On luxury ships, elbow room is abundant and service is very personal. The onboard atmosphere is much like a private club, with guests trading tales over delicious meals that often rival what's served in respected shore-side restaurants. And a full dinner can be served in your cabin, course-by-course if you like how cool is that?
Instead of glitzy entertainment, you'll likely find informative lectures and more sophisticated activities, like wine tastings or culinary classes. When it is offered, entertainment tends to be of a more personalized variety, favoring a handful of entertainers rather than Broadway-style production numbers.
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The ports are often the off-beat ones, mixed with the classics.
On the flip side, these types of sailings are sometimes not the best choice for families with children, unless those kids are able to keep themselves entertained without a lot of outside stimuli. With a few exceptions, you won't find kids' clubs or a daily schedule of children-focused activities the way you would on the mainstream ships.