First of all, it puts off people who would like to take a normal cruise, with their family, and have a load of fun in a sunny location. And secondly, it puts off people who would like a high end luxury holiday, as they have seen ships that they would not like to travel on, and assume that is what is meant by a 'luxury cruise'. Indeed, many discerning travellers simply shut out the whole cruise concept from their list of potential holidays, so sure are they that they know what it's all about, and that it is not for them.
In 2015 just under 1.79 million UK travellers took a cruise. And of that number, just a tiny proportion (1.5%) went on what CLIA (the cruise industry training and research body) define as an 'ultra-luxury cruise' - a total of 26,602 passengers. At Mundy, this is the area in which we specialise. We understand the key differences between the various luxury, adventure and small ship options. We have the experience and the skills to package them creatively to further enhance your trip. And we understand our clients, and the type of service they need: professional advice, interesting suggestions, assistance with the mundane tasks, the authority to fight your corner when necessary and the same level of care and attention we would offer to our favourite family members.
So what does that 'ultra-luxury' tag mean? These are the cruise lines which fall into our 'best of the best' category. Features we are looking for include outstanding personal service, with an attentive crew, speaking fluent English, and enough of them to ensure there is always someone to look after you - no frustrating waits, and access to people who can solve, or arrange to solve, any problem or issue that might arise. Obviously we expect the food to be excellent, both in quality and presentation, and in most cases (except on the smallest ships) for there to be a choice of dining venues. Wines, often included in the fare, are of a good standard, and expert sommeliers are on hand to help you with your choices. There is plenty of space, so you never feel crowded or hassled. Soft furnishings are of the highest standard, décor inviting, and everything is beautifully maintained.
So these features are all a given when you choose one of the 'best of the best' cruises. From there, you will want to investigate in further detail to find the right trip for you. The itinerary is obviously going to be key - and the shore excursions may be very important to you. Alternatively, you might prefer to explore independently (we can help with the best local drivers and guides.) We can identify those ships with good quality entertainment, or excellent lecture programmes. There may be some fantastic themes on certain departures which completely match your interests.
Finally, of course, cost is a consideration. When comparing fares, we will help you with the best offers and added value, highlight what is included, or how much space you will have in your suite. Our job is to come up with the perfect solution given the timeframe and your budget.
When all of that is done, you can set aside the boring detail, and begin the exciting anticipation of your next perfect holiday...