The Sovereign Cruise Club
Book: By phone or in person, with customers able to make appointments to visit the team in their Berkshire-based office. A new website launching later in 2019 will also have an online booking capability.
About: This luxury specialist, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2018, prides itself on being the go to agency for customers wanting high end cruises. It offers a select number of lines from river cruise companies such as APT, Avalon and Uniworld to ocean lines including Regent Seven Seas, Crystal Yacht Cruises and the new Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection. Sovereign is also Seabournâs largest global agent — a title it has maintained for the last 11 years.
Expect: Impressive experience in the luxury sector and a guarantee of “expert knowledge and the best fares on all luxury cruises”.
Medium Ship Line #: Crystal Cruises
While many cruises are notorious for charging guests for alcohol and specialty dining options, Crystal practices a generally all-inclusive fare structure covering all drinks , one specialty dining reservation per passenger , 24-hour room service, and a Wi-Fi package. The line has just three ocean-going vessels: Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony, which both have capacities of fewer than 1,000 passengers and sail global itineraries, and the newly launched Crystal Endeavor, an expedition megayacht that set sail this year.
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.
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Best For Kids And Teens
Disney: From character meet-and-greets and food for picky eaters to jaw-dropping nightly shows with special effects only The Mouse could muster, Disney is a dream for kids of all ages. The line’s kids clubs include themed play areas — Marvel, Andy’s room and the Millennium Falcon, to name a few — that vary by ship.
Royal Caribbean: Besides simulated surfing and skydiving, rock climbing, miniature golf and water slides, Royal Caribbean offers kids clubs that are second only to Disney’s. The daily schedule for youngsters might include scavenger hunts, acting classes and science experiments, while teens can enjoy a more relaxed come-and-go lounge setup with board and video games, magazines and dance parties.
Norwegian: NCL’s kids programs encompass daily scheduled activities for both kids and teens, but where the line really shines for the younger set is on its newest ships, which include ropes courses, go-karts, laser tag and dedicated virtual-reality rooms that also include more classic arcade games .
What Is The Biggest Cruise Ship In The World
Pictures: Largest cruise ships in the world Royal Caribbeans Symphony of the Seas: 228,081 gross tons. Royal Caribbeans Harmony of the Seas: 226,963 gross tons. Royal Caribbeans Oasis of the Seas: 226,838 gross tons. Royal Caribbeans Allure of the Seas: 225,282 gross tons. Costa Smeralda: 185,010 gross tons.
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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 .
Crystal Cruises Temporarily Suspends Operations What To Know
Crystal Cruises has suspended operations for all of its cruise ships until the spring after its parent company has moved to restructure its debt.
The luxury cruise line will pause all ocean sailings through at least April 29 and pause all river sailings through at least the end of May, according to the company. All ships that are currently sailing the Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony in the Caribbean, and the Crystal Endeavor in Antarctica will finish out their current voyages before the suspension.
“This was an extremely difficult decision but a prudent one given the current business environment and recent developments with our parent company, Genting Hong Kong,” Jack Anderson, Crystal’s president, said in a statement. “Crystal has been synonymous with luxury cruising for more than 30 years and we look forward to welcoming back our valued guests when we resume operations. We wish to thank our guests and travel advisors for their incredible support during these ongoing challenging times.”
According to Bloomberg, the company has asked the Supreme Court of Bermuda to appoint provisional liquidators to negotiate a debt restructuring.
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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.
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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Medium Ship Line #1: Holland America Line
Of Holland Americas 11 ships, eight of them fall into the medium-size category, carrying between 1,400 and 2,500 passengers. The refined ships sail to destinations across the world, but one of the most popular destinations for the cruise line is Alaska. When cruising resumes, check out the Noordam, which was refurbished in 2019, as it sails itineraries around the Japanese archipelago, China, and Southeast Asia.
The Luxury Cruise Company
Book: By phone.
About: Launched in 2007, the company was initially the only website dedicated to luxury ocean, river and expedition cruises. The Luxury Cruise Company still maintains its six-star focus today, working primarily with lines such as Silversea, Crystal and Regent Seven Sea. Its expedition side is also strong, while river cruise line partners include AmaWaterways, APT, Uniworld and Crystal.
Expect: Top advice from a team of experts who, between them, have travelled to all seven continents and have first-hand knowledge of the Antarctic and polar regions.
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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.
Best Holiday Cruise: Azamara Club Cruises
Courtesy of Azamara Club Cruises
- Duration: 15 nights
- Ship Name: Azamara Pursuit
- Itinerary: Montevideo, Uruguay Santos, Brazil Ilhabela, Brazil Paraty, Brazil Buzios, Brazil Rio De Janeiro, Brazil Copacabana Beach Brazil, Punta Del Este, Uruguay Buenos Aires, Argentina
Azamara Club Cruises operates smaller, upscale vessels that travel one-off itineraries around the globe calling in smaller, less-visited ports that others don’t stop at. The company puts an emphasis on destination immersion, and appeal to adults who want to go deeper into the local culture with shore excursions. Azamara is one of the few companies that stays in port overnight, and in doing so they bundle evening excursions in the price . The newest ship, Azamara Pursuit, debuts this year and is offering a winter holiday cruise that spends New Years Eve at Copacabana Beach in Brazil.
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Vessel Sanitation Program: Health Inspections For Cruise Ships
Many people dont realize it, but the Centers for Disease Control operates the Vessel Sanitation Program .
This program is essentially a health inspection for cruise ships. Just like a restaurant in your town would be checked by a health inspector, ships sailing from the United States are also checked out on a regular basis. These inspections are done without prior knowledge by the cruise line.
In particular, the CDC inspections focus on eight areas:
- Medical facilities
- Ventilation systems
- Common areas
Cruise ships overall do well on these inspections. Scores are on a 100-point scale and anything less than 86 is considered unsatisfactory. If a ship scores below this mark, they have the chance to correct the issues and be re-inspected.
Scoring below an 86 only happens on occasion across dozens and dozens ships. Instead, most ships score well into the 90s on their inspections.
The good news for cruise passengers is not only do ships score well when inspected, but the results are also published publicly. You can visit the CDC website and see the scores and reports for more than 200 vessels. Each report is also complete with a write-up of any issues found. No doubt any cruise ship you are sailing on will have their latest report listed.
Now, while ships tend to score well, there are some lines that seem to do better than others on a consistent basis.
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How To Find The Best Cruise Deals
Clark Howard.com says:
- Be flexible with your schedule. When youre looking for cruise deals, make sure you look at the cost-by-week to take advantage of the best deals.
- If youre buying your first cruise, dont buy online. You should have someone helping you like a travel agent or a live cruise specialist. Theyll ask you about your interests and recommend cruises that will fit your lifestyle.
- Clark likes the cruise website VacationsToGo.com. They offer a number of cruise deals to be had, and highlight deals on their site. They also acknowledge discounts for seniors and others!
The number one rule right now about cruising is be flexible with your schedule. The week you go will control how much of your wallet you leave behind on the ship. The same exact cabin could cost you as little as a third one week what it might cost you the very next week. Clark Howard.com
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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.
The 2020 List Of The Worlds Best Cruises Is Out Now
U.S. News & World Report has released its annual list of the worlds best cruises. The report evaluated 176 ships in 17 of the top cruise lines to determine the rankings in six categories including best cruise lines for the money and best luxury cruise lines.
The findings factored in evaluations from cruise industry experts, health assessments conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, price classes, itinerary offerings, and reputation among travelers. The final rankings reflect offerings across the entire fleet of each line rather than information on individual ships within each fleet and the varying services each might include.
Royal Caribbean took the top spot for value cruises.
Royal Caribbean came in at number one in the Best Cruise Line for the Money category, while Viking Ocean Cruises earned the top spot in both the Best Luxury Cruise Line and Best Cruise Line for Couples categories thanks to its high-end amenities, adult-focused ambiance, and romantic touches like private verandas in each stateroom and fireplaces in common areas.
No surprise, Disney Cruise Line maintained its hold on the top spot for Best Cruise Lines for Families yet again it has earned this distinction in every one of U.S. News annual rankings. This year, it also won Best Cruise Line in the Caribbean for the seventh consecutive year. Rounding out the roster of winners, Seabourn Cruise Line remained the number one Best Cruise Line in the Mediterranean for 2020.
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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.
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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Best Cruise Lines For The Money
The 2022 rankings for best valued cruises are:
Here, average daily rates accounted for 60% of scores, while expert, traveler and health ratings accounted for the other 40%. Cruise lines with average daily rates of $300 or more did not qualify for this category.
Celebrity Cruises was named the best cruise for the money. It’s part of the Royal Caribbean Group, which also operates Royal Caribbean International, which took home a “Silver Award” in this category.
Wi-Fi, tips and drinks like cocktails, wine and specialty coffees are included in most Celebrity cruise bookings, however the cheapest rates can be purchased without them. Right now, a four-day cruise from Miami to the Bahamas is around $440 per person, including taxes, for an inside state room.
Also on the list: Princess Cruises , Costa Cruises and MSC Cruises .
Cruise Line Affects Price
Similar to car brands, which cruise line you choose can have a significant impact on the cruise fare you’ll pay for a 7-night cruise.
Mainstream cruise lines, such as Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean International, will offer an average price that should fit most budgets.
These mainstream lines include budget cruise lines and usually have very affordable fares, but can also see prices go up if you elect to sail in a more expensive cabin.
Of course, mainstream lines do not include as much in their cruise fare. They prefer to let the passenger decide which extras they want to buy in addition to the cruise fare, such as alcoholic beverages, wifi, shore excursions and more.
Premium & luxury cruise lines, such as Princess Cruises, Crystal Cruises, and Holland America Line, will likely see a higher price, but more is included in your cruise fare. Moreover, you may find more lavish cabins to choose from.
It’s important to note that cruise lines almost always charge for a cruise cabin based on double occupancy. There are studio rooms on some ships, but if you are cruising alone, expect to pay for a second person whether you have one or not.
The price range for a 7-night cruise in the Caribbean will run between $400 – $4,000 on most lines in a balcony cabin. Keep in mind these cruise rates are an merely an estimate, and prices can vary wildly depending on the cabin type, time of year, how many people in the room, and cabin location.
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