via technology controls. Both also have large flat-screen TVs and balconies with teak flooring.

The master bathroom also faces forward with glass windows everywhere including above the dual sinks. This bath has a large whirlpool tub but it’s the shower that impresses. Cantilevered off the ship, this snazzy shower—fun for many, a bit hair-raising for others—is visible from other accommodations. While foggy glass in daytime and a dimmer effect at night provide privacy, the guest in the shower can see the proceedings outside. Skiddish travelers might opt for the walk-in shower within the second bathroom, just off the foyer.

Reflection Suite perks include priority check-in, welcome sparkling wine with fresh fruit and flowers, packing/unpacking assistance, afternoon tea, evening hors d’oeuvres, complimentary espresso and cappuccino, restaurant seating preferences and more.

It’s also easy to feel pampered in Azamara Club Cruises’ Owners Suites, which exude a welcoming, club-like elegance. They have a separate living room with dining area, bedroom with master bath, small guest bath, and great scenic views, thanks to floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors. You’ll find six Club World Owners Suites on each Azamara ship—two each on Decks 6, 7 and 8. Recommended are 7114 and 7119, which are sandwiched between accommodation decks rather than public spaces, and hence, are typically quieter.

No matter which suite is selected, cruisers enjoy a large private, aft-facing balcony with new verandah furniture. Inside, the living room’s creature comforts include a comfortable sofa, chairs, a flat-screen TV, DVD-CD player, refrigerator with minibar and desk, and a dining area. Azamara’s staterooms and suites also have new mattresses, Egyptian cotton bed linens and soft duvets. Terry bathrobes and slippers are provided for guest use. The elegant master bathroom features plenty of marble, as well as a whirlpool tub and shower.

What’s special? All suite guests enjoy complimentary seating at specialty restaurants, Prime C and Aqualina. Trained under the auspices of the English Butler Guild, Azamara’s butlers serve as a personal valet, party consultant, wine expert, mixologist and reservations specialist. Just ask and your butler will arrange a specialty restaurant reservation, private tour ashore, spa treatment reservation or anniversary dinner.

Club World Suite guests receive daily hors d’oeuvres between 4-6 p.m. and en-suite afternoon tea. Guests may dine en suite from the restaurant menus; seafood lovers should order Aqualina’s seafood platter with grilled scallops, calamari, tiger shrimp and a half lobster, drizzled with garlic-chive oil. For dessert, don’t miss Prime C’s mini cinnamon-sugar donuts with a trio of dipping sauces.

Order wine, cocktails or sodas from the butler or make your own libations; suites are stocked with liquor and mixers. Club World Owners Suites also include priority check-in and departure; unpacking/packing of luggage; a welcome fruit basket; fresh-cut flowers and more.

Holland America Line’s largest and grandest Penthouse Suites are amidships on Eurodam, Noordam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Oosterdam, Westerdam and Zuiderdam. They’re spacious with bright décor, rich furnishings and unique art. The newest Penthouse Suites (PS) in the fleet are PS7036 and PS7031 on Nieuw Amsterdam with either starboard or port side views.

Created by NB Design Group, these suites feature cool yet earthy tones, a living area with a sofa bed, chairs, desk, private stereo system and DVD player. They also have a dining room and separate pantry with microwave and refrigerator. The master bedroom has a king-size bed, dressing area and walk-in closet; guests may order feather pillows. The large bath has an oversized whirlpool tub with shower, plus an additional separate shower stall.

Floor-to-ceiling glass brings the outside in. Open a door from the dining area to enter a verandah that zig zags along the suite; it’s not a typical cookie-cutter balcony. Its outside whirlpool is a plus. A banquette—partially set into the suite’s exterior wall—is a great spot for alfresco dining.

Holland America does not have butlers, but Penthouse Suite and Verandah Suite guests can head to the Neptune Lounge for personalized services—everything from spa treatment bookings to dining reservations, customized shore trips or private suite parties. Guests may utilize the lounge’s workspaces, relax with a book from the library, view a large-screen TV, access Wi-Fi, and enjoy snacks and refreshments. A concierge is available by phone 24 hours a day.

Suite perks include laundry, pressing and dry cleaning services, corsages and boutonnieres for the first formal night, personalized stationery, a fruit basket, afternoon tea and pre-dinner hors d’oeuvres served en suite, DVD library access, captain’s cocktail party, special disembarkation privileges, and full stateroom breakfast, among other benefits.

Looking for an exclusive hide-out with a large balcony on a big ship with lots of activities? Consider Princess Cruises’ Grand Suite on either Sapphire Princess, Diamond Princess or Caribbean Princess. Each ship has one such one-bedroom suite aft, with stunning views of the ship’s wake. Caribbean Princess’ Grand Suite is just a tad smaller than those on the other two ships.

All Grand Suites include a sitting room with convertible double sofa bed, large balcony, multiple TVs, a refrigerator and wet bar. The separate bedroom has a queen-size bed with high-thread count Egyptian cotton linens, as well as a large walk-in closet. The master bathroom boasts of dual sinks, a tub and shower.

 

Holland America Line Nieuw Amsterdam Penthouse
Holland America Line Nieuw Amsterdam Penthouse living area comes with a sofa bed, chairs, desk, private stereo system and DVD player.

What’s unique? In the bedroom is a large, circular whirlpool-jetted tub; it’s accessible from inside the bedroom as well as from the outside balcony. Select suites have a personal computer, wet bar and faux fireplace. Among the tastiest Grand Suite benefits is an executive suite breakfast served in Sabatini’s with a complimentary mimosa each morning.

Guests also receive priority embarkation/disembarkation, access to the exclusive Elite Lounge, a private sitting with the onboard photographer, and use of the Lotus Spa Thermal Suite. Other benefits include priority reservations for the Chef’s Table, the Ultimate Ship Tour (covering behind-the-scene areas of the ship) and Princess Cay bungalows.

All premium and upper premium lines have raised the bar with their top suites. Expect superb sea views, incredible spaces, high-quality furnishings, and onboard benefits once offered only by luxury lines.

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