Two tiers for cruisers: One for the rich and one for the rest

07 july 2014

The class system has been quietly making a comeback on some large cruise ships, where big spenders are increasingly being tucked away in sumptuous – and hidden – enclaves that resemble members-only country clubs, complete with lavish suites, separate pool decks with private cabanas, exclusive dining areas and even trained butlers.

“One of the things these cruise lines have done really well is that they’ve tucked the special rooms and lounges and sundecks away.”

- Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor of

Luxury staterooms on big ships are nothing new, of course; many cruise lines offer VIP suites with access to lounges and other high-end perks. For example, Cunard has always embraced classed cruising with its exclusive dining venues for its Queens and Princess Grill passengers, and Disney Cruise Line offers concierge-level suites on its two largest ships.

But two mass-market lines – Norwegian Cruise Line and MSC Cruises – have taken exclusivity to another level. Book a stateroom in The Haven on Norwegian or in the Yacht Club on MSC, and you’ll gain keycard access to a special section of the ship that is so rarefied, the experience is almost like being on a different vessel. Billed as a world of private luxury, they offer first-class amenities and service – and even secluded spaces away from the masses.





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