The 12 Best Cruise Ships For People Who Never Want To Grow Up
Editors note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.
Wouldn’t it be great to be a kid again?
Even if you’re just a few years out of school and only beginning your toils in the workforce, you’ve probably already found yourself pining for those carefree days of childhood.
Maybe you want to relive the thrill of endless afternoons racing your friends around go-kart tracks or hunting them down in laser tag battles. Maybe you want to be back at the arcade, rolling 100s in Skeeball. Maybe you just want to spend a day getting soaked at a waterpark again — without needing the excuse of bringing a child or grandchild along to do it.
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We’ve got some good news: Your misspent youth is still there, waiting for you — on a cruise ship.
One of the biggest trends in cruising over the past decade has been the transformation of mass-market cruise vessels into giant floating megaresorts that offer every sort of amusement known to humans — from massive water coasters to bumper cars and skydiving simulators.
Often these amusements were designed with teens and tweens in mind. After all, family cruising is one of the hottest things going in the industry these days. But a quick glance at all the millennials, Generation Xers and, yes, even baby boomers waiting in line for many of these attractions on ships proves they aren’t just for young cruisers.
Small Ship Line #: Metropolitan Touring
Operating three expedition vessels in the Galápagos, Metropolitan Touring is the ideal cruise line for those seeking a casual experience in the wildlife hotspot. The tiny ships, which only accommodate between 40 and 78 passengers, have a laid-back atmosphere where the focus is very much on wildlife spotting. The company also offers land-based tours in mainland Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia that can be combined with a Galápagos expedition.
Comparing 5 New Cruise Ships Sailing From Florida
Over the past several months, Ive had the opportunity to sail on five new cruise ships across five cruise lines that are now sailing to the Caribbean and Bahamas from Florida.
The ships all offer something different depending on what you are looking for. All five vessels made their debut over the past four months.
Heres a rundown of which cruise ships excelled in different areas so hopefully you can choose the right new cruise ship for your next vacation. Note, I joined a group of media on cruises on all ships with an exception for the cruise on Virgin.
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Best Cruises Leaving From Miami
From pristine beaches to tropical jungles, Miami cruises can take you to the best Caribbean destinations. Start your cruise vacation in one of the world’s best party cities, then set sail from the Port of Miami to The Bahamas, Mexico, Puerto Rico and beyond on weekend getaway cruise or a longer Caribbean adventure. Whether youre looking for last minute affordable cruises or getting a head start on planning the ultimate family vacation, Royal Caribbean offers plenty of thrill-filled cruises from Miami to satisfy every kind of traveler.
Best Cruise Lines For Luxury
Smaller cruise lines with ships that fit hundreds rather than thousands of guests dominated U.S. News’ luxury rankings list.
Viking, a cruise line based in Basel, Switzerland, is no stranger to accolades. It topped U.S. News’ luxury list last year too despite Chairman Torstein Hagen indicating he isn’t a fan of the word.
“I have outlawed the use of the word ‘luxury’ I think we are elegant, we are understated and hopefully timeless,” he said at a naming celebration for seven new river boats in March 2019, according to cruising website QuirkyCruise.com.
Also on the list: Silversea Cruises and Oceania Cruises .
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Miami Cruise Hotels: Top Picks To Stay Before You Sail
An upcoming cruise from Miami shouldnt be a cause for stress. Yet when you see the number of cruise hotel options that are available to you, your head can start to spin!
As a tourist haven, there are literally hundreds if not thousands of hotels in the Miami area for you to stay and they can stretch all over the city. So whats the best place to stay?
When it comes to finding the best hotel for you, first you will want to determine the area that best fits your needs. To be sure you can stay anywhere in South Florida with the availability of Uber, Lyft, and taxis, getting to the Miami port is pretty simple on cruise day.
Still, most people will choose to stay in one of a few areas, depending on what they are looking for during their trip. All have pros and cons, and we highlight hotels from each below.
Staying near the airport: Flying in for your cruise? It may not be what you picture when you think of Miami, but staying near the airport can be convenient and affordable. You have a wide variety of hotels that are usually at more affordable prices compared to staying near the ship. In addition, hotels near the airport often have free shuttles between the hotel and your flight. So you can fly in an be at your hotel in minutes with little fuss.
Note: This article contains affiliate links to Kayak. We earn a commission for clicks made on their website, at no charge to you. Review ratings come from Google and are rounded to the nearest half point.
Large Ship Line #: Holland America Line
As its name indicates, Holland America is a cruise line that was established in 1873 to primarily ferry passengers, many of whom were emigrants, between the Netherlands and the United States. Of course, these days, the cruise line sails more broadly to more than 470 ports around the world on its 11 shipsand its highly regarded for its Alaska itineraries. While passengers can enjoy classic cruise activities like swimming, sports, and gambling, Holland America is particularly noted for its culinary and musical programs: it has a partnership with the TV show Americas Test Kitchen for cooking demonstrations, cooking classes, and a number of live music venues , and stage productions dedicated to the history of music on many of its ships. The latest addition to Holland Americas fleet is the Rotterdam, which first set sail in July 2021, with a capacity of 2,650 passengers.
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Small Ship Line #: Silversea Cruises
Silversea’s four expedition ships stop in the Caribbean, the South Pacific, Europe, Africa, the Galápagos, and Antarctica on shorter duration sailings, but they also offer around-the-world itineraries for an international clientele. Off-the-beaten-path excursions make for once-in-a-lifetime experiences, like penguin spotting in Antarctica or private catamaran tours in tropical locales. In September 2019, Silversea completed its first journey through the Northwest Passagea monumental featwith the Silver Explorer, a 144-passenger expedition vessel. The fleet was joined by the new Silver Origin, a Galápagos-specific ship, in 2020.
Crystal Serenity To Los Angeles
John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images
This 16-night itinerary from Miami to Los Angeles goes through the Caribbean Sea for a first stop in Cartagena, Colombia, then theres the Panama Canal transit and a nearly 24-hour stop in Panama City, Panama. It cruises the coast of Central America with several stops along the way. Destinations include Caldera, Costa Rica, and Acajutla, El Salvador. Then it cruises the coast of Mexico with a stop in Puerto Vallarta. Then its a stop for a day in San Diego before concluding at L.A.
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Medium Ship Line #: Cunard
While Cunards Queen Mary 2 fits more than 2,600 passengersand a number of cats and dogson board, her sister ships, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria only have a capacity of about 2,000 passengers. Though theyre quite similar in layout, the QE and the QV differ in design. Both nod to the historic ocean liners of the early 20th century, but the QE takes on a bolder Art Deco vibe, while the QV features more subdued yet equally elegant decor. Guests on board both ships are likely to partake in afternoon tea before donning a glamorous gown for dinner.
Cheap Cruises From Miami
One of the best things about taking Miami cruises is that there are lots of inexpensive options. Cheap cruises from Miami abound, making it easy to find one on any budget. There are lots of ways to find cheaper cruises here. Many cruises will let you pick out a lower deck and save money. You can also save money by looking at last-minute destinations. If you can squeeze in a last-minute trip, cruises are happy to have you help them fill precious space. Look for last-minute deals on search engines or try contacting a cruise company directly to see if they have something that works for you. A last-minute cruise will have all the amenities of your standard cruise. You an also opt to save money by deciding against shore excursions and just opting to see many of the destinations on your own. This can be an excellent way to save money if you have traveled to the Caribbean before and know it well. Many cruises offer huge meals, so just grab something from breakfast and use it for your lunch when you’re away from the boat and the harbor during the best cruises out of Miami.
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Small Ship Line #: American Cruise Lines
American Cruise Lines has the unique distinction of operating not only old-school paddlewheelers in the United States, but also contemporary river ships. And they dont just sail on the Mississippiyou can also explore the Columbia and Snake Rivers in the Pacific Northwest, too. Beyond that, the 15-strong fleet also has oceangoing vessels that explore the coasts surrounding the entire country, from New England to Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico. The newest ship, American Melody, set sail in August 2021 and will spend its inaugural season on the Mississippi River.
Best Cruises From Fort Lauderdale
In selecting these options, we took a sampling from each age category. What cruise appeals the most to you will depend on who you are traveling with. Although these cruises all depart from South Florida, we chose a selection offering different activities that will appeal to various demographics.
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Best Cruise Lines In The Caribbean
It’s a clean sweep for Disney in this category too. Disney has been named the top cruise line in the Caribbean for the past eight years, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Living up to its name, the Miami-based Celebrity Cruises partners with well-known names in the arts and entertainment industry. It’s newest ship, Celebrity Beyond, has Gwyneth Paltrow as its “wellbeing advisor” and a restaurant created by Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud, according to its website.
Also on this list: Regent Seven Seas Cruises , Holland America Line , Carnival Cruise Line , Norwegian Cruise Line , Oceania Cruises , Princess Cruises and MSC Cruises .
Best For Singles: Nieuw Statendam
A modern beauty, the Nieuw Statendam contains dramatic spaces and fluid lines. This ship places a special emphasis on eye-catching, elegant design.
It offers engaging activities both day and night. Guests can relax at pools or spas, work out at the sports court/fitness center, or attend wine-blending classes and cooking demonstrations.
In the evening, you can be entertained at B.B. Kings Blues Club, party at the Rolling Stone Rock Room, or attend the dual-level World Stage. You can also try your luck at the casino.
Enjoy culinary delights at traditional dining rooms and specialty restaurants. Food ranges from cuisines from Holland, Asia, and France.
Staterooms include Oceanview, Inside, Verandah, and suites containing living areas/balconies. This vessel sails to the Caribbean, Canada, and Europe.
As you can see, there are a variety of cruises ranging from family-friendly fun to more adult types of entertainment. Families want a ship that has activities that all age groups can enjoy and participate in. They want a cruise that will entertain their kids while they explore their own interests. Plus, they want activities the whole family can enjoy together.
Cruises from Fort Lauderdale are vast, and they travel to a variety of global destinations. Options are not limited, and guests are guaranteed to find the perfect cruise for them.
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Small Ship Line #: Quasar Expeditions
The first luxury line to sail the Galápagos, Quasar Expeditions is best known for its in-depth trips aboard its two intimate ships that carry fewer than 32 passengers each. Yet note the street cred of said ships: One of the two, the Grace, is the former yacht of Princess Grace of Monaco. The other, the Evolution, will allow you to retrace Darwin’s footsteps in the Galápagos. Book the Baltra Island itinerary, where you’ll work your way from San Cristóbal Island to Baltra, and explore all the central and southern islands of the archipelago in between.
River Ship Line #: Vantage Deluxe World Cruises
The river cruise branch of tour operator Vantage Deluxe World Travel has several of its own ships, the majority of which sail in Europe. In fact, the vessels were some of the first river ships in Europe to have cabins designated for solo travelers. But in 2020, the company started operations in Egypt on its new m/s Nebu, which also has solo cabins. Providing its clients with even more options, Vantage also charters ships around the world for a variety of itineraries.
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Medium Ship Line #: Seabourn
Dont think of Seabourn as a typical cruiseits ships are much more akin to megayachts, with ultra-luxurious decor, service, and dining. The fleet currently has five vessels, the two largest of which carry 600 passengers each. Their small size allows the vessels to dock in small ports all around the world . Many of the cruise lines guests are lifelong learners, and they flock to the nightly Seabourn Conversation program, which brings all sorts of intriguing figures, from Steve Wozniak to Elaine Paige, on board for lectures and casual chats. In 2015, Seabourn announced a partnership with celebrity chef Thomas Keller, who crafted new menus for the three existing ships and spearheaded new restaurants on the two newest ships, Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation. In December 2021, Seabourn Venture is due to join the fleet, with a not-yet-named sister arriving in 2022.
Small Ship Line #1: Ponant
Fine French cuisine, Hermès bath products, and personalized service come standard on Ponant’s fleet of globe-circling ships. The line has recently expanded its original fleet of four expedition ships and one sailing yacht with six new Explorer-class ships designed for luxury expedition-style cruising. Each features an infinity pool, an underwater viewing lounge, and itineraries that include destinations as far-flung as Papua New Guinea and West Africas Bissagos Islands. In 2019, Ponant acquired Paul Gauguin Cruises, adding another ship to the fleet, and just this year launched Le Commandant Charcot, an ice-breaking expedition ship.
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Large Ship Line #: Norwegian Cruise Line
Things escalated quickly for Norwegian: the cruise line jumped from medium-size ships to mega-ships practically overnight , with just three ships in its current fleet sized somewhere in between. But thats soon about to change. Norwegian currently has six ships on order as part of Project Leonardo, each of which will hold about 3,300 passengers. Its interesting to see a cruise line scale back from its mega-ships and opt for a more manageable size for such a large order. The first, Norwegian Prima, is expected to launch in 2022 some of its highlights include the fastest slides at sea , a three-level go-kart racetrack, and a three-story theater that transforms into a nightclub after the evening’s show.
Small Ship Line #: Paul Gauguin Cruises
The single ship Paul Gauguin focuses solely on the Pacific, treating its 332 guests to picture-perfect beaches and dramatic scenery in Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Fiji year-round. On Mota Mahana, the lines private island in French Polynesia, passengers sip cocktails from the floating bar or paddle out over coral reefs on kayaks and paddleboards, straight from the ships water sports marina. For those wanting to get under the waves, an onboard PADI scuba program certifies divers in some of the clearest waters on the planet. Best of all? The ships rates are all-inclusive. In 2019, Ponant acquired the cruise line.
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Large Ship Line #: P& o Cruises
The United Kingdoms premier cruise lineand the worlds oldest, having commenced passenger operations in 1837P& O sails Europe, North America, and the Caribbean with a crowd made up primarily of British nationals. As such, prepare for the ships amenities to have a British bent . Three of the fleets six current ships fall into the large category, while its two adults-only ships, MS Aurora and MS Arcadia, are medium-sized. P& O’s newest ship, MS Iona is a mega-ship, as will be her sister, MS Arvia, due to sail in 2022.