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Cruise in the Lap of Luxury

  • Courtesy of Windstar

    En español | 10 luxury cruises across the globe promise passengers true pampering — along with destinations of a lifetime. Prices listed are per person, double occupancy.

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    Paul Gauguin Cruises

    Take in picture-postcard views from your cabin aboard the Paul Gaugin as you depart from Los Angeles for the Tahiti & the Society Islands cruise. Dine in your choice of three venues; bask on a private verandah; and sleep in silky-soft European sheets. Ring for the butler or concoct your own cocktails at the in-suite bar. The line owns a private French Polynesian islet, Motu Mahana, where you and 300 other passengers can spend a day sipping coconut cocktails at the floating lagoon bar or snorkeling in turquoise waters. Local Tahitians, working onboard as entertainers and storytellers, will while away the time with you on your 7-night round trip. (Cost: $5,295 to $12,595, which includes round-trip airfare from Los Angeles)

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    Voyageurs du Monde

    From the moment you step onto the small, wooden ship Sudan, where the Egyptian crew will be on deck to welcome you with cool towels, the modern world will fade away. The ship, nearly a hundred years old, looks as iconic as it does in the movie version of Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile. As you spend four days on The Eternal River cruise, voyage from Aswan to Luxor. You’ll tour the Philae Temple, the Valley of Kings, the Temple of Kom Ombo and more ancient sites. (Cost: $920 to $1,790)

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    Windstar Cruises

    Plenty of ships sail the Caribbean, but few are like the sleek, four-masted Wind Star. It’s more of a yacht than a cruise ship, though, with room for just 150 passengers — many of whom you will likely get to know over a few glasses of ti punch (a favorite French Caribbean cocktail) in the evenings. On a seven-day round trip cruise from Barbados, dubbed Jewels of the Windward Islands, the ship stops in gorgeous spots such as St. Lucia— which has rain forests and volcanic beaches — and Grenada, for a visit to a spice market or a hike to waterfalls. (Cost: $1,699 to $5,999)

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    Board the Sojourn with 450 other guests for an 18-day trip called Jewels of India and Arabia. You’ll travel up the west coast of India and then to ports in Oman and the United Arab Emirates. (A long list of optional excursions includes visiting a tea plantation and an orphanage for baby elephants in Sri Lanka.) For onboard diversions, you’ll find an 11,400-square-foot spa, a glitzy casino and Asian-style cuisine such as sautéed scallops in coconut curry. (Cost: $5,999 to $21,999 and up)

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    The Queen Mary 2 is your classic, old-school and opulent transatlantic ocean liner. On the eight-night New York to Southampton, England, Blue Note Jazz at Sea cruise, you’ll enjoy a true bucket-list experience, getting decked out with 2,600 passengers for festive themed balls (Royal Ascot, masquerade) and dancing in tuxedos and gowns to a 12-piece orchestra. These jazz cruises, coordinated with Blue Note Records and Blue Note Clubs, fit a cool retro mood, featuring performances by such greats as Herbie Hancock and Gregory Porter. (Cost: 1,499 to $5,299)

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    The swankiest of the swank, the Silver Shadow is a floating five-star hotel, complete with butlers who serve dinner, course by course, in your cabin as you cruise for seven days from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Seward, Alaska. You might also dine at the ship’s “slow food” restaurant or the wine-focused Le Champagne, for dishes such as Dover sole with Camembert bouillon. Choose from a long list of small-group excursions (perhaps a salmon-fishing expedition?), knowing that upon your return the butler can be at your cabin door, holding your favorite cocktail. (Cost: $2,950 to $14,550)

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    With room for 1,000 passengers, the Serenity is larger than some other luxury vessels, but on a 16-day round trip Hawaiian Serenade leaving and returning to San Francisco, you’ll notice more room for amenities such as the Crystal Spa (where you can even get your teeth whitened), a gym with yoga and spinning classes, four bars and a cigar lounge. In Hawaii, sign on for such excursions as a submarine ride or an evening catamaran sail that includes a fireworks display. (Cost: 5,995 to $35,975)

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    National Geographic Expeditions

    The company’s newest ship, Orion, can take you on an eight-day cruise to sample culture and cuisine from Oporto to Basque Country. The experience is expressly for travelers looking for enriching local-flavor experiences on land, with a lovely place to rest at night. That means you’ll be gathering fresh mussels with Galician fishermen and tasting port wine in its birthplace, Oporto. Onboard, it’s intimate, with only 53 cabins, a hot tub and a sunlit library. (Cost: $7,990 to $16,610)

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    Azamara Club Cruises

    Azamara is all about Destination Immersion; for the 680 passengers cruising the coasts of Croatia and Albania for seven nights on the Pearl of the Adriatic Voyage, that might include cooking with an Albanian chef. The Azamara Journey was just fully renovated, so it’s sparkling from bow to stern. (Cost: $2,549 to $9,749)

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    Abercrombie & Kent

    A&K allows only about 200 passengers on its ship Le Lyrical although it’s large enough for 250; that’s so every passenger gets a window cabin — a must on the Classic Antarctica cruise, a 12-day round trip from Buenes Aires, where the scenery includes countless penguins and stunning ice formations. Along the way, dine on fresh fish and French tarts, and spot wildlife from Zodiac boats piloted by experienced naturalists. (Cost: $10,995 to $34,995)

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