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Today’s travellers’ never-ending search for something new and exciting inspired the evolution of boutique hotels and cruises. However, what exactly is a boutique cruise?
Boutique cruises are unique adventures that will take you to the remotest places on earth on a comfortable home-like ship. Unlike giant cruise liners which inhabit thousands of passengers, boutique cruises take place on small- and medium-sized vessels.
Similar to boutique hotels, boutique cruises are characterised by their intimate atmosphere and idiosyncratic style. They distinguish themselves from larger chain cruises by offering personalised services and stylish, themed accommodation. Beyond just offering a cosier atmosphere, the small size of these ships creates an entirely different experience, both onshore and onboard. Smaller ships allow easier access to remote, less-visited ports to which the more massive vessels cannot get to, leading to refreshingly unique itineraries.
Size – Boutique cruises are typically small, with 10 to 100 cabins. They are intimate in scale, creating an ambience of being a personal guest in a private floating home, rather than just a cruise passenger. They often have communal “social spaces” where guests can interact.
Individuality –These cruises are often operated independently and are not affiliated with a major cruise chain. The ships have a distinctive vibe and never have the “cookie-cutter” feel of being one in a series. Their experiences are personal, authentic, and unique. The staff remember your name and make your journey a truly memorable one.
Design – The architecture and interior design of a boutique cruise vessel are as unique and individual as its operations, always high-end and often combining historical details with chic elegance. The lines may be sleek and contemporary or quaint and homey – or even an artistic amalgamation. The guest cabins have private balconies, panoramic windows, and are individually styled using upscale fabrics, in addition to exclusive amenities.
Character – Boutique cruises usually have a quirky personality. They are fun and funky, trendy and offbeat. Their sense of humour might be exhibited through the design and creative guest offerings. Each day is an adventure.
Culture – As an extension of the unique personality of each ship, boutique cruises often celebrate local flavour by incorporating locally-sourced materials and reflecting the location’s heritage through colour and art. Themed boutique cruises build the entire guest experience around a particular subject, such as fine art, fashion or sport.
Service – Highly personalised service is a hallmark of boutique cruises. The cruise director will welcome you in person, and the staff will know your name on the first day of your stay. Bespoke luxury amenities are provided, such as an extensive pillow menu and luxury toiletries, as well as offering sumptuous spa services.
Gastronomy – Boutique cruises craft unique dining experiences, not just menus. Their restaurants and bars tend to be smart and trendy, serving locally-sourced, high-quality cuisine, which makes these dining and drinking spots popular with locals as well as travellers.
Clientele – The types of travellers who are attracted to boutique cruises are as individual as the cruises themselves. Guests who enjoy creative design, quirky character, and personal service will be right at home on a boutique cruise.
Sense of place – Operating in the historic Gulf of Tonkin, capturing the quintessence of Northern Vietnam, and combining it with the nostalgia of 1930s Indochina as well as Bach Thai Buoi’s heritage, the ships of Heritage Cruises have been designed for a journey of discovery and are a sanctuary where travellers can feel a sense of place and create their own memories.
Authenticity - Simplicity, heritage, and authenticity - travelling onboard of the boutique cruises is all about destinations, experiences, and memories. The ambitions are set high, aiming to provide a spectacular experience based on exclusivity, comfort, elegance, and style. Each ship’s highly passionate crew and our incredible partners will help ensure your Heritage Cruises experience becomes an unforgettable memory.
Unique, Experiential, and Personal – Boutique cruises like Heritage Cruises make it their business to get their guests to secluded locations, where they can enjoy activities like biking, walking, boating, kayaking or snorkelling.
Onboard, the crowd-free experience is predictably more intimate and sociable. You can expect more personalised services from the crew, and you are much more likely to get to know your fellow passengers. As you regularly see the same faces on deck and in the lounges, it can be a bonus if you like to make new friends while travelling.
Expect destination-driven itineraries that are enhanced by creative programmes and hosted excursions, often led by historians, naturalists, and other knowledgeable persons.