River Ship Line #: Viking River Cruises
Parent company Viking Cruises has expanded feverishly in recent years, with more than 60 river ships and six ocean vessels in its fleet. Under Viking River Cruises, the company’s riverboats explore familiar waters like the Danube and Rhône in Europe, as well as faraway itineraries on the Volga in Russia, the Nile in Egypt, and the Mekong in Southeast Asia. Viking River Cruises also includes complimentary Wi-Fi and select shore excursions in its prices, and its Culture Curriculum offers experiential learning through events like regional wine tastings and menus that rotate seasonally.
Calculating The Cruise Line Rankings
Best Luxury Cruise Lines: For our luxury cruise lines ranking, we include only cruise lines with a price class rating of 3.5 or above. Qualifying cruise lines are ranked highest to lowest based on their Overall Rating.
Best Cruise Lines for the Money: For our affordable cruise lines ranking, we include only cruise lines with a price class rating less than 2.5. Qualifying cruise lines are ranked highest to lowest based on their average Overall Rating, which carries a 40 percent weight and their price class rating, which carries a 60 percent weight.
Best Cruise Lines for Couples: This ranking factors in each line’s Overall Rating as well as the aggregate traveler rating by “couples” travelers and the percentage of a cruise line’s reviews on Cruiseline.com that are left by couples. For example, a cruise line that receives a high percentage of its reviews from couples is more likely to be couples-oriented. Cruise lines are ranked according to the weighted average of their rank within each of these three factors. For a cruise line to be eligible for inclusion in this ranking, at least 62 percent of its total traveler reviews had to come from couples.
Small Ship Line #: Seabourn
Seabourns six ships feature fewer than 300 suites eachbut they leverage that small size into access at some of the worlds most beloved yacht ports: St. Tropez in the south of France the Greek island of Kos and popular large ports like Dubrovnik and Monte Carlo. Michelin-starred chef Thomas Keller designs specialty menus on the ships, and a partnership with UNESCO ensures shore excursions and sustainable tourism practices at some of the wildest and most wonderful destinations around the world. Later this year, the line will debut its first expedition ship, Seabourn Venture, with a sister ship to follow.
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Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings
Coming in as the third-largest cruise line in the world, Norwegian has a fleet of 28 ships sailing to more than 490 global destinations. By 2027, the cruise line plans to add nine ships to its inventory. In the meantime, Norwegian has three ships in service and plans to return nine more before the end of the year.
To sail with Norwegian, all passengers and crew will have to be fully vaccinated, i.e., vaccinated at least two weeks prior to embarking, from COVID-19 as a requirement of its comprehensive SailSAFE health and safety initiative. Before embarking on any of its ships, Norwegian travelers will also be subject to COVID-19 testing. These thorough travel safety measures may be appealing to potential NCLH stock investors.
Princess Cruises Tops The Charts For Traditional Romance
Does your perfect experience involve reclining on a lounge chair with your partner by your side watching the sunset? Maybe its a movie under the stars? What about a couples retreat?
The Crown Princess, Ruby Princess, and Emerald Princess offer a private lounge called Adagio for couples. They are designated, private areas where couples can talk or simply spend time alone away from other people.
Want to just relax? The Sanctuary is a retreat complete with waiter service and couples massages. A romantic cabana can also be booked for that added romantic touch.
This cruise line has couples dining options with the best experience being the Ultimate Balcony Dining Experience. For a bit extra, treat your partner to a lobster dinner complete with champagne and course-by-course service.
You can additionally experience a romantic breakfast in bed with the Balcony Breakfast option. The only thing is that your cabin needs to have a balcony.
If you want to dine out, consider the Crown Grill for open grilled seafood and steak, Sabatinis for a multi-course Italian meal, or share a romantic dish at Share by Curtis Stone.
If you really want to wow your spouse, book the Sky Suite. This option is available on the Enchanted Princess, Sky Princess, and Discovery Princess lines. Cabins include huge balconies with a panoramic view, complimentary wine tasting, and a personal concierge.
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Small Ship Line #1: Celebrity Cruises
Celebrity’s three expedition vessels are by far the smallest ships in the cruise line’s fleet: Celebrity Xpedition carries 48 passengers, Celebrity Xploration carries just 16, and Celebrity Flora carries 100 passengers. All three sail the Galápagos, with some itineraries including pre- or post-sailing tours to mainland Ecuador and even Peru, where guests can visit Machu Picchu.
River Ship Line #: Amawaterways
AMAWaterways cruises the waters of Europe, Africa, Vietnam, and Cambodia, with a handful of new ships debuting in the past few years. In 2019, the line launched AMAMagna, a double-wide river cruise on the Danube that features massive 710-square-foot suitesa size unheard of on a river-going vessel. Despite the ship being so much larger than its sisters, the passenger count only increased by 20 percent to 196 guests, ensuring an intimate experience. The cruise line sails 22 ships in Europe, one in Vietnam and Cambodia, and two in Africa . In 2023, AMAWaterways will expand to Latin America, sailing the AMAMagdalena in Colombia.
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Small Ship Line #: Seadream Yacht Club
Sailing through the Caribbean, around Europe, or across the Atlantic on either of SeaDreams two 112-passenger yachts means quickly getting to know your fellow guests. Facilities on the six decks include a pool, whirlpool, and casino, but the real highlight is the watersports marina that can be lowered down to the waves for easy ocean swimming, kayaking, and more. The ships often overnight in port, allowing guests the opportunity to experience the local nightlife before taking off for their next destination.
Small Ship Line #1: Star Clippers
Star Clippers has a fleet of three ships, with its flagship Royal Clipper holding the record as the worlds largest full-rigged sailing ship. All three are sailing yachts, unfurling their sails for itineraries across the Caribbean, Mediterranean, and Southeast Asia, with classic exteriors and interiors featuring several bars, a swimming pool, library, and formal dining room.
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Medium Ship Line #: Hurtigruten
What started as a coastal ferry company in Norway in 1893 has expanded its operations to include expeditions to such destinations as Antarctica, Cape Verde, and Greenland. Of Hurtigruten’s 14-ship fleet, there are seven expedition vessels, five of which fit 500 to 1,000 passengers. The cruise line’s two newest ships, MS Roald Amundsen and MS Fridtjof Nansen, are hybrid-powered ships, demonstrating Hurtigruten’s dedication to sailing as cleanly as possible to protect the environment.
Medium Ship Line #: Oceania Cruises
Its all about the food on Oceania Cruises. Its 1,250-passenger MS Marina and MS Riviera offer restaurants by Jaques Pepin, a six-course Dom Perignon dinner with a pairing of three vintages, a cooking center where passengers of all cooking skill levels can take classes, and culinary-themed excursions, like a visit to the market in Nice with a chef. Its four smaller Regatta-class ships, each accommodating 684 passengers, also have excellent dining options, like the Polo Grill and the Italian eatery Toscana. Two new 1,200-passenger ships are on the way for Oceania, set for delivery in 2023 and 2025.
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Large Ship Line #: Princess Cruises
Part of the Carnival family, Princess Cruises has a fun claim to famethe TV show The Love Boat was set on its Pacific Princess ship. If youve never seen an episode, youre in luck, as one of the onboard TV channels airs reruns around the clock. But you wont want to stay cooped up in your stateroom when you discover all the activities on board its 14 ships. Its special Seawitch craft beer program sees the cruise line partner with breweries around the world, while Discovery at SEA offers a series of activities based on TV shows from the Discovery, Inc. family of networks, including Animal Planet, the Discovery Channel, and the Science Channel. In 2020, Princess Cruises newest ship, the Enchanted Princess, set sail, and its next ship, Discovery Princess, is scheduled to launch in the spring of 2022.
The Best Cruise Lines In The World 2021
3. MSC Cruises 84.43
10. Norwegian Cruise Line 82.779. Carnival Cruise Line 82.788. Marella Cruises 84.017. Royal Caribbean International 84.856. MSC Cruises 84.975. Holland America Line 86.874. Princess Cruises 87.18
15. Royal Caribbean International 83.2014. Carnival Cruise Line 83.5813. Celebrity Cruises 84.2612. Holland America Line 87.0311. Azamara 88.3910. P& O Cruises 88.579. Hurtigruten 88.634. Regent Seven Seas Cruises 92.683. Seabourn 93.33
15. Sea Cloud Cruises 87.1414. Star Clippers 87.7713. Crystal Yacht Cruises 89.3312. Ponant 89.3410. SeaDream Yacht Club 91.469. Metropolitan Touring 92.206. American Cruise Line 93.185. Windstar Cruises 94.083. Regent Seven Seas Cruises 94.802. Paul Gaugin Cruises 95.51
10. Delfin Amazon Cruises 90.339. Avalon Waterways 92.278. Crystal River Cruises 93.227. American Queen Steamboat Company 93.416. AmaWaterways 93.535. Vantage Deluxe World Cruises 94.284. Grand Circle Cruise Line 96.003. Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection 96.742. Tauck River Cruising 97.51
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Holland America Lines Offer A Culinary Experience For Foodie Couples
For an incredible dining experience, couples will enjoy the Holland America Line. Onboard is the Tamarind, which is an elegantly decorated Asian restaurant with a touch of the Far East. The menu contains a complete fusion immersion with an Asian sea bass, sushi, and wok-seared lobster.
Rudis Sel De Mer is available on the newer ships. It offers an exceptional experience ranging from oysters on a half shell, incredible entrees like coq au vin and steak frites, deserts, and fine cheeses. Rudis is known for its French cuisine, and reservations do go quickly. It is best to book early.
If you are aboard the Nieuw Statendam or Koningsdam, check out the Blend. This is where up to 10 guests can engage in a blending experience and wine tasting. Chateau Sainte Michelle allows passengers to create its own blends using a selection of five barrels containing single-vineyard red wine.
Helpful Information About Cruise Lines
Cruising may be the best option if you are looking for a vacation that has everything in one place, with a minimum level of stress. Planning your travels inland is fun and exciting, but it can also be exhausting, especially when traveling with a big group, say, with friends or family. Booking a cruise, on the other hand, boils down to merely figuring out the type of cruise ship you want to board, how comfortable you want to be on it, and the destinations you want to visit.
A common misconception about cruises is that they offer fewer entertainment options than a land vacation. While this can certainly be true of smaller cruises, which may be mostly rooms and living quarters, this is far from a truism about the industry as a whole. Cruises have come a long way: in addition to their destination, many ships feature numerous, assorted activities, from Broadway shows and casinos to comedy acts, cooking classes, and movie showings. Although some activities may come at an added price, everything remains in close proximity, making transportation a non-issue.
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Our Top Picks: Cruise Lines Reviews
As a disclaimer, we advise anyone who is considering going on a cruise to keep their best interests in mind when it comes to COVID-19. People on cruise ships spend a lot of time close together, often with travelers from many countries. Due to this high population density, outbreaks are not unheard of. In fact, as the outbreak on the Diamond Princess shows, cruises are a perfect breeding ground for highly contagious viruses like COVID-19. 17% of the people aboard the ship contracted the virus from the moment that the ten infected passengers were identified, to when the ships quarantine was lifted.
If you suffer from a preexisting condition or belong to a population that is particularly vulnerable to the virus, please think twice before boarding a cruise ship. Here are some additional resources if you are considering boarding a cruise ship during the ongoing pandemic:
Types Of Cruise Ships
Cruise ships come in all shapes and sizes but can be roughly divided into three groups: small, mid-size, and large. Some types of ships are too large for certain activities, such as river cruising, which means the kind of ship you want to stay in may dictate the cruise experience you will ultimately have.
Small cruises have the advantage of maneuverability, making it possible to stray off the beaten path and visit more exotic ports that big ships cant reach. The number of passengers may vary from under a hundred to well into the mid-thousands. They might have a handful of restaurants and some small-scale entertainment, but most of the excitement will be happening at the real destination: offboard.
Large cruises are on the opposite side of the spectrum to small cruises. As much , resources are spent on developing what travelers can do on the cruise and off. They usually host numerous stores and dining options and feature music halls, theatres, pools, zip lines, or even kart circuits. They have every amenity you could think of, which helps when youre moving thousands of passengers around and plan plenty of offboard activities at popular ports. Overall, they are akin to giant, floating resorts more than anything else.
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Medium Ship Line #1: Carnival Cruise Line
The eight ships between Carnival’s Fantasy and Spirit classes each clock in around 2,100 passengersCarnival hasn’t built a ship that small since 2004 and has no plans to order any more. But these smaller ships sail itineraries all over the world, from the Panama Canal to the South Pacific, as well as shorter sailings from Florida to the Caribbean, and bring the same amount of laid-back fun to each sailing as the much larger Carnival ships.
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.
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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.
Cruising On The Comeback
Though mass Covid-19 outbreaks early in the pandemic exposed health concerns surrounding cruising, a new survey indicates travelers may not abandon ship travel after all.
Before the pandemic, 2% of prior cruisers said they wouldn’t cruise again, while as of August 2021, 4% said the same, according to an ongoing survey conducted by U.S. News & Report.
The pandemic hasn’t scared off non-cruisers either. Pre-pandemic, 62% of people who had never cruised indicated they wanted to try it. Now, 61% of people say the same.
Sentiments may be softening with time too. Before the pandemic, about 10% of people that had never cruised said they “never” would. According to the survey, this number rose to 17% in June 2021, but fell to 14% by August.
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Virgin Voyages Is Perfect For Young Love
Newly married or younger couples just want to spend time together. Virgin Voyages offer vacations that are kid-free. They are designed for young couples who enjoy the nightlife, a good party/good time, and a much-needed spa break for a little pampering.
They have over 20 dining spaces with bars attached so couples can have a romantic drink prior to entering the restaurant. If you want a private dinner for two, the Galley has a fresh market containing 100 different international cuisines for meals to enjoy on your balcony.
If you want to party, you can go dancing at the poolside Aquatic Club or The Manor. The ship goes well into the night in terms of dancing, music, and partying. You can also enjoy private time in a cabana, snuggling together under the stars, or beachside bonfires.
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.
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