River Ship Line #: Crystal River Cruises
Crystal River Cruises launched in 2016 with custom-built river ships. The company is dead-set on matching the top-of-the-line service of its ocean ships, and it certainly has readers convinced. The fleet has five river shipsfour of which, Crystal Bach, Mahler, Debussy, and Ravel, are Europes only all-suite, all-balcony river shipssailing the Moselle, Rhine, Danube, and Main rivers. Guests enjoy an all-inclusive experience, with free butler service, unlimited drinks , Wi-Fi, and fitness classes.
Best Overall: Regent Seven Seas
Regent Seven Seas
For an ultra-luxurious yacht voyage, Regent Seven Seas features all-inclusive pricing and premium service. Regent operates five vessels,with most carrying around 700 passengers in spacious suites offering modern, elegant furnishings, stocked minibars, and private balconies. On Regent, everything is included in the price: airfare, specialty restaurants, gratuities, Wi-Fi, and beverages. Private butlers and concierge service offer personalized attention to guests. Theres plenty of amenities onboard as well, ranging from a relaxing spa, onboard cooking lessons, trivia, and lively evening shows. Plus, Regents destinations span the globe although they dont have polar vessels.
Mainstream Or Budget Cruise Lines
While some cruise lines cater to wealthy vacationers with money to burn, others are marketed toward vacationers on a budget. Many of these lines focus on a particular location, like Hawaii or the Caribbean, and attempt to corner the market in that port area with affordable vacations. Even travelers on a budget want to choose among the best rated cruise lines within the category.
The highest rated budget cruise lines include:
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Large Ship Line #: Disney Cruise Line
If theres one thing Disney Cruise Linedoes well, its hospitality. The company has taken every lesson its learned from its parks and resort operations and implemented that into its four cruise ships, the 2,400-passenger Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, and the 4,000-passenger Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. The ships are designed for families through and throughthere are numerous themed activities every day, from meet-and-greets to full-blown parties with Disney charactersbut there are plenty of adults-only areas that provide a respite from little ones. That said, the ships are not over-the-top when it comes to Disney decor. In fact, theyre quite elegant, taking design inspiration from early-20th-century ocean liners and sporting Art Deco and Art Nouveau aesthetics. The four ships currently sail the Caribbean , Alaska, Europe, the Pacific Coast, and the Panama Canal. Three more ships, including Disney Wish, are scheduled to be added to the fleet between 2022 and 2025.
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. 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.
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Small Ship Line #: Windstar Cruises
The lines six shipsthree sailing yachts and three all-suite motor yachtsspecialize in visiting ports that ban larger ships, like the Byzantine hilltop town of Monemvasia in the Greek Islands, and the sleepy, palm-fringed Caribbean island of Bequia. Those smaller ports can give a sense of intimacy that isn’t always present in the most common cruise destinations, allowing for wholly different experiences. In 2017, Windstar also became the official cruise line of the James Beard Foundation, introducing further special itineraries with culinary themes and guest chefs.
Small Ship Line #: Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Sailing with only 490 guests, the Seven Seas Navigator takes its all-inclusive promise seriously, offering unlimited shore excursions, open bars with premium wines , unlimited Wi-Fi, and dining in specialty restaurants. The ship sails all over the world, from New Zealand to Dubai, on week-long to three-month-long itineraries.
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Medium Ship Line #: Viking Ocean Cruises
Originally a river cruise line, Viking has launched six ocean-going vessels since 2015, the most recent being the brand-new Viking Venus, whose maiden voyage took place in 2021. The ships are nearly identical, carrying 930 passengers each, housed in balcony staterooms. Though not all-inclusive, Viking Ocean offers guests one free excursion in each port , beer and wine with lunch and dinner, and an unlimited Wi-Fi connection.
Small Ship Line #1: Sea Cloud Cruises
Germany’s Sea Cloud Cruises has three elegant windjammers: Sea Cloud,Sea Cloud II, and Sea Cloud Spirit, which accommodate 64, 94, and 136 passengers, respectively. These sailing yachts primarily split their time between the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, though they’ll occasionally explore the Panama Canal and Northern Europe, too. The oldest ship in the fleet is Sea Cloud, built in 1931 for an American heiressat the time, it was the largest private yacht in the world. It later served the United States in World War II before ultimately returning to pleasure sailings.
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Large Ship Line #: Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Cruise Lines is all about good family fun at a pretty affordable price point. The largest cruise line in the world in terms of number of annual passengers as well as fleet count, it has 25 ships that sail North America and Europe, with about half of them having a capacity between 2,500 and 3,900 guests. Carnival is known for its fun upper decks that are akin to an amusement park at sea, with water slides, ropes courses, mini-golf, and attractions like SkyRide, where guests pedal a hanging vehicle around a suspended track.
Deluxe Or Premium Cruise Lines
Not everyone is prepared to pay the costs associated with a luxury cruise, yet they still want an experience elevated above those offered by budget cruise lines. The highest rated intermediate cruise lines include names that are a little more familiar to the average cruiser. With these lines, travelers will experience impressive amenities and interesting destinations, but without the sticker shock of a luxury cruise.
The best rated among these cruise lines include:
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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.
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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Medium Ship Line #1: Princess Cruises
Of Princess Cruises 14-ship fleet, its five smallest include the Coral Princess, Island Princess, Sun Princess, Sea Princess, and the infamous Pacific Princess, which was the star of the TV show The Love Boat. The Pacific Princess is by far the smallest, holding just 680 passengers. The four other ships carry around 2,000 passengers and are the perfect size to sail through the Panama Canal.
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.
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Why Take A Cruise Vacation
If you have a place on your bucket list, chances are, a cruise will get you there. Cruises cover the world, taking millions of passengers each year to destinations like the Caribbean, the Bahamas, Alaska, Europe, the Mediterranean and even Antarctica. Cruising offers a tremendous value, with trips that include your lodging, meals and entertainment, all rolled into one. Some cruise lines even offer fully inclusive vacations, which cover drinks and tours ashore. Cruising means seeing the world while unpacking only once.
Cruises also provide a wonderful option for families, with many ships offering things like waterslides, mini-golf courses and fun clubs for kids and teens all for free. Planning is easy: Pick your destination and the right ship for you. The cruise line makes it simple, offering packages to help you save on extras like alcohol, shore tours or even airfare.
Travelers say they choose to cruise because cruising often costs less per night when compared with staying at a hotel, where theyll have to book and pay for all their extras.
Best And Worst Cruise Lines
Whether you’re a complete novice, or an experienced cruiser keen to get back to the seas following the coronavirus pandemic, it always pays to do your research into the best and worst cruise lines.
Our ratings are driven by thousands of cruise line guests rating their experience of the facilities onboard, the cabin, food and drink and customer service so you can avoid finding yourself queuing for the restaurant every morning or being ripped off over tips.
From luxury small-ship cruises to big name brands with full entertainment and leisure facilities we know from guests that the cruise lines rated best are always those that have the best passenger to space ratio onboard something that will be more important than ever as cruise lines look to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. See the full results below to find out which cruise lines give you room and which ones pack holidaymakers onboard.
Find out how to find the best cruise deals.
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Medium Ship Line #1: Azamara
Though Azamaras three 700-passenger ships are lovely, with top-quality dining and plenty of on-board activities to fill days at sea, passengers choose this cruise line for the experience at its destinations, which span all seven continents. Azamara not only offers personalized shore excursions , they also do a number of overnights, allowing guests to explore more destinations farther inland. The overnights also allow passengers to experience an evening out on the town in port cities, if they so choose.
Best Cruise Lines For Families
The top-ranking cruises for families for 2022 are:
Disney dominates the family cruise category, as it has every year since U.S. News started ranking cruises in 2013.
The company has five ships: Magic, Wonder, Dream, Fantasy and its latest, Disney Wish, which is scheduled to launch in summer 2022. The ship is also set to introduce Disney’s first “attraction at sea” 760 feet of water slide tubes with Mickey Mouse-themed music, lighting and special effects.
Also on the list: Costa Cruises .
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Mega Ship Line #: Msc Cruises
Though MSC is headquartered in landlocked Switzerland, this cruise line has mastered the art of mega-ships, building five of the 15 largest in the world: MSC Grandiosa, MSC Bellissima, MSC Meraviglia,MSC Virtuosa, and MSC Seashore. Each can hold between 5,300 and 6,300 passengers at maximum capacity. MSC Seashore, a New York Citythemed ship, is the newest of the five, setting sail in November 2021. It’s the longest vessel in the fleet at 1,100 feet, allowing for more than 140,000 square feet of outdoor space, plus 7,500 square feet of dedicated space for kids, including the Pirates Cove Aquapark. MSC has some plans for mega-growth, too: it has four World-class mega-ships in the pipeline, each with a capacity between 5,800 and 6,850 passengers.
Crystal Is Best For Couples Visiting The Mediterranean
Crystal Cruise Line is among the best cruise lines for couples and the best cruise lines in the Mediterranean. Crystal sits at the number 2 spot for cruise lines in the Mediterranean and the number 3 spot for couples. It earns its merits because of its extensive Mediterranean itineraries, which include both more and less popular ports. And, because it is not a cruise line shy of luxuries, it stands among the top 3 for couples.
Luxury is important for couples looking for romance. Crystal offers luxurious suites with a private verandah. Beyond that, its known for exquisite cuisine. You can book butler-serviced suites and penthouses. On top of that, the Hollywood Theater is the perfect entertainment for couples.
As for its accolades in the Mediterranean category, Crystal clearly has an immense array of Mediterranean cruises. Theres a 7-night cruise called Dreaming of Dalmatia with an unbelievable itinerary. It departs from Dubrovnik and arrives in Venice. The rates start from $6,999.00.
The reason the rate is high is that this cruise takes place on a luxury yacht. This cruise takes you from Dubrovnik, Croatia, to Kotor, Montenegro. From there, you continue to explore different parts of Croatia. Before arriving in Venice, you get to explore Piran, Slovenia, which has been called an antidote to Venice.
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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 Darwins footsteps in the Galápagos. Book the Baltra Island itinerary, where youll work your way from San Cristobal Island to Baltra, and explore all the central and southern islands of the archipelago in between.
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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.
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Where Are The Best Cruise Suites
On the Silversea ships Whisper and Shadow – the 1-bedroom “Royal Suite” is 1,352 ft2 or 126 m2 , the “Grand Suite” is 1,435 ft2 or 133 m2 and the “Owner’s Suite” is 1,553 ft2 . The last category “top luxury cruise suite” prices start from the modest US $850 per person per day!
Suites on the NCL ships Gem, Jade, Jewel and Pearl are the “affordable choice”. Norwegian Pearl’s “Garden Villa” has a staggering size of 2320 ft2 plus a huge balcony measuring 1035 ft2 . Norwegian Jewel’s two Garden Villas are combined into an almost 5000 ft2 “cruise mansion”. Floor-ceiling windows, plenty of deck furniture, separate bedroom, fabulous private bathroom with hot-tub, 2 additional bedrooms , living room, dining room.
About the worst cabins on cruise ships / which staterooms to avoid. First of all, there’s no such thing as “the worst cabin” – simply because to offer a bad product is not the proper way of doing a multibillion-dollar cruise travel vacation business. However, always try to avoid locations near elevators and public spaces, with at least 1 deck between your cabin and any crowded place – pools, dining and bar venues, children areas, lounges, nightclubs.