Luxury cruise destinations are undoubtedly appealing – even to skeptics. Who doesn’t love gourmand cuisine, elegant accommodations, and stellar service? The only reason why anyone would turn down a trip on the best luxury cruise lines should be seasickness. Other than that, there’s nothing to dislike – starting with the exotic locals and ending with the amazing cruising destinations. But one thing remains true: not all cruise lines are the same. While almost all new ships promise modern amenities, only a few of them go the extra mile.
Some luxury cruise lines entice their travelers with remote destinations across the globe. Others promise exotic voyages in refined cabins, or on-board entertainment and world-renowned spa facilities. But the best luxury cruise lines always try to push the industry standard even higher, so how can you tell the difference? Today we’ll present to you some cruise lines that consistently rank at the top of every list.
What Makes the Best Luxury Cruise Lines
“Luxury” is a term we like to throw around a lot, even when less spectacular adjectives could be used. However, in our case, we’re treating this word with the respect it deserves, using it only for the best luxury cruise lines out there. And what do we mean by it? True luxury is not having to stand in a line, or search for a deck chair, or bumping into crowds. Luxury means attention to detail and outstanding service, as well as the best food and the utmost level of accommodation.
New ships arrive every year, one more luxurious than the other. Therefore, you have more options to choose from. On a true luxury cruise line – like the ones you’ll find below – you’ll rarely hear someone say “no”. Everything you may need is readily available, and the on-board staff is trained to meet your needs. The deluxe and ultra-plush cruise ships will give you the best treatment you can expect at sea. In fact, some of them will welcome you as a valued guest just like any five-star resort would.
1. Crystal Cruises
- Our cruise line recommendation: British Columbia to Alaska
Even though it only has two ships, Crystal Cruises is constantly praised by reviewers and critics alike. And for good reason. Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity stand out from the crowd through limited booking and elegant design. Their passenger-to-crew ratio is also a plus, allowing guests to experience more personalized service. While Crystal offers destinations all across the world, the Caribbean, the Panama Canal, and South America represent some of the most popular 2019 itineraries.
While voyage lengths differ (anywhere between 7 to 99 days), all offer shore excursions. Both ships feature onboard spas, casinos, salons and fitness centers. Passengers also enjoy pleasant activities and entertainment programs. There’s everything from art classes to wine tastings to musical performances. And Crystal doesn’t lack in dining, either. Dining at specialty restaurants with meals crafted by renowned chefs is an experience all by itself.
- Our cruise line recommendation: Around the Aegean Sea
Ponant is a luxury cruise line operating 4 ships for premium yacht cruising. Their specialty? Voyages to remote places, inaccessible to cruise ships of larger sizes. Ponant is a company that also attracts attention with its distinctively French flair. Among the most appealing features is the fine balance between price point and destination choice. Their ships feature elegant styling, French gastronomy, one-of-a-kind voyages, and luxury all-inclusive packages.
Whether a newcomer or an experienced cruiser, the fantasy of sailing a private yacht comes closer to reality with fascinating journeys on luxury, uncrowded ships. According to Ponant’s ambitious agenda, affluent passengers will always enjoy flawless, five-star cruising. The four ships provide clientele with fine dining and outstanding cabins. Choose Ponant if you want to experience expedition-style cruising on state-of-the-art vessels.
- Our cruise line recommendation: Caribbean Island Cruise
With their reputation for stellar service and exclusivity, Silversea Cruises always lands on lists of the Best Luxury Cruise Lines. It’s all thanks to the 9 small elegant ships that provide passengers with gourmet cuisine, spacious suites, and engaging onboard activities. In addition, each of the cruises promotes an intimate, unique experience, providing guests with one crew member for every passenger. Silversea’s small-scale vessels have no trouble reaching remote ports, which is why their portfolio includes over 800 destinations across the world. Among Silversea’s 2017 itineraries, noteworthy are those covering the Caribbean and South America.
At the same time, your voyage will be filled with outstanding scenery as all Silversea’s accommodations come with ocean views. In addition to amenities and activities, there are swimming pools, theaters, fitness facilities, casinos, and spas on board. Among the enrichment programs, we feel compelled to mention the surprising guest lecture series from popular authors and journalists.
- Our cruise line recommendation: Ultra-Luxury Northern Europe Cruise
Seabourn holds a special place on our list. It’s one of the luxury cruise companies that provide its clientele with elegance refined to its purest form. What to expect? Hand-selected itineraries that take you to remote, exotic places. Intuitive service beyond expectation. The feeling you’re part of a privileged club, where you can discover the true joys of yachting in peace.
Seabourn’s ships offer intimate voyages, where the captain and the onboard officers seem like old friends. And not just among themselves! They welcome passengers on board with the warmest amenities. One of the most impressive luxuries is the professionally trained staff. Not only do they know your name – since there’s more than one assistant per suite – but they also know your personal preferences. The entire experience is ultra-luxurious and carefree. You’ll never have to lift a finger during your journey, unless you want to signal the waiter to bring you another bottle of champagne.
5. Regent Seven Seas
- Our cruise line recommendation: Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro
Regent Seven Seas Cruises holds its ground by offering an all-inclusive approach and an impressive dedication to provide only the best quality service. Regent operates four ships, Seven Seas Mariner, Seven Seas Navigator, Seven Seas Voyager, and Seven Seas Explorer. Each of these cruisers offers all-suite accommodations with a 1-to-2 crew-to-passenger ratio. In addition, the company takes immense pride in its professionally trained, attentive staff. Your journey length may vary; the Regent Seven Seas 2017 itineraries range from 7 to 128 nights. Among the most popular are the Caribbean, Africa, the Mediterranean, Alaska, and more.
Guests can explore new destinations with shore excursions which cover everything from snorkeling in Bora Bora to hiking tours in Alaska. But if you don’t want to leave the ship, there are plenty of activities onboard, too. Think in terms of nightly entertainment, a mesmerizing pool deck, and a Canyon Ranch SpaClub. Exclusive sailings also feature enrichment programs covering various fields, such as culinary practices or anthropology. And the dining options are equally exquisite – gourmet venues await your order.
- Our cruise line recommendation: Fiji Islands
Oceania offers luxe-seeking tourists six amazing ships – Regatta, Marina, Nautica Insignia, Riviera, and Sirena. All of them feature an impressive 1-to-2 crew-to-passenger ratio, as well as exciting itineraries and gourmet cuisine. Oceania can take you all around the globe, with some of the most popular 2019 sails covering the Mediterranean, Europe, the Caribbean, and the South Pacific. But there’s more! Oceania entices its passengers with incredibly varied shore experiences. You can do anything from tapas tastings in Barcelona, Spain, to glacier sea kayaking in Juneau, Alaska.
On board, the time at sea is never boring. Martini and wine tastings abound, as well as educational programs on Oceania’s smaller ships (Nautica, Regatta, Insignia, and Sirena). You can also participate in art classes and cooking demonstrations, which are provided aboard the larger ships (Riviera and Marina). During their journey (ranging from 7 to 180 days), passengers have free access to an onboard casino and a Canyon Ranch SpaClub. And for the traveling foodies, Oceania offers delicious samplings at the ships’ numerous dining venues.
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