Cruises are not what they used to be. Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all cruising mentality, replaced by specialty cruises, small ships and other specialties to suit every traveler’s need.
It can be tough to navigate this new cruise world, so the knowledgeable editors at Cruise Critic compiled their “best” list of cruises.
Best New Ocean Cruise Ship: Viking Star from Viking Cruises
A giant in the river cruising world, Viking Cruises is making a name for themselves with their first ever ocean cruise ship Viking Star. The 928-passenger ship was called “world’s best new cruise ship” by CNN and won Cruise Critic’s “best new ocean cruise ship” award in 2015. Traveling aboard Viking Star is truly a luxurious experience where chic meets comfort–highlights include a Nordic style spa complete with a snow room and two pools, wi-fi in every stateroom, breathtaking views from the relaxing explorer’s lounge, and an infinity pool. The best part is that there are no inside-facing staterooms, and all are equipped with a balcony.
Best New River Cruise Ship: SS Maria Theresa from Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
Named for the Austrian empress of the Habsburg dynasty, this ship is fit for royalty complete with lavish 18th century decor including a 22-carat gold leaf Habsburg coronet and Murano glass chandelier. With only 75 staterooms, this small ship cruises the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers.
Best Inside Cabins: Disney Cruise Line
All inside-facing staterooms have portholes that play live video of the outside world wherever you are at that moment. As an added touch, you’ll sometimes see Disney characters appear as well.
Best Standard Cabin: MSC Cruises
While the staterooms on MSC Cruises may not be the largest, they are incredibly decorated and well-equipped.
Best River Cruise Ship Cabin: Avalon Waterways
Beds are positioned toward floor to ceiling functional glass windows offering spectacular views of the river on Avalon Waterways’ ships. You don’t even need to leave your bed to feel like you’re outside.
Best Family Cruise Ship: Royal Caribbean International
This is a ship that truly caters to kids of all ages, with video games for the older crowd and board games for the little ones. Other highlights of this cruise ship include bumper cars, indoor skydiving, basketball courts, and roller skating rinks.
Best Value for Money: Carnival Cruise Lines
With sales as low as $75 per person per day, the world’s largest cruise line is also the best value for your money. Their 3-4 day trips from Miami to the Caribbean are their least expensive option.
Best Dining Ocean Cruise Ships: Celebrity Cruises
Celebrity Cruises offers incredible dining options including casual dining in Oceanview Cafe or Bistro on Five, fine dining in the main dining room as well as specialty dining offers. Menus are created by a James Beard featured chef.
Best Dining River Cruise Ships: AmaWaterways
AmaWaterways vessels belong to world-class culinary organization La Chaine Rotisseurs, and Executive Chef Primus Perchtold is a three-time gold medal winner at the European Championship of Culinary Art in Nuremberg. With diverse menus and plenty of options, dining aboard AmaWaterways is a special experience.
Best Shore Excursions Ocean Cruise Ships: Azmara Club Cruises
Azmara Club Cruises prides themselves on visiting smaller, less-traveled to ports and stay for a longer period of time, including overnights, allowing them to offer unique excursions that other cruises can’t.
Best Shore Excursions River Cruise Ships: Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
Uniworld offers a wide variety of complimentary tours at all different levels as well as exclusive behind-the-scenes tours and activities only found through them.
Best Adventure Cruise Ship: Un-Cruise Adventures
With small ships, Un-cruise Adventures is able to travel to areas that large cruise ships cannot and go on unique adventurous excursions. Not only do they go to adventure destinations like Alaska, Costa Rica, Hawaii, the Galapagos and the Pacific Northwest, but they allow travelers to get off the ship to explore via kayaking, hiking, snorkeling and stand-up paddle boarding.
Best Cruise Ship for Romance: Windstar Cruises
Dinner dates under the night sky, complimentary champagne and fruit and romantic destinations such as Europe, Tahiti and Costa Rica are just a few things that make a Windstar Cruise romantic.
As CEO and founder of Unicomm, LLC., John Golicz produces the largest and fastest growing travel trade show series in the United States– the Travel & Adventure Show Series. With nearly 30 years of travel experience, John is an expert on how to travel better, safer, smarter and cheaper.