They say money can’t buy happiness, but it can pay for a luxury cruise trip. Luxury cruising is one of the best ways to treat yourself and enjoy lots of indulgence and unique experiences money can buy. By going on a luxury cruise trip, you will be offered many glamorous experiences such as riding a luxury ship, fine dining with Michelin-starred chefs, enjoying high-class entertainment, indulging in spa experiences, and getting first class, personalized service with a hostess handing you a glass of bubbly while room stewards carry your bags to your refined accommodation suite. Cruising in a luxury ship will take you to new places and indulge each of your senses along the way.
If you’re looking for excellent luxury cruise ships to book for your next trip, here are some of the best choices:
1. Seven Seas Explorer, Regent Seven Seas Cruises
The most inclusive of all-inclusive luxury ships, the Regent Seven Seas Explorer is the winner. If you’re looking for a stash of glitz and glam on the seas, this is the ship to be. When Regent Seven Seas Cruises launched the Seven Seas Explorer, they announced that the she was “the most luxurious ship ever built.” Seven Seas Explorer really lives up to that expectation.
The fare includes everything, such as all dining (with at least one meal at every specialty restaurant), premium alcohol and drinks (beer, wine, spirits, soda, water, sports drinks), unlimited Wi-Fi, unlimited shore excursions, use of thermal suite and gratuities. Regent is the only cruise line that offers free, unlimited shore excursions in every port, so make sure to take advantage of this opportunity while onboard the ship.
Since the excursions are included, passengers can rely on the best team of crew and fluid arrangements. The enhanced Regent Choice options may cost additional fee, but it includes behind-the-scenes tours and exclusive cultural experiences.
Seven Seas explorer features suites that offer the largest balconies in the industry, ranging from 55 to 994 sq. ft. All are spacious and offer King-sized beds, minibars that are replenished daily and bathrooms stocked with sophisticated L’Occitane products. Penthouse and Concierge suite guests can enjoy a range of add-ons such as a free pre-cruise night in a luxury hotel, a personal butler and a complimentary Hermes products. The ship is pretty much glamorous too, as it features enormous amount of granite and marble in its public spaces, and there are almost 500 chandeliers made of Czech crystal and glass. Art enthusiasts will enjoy 2,500 pieces of art displayed throughout the ship, including some works by master artists like Picasso.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises also know that travel is incomplete without great culinary experience, so dining at the ship is always top of the line. The line has two main restaurants: the Compass Rose and La Veranda/Sette Mari. There are also three complimentary specialty restaurants on board: the line’s signature steakhouse, Prime 7; the Pan-Asian specialty restaurant Pacific Rim; and a chic Parisian fine dining restaurant Chartreuse.
2. Crystal Serenity, Crystal Cruises
Crystal Cruises is known as a luxury cruise ship line, and one of the very best in the world. Everywhere in its vessels, expect stylish décor, touches of luxury, extensive facilities and fine dining. Crystal Serenity is consistently recognized as one of the best by readers of travel magazines, among others. Because of this, the cruise line and ships have cultivated a loyal following of repeat passengers.
Besides the usual luxury accommodations, entertainment and dining options, Crystal Serenity offers onboard skills and knowledge enrichment classes. Aboard the ship, you can learn how to speak another language, make films, dance, or learn golf with a PGA pro.
Get entertained onboard with Broadway-style productions staged at the Galaxy Lounge, Hollywood theater with a lobby full of Hollywood posters. You can come across performers over the ship, from a classical quartet to jazz performers to Broadway singers. You can also enjoy karaoke and dancing at Pulse Disco, and dance ballroom at Pam Court – you can even find a gentleman host dance partner if you’re travelling alone or if you’re with someone who can’t dance. You can also play tennis on a full outdoor court and read books on its impressive library.
Dining also excels aboard Crystal Serenity. The main dining venue is the Crystal Dining Room, which is elegantly designed and open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are two specialty restaurants onboard: Prego and Silk Road. The latter offers Asian-fusion menu and sushi by renowned chef Nobu Matsuhisa. If you’re a coffee or breakfast lover, the Bistro coffee bar and Lido Café buffet will satisfy you and exceed your expectations.
Unlike many other luxury cruise ships and cruise lines, Crystal Cruises welcomes children and families. The ship comes with babysitting and playroom service, plus a variety of fun activities for older kids like board games, arts, crafts, PlayStation, dance classes and more.
Crystal Serenity has all cabins outfitted with flat-screen TVs, mini fridges and bathrooms with tubs. Penthouse rooms offer extras like personal butler service, Jacuzzis, and nightly hors’ d’oeuvres. Additional onboard offerings include a Feng shui-inspired spa, a sports deck with driving range, shopping boutiques, multiple bars and a casino.
3. Seabourn Ovation, Seabourn Cruises
Seabourn Cruises has a penchant for luxury, operating a small fleet of award-winning, luxury small ships made of suite-only accommodations. Beautiful, spacious contemporary suites are found in Seabourn cruise ships, with high-end European amenities, innovative cuisine and exemplary service. You can find some of the world’s finests from Seabourn, including Seabourn Ovation.
Seabourn Ovation is the second in the line’s Encore Class, which is the next generation of Seabourn’s Odyssey class. Debuted in May 2018, this ship is the newest addition to the Seabourn Family. It can hold 600 passengers and has an intimate crew-to-passenger ratio of nearly 1-to-1. Beautiful spaces in indoor and outdoor public areas designed for people to gather and relax are created by renowned designer Adam D. Tihany. All 300 of the suites in the ship have balconies with a view of the sea, making it perfect for a private dinner, breakfast or drinks alfresco. Standard amenities like a complimentary in-suite bar, flat screen TVs, spa-style “pure pampering” baths drawn by personal suite stewardess are on board. Champagne, fine wine, beer, caviar and fresh fruits are available at all times in any spot onboard.
The ship also features The Retreat, which is a private VIP-access-only outdoor lounge area. The cabanas are arranged around the hot tub, which is the focal point in The Retreat. During nighttime, passengers can unwind at the alfresco Sky Bar, dance under the stars, enjoy a movie or try their luck at the casino.
Passengers also have a variety of dining venues to choose from, including The Grill by Thomas Keller, a Michelin-star chef known for his restaurants The French Laundry in Napa Valley and Per Se in New York. Guests can also dine in other casual and fine dining venues like Japanese-style Sushi and buffet-style Colonnade.
What you’ll love about the line is its all-inclusivity. Cruse fares provide interesting itineraries that include entertainment and all meals. There isn’t even a surcharge for Thomas Keller’s restaurant, though there is a list of vintage spirits that can cost extra. Tipping is not required nor expected.
Plus, here’s another great thing about boarding at Seabourn: the line has recently partnered with UNESCO World Heritage program to support sustainable tourism and help protect and preserve unique travel destinations. A portion of the cost of shore excursions to World Heritage sites is given back to UNESCO.
4. Riviera, Oceania Cruises
If fine dining at sea is what suits your fancy, the Riviera of Oceania Cruises is the place to be. Oceania’s gourmet dining, culinary shore excursions and cooking classes will excite a lot of foodies. They offer plenty of dining choices not found in other cruise lines and the Riviera is one of their best.
Riviera offers a myriad of dining venues, including complimentary specialty restaurants such as the Jacques, a French bistro with menus created by master chef Jacques Pepin; Toscana, an Italian restaurant where tables are set with Versace china; Polo Grill, a refined steakhouse serving prime and dry-age beef; and Red Ginger, a classic Asian restaurant. If you want an intimate and exclusive option, you can book Privee for up to 10 people for a fee of $250 per evening. Each evening, La Reserve by “Wine Spectator” offers a seven-course meal for 24 passengers, with specialty in wine pairings. Bar and lounge venues also abound in this vessel, with some offering mixed martinis, wine tasting and poolside cocktails.
Passengers can also pay a visit to the well-equipped Culinary Center, a self-contained cooking school that offers a hands-on cooking experience. Besides cooking classes, there are also art classes that take place aboard at the Artist Loft.
The Riviera is also the ship to book if you want a suite. There are 147 of them in various configurations, ranging from 420 to 2,000 sq. ft., plus 478 non-suite staterooms. But you must book a suite as soon as you can, because they can sell out fast. The spacious, 2,000 sq. ft. Owner’s Suites feature Ralph Lauren furniture throughout the bedrooms, living rooms and dining rooms. All cabins include flat screen TVs, full-size bathtubs and minibars, while suites have additional perks like 24-hour butler service, online specialty restaurant reservations, unlimited access to the private Spa Terrace and more. The perks offered with suites make it worth considering.
Rivera, as well as Oceania Cruises’ ships, offer a more a-la-carte pricing than all-inclusive, but its offerings, dining venues and itineraries are exceptional and at par with the luxury lines mentioned above.
5. Silver Muse, Silversea Cruises
Silversea Cruises offers top-notch, personalized service that shines across its fleet. It excels in hospitality service, as the crew is incredibly friendly and intuitive. They seems to know what you want though the idea has just crossed your mind. It’s very evident in their lounges, where the bartender quickly memorizes what your drink preferences are, with your favorites already waiting for you. Their staff is trained by a well-known hospitality consortium, The Leading Hotels of the World.
The line’s claim to fame is that their personal butlers that are assigned to tend to every cabin on board. They will assist you in packing and unpacking your luggage, make arrangements for dining at onboard restaurants and shore tours, serve breakfast on your balcony and even serve course by course dinner at your suite. What a glamorous way to live, right? Their butlers are trained by the Guild of Professional English Butlers.
Besides the excellent service, food is where the Silver Muse excels. Silver Muse is the largest luxury cruise ship from Silversea Cruises, and its approach to dining to this specific ship is unique. Silver Muse lacks a traditional main dining area, and instead it has eight smaller restaurants at which passengers can dine any night. Six of them are complimentary, and the two of them (LaDame by Relais & Chateaux and Kaiseki) needs a surcharge. Kaiseki is a Japanese-themed restaurant that serves sushi at lunch and transforms into a posh teppanyaki diner at night. LaDame by Relais & Chateaux serves traditional French dishes. The complimentary restaurants onboard include the Italian La Terrazza, Asian fusion Indochine, pizza joint Spaccanapoli, grill-your-own-meat restaurant Hot Rocks, tapas restaurant and bar Silver Note, and a bar and grill Atlantide.
Their suites are also exceptional, as it comes with personal butlers and more than enough space with large bathrooms complete with bathtubs and separate showers. All cabins have flat-screen TVs, but they are not simply hanged on the wall – they are embedded into huge mirrors so when they are turned off, you can’t even see them. Public spaces onboard include a large pool, an expansive pool deck with comfy lounge chairs and pool stewards who will cater to your every need. You can also enjoy in the cool Arts Café, where you can drink coffee or tea and munch on some snacks as you enjoy the funky, artistic vibe of the café. During summertime and warm weather days, the vessel throws off a good soiree, where chefs pull out all the stops and serve the best.
6. Viking Sea, Viking Ocean Cruises
Viking Ocean Cruises is more of an upper-premium line, but because of its design aesthetic, passenger service, exclusiveness of the fares and spa options, it can be placed in line with luxury lines. The first thing you’ll love about this cruise line is their airy feel onboard and the Scandinavian design sensibility that puts emphasis on destination immersion.
The ship’s design is sleek and modern, and it focuses on the destination at hand. The ship stays longer in port (sometimes overnight) so that passengers can experience the locality. Itineraries can range from eight-night voyages to cruises that last more than a month.
The Viking Sea’s accommodations include a veranda, and even the tightest quarters are comfortably sized at 270 sq. ft. The largest suite is the Owner’s Suite that is sized at 1,448 sq. ft. All rooms include balconies, flat screen TVs, king-sized beds, complimentary Wi-Fi access and bathrooms with heated floors.
Viking Sea is complete in facilities such as a fitness center, an outdoor gym, theater, yoga area, Nordic spa (complete with a snow grotto) and an infinity pool on the stern of the ship that gives an illusion of swimming in the ocean. When it comes to dining, Viking Sea offers a variety of options that range from Norwegian cuisine to alfresco dining. Food is always served fresh and delicious, and the service is top-notch.
You’ll love the cruise fare, which includes complimentary wine and beer at lunch and dinner, transfers, no-fee specialty restaurants and unlimited Wi-Fi access.
7. Azamara Journey, Azamara Club Cruises
Azamara Club Cruises offers a range of mid-sized vessels that are intimate but not too small, and gives a boutique hotel feel. They call themselves “club cruises” because Azamara ships are designed to create a sense of friendship and camaraderie among its passengers, while still providing ample space for them to relax in private.
The Azamara Journey is an impressive, 690-passenger vessel that offers four different types of contemporary suites. Every suite comes with comforts and luxury details such as French bath products, plush cotton robes and slippers, healthy snacks, fresh flowers and afternoon tea service in the suites. The staterooms for suite-level passengers are appointed with flat screen TVs, minibars, 240 minute free internet and complimentary seating in the specialty dining restaurants in the ship.
Speaking of dining, there are plenty of food options to choose from, such as two specialty restaurants, three causal eateries and a main dining room. The ship also offers a spa, fitness center, Broadway entertainment, live theater shorts and a complimentary cultural immersion program on sailings, which is known as AzAmazing Evenings. Passengers can immerse themselves on local scenery, culture and cuisine, as Azamara also focuses on destination immersion that includes overnight port stays.