Small Ship Line #: Lindblad Expeditions
This fleet of 15 vesselswith passenger capacities ranging from just 28 to 148sails to rugged, far-flung destinations including Arctic Svalbard, Antarctica, Indonesia, and the Galápagos. A Lindblad cruise typically prioritizes adventure over luxury so on most ships, expect small, simple cabins, but plenty of memorable excursions, like snorkeling in Borneo or hiking an ice field in Patagonia. But some of its recent fleet additions are truly luxe, from its two polar-sailing expedition ships, National Geographic Endurance and National Geographic Resolution, to the elegant Oberoi Philae, which sails the Nile. Each sailing has an expedition team made up of experts in fields like marine biology and photography.
Large Ship Line #: Royal Caribbean International
Though Royal Caribbean is perhaps best known for its mega-ships, it has quite a number of large ships, toothe 3,100-passenger Voyager-class ships, for instance, were once the worlds largest, until Royal Caribbean debuted the larger Freedom class and subsequently the Oasis class. Each class had its own series of firstsVoyager of the Seas was the first ship to have an ice rink and a rock-climbing wall, while Freedom of the Seas introduced the first FlowRider surf simulator at sea.
Cruise From Home And Relax
Everyone knows that a cruise vacation is one of the most relaxing, hassle free vacations you can take. Imagine if you also didn’t have to worry about traveling to start your vacation but could just drive up to a port near your home and get onboard your luxury cruise ship. Here at CruiseExperts.com we’ve made it easy to see which cruises start close to home. Get started with our Home Port widget by clicking on your home port below.
What Makes A Which Recommended Provider Cruise Line
Which? Recommended Providers are the cream of the crop and, as a minimum, we only consider giving the accolade to cruise lines that achieve a customer score of 70% or above.
Thats not all. We know that pricing transparency is important, so we only give the award to the companies that provide clear information about gratuities, excursions and drinks at the booking stage. After all, it’s hard for customers to compare prices if they can’t find these details before parting with their cash. If the companies fall down in more than one area, theyre not eligible to be Which? Recommended Providers, whatever score they receive in the survey.
Similarly, a cruise company can only be a WRP if it is committed to refunding customers promptly for any cancelled cruises. Neither Azamara or Seabourn could make this commitment for bookings cancelled due to COVID-19, so both have had their WRP status removed for 2021.
Which? is independent, you can be sure that our recommendations are influenced only by our survey results. We’re not influenced by third parties and we don’t accept freebies from product manufacturers, retailers. or providers.
Msc Cruiseson This Mediterranean
MSC prides itself on being a cruise line for all and offers various itineraries and activities for young and old. From disco dancing to art classes or just hardcore sunbathing, MSC isn’t short on recreational options.
- Adult activities: Broadway- and Las Vegas-style productions and performances, dance clubs, spa, fitness centres, personal trainers, bars and lounges.
- Ideal for: 20+ year olds.
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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. Details about the new ships are scarce, though the first is expected to launch in 2022.
Viking Ocean Cruises Review Which Recommended Provider
Yet again, Viking has held onto the number one spot in our survey, earning an outstanding five stars in every category. It specialises in small to medium, adult-only ocean cruises, with all of its ships carrying fewer than 1,000 guests. It’s not cheap, but the classy atmosphere, excellent food and unusual destinations are a winning combination, so it’s no surprise customers rated value for money as outstanding.
, or read our full Viking review for more information.
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Best For Entertainment Buffs
Royal Caribbean: In terms of entertainment, Royal Caribbean takes the top spot. On a typical daily schedule, passengers might find ice shows , high-diving and acrobatic performances, Broadway productions, comedy and magic shows, adult scavenger hunts and game shows like the Love and Marriage game and Battle of the Sexes.
Disney: A close second, Disney offers character meet-and-greets, costume contests, magical storytelling, one-of-a-kind nighttime theater shows with insane production value, digital scavenger hunts, interactive dinners, daily first-run movie screenings and dance parties, among many other onboard events.
Norwegian: For its part, Norwegian presents Broadway productions, dinner theater, magic and comedy shows, dueling pianos and casino play in onboard social hub 678 Ocean Place, and audience-participation game shows like Battle of the Sexes and the Not So Newlywed game.
Small Ship Line #1: 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 13-strong fleet also has oceangoing vessels that explore the coasts surrounding the entire country, from New England to Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico.
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Mostly Adult Only Cruises With Adult Amenities
In addition to the top adult-only cruise lines above, there are several others that also cater mainly to adults. Although theyre technically not 100% adults only, they do make for a great choice if youre looking for a more sophisticated and grown-up atmosphere. When you book a cruise with the following cruise lines, you wont find many kids on board .
Best Cruise Line For Couples On A Budget
Carnival Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, and Norwegian Cruise Line generally have excellent cruise fares for those on a budget. We have seen Carnival offering prices for as low as $50 per person per day for a four-night cruise to $60 per person per day for a week-long sailing. MSC Cruises also offers similar pricing, even on their newest amenity-filled vessels such as the MSC Seaview, MSC Meraviglia and MSC Bellissima. Norwegian Cruise Line offers an ongoing promotion on every ship where couples can receive a choice of complimentary open bar, specialty dining, shore excursions, and Wi-Fi in addition to low fares. All three cruise lines have beautiful ships and are perfect for both first-time cruisers and experienced sailors.
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Small Ship Line #: Crystal Yacht Cruises
A two-ship line no longer, Crystal introduced a yacht to its fleet in early 2015. Crystal Esprit, equipped with its own two-person submersible, as well as butler service for every suite . The ship has space for just 62 passengers to enjoy cruises within its focus regions of the Seychelles, Adriatic, and West Indies. The line will also introduce a luxurious 200-passenger expedition ship in 2021, Crystal Endeavor, which sails to remote locations like the Arctic and Antarctic, as well as urban ports around the world.
Pioneered Luxurious Staterooms And Accommodations
Speaking of rooms, Norwegian Cruise Line offers adjoining rooms that you can book together if you have a rather large group who would go on a cruise. So, if you happen to bring your whole family, your kids can have their own space, and you can have yours without any problem.
Aside from this feature, the NCL is also the first to add The Haven staterooms, a kind of cruise accommodation where you get to relax on your private sundeck, have a concierge service, and other perks that are not readily available in regular cruise accommodations.
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Best For Casual Party People
Carnival: Of all cruise lines, Carnival is most synonymous with parties and fun. Passengers choose this line to relax, let loose and indulge without worrying too much about dress codes, diets or taking themselves too seriously. You’ll find them at sailaway parties, by the pool for belly-flop contests and dance parties, and in the club, drink in hand, until the wee hours of the morning.
Norwegian: Norwegian is so casual that there are no official formal nights. In terms of celebrations, passengers can head to the top decks for sailaway or take advantage of one of many poolside dance celebrations. The line also features themed nighttime shindigs that include Latin, 70s, 80s and, of course, its signature White Hot night, where cruisers wear white and dance under black lights.
Royal Caribbean: With plenty of clubs, bars and lounges, and enough live music for just about every taste, there’s always a casual party vibe on Royal Caribbean’s ships. All passengers can enjoy sailaway parties, and exclusive siorees are held for the highest-tiered members of the line’s loyalty program. Passengers on ships with Royal Promenade thoroughfares can also expect lively parades.
Adriatic Greece And Italy Cruise
Whats more romantic than cruising from Venice? This dreamy eight-night trip visits eight ports around Greece, Italy, and Croatia, promising couples plenty of turquoise oceans, quaint seaside villages, and to-die-for Mediterranean food.
Gondola ride in Venice, Italy
Before you depart on one of the best cruises for couples in Europe, spend a day in Venice discovering its labyrinth of canals aboard a cozy gondola for two. Walk around La Serenissimas cobblestone streets and picturesque bridges. Dont forget to snap a photo at the iconic St. Marks Square while eating gelatos to cool down if youre visiting Italy in the summer.
Then youre off to Rijeka, Croatia, where youll want to dive into the water once you catch a glimpse of the deep blue hue of the Adriatic Ocean. Stay in Rijeka and visit its many landmarks including its own Leaning Tower, the Cathedral of Saint Vitus, and a busy green market.
Or head off to any of the gorgeous nearby destinations including the sunny island of Krk, the ancient town of Pula, or the artsy village of Labin.
The second stop on your cruise to Croatia is Split, a charming city full of Roman ruins and sparkling beaches. Take a walking tour and discover all of the citys highlights, including the Diocletian Palace, the former fortress and home of the Roman emperor, and the Cathedral of St. Domnius, one of the most well-preserved ancient architectural structures in the world.
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Best Couples Cruises For Partners Looking To Channel Their Inner Child
You might consider a Disney trip more of a family vacation idea, but many adults traveling without kids still enjoy the splendor of a Disney Cruise Line vacation. There are adults-only areas on every one of Disneys cruise ships, including spaces for dancing and late-night entertainment sans kids.
DISNEY AT SEA:Best Disney Luggage for Kids and Adults
Each Disney ship also offers special adults-only dining experiences at romantic restaurants like Remy and Palo. Try Palo for brunch on one of the sea days, and Remy for romantic dinners and a fancy date night that pulls out all of the gastronomical stops. At Disneys private Caribbean island, Castaway Cay, youll also find an adults-only beach where the water is warm and the bar drinks are plenty strong.
Italy France Monaco And Spain Cruise
Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy
One of the best cruises for couples is a European jaunt around Italy, France, Monaco, and Spain. Start off this seven-night journey in Civitavecchia, a port city located just thirty minutes away from Rome.
Walk hand in hand as you visit historical landmarks including the Pantheon, the Colosseum, and the Sistine Chapel inside St. Peters Basilica in the Vatican. During an intimate lunch for two, feast on pasta, pizza, and a glass of vino before strolling towards the Trevi Fountain, where you can both throw in a penny and make a wish.
In the city of Naples, stay and explore the many archeological sites and historic city center, or board a ferry and head off towards Capri, a dreamy island once favored by Roman emperors. Shop designer items in the town square, enjoy a seaside lunch, and sneak in a kiss inside the famous Blue Grotto, where the suns reflection creates a magical azure glow in the water underneath.
After sailing for a day, youll dock in La Spezia, a Tuscan port city located near Florence, Pisa, and Cinque Terre, a picturesque collection of five seaside fishing villages.
Art lovers might decide to head to Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance movement, and the home of Davids Michelangelo and masterpieces by Da Vinci, Botticelli, and more inside the Uffizi Gallery.
Luxurious yachts in Monaco
Promenade de la Croisette in Cannes, France
Cathedral of Barcelona, Spain
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Medium Ship Line #1: Norwegian Cruise Line
Until it launched Norwegian Epic in 2010, then the Breakaway and Breakaway-plus classes in 2013 and 2015, respectively, Norwegian primarily focused on mid-sized ships that carry around 2,000 passengerswhich still make up the majority of the fleet. A colorful atmosphere pervades the ships, as guests enjoy everything from water slides to silly pool contests like synchronized swimming to everyones favorite: bingo night. Norwegians ships have itineraries all over the world, with many focusing on North America.
Medium Ship Line #: Regent Seven Seas Cruises
As far as all-inclusive cruises go, Regent Seven Seas is the real deal. Everything from specialty excursions to meals and alcohol to airfare is included in the rates. Even the mini-bar is free! The only things youll have to pay for are spa treatments, laundry, and the casino. The cruise lines five ships each carry 750 passengers or fewer, but the ships are actually quite large, offering each guest plenty of personal space, especially in their cabins. Regent Seven Seas specializes in round-the-world itineraries.
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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:
Best For Newbies Or Cruisers With Little Vacation Time
Carnival: Known for its short sailings of three to five nights, Carnival is a great option for people with limited vacation time or those who haven’t sailed before and aren’t sure if they’ll like cruising. Sticking with a short sailing to the Caribbean or Bahamas will give you a taste of what a “typical” voyage is like.
Norwegian: Norwegian is a solid choice for newbies looking for shorter sailings to and from the U.S. East Coast. The line is notorious for nickel-and-diming its passengers, so the less time you spend onboard, the less time you have to spend money if you’re on a budget. You can still enjoy the experience without additional spending, though, so this is a good line if you don’t mind a more basic experience.
Royal Caribbean: Royal Caribbean can be a little more pricey than Carnival, but it’s comparable to Norwegian — particularly after you factor in extra fees that can accumulate on NCL. Like the other two lines in this category, Royal offers a great experience for beginners, particularly on its shorter sailings to beachy destinations.
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Beverages Packages Often Are Not Worth It
Often advertised as an easy way of saving money, beverage packages cover various refreshments and drinks, such as bottled water, sodas, and alcoholic beverages. The thing is, theyre pretty expensive. For example, a Royal Caribbean drinks package can cost as much as $89 per day, and one Norwegian drinks package is over $120 a day.
Beverage packages can save you money, but only if you were going to spend a lot of it on drinks in the first place. In other words, they only make sense if you routinely spend more than what those packages covered in drinks on a per-day basis. Packages become even less desirable in cruises where certain drinks are already included, such as soda on the Disney Lines, specialty coffees on Sea Cloud Cruises, and beer and wine with lunch and dinner on Viking Cruises.
Do the math before getting on your cruise. Carefully think about the type of drinks and how many of them youd typically order while on vacation. Also, consider that some lines include drinks packages as a perk during limited-time booking promotions, making such a package turn from an expensive luxury to an affordable benefit.