Luxury Cruising Offers Advantages for Many Celebrations

This new trend taking hold in the elite industry of luxury small ship cruising is being taken up by some big corporate companies as well as individuals who are looking for an event offering something with a difference that will have their guests talking about it for a long time after.

Small intimate motor yachts are now being hired for private functions, such as weddings, honeymoons, birthday parties, family celebrations, anniversaries and company meetings or social events.

These yachts make the perfect venue for a small intimate event as they are equipped with a full friendly professional crew, fully furnished, have an open bar and onboard chef to cater for any event or function.

Yacht charters are available all over the world for the pleasure seekers and there are many fabulous famous vacation islands to choose from.

Having a celebration for your child’s sixteenth birthday on board one of these beautiful floating hotels will be an unforgettable experience for him or her and their guests.

You may choose to party on the boat, or cruise to a specific destination, such as a private island, and drop anchor and start your celebrations there. Either way you and your guests are sure to have a memorable event that they will talk about for years to come.

Couples are choosing to get married on a cruise ship as you can reserve a small, fully crewed, private luxury small ship just for you, your wedding party and your guests. Very intimate and very fabulous!

Some couples are even choosing to stay on and honeymoon with their guests. This is a perfect situation for those couples who would love to have their friends and family join them on their honeymoon. And some couples even arrange to have a double wedding and honeymoon together!

While it can be a lot of fun to have others along you are provided with you own private quarters for your more intimate moments, while choosing to celebrate this momentous occasion with your closest friends as well.

Many companies are beginning to reserve these small yachts for corporate events as well, such as company dinner parties and award banquets for employees.

Consider having your next boardroom meeting on a small luxury cruise ship that offers you absolute privacy away from everything.

With full internet services available and a full suite of technology that includes a large flat screen for presentations it is the most luxurious floating office around. A helipad will easily accommodate an out-of-town executive who wants to join the meeting once the ship has sailed.

After the business is completed it’s time to adjourn to the bar, kick back and enjoy the pleasure of some good team building and serious fun.

These small cruise yachts come equipped with everything you need for your corporate events from an open bar to a fully staffed kitchen. If you want live music to entertain your guests, this can also be arranged.

They also offer glamour and exclusivity as well as a range of adventures such as heli-golf excursions, deep-sea fishing, beach and exercise activities, wine trails, bush and island walks to give different choices to your guests on board.

Whether it’s shopping for souvenirs at the local village markets, swimming or sun bathing on the beautiful island beaches, heading off with the guys for some serious big game fishing or heli-golf, you won’t be disappointed with the style and luxurious offerings on a luxury small ship cruse.

How to Plan a Luxury Cruise Vacation

A luxury cruise vacation is something most of us dream about. Sailing the ocean under sunny skies, our every want and need anticipated by attentive staff, food and wine everywhere we look, not a worry in the world. Well, what’s keeping you?

Three-quarters of the earth is covered by water. What better way to explore our planet than in style on a cruise ship? Today’s luxury cruises run the gamut from small vessels that carry 8 or 10 passengers to giant ocean liners with every amenity you could imagine, and a few you couldn’t.

If you want a smaller, more intimate luxury cruise, look into small-ship luxury cruises. These all feature the service you would expect at a 5-star resort. You’ll use fine china for dining, eat outstanding cuisine prepared by highly-trained chefs, and enjoy a selection of activities and destinations.

The smallest luxury cruises are actually aboard chartered yachts, and you can have the ship all to yourself–or your group. Ships that sleep 34, 42, up to 80 can be chartered to travel at your whim.

However, there are several cruise lines that specialize in small-ship luxury cruises. Regent Seven Seas features four different luxury ships: the Seven Seas Voyager, Seven Seas Mariner, Seven Seas Navigator and the Paul Gauguin. The Seven Seas Mariner was the first all-suite, all-balcony cruise ship in the world and was such a hit she was quickly followed by the Voyager. Both the Voyager and the Mariner sleep up to 700 guests, while the Navigator can accommodate up to 490 travelers and the Paul Gauguin can travel with 330 guests.

Crystal and Cunard are two other cruise lines well-known for providing luxury on cruise vacations. Crystal’s luxury liner the Crystal Serenity can accommodate 1,080 guests and typically sails in Europe and the South Pacific. However, she’s scheduled for an around-the-world tour departing from Los Angeles in January of 2008 and arriving in Southampton, England, 110 days later.

Cunard Cruise Line was founded in Britain in 1838 and has been sailing successfully since then. They are well-known for both safety and luxury. Currently, the Cunard Line sails three luxury liners, the world-renowned Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2), the Queen Victoria, and the Queen Mary 2.

The immortal QE2 is 963 feet in length and can cruise with up to 1,778 guests aboard. She has logged 5.5 million nautical miles, carried over 2 million guests, and is still the fastest merchant ship in operation. Definitely one of a kind!

The Queen Mary 2 is one of the most magnificent ocean liners of all time. At 1,132 feet she can sail with up to 3,056 passengers in full luxury. Billed as “your sanctuary at sea”, the accommodations and dining are first-rate. A luxurious ballroom, planetarium, and sports decks will all keep you occupied. The spa will relax you when you’re all done.

Launching in December 2007, Cunard’s Queen Victoria will sail her maiden voyage to New York. At 964.5 feet, she’ll accommodate 1,980 passengers on 12 decks with typical Cunard service and cuisine.

There are many, many choices for luxury cruise vacations, but no matter which ship, line, or destination you choose, you’ll remember that cruise for the rest of your life.

Inexpensive And Creative Tips To Dress Up Your Second Hand Caravan

One of the main reasons that second hand caravans can be so off putting to some people is that they can appear quite old and outdated. There is nothing wrong with buying a second hand van, and with these inexpensive and creative tips to dress yours up, you’ll have it looking as good as new in no time.

Paint

It really is true that a coat of paint can breathe new life into a space. For a second hand caravan, why not paint the inside walls and cupboards? Timeless colours, such as creams and browns, can work nicely, or why not use some bold shades to bring out your personality? It is also possible to paint the exterior of your used caravan, but you will need to get this professionally done in most cases (like you would a car).

Curtains

More often than not, the curtains in second hand caravans are dull, lacy or look as if they’ve come straight out of a time machine. Go to a fabric shop and find some material that you love and that matches your new paint job. If you have access to a sewing machine, or know someone who does, you can easily make your own curtains. For a more modern look, you may want to look at installing blinds or shutters over your caravan windows.

Cushions

Whilst you’re buying fabric for your brand new curtains, why not grab some extra reams to recover the seat cushions of your caravan? Again, this can be a fairly easy project, especially if you use the original covers as a guide for sewing the new ones. If you would like, it is also possible to entirely replace the cushions, covers and all. Why not add some couch pillows to the seating area or your caravan? Not only will this make your caravan feel more lived in, it will add an element of comfort for your family.

Accessories

One of the final ways to dress up your second hand caravan is to add some accessories that make the space more ‘you’. Buy some attractive kitchen utensils and crockery, perhaps in designs that match the rest of your colour scheme, and add some placemats and table runners. Update the electronics, such as the television, microwave and toaster, so that you can still have your creature comforts. Hang a piece of artwork on a wall, or add a creative clock. The accessory possibilities are endless.

Don’t let the appearance of a second hand caravan deter you from having the holiday home of your dreams – using the above inexpensive and creative tips, you can turn your second hand van into a chic and comfortable space.

Seabourn – Ultra-Luxury Cruising

Shhhhh! Want to discover your own private ultra-luxury cruising paradise? I mean way over and above the usual cruise vacation experience!

Try and imagine sunning on deck in your lounge chair and suddenly unexpected treats like mango sorbet topped with champagne, or an ice cold rolled face cloth arrive, without asking, from your ever attentive cruise staff.

Maybe it is the exquisite cuisine, the all suite accommodation and the exceptional service that brings people to Seabourn as their choice for the best ultra-luxury cruising. Perhaps it the fact that these almost "personal" yachts provide one of the most pampering and intimate cruise experiences available.

Seabourn's three "yachts" (Seabourn Pride, Legend and Spirit) provide a vacation beyond compare. The ships carry only 208 fellow passengers and almost one staff for every guest traveling. Their suites range from 277 square feet to 575 square feet, all with marble clad bath and roomy walk-in closets. Every suite has five foot picture windows or for the extra treat many have French balconies to let the wonderfully calming and romantic sea breeze in.

Your Seabourn experience begins the moment you board and are escorted to your suite. There you are warmly met by your room stewardess (yes they are called that) carrying champagne chilled just right and asking you to take your choice from a fine selection designer soaps; introducing you to your suite's plush cotton robes, duvet cover and fine Egyptian cotton linens. And it just gets better.

Seabourn's cuisine, planned by celebrity chef Charlie Palmer, presents more than 200 specially created signature dishes served in an open seating "Restaurant" where you can dine when you want and with whom you want. The tables glisten with Porsgrund china and Schott Zwiesel crystal and fine wines and spirits are included of course, as is a complimentary in-suite bar fully stocked to your specifications!

For casual indoor or outdoor dining there is the Veranda Café and very imaginative "tastings" menus served at '2', Seabourn's casual dining alternative to the restaurant. This epicurean feast of 11 courses is usually available on alternate nights, but don't miss the regular menu as it will please the most discriminating palate. Make a reservation or you will miss out!

On several sea days, Seabourn will also provide a barbecue grill on deck with outdoor seating, and of course, 24 hour room service is just a phone call away. This is not ordinary room service – you can choose anything from gourmet pizza to the ultimate in romantic dining! You can choose to be served course-by-course from the Restaurant menu in the privacy of your own suite. Or make up your own menu and yes you can invite your friends to join you!

After dinner, it may be Movies Under the Stars (TM) with first run films (with fresh popcorn) or what could be more romantic than time spent dancing on deck to live music, under the stars with the moonlight glistening on the water.

Can you imagine uniformed staff wading into the turquoise waters bringing you chilled caviar and fine French champagne? My favorite experience, Caviar in the Surf (TM) is offered by Seabourn on all tropical cruises. This is an over the top experience and to me is one of the signature events of a Seabourn ultra-luxury cruise.

Each of the Seabourn sister ships feature water sports from the ship's unique aft marina. On tropical and select Mediterranean cruises, you can swim, snorkel, windsurf, kayak, water ski or try to ride a banana boat – all complimentary. If you just want to lounge around on deck – take advantage of their Massage Moments – complimentary again, of course!

Their onboard spa presents all you will need for keeping shipshape, from hair care and facials to pampering massages and fitness classes, plus a well equipped gym and the services of a personal trainer.

It is no surprise that the Yachts of Seabourn have been voted the World's Best Small-Ship Cruise Line by Travel + Leisure Magazine and World's Best Cruise Ship by Condé Nast.

From personal experience, I can tell you that there is almost nothing the Seabourn staff won't do to ensure your happiness. Anything! Anytime! Now that's ultra-luxury cruising. Even better – Seabourn is building three additional ships for arrival in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

What to Expect on a Luxury Cruise

Aside from being wealthy, most people who go on luxury cruises are discerning, seasoned travelers who enjoy interacting with other like-minded passengers. These people are happy to pay more, if it means they can holiday in a 5 star, sophisticated environment where they will be well looked after.

Certainly, on a luxury cruise, every passenger is given a high level of personal service, as the staff are trained to cater to your every need from the moment you board. The ambiance on these ships is refined, yet sociable, with passengers exchanging stories while sipping fine wine and enjoying the kind of international cuisine that would upstage many respectable land-based eateries. While the food on offer is slightly below the level of the world's top restaurants, it is a cut above the cuisine provided on any other type of cruise ship. Also, the food is served to you by courteous staff, who make every meal a pleasurable experience. Alternatively, if you do not feel like socializing, you can always have food brought to your stateroom.

Generally, luxury cruises offer fewer options for entertainment compared to normal cruises, and the entertainment that is provided is more reserved. Rather than boisterous discos and partying, passengers prefer to socialize with one another in a wine bar, whilst listening to live music. On many luxury cruises, expert speakers are hired to give lectures on a wide range of contemporary and historical issues. These speakers can include scientists, former politicians, historians, academics and explorers. Usually, a luxury cruise itinerary will focus on yachting hotspots, such as those found in many parts of the Caribbean, rather than the large commercial ports. All of this makes for a far more cultured and educational experience, in contrast to the booze fuels, mindless entertainment that characterises many mainstream cruises.

Staff on luxury cruise ships are able to provide a more personalized service, because the vessels are a smaller size than normal cruise ships. This creates a more intimate atmosphere and allows luxury cruise ships to stop-off at ports that would be overlooked on a mainstream cruise. A small luxury cruise ship will carry no more than two hundred guests, and a big ship will carry no more than one thousand guests. The quieter, more understated nature of these cruises appeals to those who dislike the hustle and bustle of a more commercial cruise line, and who want a service that is tailored to their preferences.

Several luxury ships offer extra treats for guests, such as toiletries from name brands and pajamas with embroidered cotton logos. While these are only small touches, they are always very popular with passengers, who appreciate the attention to detail. Although most ships do not cater to children, there are some child-friendly vessels that operate during the school holidays. Usually, child minding can be privately organized with an off duty member of staff. Obviously, these types of cruises would not be the first choice for a family holiday. However, facilities can still be offered on these ships to keep children entertained, so family groups are not unheard of.

The smaller high-end cruise lines have always been notorious for their strict dress codes. Historically, black tie suits and evening gowns were mandatory attire for dinner. Nonetheless, recently, many luxury cruise operators (notably Cunard) have adopted more liberal dress codes, to reflect the fact that many modern guests do not enjoy having to dress for dinner. These days, providing you do not dress too outrageously, you can wear virtually whatever you want on many luxury ships. Tradition aside, most people agree that it is a good thing that the cruise lines have taken this approach, as it keeps them up-to-date with current trends.

Undoubtedly, a luxury cruise offers a different, more bespoke holiday experience that attracts those who enjoy the finer things in life. If you can afford it and decide to book one of these cruises, after your trip, you will probably never want to book another mainstream cruise again.