The Top 10 Cruise Lines
Cruises are a popular way to travel because they make the travel part relaxing and fun. Large cruise ships offer more amenities than you can get in one location on the solid ground, and you have the added bonus of always being able to look out onto the beautiful ocean. Aside from the boats themselves, cruises take you to both well-traveled and more exotic destinations and have great packages and itineraries for what to do when you get there. A cruise ship is unlike any other. Some can fit 5,400 passengers. Despite that, there are so many things to do on a cruise ship, you rarely feel crowded, and there manage to be enough hideaways for relaxation. Cruises vary in what they offer based online and ship. Ranking cruise lines come down to the quality of the rooms, service, dining, amenities, activities, and price.
The 16 ships offer unique experiences from a piazza-style grand atrium, movies under the stars, and Sanctuary, adult-only private cabanas. A lotus spa, youth lounges, and a book club and dining from casual to personalized to specialty to romantic are all available on board.
Royal Caribbean International
Royal Caribbean has 22 ships and two of the largest cruise liners in the world. The activities on board are unrivaled, including a zip line, bumper cars, surf simulator, circus school, rock climbing, mini golf, among many others. Because of its size, Royal Caribbean may not be able to offer the personalized or elite service of some of the smaller lines, but you’ll still get one hell of a vacation.
Holland America Line
The 15 large ships have suites that open onto wrap-around decks and are nicely decorated. Cooking classes, a greenhouse spa, computer lab, art gallery, and shopping are all on board. The dining program now includes one night per cruise in which one of the restaurants is turned into a replica of the famous New York restaurant Le Cirque.
Celebrity has ten ships and offers a host of unique onboard activities from pool volleyball to trivia contests to dance competitions to lawn games. There are interactive cooking classes, a self-guided iPad tour of art collections on board, and enrichment classes. A whole host of restaurants offers every kind of food imaginable.
Cunard has three ships that harken back to the old world days of sea travel. Named after Queens, the ships are elegant and luxurious. The design is Art deco. The grand duplex suites offer in-room exercise facilities and marble bathrooms. There are outdoor croquet and paddle tennis courts. A daily newspaper and nightly turndown service are complimentary. Cunard is the only cruise line with regular transatlantic crossings and has an around the world cruise.
Azamara Club Cruises
The two ships are designed to offer a boutique hotel experience. Azamara’s best feature is that it allows for great off-boat excursions, docking overnight and setting sail late so that you get the most out of your stop-over. There are an onboard drawing room and library. The ships offer an exclusive line of high-quality bath and body products for guests use.
Disney Cruise Lines
Disney is the definition of a family-friendly cruise. Activities are age-appropriate and often themed. There are Broadway-style shows to see. Kids can watch their favorite Disney movies or meet their favorite Disney characters. One ship has a 765-foot waterslide. There are adult activities as well, including nightclubs and bars and a two-deck spa with a rainforest steam room.
Now with five ships, Oceania offers some of the best dining options and on-shore packages. The line offers hands-on cooking classes on board and an all-inclusive beverage package. The suites are furnished by Ralph Lauren. The ships offer enrichment packages, including an Artist’s loft that teaches fine art. A spa, fitness center, pool, jacuzzis, nightly shows and more, there is plenty to do on board.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Regent has three vessels that travel all over the world. The ships are all-suite and most have balconies. The line is known for being able to mesh luxury with value. It offers great all-inclusive packages. There are plenty of lounges, a pool on deck, a library, and shops. But, the line is most well known for its Canyon Ranch SpaClub and fine dining, including Signatures, a Le Cordon Bleu operated French restaurant.
Consistently the top cruise line on anyone’s list for nearly two decades, Crystal has only two ship, but they offer the quality of service most larger lines cannot afford, such as a nearly 1 to 1 crew to guest ratio. There are many dining options on board from ice cream to buffet breakfast to room service, but the on-ship restaurants are an absolute must, including Silk Road from world-renowned chef Nobu. Rooms range from penthouses with an on-demand butler and a hot tub overlooking the ocean to comfortable staterooms with Egyptian cotton linens. There are many nightclubs, ranging from dance halls to sophisticated bars, a casino, pool, and a world-class spa.