Standards slipping in mass cruise market, says Berlitz guide

Standards are slipping in the mass cruising market as the gap widens between the 10 major cruiselines and small luxury ships, says a new guide.

In the 2008 edition of the Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships fewer liners were awarded five-star ratings than last year, with Seven Seas Mariner, Seven Seas Voyager, Silver Cloud and Silver Wind downgraded to four stars. Three Celebrity and three Seabourn vessels also lost points in the Guide’s ratings.

Author Douglas Ward, who has 960 cruises under his belt, also noted the increase in short getaway cruises and people living on board ships after retirement.

He said demand was on the increase for spa facilities on board, no-smoking cruises and healthy eating options.

Of the major cruise lines, Cunard came out on top over Celebrity. Europa, a luxury Hapag-Lloyd ship, was the only liner in the five-star-plus category. The guide goes on sale on Monday and is priced £16.99.

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