If your dream vacation includes leaving the logistics to others and being transported from destination to destination while enjoying scrumptious meals, exciting entertainment, and gorgeous panoramic views, a cruise may be in your future. From all-inclusive, luxury accommodations to budget-friendly State-side excursions, you need only pick the journey that best suits you.
Are you feeling overwhelmed by the thought of planning a cruise? Consider one of these 10 great options, handpicked by our readers as their favorites. From small-ship to mega-ship, and everything in between, these are our readers’ 2022 picks for favorite overall cruise line.
1. Viking (Winner)
Viking is well-known — and beloved — in the river cruise market. But did you know they also offer small ship ocean cruises as well as intimate expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic? All in all, Viking’s fleet of around 80 ships is ready to help you explore the world in comfort, no matter where your wanderlust wants to take you.
Viking put river cruising on the map for many travelers, perfecting the process from beginning to end, especially across Europe. Enjoy luxury accommodations as you float down the Danube, Rhine, Douro, and Elbe rivers among other European waterways. Their services have expanded to include cruises along the Nile, Mississippi, and Mekong River in Vietnam and Cambodia.
Viking ships do not include casinos and do not allow children under 18 onboard, as they seek to create an inviting atmosphere for sharing meaningful experiences with their guests, free from distraction. What is more, Wi-Fi and alcohol come included in your ticket, so once you purchase your ticket, just sit back and enjoy the experience.
2. Royal Caribbean
The name alone should tell you that you will be treated like royalty while on board. Set sail around the Caribbean on a classic Royal Caribbean journey with a stop at their privately owned island oasis in the Bahamas: CocoCay. Spend the day on dry land — or in the water — enjoying the thrills of the water slides, zip lines, cabanas, and the largest fresh-water pool in the Bahamas. This is one cruise line that knows how to do a Caribbean cruise right.
That said, the cruise line’s fleet of over 25 ships don’t stay only in the Caribbean. With Royal Caribbean, you can experience the beauty of the Mediterranean, the gorgeous glaciers of Alaska, the many islands of the South Pacific, or even embark on a nine-month-long trip of a lifetime, visiting over 60 countries and each of the seven continents.
Dining, beverage, and Wi-Fi packages can be purchased in addition to your fare to enhance your experience while limiting the cost of daily incidentals. And it is always helpful to book shore excursions through the cruise ship as well; the boat won’t wait for guests who arrive back late from personally curated off-ship activities. Keep this in mind so you don’t miss the boat!
3. Norwegian Cruise Line
Like their competitor in the number two spot, Norwegian has grown past the destination in its name. Norwegian Cruise Line will take you everywhere from Norway to the Panama Canal, Africa to Australia. Set sail for a weekend or three weeks, the choice is yours. Determine where you want to go, and what you want to experience, and then choose the cruise that best fits your desires.
If you decide on a Caribbean cruise, be sure to enjoy a day at Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas, a 268-acre island paradise solely for guests of Norwegian Cruise Line. Here you will enjoy private beaches covered in white sand, experience native wildlife, and have ample opportunities to enjoy the water up close.
4. Disney Cruise Line
The magic of a Disney Cruise cannot be overstated as the customer experience has always been at the heart of the Disney business model. The moment you step on board, your childhood dreams begin to become reality. Dine alongside your favorite Disney Princess, experience a Broadway-worthy musical experience, or enjoy the thrill of an onboard water coaster.
Castaway Cay is Disney’s private island oasis for Bahamian and Caribbean cruise passengers to enjoy. Go snorkeling in the lagoon while watching out for a hidden Mickey, experience the Pelican Plunge water-play area, or sneak off to Serenity Bay, an adults-only oasis for when you need a break from the excited youngsters scurrying about.
Consider a Disney cruise to Alaska or Canada, enjoy the brisk waters of the Baltic in northern Europe, or enjoy a cruise around the British Isles. No matter the destination, Disney’s staff will ensure you are entertained and leave the ship with a return trip already being planned in your head.
5. Holland America
Holland America has been sailing the seven seas for almost 145 years. Enjoy South America, New England, Mexico, or a classic cruise through the Caribbean or Mediterranean aboard one of Holland America’s 11 elegant ships. With staterooms ranging in size from 150 square feet to Pinnacle Suites with nearly 1,300 square feet of living space, you will find a room to fit your group, and your budget.
Having trouble deciding on the perfect Holland America itinerary? Work with a personal cruise consultant to help you navigate the uncertain waters and nail down a plan that is perfect for you and your family.
6. Princess Cruises
The Princess Cruise fleet includes 14 large-ship vessels, ready to take you just about anywhere you want to go. Enjoy a three-week-long cruise from Sydney to Hong Kong, a month-long trans-Pacific journey from LA to Sydney with stops in Hawaii and the South Pacific, or a more traditional week-long trip around Alaska or the Caribbean.
Entertainment includes Broadway-worthy productions, magic shows, and comedians. Enjoy a hand crafted cocktail and indulge in the many dining options available onboard, many of which come included in your fare — even some fine dining!
7. Celebrity Cruises
Set sail for just about anywhere in the world on a Celebrity Cruise. From South America and the Galapagos to the South Pacific and Europe. The 14-ship fleet is primarily made up of mid-size and large ships that can house anywhere from 2,200 to 3,200 guests.
That said, they also have a sub-fleet of small-ship vessels dedicated to the Galapagos that provide a more intimate experience for enjoying this natural paradise. From the 16-person Xploration to the 100-person Flora, enjoy the beauty of Darwin’s Galapagos up close with Celebrity.
8. Silversea Cruises
Silversea Cruises boasts a staff-to-guest ratio of nearly one to one, ensuring someone will be available to provide exactly what you need, when you need it. Guest capacity on their 11-ship fleet ranges from just 100 aboard the Silver Origin of the Galapagos to 728 on their newest ship, the Silver Nova.
Silversea cruises touch all seven continents, with ports in over 900 locations. Spend up to 140 days at sea — or as few as five. The luxury begins as soon as you leave your home, with a chauffeured ride from your home to the airport as part of the Silversea experience.
9. Oceania Cruises
Small ship luxury at its finest is what you will receive when you step on board one of Oceania’s ships. With four ships housing around 650 guests and two more that can hold just over 1,200, Oceania ships are built small to ensure the service you receive is top notch.
Sail through the Panama Canal, explore the sites around the Baltic Sea and Scandinavia, Or, for just over $50,000 per person, embark on a seven-month-long journey around the world. This Miami to New York trip will take you through the Panama Canal (twice) and down to Antarctica, and it includes stops in Europe, Africa, Asia, and all of the Americas.
10. Windstar Cruises
If you are looking for a more intimate cruise experience, Windstar Cruises is ready to set sail. There are six ships in their fleet, ranging from the 342-guest Wind Surf flagship sailing ship, down to the 148-guest Wind Star and Wind Spirit. If there is somewhere you want to cruise, there is a good chance that Windstar can get you there.
Yes, you can enjoy the Caribbean and Mediterranean, but have you considered a Black Sea cruise? Or how about a tour of the Holy Lands, Northern Europe, or the South Pacific? Book today and enjoy world-class accommodations while getting up close and personal with local culture through the cruise line’s many shore excursion options.
Did our readers’ overall picks whet your appetite? Be sure to enjoy our readers’ picks in each of these individual cruise categories as well:
- 7 Best Caribbean Cruise Lines
- 7 Best Mediterranean Cruise Lines
- 8 Best Alaska Cruise Lines
- 5 Best Small Ship Cruise Lines
- 6 Best River Cruise Lines
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