Forget cruise ships, says Jemima Kelly in the FT. I recently went on a super-luxury “floating hotel”. The Explora I, which took me from Reykjavík to Greenland’s capital Nuuk during its inaugural transatlantic voyage, is home to a self-playing Steinway grand piano and “the world’s first floating Rolex shop”. My 632 fellow passengers and I also had access to four different swimming pools; a spa with a “salt cave” and heated marble loungers; outdoor hot tubs; and the choice of 11 different “culinary experiences”, including an emporium serving unlimited oysters.
Service is “so vigilant that it is at times embarrassing”. Whenever I leave my room to stare at a passing iceberg, say, or a pod of whales, I return to find my “suite host” has tidied up. Moët is poured from the moment the first bar opens at 8.30am until “whenever the last bar closes”, for no extra charge. I’m not told how many bottles are guzzled in a week – answers to such questions “don’t really align with the brand image” – but when Brits are on board, I’m told the number is “conspicuously higher”. Despite the unlimited supply of complimentary booze, the only sign of it I witness – “apart from a slight spinning sensation in my bed one night” – is a man passed out in the whisky bar around noon on my first day. Partly this must be down to the average age – “there is a definite retirement-community-at-sea vibe”. But I suspect it’s more because they are so rich, they “never need be without good champagne”. Cheers to that.