Luxury cruise lines have long enticed travelers seeking a superior experience. Some offer exotic voyages to faraway destinations, while others attract travelers with comfortable cabins and stimulating enrichment programs. But with cruise lines continuously upping the industry standard, how do you know which will deliver the best experience? Based on a methodology that factors in price class, health ratings and approval among experts and travelers, U.S. News found the cruise lines that consistently land on top. In our opinion here are the top 5:
# 1 Our Overall Pick – Oceania
For the price, we feel Oceania provides their passengers with the best overall luxury experience. They have exquisitely crafted cuisine, curated travel experiences and exceptional personalized service. Oceania Cruises is the world’s leading culinary- and destination-focused cruise line. Oceania’s gourmet dining, cooking classes and culinary shore excursions cater to foodies. Plus, Oceania’s mid size ships offer a high level of personalized attention, with four of its six vessels hosting less than 700 passengers each. Passengers also praise the ships’ elegant decor, original art throughout their ships and top-notch customer service.
Oceania Cruises is committed to offering the highest quality cruise vacation for discerning travelers by offering the finest culinary experience at sea, meticulous attention to detail, and a warm and inviting country club casual ambiance on every voyage. Combining luxurious comfort, exceptional value and uniquely curated excursions in the world’s most alluring destinations, they provide their guests with a truly extraordinary travel experience. They truly have award winning, port-intensive voyages featuring overnight visits and extended evening port stays.
Regardless of which of their ships you are sailing on, you might indulge in a rejuvenating massage at Aquamar Spa + Vitality Center, partake in a convivial wine tasting or attend an engaging talk by one of our Guest Speakers. At 4:00 pm you are invited to afternoon tea which includes your choice of tea, delicate pastries, little sandwiches, scones and cakes. All of this while you enjoy a live string quartet. In the evening you can enjoy a romantic dinner for two at one of their gourmet restaurants (which are all included in the price) and crown the night with a lively musical. Oceania Cruises invites you on the voyage of a lifetime that finally fulfills your passion for travel.
Seabourn prides itself on offering the crème de la crème of cruise experiences. Its five ships welcome 458 or 600 guests (depending on the ship), and they offer cruisers a bevy of luxurious amenities both inside and outside their suites. Travelers can expect multiple dining options (both fine and casual), stimulating onboard activities and a variety of excursions available before, during and after the cruise.
Seabourn sails all over the world, visiting popular cruising destinations like Alaska, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, as well as more far-flung destinations in Australia, Asia and the Arctic. In 2023, itineraries range from 7 to 81 days.
No matter which itinerary you choose, you’ll be treated to ocean views galore, whether it’s from the comfort of your suite (all cabins feature sea views), while working up a sweat in the fitness center or as you indulge in a treatment at the spa and salon. Ships also offer casinos, pools, nine-hole putting courses and live music venues.
Additionally, passengers can take advantage of Seabourn’s fine dining experiences, many of which feature menus crafted by Michelin-starred chef Thomas Keller. Each ship has a roughly 1-to-1 crew-to-passenger ratio, so you can expect personalized service at its best.
#3 Regent Seven Seas
Regent Seven Seas Cruises receives high marks from experts and travelers alike for its all-inclusive approach and commitment to luxury service. All five of Regent’s ships (plus one more debuting in 2023) – Seven Seas Navigator, Seven Seas Mariner, Seven Seas Explorer, Seven Seas Voyager and Seven Seas Splendor – offer all-suite accommodations. And with an almost one-to-one crew-to-passenger ratio, the line prides itself on its attentive staff and personalized experience.
How long you’re on board a Regent ship can vary greatly, with voyages ranging from seven to 168 nights. Regent’s popular itineraries include stops in hundreds of ports throughout Africa, Alaska, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe and more.
Guests can explore new places with complimentary shore excursions that vary by itinerary, from paella-making classes in Valencia, Spain, to visiting a sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica. There’s also plenty to do without leaving the ship, including nightly onboard entertainment, the Serene Spa & Wellness center and a putting green. Select sailings feature enrichment series led by experts in a variety of fields, from cultural anthropology to culinary practices. And dining options abound – gourmet venues range from an upscale steakhouse, Prime 7, to Sette Mari at La Veranda, an informal Italian eatery.
Azamara garners high praise from cruisers and critics for its upscale cabins and trips to far-flung destinations. The line’s four ships – Azamara Journey, Azamara Quest, Azamara Pursuit and Azamara Onward – sail to more than 300 ports, with popular stops in South America, Europe, the Caribbean, Australia and Asia. With Azamara’s ship capacity limited to about 700 guests, it’s easy to steer clear of crowds and locate crew members (each ship has approximately one staff member to every two passengers).
While docked at different ports, Azamara voyages offer shore excursions that vary by activity level, including museum visits, wine tastings and walking tours. The cruise line also offers restaurant recommendations for those who’d like to explore the local dining scene. Whether you choose the shortest four-night cruise or the longest 26-night voyage, you can take advantage of each ship’s onboard fitness center, lounges and nightly musical and dance performances.
You’ll also find several dining options on all three ships, ranging from casual buffets to specialty restaurants like Aqualina and Prime C steakhouse. In addition to beverages and meals in the main dining room, cafe and buffet, Azamara cruise fares include onboard activities like dance classes, wine tastings and lectures.
Silversea Cruises specializes in exclusivity and personalization, with all-suite accommodations, exotic itineraries and gourmet restaurants. From fine dining to informal venues to delicious in-suite service, Silversea’s gastronomic options have never been rivaled. While its ships are smaller, Silversea still sets the bar high for upscale cruising. On board, you can attend stimulating lectures or take advantage of butler service while in your suite.
Their butler service remains the jewel in their crown. Silversea offers around-the-clock butler service in all suites. Our team of dedicated men and women ensure that all your needs are well served – with thought, surprise and charm. From the moment you step on board – before in fact, as our butlers will help you breeze through embarkation, you will be warmly welcomed into our white-gloved ambience. Once on board, you’ll be pampered from dawn to dusk – all your requests, no matter how big or small, will be looked after. With a staff-to-guest ratio of nearly 1:1, Silversea’s service is highly personalized & friendly. Enjoy the ease, convenience and value of an all-inclusive cruise that includes almost all your onboard discretionary expenses.
Silversea is committed to making your voyage unforgettable. Let them take you to the most beautiful destinations on the planet in the comfort you deserve. Silversea’s small luxury ships are designed for those who delight in discovery and indulge in luxury. All their ships feature spacious, ocean-view suites with butler service, and most include private verandas, meaning you can sip your champagne from the comfort of your deck while watching the vistas beyond. Whether you want to gaze at icebergs or palm trees, the choice is yours. Our ships sail pole-to-pole to over 900 destinations on all seven continents, leaving (almost) no part of coastline uncovered.