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 .
Viking Gets The Vote For Luxury And Romance
Viking cruises are great for those looking for luxury or a romantic getaway for several reasons. For one thing, there are no children under 18 onboard. Viking is not a family-focused cruise line. Viking is a smaller cruise line with a mission to provide a quality experience.
Viking received its highest rankings both for luxury and for couples. These rankings, from U.S. News, also featured Viking in third place for cruises in the Mediterranean. Viking has a myriad of Mediterranean cruises. Those include a few options that last 3-4 weeks. Below are examples of Viking cruises in the Mediterranean. Weve included some necessary details, such as the number of days and countries listed in the itinerary.
- Mediterraneans Iconic Shores: 29 days8 countries23 toursBarcelona to Istanbul
- Cities of Antiquity and the Holy Land: 15 days4 countries9 toursAthens to Rome
- Italian Sojourn: 8 days2 countries6 toursRome to Venice
- West Indies to Spain: 14 days5 countries4 toursSan Juan to Barcelona
Viking cruises are meant to be culturally immersive. Even before you board, Vikings website offers you virtual language lessons, cooking sessions, and historical explorations. These cruises are tour-heavy and meant to provide you with a true sense of the culture in each country you visit. Some days, you will even have a local guide for your tour.
What About Other Cruise Lines
The Best Cruises Guide Dont-Blame-Us-Disclaimer: facilities, onboard activities and prices were correct when we checked, but things change all the time so please check details direct with cruise lines, rather than blaming us. Bear in mind that some cruise lines are more ‘inclusive’ than others, so will add extra charges later. We just looked for the basic price.
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Mediterranean Cruise Advice: How To Choose Your Cruise
The Mediterranean has long welcomed travelers, resulting in a never-ending list of options for Mediterranean vacations. With its turquoise waters, spectacular beaches and quaint seaside towns, AdventureSmith believes the best way to see the Mediterranean is by shipsmall ship.
How to choose your small ship for the best way to see the Mediterranean? Start by reading our Mediterranean cruise advice below, then contact one of our Adventure Specialists for further customized Mediterranean cruise information.
Small Ships: The Best Way To See The Mediterranean
We believe that the best cruise ship for Mediterranean cruises is a small ship. When doing your Mediterranean cruise comparison, consider the benefits of going by small ship.
These ships are often owned and crewed by knowledgeable local companies with decades of experience. The best small cruise ships in the Mediterranean offer attentive service, gourmet food, private tours inaccessible to big groups, insightful guides and access to unique, off-the-beaten path places.
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What Are Holy Land Cruises
Cruises to the Holy Land, are simply cruises to Israel and may but not often anymore, include Egypt as well. Usually these cruises include both Israeli ports of Haifa and Ashdod. Cruise ships are adding longer visits and overnight stays to allow enough time for extended tours to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and even the mountaintop fortress of Mosada. Often, Holy Land cruises are combined with several Greek Islands and Turkey.
No matter which itinerary you choose, there is something of interest for everyone. From culinary delights to ancient history and religious significance, the entire Mediterranean region, from north to south, is a diverse, intriguing and memorable cruise experience.
The best rates and added-value amenities can be found from April to late November. However, you will need to be prepared for sudden changes in weather. By fall, many tourists have gone plus youll have none of the sweltering heat of summer. Personally, my favorite time of year to cruise the Med is through September and October.
Almost all cruise lines have a variety of Mediterranean cruises from late spring until late fall. Because the Mediterranean Sea can be very unpredictable in the late fall, my suggestion would be to choose your Mediterranean cruise for no later than mid to end of October. You really dont want to be caught in a storm on the Mediterranean in November.
Best New Ship: Celebrity Cruises
Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises
- Duration: 10 nights
- Ship Name: Celebrity Edge
- Itinerary: Civitavecchia, Italy Messina, Italy Santorini, Greece Athens, Greece Mykonos, Greece Rhodes, Greece Chania, Crete, Greece Naples, Italy
Celebritys much-anticipated new ship, the Celebrity Edge, launched in December 2018 and will be plying the waters of the Mediterranean this summer and fall. Better yet, the 10-night voyage allows extra time to experience all the vessel has to offer. The avant garde ship steps away from traditional ship layouts , and has trend-setting features like a rooftop garden with live musical performances, a curtainless theater with 10 panoramic screens, Eden Bar, a glass-enclosed lounge with interactive performances and Magic Carpet, a cantilevered elevator deck that spans 13 floors. The cruise sails round-trip from Rome and visits three countries in six ports of call.
For more options, check out our guide to the best cruise lines.
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Celebrity Comes Close To Royal Caribbean In Value
Celebrity is the 2nd best cruise line for the money, just behind Royal Caribbean. Royal Caribbean is large enough that no cruise line can compete with its rates. However, Celebrity continues to grow and thereby continues to lower its rates. The primary way to assess the difference is to consider that whereas you can easily find Royal Caribbean cruises for under $500.00, you can easily find Celebrity cruises for under $800.00.
Celebrity, like Royal Caribbean, is on the larger side of cruise lines. This means you have more ports to choose from, among other economic benefits. More ports mean less cost to get to the port. For example, you can cruise to the Caribbean from Cape Liberty, New Jersey with Celebritya rare departure port opportunity.
If youve ever flown into Newark instead of JFK, you know that flying to New Jersey instead of Cozumel, Mexico can save you a lot of money. Larger cruise lines are also more affordable simply because you have more cruises to choose from, which include cheaper packages. Here are some cruise packages with Celebrity under $800.00:
- 5-Night Labadee & Puerto Plata CruiseStarting from $799.00
In addition to being affordable, Celebrity aims to be a family-friendly cruise line. Family fun features include a teen spa, where teens can work on themselves, essentially. They can get their teeth whitened and their hair styled. They can work out with a personal trainer or just go to relax with a facial or a massage.
Packing For The Seasons In Mediterranean Cruise
The Mediterranean climate is typical of the northern hemisphere with four distinct seasons, and temperatures range from hot in the summer to mild in the winter. The most popular time to cruise the Mediterranean is during the summer when the weather is warm, though with that comes a heavy influx of tourists. Consider traveling during spring or fall to avoid the crowds, and be sure to pack plenty of clothing for layering to easily adapt to the weather.
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These Are The Best Cruise Line Companies To Travel With
With so many excellent cruise line companies out there, you should know which of them receive the best ratings for what you value most. Some cruise lines focus on luxury and romance. Others are all about family. The best cruise lines are the best at something, but its up to you to determine which something matters most.
The U.S. News & World Report provides a series of cruise rankings. This ranking, along with the Forbes overview of the 2020 worlds best cruises, are exceptionally helpful guides. It is good to know the specific benefits of each cruise line. It is even better to understand how that cruise line gained its reputation. In this article, we will share the details about the best cruise line companies.
The 8 Best Luxury Cruise Lines Of 2021
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Best Overall: Regent Seven Seas“For an ultra-luxurious yacht voyage, Regent Seven Seas features all-inclusive pricing and premium service.”
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Seabourn“From Alaska to the Amazon and the Mediterranean to Arabia, Seabourn sails exotic itineraries with experts onboard.”
Best Luxury Expedition:Ponant“The French-influenced cruise line blends modern technology with traditional French luxury.”
Best Excursions: Crystal Cruises “The company offers an impressive 2,000 excursions to choose from in ports all over the world.”
Best Small Ships: Silversea“If youre ready to be completely pampered, Silverseas five-star service, smaller ships, and all-inclusive pricing is difficult to beat.”
Best Yacht Cruise: SeaDream Yacht Club“For active adults, theres a golf simulator, mountain bikes , water skiing, and snorkel gear.”
Best Tall Sailing Ships: Windstar Cruises “For a combination of traditional sailing and five-star service, consider Windstar Cruises, a luxury tall-sailing ship cruise line.”
Best for First-Time Cruisers: Oceania Cruises “For guests who enjoy deluxe cruise lines like Celebrity or Holland America, Oceania is a perfect stepping stone into luxury cruising.”
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Which Side Is Best For Sunrises And Sunsets
Part of the magic of setting sail on a cruise is the sunrises and sunsets youll see each day of your vacation. Many travelers choose staterooms with verandas so they can sip coffee from their stateroom early in the morning, or enjoy a golden-hour cocktail as the day wanes.
Keep in mind that the sun always rises in the east and sets in the west. Once you know what direction your itinerary is sailing in, that can impact whether you stick to the starboard side or port side on your vacation.
Heres the general advice for seeing sunrises and sunsets on a cruise:
- Headed north or west? Choose a port side stateroom for sunsets. Go with starboard for sunrises.
- Headed south or east? Go port side for sunrises and starboard for the sunset.
Choosing a higher deck tends to come with more sweeping views, while some prefer lower cabins midship for greater stability from the natural sway of the ship. Even if you prefer an interior-facing stateroom or one with a window instead, youll still have your pick of onboard venues to watch the days wax and wane.
Watch the sun come up from the sweeping windows of Cafe al Bacio with a cappuccino in hand. Relax on the lounge chairs of an upper-level pool deck as the sun fades. Enjoy one-of-a-kind venues on your ship, like a sunset dinner on the cantilevered Magic Carpet on Celebrity Edge, which transforms into new experiences depending on which deck its stationed on.
Royal Caribbean Runs The Lowest Tab
Royal Caribbean is ranked the best cruise line for the money. Its also worth noting that its ranked 2ndbest cruise line in the Caribbean . And, its also ranked the 2nd best cruise line for families. Though it falls behind Disney in those categories, Disney cant beat it in affordability.
While luxury cruise lines market their intimacy and service, Royal Caribbean screams value at you the moment you visit their website. Youll see offers like 60% off for the second person or Summer 2021 cruises starting at $259. And, indeed, you can find a 4-Night Western Caribbean Cruise for under $300 per person very quickly. Here are some Royal Caribbean cruises under $500.00:
- 6-Night Western Caribbean CruiseStarting from $472.00
You might be wondering why Royal Caribbeans package deals are so inexpensive. The answer is simple. Its the largest cruise line. As a cruise line with more than 20 ships sailing and thousands of guests on each ship, Royal Caribbean can afford to offer the lowest rates. In fact, they must offer the lowest rates in order to fill up those thousands of suites.
Best Cruises In The Med For Romance
Two overnight stops, in Istanbul and Venice, make Holland America Lines 12-day itinerary stand out from the crowd. Moderately sized Nieuw Amsterdam, which takes just 2,106 passengers, leaves Venice for an eastern Mediterranean cruise that includes a day at the seaside town of Katakolon for excursions to the ancient Greek ruins of Olympia, then on to Piraeus for a day in Athens. Scenic cruising through the Dardanelles, the 37-mile wide waterway that divides Europe from Asia, ends in Istanbul for two days of sightseeing that might include the sublime beauty of the Blue Mosque, the grandeur of Topkapi Palace where the Ottoman sultans kept their harem, or perhaps the Grand Bazaar full of spices, rugs and leather goods. There are calls at the ridiculously picturesque Greek island of Mykonos, historic Rhodes and Crete, before heading north to Croatias UNESCO-listed island, Korcula, where 400 years of Venetian rule is reflected in its charming streets, then an overnight stop in Venice itself possibly the most romantic city in the world.
*The Mediterranean Empires cruise on Nieuw Amsterdam departs on 9 and 21 July, with prices from £1,849pp, based on two people sharing, on a cruise only basis .
Best Mediterranean Cruises For Wine Connoisseurs
Oenophiles who would like to explore southern France before a day at the seaside in Marseille should try Avalons enchanting nine-day river cruise. This Rhone-Saone itinerary is a foodies delight, leaving from charming Saint-Jean-de-Losne with a Master of Wine lecturer on board. Theres also a visit to a Chardonnay cellar in Macon for wine tasting, two days in Frances gastronomic capital, Lyon, plus a walking tour of medieval Tournon with wine and chocolate tasting at Valrhona, and a trip to the wine cellars of Chateauneuf-du-Pape from Avignon. Dont forget to book an Avalon Your Way one-night stay in Marseille so you can soak up the Mediterranean sun.
*The Marseille for Wine Lovers river cruise departs 27 October, with prices from £2,897pp, based on two people sharing, including flights and one night in Marseille .
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Greece & Turkey Cruises
Many cultural cruises in the Mediterranean focus on Greece, operating round-trip from Athens. Sailing the Greek isles in the Aegean Sea offers hidden coves with crystal blue waters, ancient history and rich cultures.
With over 200 islands, where are the best places to visit on a Mediterranean cruise in Greece? We recommend the Cyclades and the Peloponnese Peninsula.
The southeastern Cyclades islands feature iconic Greece with colorful fishing boats, azure waters and whitewashed villages cascading down scrabbled slopes. This classic region of Greece is definitely one of the best places to visit in the Mediterranean.
The Peloponnese Peninsula reveals gods, warriors, underground waterways, magnificent temples and impressive caves. Visit classic islands like Delos, Mykonos and Santorini while adding unique stops such as mystical Patmos and Turkeys Bodrum with its Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Recognized For Our Service
This service has been recognized time and time again and SeaDream is proud to be honored with so many awards and top rankings in national and international publications alike. One instance of particular pride is in 2015 when ForbesLife named us Best Small Luxury Cruise Ship of 2015. In 2016, Kreuzfahrt Guide Awards honored us as Best Cruise Ship of the Year for Service. And, in 2017, Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships put both our yachts in as #1 and #2 in Best Boutique Ship and listed us in the Top 5 in the Best for Food Category.
When youre ready to embark on a vacation experience you will remember for a lifetime, make sure to book now or view voyages to find one that fits your schedule.
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Why Book The Mediterranean With Us
The small ships we work with mean a more personalized approach to a popular destination. Our travelers enjoy one-on-one correspondence with a dedicated Adventure Specialist. Plus, we provide recommended flight consolidators and an extensive pre-cruise planner with packing lists, reading lists and answers to common questions.
After reading our above Mediterranean cruise advice, do you still have questions? Or do you have Mediterranean cruise advice of your own? Contact us to ask your question and well make this guide even better.
Experience A New Port Every Day Of Your Cruise
Norwegian’s itineraries have been designed to provide you the opportunity to explore the Mediterranean just the way you want to. Explore the highlights of this region in 7 days on one of our Western Mediterranean cruises. With fewer days at sea, you will get the most amount of time to explore some of the Mediterranean’s best hits. Looking for a longer adventure? Cruise from Rome, Athens, Venice or Barcelona and experience Italy, Croatia and Spain on one of our Grand Mediterranean cruises.
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What Are Tips To Find Cruise Deals To The Mediterranean
Here are our best tips for finding a cheap cruise or cruise deal to the Mediterranean. If you book a guaranteed cabin , a cabin on a lower deck or sail on an older ship from a brand you like, then you can get the best price for a specific cruise to the Mediterranean. Last minute cruises deals to the Mediterranean appear as you get closer to the sail date, usually 1-2 weeks in advance. Taking a cruise to the Mediterranean in the shoulder season can also be a great way to find a cruise deal.