Soft Sheets, Sweet Dreams
Holland America Line's "Signature of Excellence" program has resulted in upgrades in bedding quality onboard all its ships, including the Noordam (suite depicted here).*
By Carol Eannarino
Cruise lines got the message several years ago. Baby boomers like their bedding lush, plush and oh so comfortable.
The hotel industry started the trend in the late 1990s, tossing out the old and embracing the newest, most comfortable bedding. Hotel guests loved it.
Boomers, many with solid incomes as well as their share of aches and pains, upgraded their bedding at home too, to the tune of thousands of dollars.
Savvy cruise lines – mass market, premium and luxury alike – "woke up and smelled the coffee." They determined that they, too, had to be part of the bedding boom or be left at the dock.
Today, many cruise lines have caught up admirably. Some offer guests the plushest of pillows; sheets and pillowcases of the finest cotton with the highest of thread counts; heavenly soft down duvets; and mattresses designed to foster the sweetest of dreams.
The following oceangoing cruise lines offer voyages from the South – as well as bedding fit for kings, queens … and the entire family.
Carnival Cruise Lines
The entire fleet of Carnival’s “Fun Ships” has been outfitted with the Carnival Comfort Bed sleep system. It features plush, custom-made mattresses, 100% hypoallergenic down duvets with satin-striped covers, and upgraded cotton-blend sheets and pillowcases.
Guests so covet their pampering sleep experience that they may want to take it home with them. Thus, Carnival now sells its popular bedding on a special Web site, www.CarnivalComfortBed.com.
Carnival has upgraded its bedding fleetwide, so all ships -- including the Carnival Triumph seen here arriving in Miami -- have upgraded bedding and soft goods that guests will appreciate.*
Carnival’s southern departure ports include Port Canaveral, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Miami and Jacksonville, all in FL; Mobile, AL; Galveston, TX; and New Orleans, LA.
For more information, call 800-438-6744 or visit www.carnival.com.
As with everything else on a luxurious Crystal ship, the standard bedding in all staterooms and suites is top of the line. Guests enjoy 100% Egyptian cotton sheets, goose down pillows, feather bed toppers and plush duvets.
Crystal also offers a pillow menu from which passengers may select one of four types
- Hypoallergenic king- or standard-size pillow, filled with down-like polyfiber;
- Foam-filled round neck pillows for neck or lumbar support;
- Firm standard-size pillows with 95% feather and 5% down filling;
- Therapeutic sleep-sensitive, standard-size pillows that are 100% polyester fiber with head and neck indent (capability)
The Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity offer winter cruises from Miami to the Caribbean, including Panama Canal sailings. Visit www.crystalcruises.com or contact your travel agent for more information.
Disney Cruise Line
Kids and parents alike will sleep like lambs thanks to the recent upgrading of every stateroom onboard both the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder.
The comfy bedding includes Sealy Posturepedic Premium Plus Euro-top mattresses, new pillows and Frette 300 thread-count, 100% Egyptian cotton linens. The line has also added larger, more luxurious bath towels and bath sheets to all staterooms.
Both Disney ships are based in Port Canaveral, offering Caribbean and Bahamas cruises. Disney Magic will spend this summer in the Mediterranean, however. Contact 888-DCL-2500 or visit www.disneycruise.com.
Holland America Line
As part of its $225 million fleetwide Signature of Excellence program, Holland America Line installed Mariner's Dream™ beds. They feature a custom-designed Sealy Posturepedic Euro-top mattress and 250-thread count cotton bed linens with duvets in deluxe verandah suites and penthouse verandah suites.
Last summer, Holland America introduced a choice of pillows for guests in verandah suites, superior verandah suites, deluxe verandah suites and penthouse verandah suites. Each suite has a minimum of two pillows from each of three “comfort levels,” for a total of six pillows. Guests can choose from support firm fiber, medium cluster fiber and soft, 100% goose down. Eight pillows adorn king beds in deluxe verandah suites and penthouse verandah suites.
A pillow display card introduces suite guests to each pillow type and the layout configuration of the pillows. Guests may exchange the pillows to match their preference.
Bedding and other amenities can be purchased through HAL’s online store at www.shophollandamerica.com.
Holland America’s Caribbean cruises leave from Fort Lauderdale and Tampa, FL. For more information, check out www.hollandamerica.com.
When Oceania introduced the concept of luxury bedding ensembles in 2003, it triggered one of the hottest trends in the industry.
All staterooms and suites on Oceania’s three ships have new third-generation Tranquility Beds, with plush, pillow-top Imperial Mattresses capped with a layer of memory foam. There are 350 thread count Egyptian cotton linens in all staterooms; 700 thread count in all concierge staterooms and all suites.
In addition, the staterooms feature thick, goose-down comforters; Italian, silk-cut duvets and goose-down pillows. Oceania’s bedding has been consistently replaced and upgraded several times over the past three years.
Oceania’s Regatta sails from Miami on spring and winter Caribbean cruises.
Visit www.oceaniacruises.com for more information.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Regent Seven Seas' Voyager of the Seas sails from southern U.S. ports and has pampering bedding.*
Regent recently upgraded all of the bedding on its ships as it re-branded from Radisson.
Now, all accommodations boast superior linens, towels, bathrobes and slippers as well as new mattresses. Bed linens are of fine Egyptian cotton from Anichini, an Italian company that specializes in supplying high-end hospitality companies.
Regent’s Seven Seas Mariner, Seven Seas Navigator and Seven Seas Voyager sail from Fort Lauderdale for spring and winter Caribbean cruises.
For more details, visit www.theregentexperience.com
Royal Caribbean International
The entire fleet of Royal Caribbean International will sport the line’s revamped bedding program by May.
Upgraded bedding is being installed on all Royal Caribbean ships. Seen above is the attractive bedding on Freedom of the Seas.*
The “extreme makeover” program includes: new bed frames designed to prevent sagging; nine-inch thick spring mattresses with separate two-inch thick micro-fiber pillow tops; 220-thread count, long-staple cotton blend sheets; duvet with cotton-blend covers; bed skirts and colored bed scarves placed at the end of the beds to protect the duvet.
Royal Caribbean even figured out how to eliminate the gap that forms when two twin beds are typically pushed together by cruise lines to form one queen-size bed. Custom-designed pillow tops are doubled over when placed atop twins, but are unfolded and laid on top of one another and the mattresses to create a queen size, gap-free bed.
Royal Caribbean departs this year from the following southern ports: Norfolk, VA; Galveston, TX; New Orleans, LA; and Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Port Canaveral, FL. Visit www.royalcaribbean.com for more information.
The Grand Princess sails weekly out of Galveston with upgraded bedding in all cabins. That includes plush 100% Egyptian cotton bed sheets with high thread count as well as fluffy European style duvets.
Suites and mini-suites also feature luxury Beautyrest mattresses.
Other Princess ships also sail from other southern U.S. ports. Visit www.princess.com for more information.
Seabourn Cruise Line
Sail on one of the three yachts of Seabourn and you’ll sleep on an Eastborn mattress from the Netherlands. You can also snuggle with a fluffy down duvet.
Sheets, pillowcases and duvet covers are 316-thread count, 100% Egyptian cotton in a jacquard pattern called Micro-Chek manufactured by the English company Hilden.
Seabourn now uses king-size pillows of down and feather that are specially treated to be hypoallergenic. Other types are available on request.
The Seabourn Legend and Seabourn Pride leave from Ft. Lauderdale on winter and spring Caribbean sailings.
Visit www.seabourn.com for more details.
How does a luxury cruise line make a cruise even more luxurious? Silversea's answer was to install new Sealy Posturepedic Plus EuroTop mattresses aboard its four-vessel fleet. Passengers in the Owner’s, Grand Royal, and Rossellini suites will slumber on Stearns & Foster Plus ultra-luxury beds.
The custom-designed mattresses debuted on the Silver Shadow for its World Cruise that departed Fort Lauderdale in January. The rest of the fleet will be outfitted with the new beds over the next few months.
Silversea already has goose down duvets, 320-thread count sheets made of 100% cotton, and a choice of pillows. Those pillows range from the line’s standard soft goose down and feather blend, to a firmer goose down and feather, to a synthetic, hypoallergenic therapeutic foam contour pillow.
The Silver Shadow and Silver Wind depart from Fort Lauderdale for fall/winter and spring Caribbean cruises.
Visit www.silversea.com for more information.
High Threads on the High Seas
High thread count sheets and pillowcases are all the rage. But, what exactly is a thread count?
Quite simply, it’s the number of horizontal and vertical threads in one square inch of fabric. Most stores sell linens with thread counts ranging from 180 to 320. But some extremely expensive linens have counts that reach the stratosphere.
Some experts say that any count over 380 is unnecessary. In their opinion, it’s the fibers and finish that make fine linens feel soft to the touch. The experts believe 100% Egyptian cotton is the best quality.
Carol Eannarino started her writing career in family travel. She is currently managing editor for a major travel trade magazine. She also edits its two monthly publications, Cruise Trade and Home Based Trade.
*Photos are owned, copyrighted and used courtesy of the cruise lines listed above or Susan J. Young. All rights reserved. Please do not copy nor link to these photos. Thank you.