Warning: Once you try a luxury cruise, you might be hooked. Vacations on the top premium cruise lines cost more to get on the ship, of course, but you might be surprised with how competitive they can be when compared with more budget options when you consider all the inclusions you get with your cruise fare. (In fact, you might be glad you shelled out the extra bucks just because of the plush bedding in your stateroom.)
These are our best luxury cruise lines that offer fantastic sailing experiences, so you can see the world in style.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises – The line debuted what it proclaims as “The World’s Most Luxurious Cruise Ship,” Regent Seven Seas Explorer in 2016. This flagship, however, is just the newest among the line’s five luxury ships that all offer all-inclusive cruises with unparalleled extravagances (marble finishes, rare art pieces and glass and chandeliers throughout). These are the most-inclusive cruises you’ll find, with unlimited shore excursions, all drinks, gratuities, airfare, Wi-Fi, transfers and gourmet dining in specialty restaurants. The largest ship carries up to 750 passengers in all-suite accommodations with a crew-to-passenger ratio of 1.5 to 1. View Prices on Cruises on Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Silversea Cruises – This ultra-luxury line has a nine-ship fleet that sails to all seven continents and more than 800 destinations with its small vessels (100 to 540 passengers), which include four expedition ships. The ships are gorgeous, with sleek modern designs throughout. All cabins are suites, with butler service, and drinks (including a mini-bar in your room), gratuities and select shore excursions included in your fare. Silversea’s cruises offer gourmet fine dining at a range of specialty restaurants, most of which are included in the price of your cruise.
Crystal Cruises – Crystal is known as a luxury cruise line with two ocean ships, Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony, as well as its five new luxury river cruise ships and expedition yacht Crystal Esprit. Sailings feature high-class touches like afternoon tea service, live music performances all over the ship throughout the day and gourmet dining, of course, with up to eight specialty dining options in the ocean ships. (The line even has a partnership with chef extraordinaire Nobu.) Crystal is also well known for its focus on enrichment, bringing onboard expert speakers to talk about the destinations you are visiting. Fitness classes, gratuities, drinks and activities like dance lessons are included.
Seabourn – Seabourn features cruises to exotic destinations on its fleet of five intimate ships. Ships carry between 458 passengers – Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Quest, Seabourn Sojourn – and 600 passengers on the flagship Seabourn Encore and brand-new Seabourn Ovation. There are two crew members for every three passengers, and the level of service is reflected in this ratio. Cruisers make their home in well-appointed staterooms, and programming includes festive deck parties with free-flowing drinks and amazing food spreads highlighting flavors from the regions in which you sail. Live music is a highlight, and the ships also offer sports marinas that allow you to have fun kayaking and paddleboarding in exotic locales. A highlight is the included dining venue The Grill, a creation from Seabourn’s partnership with Chef Thomas Keller.
Uniworld – A standout among the river cruise lines, Uniworld offers elegance on its ships that you won’t see on other river lines, like bold chandeliers as the centerpieces of the lobby area. Even the beds are handcrafted for Uniworld by Savior of England. The ships are individually decorated to offer unique artwork, antiques and design flourishes. Uniworld cruises all over Europe, as well as Russia, Asia, India and Egypt. Ships offer butler service, and cruise fares include Wi-Fi, gratuities, unlimited drinks, airport transfers, excursions, and L’Occitane toiletries in your cabin.
John Roberts is a freelance writer and operator of InTheLoopTravel.com. He writes about cruising and active travel, highlighting how people can connect with the world and other cultures through rewarding travel experiences.