Luxury cruise lines enable travellers to float effortlessly from one destination to another. Whether embarking on a world voyage, or weekend party cruise, you need only unpack once. Enjoy superior service with a view, as you sail by some of the world’s most exotic and iconic sights; the Grand Canal, Sydney Opera House, the Golden Gate Bridge and Mount Etna are just a few of the landmarks passed by international liners on a daily basis. With a wealth of superb entertainment and activity options, you can do as little, or as much as you desire while indulging in gourmet culinary fare. From large-scale and glitzy to intimate and elite, read on to discover more about the best luxury cruise lines worldwide.
Epitomised by exclusive door-to-door luxury, with a touch of Italian style, Silversea’s fleet of 10 ships travel to over 900 ports of call across all seven continents. Vessels range in size from 51 through to 304 spacious ocean-view suites – with personalised round the clock butler service. Silversea guests can strike their own perfect balance between indulgent intimacy and adventurous choice. Award-winning entertainment and 24-hour gourmet dining are accompanied by the finest alcoholic beverages, all included in the tailor-made experience. And with a sophisticated passenger mix, the onboard ambience is both cosmopolitan and stimulating. Journey to romantic and glamorous shores or venture to more remote hidden lands. No matter which you choose, the experience will be second to none.
Viking Ocean Cruises
Once primarily a river cruise provider, Viking branched into ocean expeditions in 2015 and welcomed its seventh vessel to the collection this year. The trips offered by this line focus on time in the destinations, providing base and combination cruises of between eight and 44 days (a daily shore excursion is included for each passenger). Scandi chic dominates the interiors, married with impressive nautical engineering. The latter ensures the relatively small ships – the largest has a capacity for 930 – can traverse lesser-visited far-flung regions, such as the polar ice caps.
Seabourn Cruise Line
Operating open-bars throughout their all-suite ships, an almost equal crew-to-passenger ratio, exclusive port side ‘Caviar In The Surf’ events and expansive multi-faceted spas, Seabourn has been a pioneer in the graceful small cruise market. The service is attentive, yet the atmosphere is relaxed and a sociable vibe makes it perfect for solo voyagers. Legendary deck parties, glittering casinos and award-winning shows make the night as exciting as the days’ explorations. And as the group is a member of the prestigious gastronomic society, Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, you can expect world-leading feasts that fit around your own schedule.
Those preferring larger luxury lines will love Crystal’s offer. The North American brand is superb for families, with fully supervised dedicated programmes for those aged 3 to 17 extending from morning till late at night. The sheer size of these vessels provides the opportunity for a huge variety of activities – learn a new skill, watch a movie, play tennis and golf, craft, sing karaoke, listen to one of the guest lecturers, or watch a full-scale Broadway show. Regular itineraries include the Mediterranean and Caribbean, but these vessels go to most of the popular large tourism ports worldwide.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Unlimited shore excursions in over 450 ports of call are part of your fare on a Regent Seven Seas Cruise. Formal nights are optional here, and only hosted on longer cruises, so suit those preferring to pack lightly and focus on the sightseeing. Indeed many choose this line for the relatively off the beaten track itineraries such as ports in South America, the South Pacific, Bermuda and Arabia. A high space to passenger ratio makes these ships feel larger than they actually are, with a sense of tranquillity that particularly appeals to couples and singles.
Azamara Club Cruises
Sail from Southampton, with no-fly UK departures included in Azamara’s choice of far-reaching holiday itineraries. The ambience on board is more akin to a country manor than a floating hotel and attracts a classy global clientele seeking enriching new horizons. Gentlemen’s club style lounges, cabaret shows and flexible dining combine with immersive, hands-on enrichment programs exploring the culture, history, wildlife and geology of the ships’ hidden gem destinations. Each liner carries around 700 passengers and offers many late evening or overnight stays in ports, as opposed to the more standard day trips.
The majority of trips aboard this Floridian line, average 10-14 nights, revolving around Europe and North America. For many repeat travellers, these six vessels are like a second home. Catering for between 684 and 1,250 guests, the ships have a cosy, yet stately feel with a friendly style of service. Creativity and wellness are championed with an artist-in-residence, wellness-themed excursions and the new Aquamar Spa Vitality Center. Following this theme, the fine food served in the many eateries has an emphasis on healthy, plant-based dishes. In addition to Michelin standard masterpieces, guests can snack on items such as poke bowls and raw food smoothies.
The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection
Brand new to the market, Ritz-Carlton has just launched its very first ocean residence, accommodating 149 suites with private terraces – some of which are split level. The sleek poolside deck and bar area on here could be mistaken for one of LA’s most elite private members’ clubs. There’s a sea-view spa, beauty room, sauna and steam bath, as well as water toys and a kids’ club. The main restaurant, S.E.A. offers an exclusive tasting menu, designed by some of the best chefs on earth. Voyages average at just over a week, taking in either the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Canada, or New England. It’s much like being on a super-yacht and will suit those seeking a new take on the contemporary boutique cruise experience.
A holiday aboard one of the best luxury cruise lines is unforgettable. Shipboard life is entirely unique from any other holiday type. You’ll see sights you’d never experience by land or air and get a taste of inimitable maritime elegance.