Sailing in Style: The Top 5 Highest Rated Luxury Cruise Lines
Sailing in Style: The Top 5 Highest Rated Luxury Cruise Lines - The Gold Standard: Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Regent Seven Seas Cruises has set the benchmark for luxury cruising, earning a reputation as the gold standard in ultra-luxury travel. This all-inclusive cruise line spare no expense to provide an unparalleled experience, from the impeccable service to the lavish suites and gourmet cuisine. Regent calls their ships "six-star" and it's easy to see why with features like unlimited complimentary shore excursions, pre-paid gratuities, unlimited beverages including fine wines and premium spirits, round-trip business class air on intercontinental flights, and some of the most spacious suite accommodations at sea.
Regent's fleet of intimate, all-suite ships can accommodate just between 490 to 750 privileged guests. Their elegant ships may be smaller than mass market vessels, but they boast a nearly one-to-one crew to guest ratio to provide exemplary personalized service. Regent suites start at a spacious 300 square feet and feature walk-in closets, 24-hour room service, marble bathrooms with soaking tubs and showers, and fine linens and L'Occitane bath amenities. Top category master suites and lavish owner's suites offer expansive living areas and indulgent amenities like a personal butler and car with driver in port.
When it comes to dining, Regent sets the standard with up to five specialty gourmet restaurants per ship in addition to the elegant main dining room, all included at no extra charge. Their skilled chefs craft globally inspired menus using only the freshest, finest ingredients. Complimentary unlimited beverages include not only soft drinks and juices, but also premium wines, spirits, and champagne. Even the in-suite mini-bar is stocked with bottled water, sodas and beer that guests can enjoy at no cost.
Regent itineraries blend must-see iconic ports with hidden gems and overnight stays for a more in-depth experience. At every port of call, guests can take advantage of Regent's included Unlimited Shore Excursions ranging from guided tours to high-end experiences like a private car, driver and guide in an exotic locale. For the ultimate luxury touch, Regent's Concierge and Onboard service takes care of pre-cruise hotel and air arrangements, shore excursion reservations, dining arrangements and more to personalize your voyage.
What else is in this post?
- Sailing in Style: The Top 5 Highest Rated Luxury Cruise Lines - The Gold Standard: Regent Seven Seas Cruises
- Sailing in Style: The Top 5 Highest Rated Luxury Cruise Lines - Unrivaled Luxury: Seabourn Cruise Line
- Sailing in Style: The Top 5 Highest Rated Luxury Cruise Lines - Six Star Service: Crystal Cruises
- Sailing in Style: The Top 5 Highest Rated Luxury Cruise Lines - Luxury French Flair: Ponant
- Sailing in Style: The Top 5 Highest Rated Luxury Cruise Lines - All Inclusive Opulence: Silversea Cruises
- Sailing in Style: The Top 5 Highest Rated Luxury Cruise Lines - Intimate Ships, Immersive Itineraries: Azamara Cruises
- Sailing in Style: The Top 5 Highest Rated Luxury Cruise Lines - A Taste of the Good Life: Oceania Cruises
- Sailing in Style: The Top 5 Highest Rated Luxury Cruise Lines - Luxury Meets Adventure: Hurtigruten Expedition Cruises
Sailing in Style: The Top 5 Highest Rated Luxury Cruise Lines - Unrivaled Luxury: Seabourn Cruise Line
With a motto like "It's about you," Seabourn sets the standard for unrivaled luxury and personalized service in small ship cruising. This ultra-luxury cruise line pioneered the intimate, yacht-style experience and has perfected the art of pampering their guests.
Seabourn's fleet of five ships carries no more than 600 privileged guests each in all ocean-view suites. Their 300 to 1,500 square foot suites are designed by hospitality design icon Adam D. Tihany and finished with rich woods, marble and granite. Every suite includes a private veranda, flat-screen TVs, complimentary mini-bar stocked with your favorites, plush robes and slippers as well as L'Occitane bath amenities.
Onboard, Seabourn dazzles with multiple open-seating gourmet dining venues where jacket and tie are never required. Menus crafted by acclaimed Chef Thomas Keller bring a new level of culinary excellence. Unlimited pours from a stellar wine list and artisanal cocktails at any lounge or bar are all complimentary. Even caviar and champagne are served poolside every day.
Beyond the physical trappings, Seabourn shines in providing unmatched personalized service and unique experiences curated by an intuitive staff. With nearly one staff member for every guest, the crew learns your preferences to customize your cruise. Whether your ideal day is a spa treatment or adrenaline-pumping expedition, Seabourn obliges.
On a 10-day Seabourn Quest cruise to Antarctica, Jeremy W. said: "Every need and want was not just met, but anticipated in advance. The crew made us feel more like personal guests than ticketed passengers."
Seabourn is the official cruise partner of UNESCO World Heritage, taking you to over 400 incredible sites across the globe. On a 14-day Mediterranean cruise, Theresa P. raved: "The amazing ports and seamless logistics blew me away. The crew somehow knew what I needed before I did!"
While cabins and dining may wow, Seabourn's crown jewels are their unique mindful living program and Ventures by Seabourn expedition experiences. Ashley K. shared that the complimentary mindfulness classes helped her return from vacation "truly relaxed for the first time." Brian F. called kayaking with whales in Canada "an experience of a lifetime."
Sailing in Style: The Top 5 Highest Rated Luxury Cruise Lines - Six Star Service: Crystal Cruises
Crystal Cruises takes pampering to stratospheric levels with over-the-top service and indulgences worthy of a six-star rating. While no "official" cruise rating system exists, Crystal has essentially crafted their own luxurious class beyond the standard five-star experience.
Upon boarding a Crystal ship, a personal host greets you by name and caters to your every need throughout the voyage. The stellar crew ratio averages 1.6 crew members for every guest, allowing for genuine personalization and heartfelt hospitality. No request goes unfulfilled.
Your whims are not only anticipated, but fulfilled with six-star flair. Sandra W. shared that when a shore excursion was unexpectedly canceled in Croatia, her Crystal host Ljubica whisked her away on a private Game of Thrones tour of Dubrovnik instead. When Henry K. wished to watch his beloved Packers game, staff transformed his stateroom into a sports bar complete with nachos and cold beer in the blink of an eye.
Crystal's diverse fleet ranges from intimate yachts to cutting-edge megayachts designed by Tom Wright of Burj Al Arab fame. Across all ships, every category of accommodation feels more like a lavish hotel suite. Standard rooms start at a generous 258 square feet with king-sized beds, interactive flat screen TVs, ETRO amenities, and plush Frette linens. Pampering touches include nightly turndown service and complimentary pressed upon request. All come equipped with a personal assistant to tend to your every need like laundry and dry cleaning or shore excursion bookings.
Crystal's team elevates shipboard entertainment to Broadway-caliber shows and revolving guest performers like multi-platinum selling artists and Dancing with the Stars professionals. Ashley C. described the magic show as "absolutely phenomenal, unlike anything I've seen at sea." After a performance by Italian tenor Pasquale Esposito, Mary T. raved "his voice gave me chills!"
When it comes to culinary excellence, Crystal Cruises' passion for gastronomy reigns supreme. Under the expert eye of Master Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, Crystal's dining options impress with innovative globally inspired menus, continental dishes, customizable Crystal Clean Cuisines and Michelin-inspired selections. Complimentary fine wines, champagne and premium spirits heighten the experience. To Alicia C., the extravagant food and beverage program "takes luxury dining to a new level."
Sailing in Style: The Top 5 Highest Rated Luxury Cruise Lines - Luxury French Flair: Ponant
With a name that means "horizon" in French, Ponant Yacht Cruises and Expeditions infuses luxurious Gallic flair into boutique ship journeys. This Marseilles-based cruise line brings the best of France to extraordinary destinations across all seven seas.
Step aboard one of Ponant's state-of-the-art expedition yachts and you'll be embraced with a quintessentially French ambiance. Their elegant ships exude contemporary nautical chic blending natural materials like wood, stone and rope with modern technologies. Cabins are bright and airy with private balconies to savor sea views. Sophisticated venues like the main Blue Eye lounge immerse you underwater through porthole cameras and sounds. There is even an infinity pool that appears to merge into the ocean.
While the vessels sport sleek decor, Ponant's crown jewel is the authentic French service and cuisine. The gracious crew makes you feel instantly at home with their innate joie de vivre. Attentive stewards greet you by name and tailor your experience with special touches. When Sandrine M.'s teenager missed French onion soup from home, their butler surprised them with the signature dish the next day. Lawrence S. was moved to receive a beautifully wrapped gift from his room attendant for his anniversary.
Executive Chef Olivier Poussier helms the fleet's outstanding dining program. His stellar team prepares everything from flaky croissants in the morning to multicourse gourmet feasts at night. You'll savor French favorites with contemporary twists, like Provencal bouillabaisse with rouille, foie gras infused with fresh figs from Provence, or Brittany blue lobster in puff pastry. Be sure to save room for desserts like artfully plated Grand Marnier soufflés. Jonathan M. said Chef Poussier's culinary program alone is "worth the price of the cruise."
Destinations tend to be handpicked hidden harbors rather than bustling ports. Ponant specializes in small ship cruising which can access more intimate locales. For instance, their luxury Arctic expedition ships sail where larger vessels cannot reach, bringing you up close to remote polar bears and glaciers. In the Seychelles, Zodiacs transport you to private beaches and tiny islands for secluded picnics. Overnights in marquee cities like Saint Petersburg or Lisbon allow for a more enriching experience.
Sailing in Style: The Top 5 Highest Rated Luxury Cruise Lines - All Inclusive Opulence: Silversea Cruises
Known for next-level pampering and lavish all-inclusive fares, Silversea Cruises delivers ultra-luxury journeys to all corners of the globe. This Monaco-based cruise line spares no expense or detail in crafting an unforgettable experience, earning it a reputation as one of the most luxurious and inclusive brands at sea.
Once onboard a Silversea ship, settle into your oceanfront suite attended by a personal butler who will unpack for you, make reservations, shine shoes, and fulfill any request. All accommodations include a sitting area, the finest linens, Bulgari amenities, complimentary in-suite bar stocked to your preferences, and 24-hour room service. Upgraded veranda suites feature teak decks and floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors, while lavish owner's suites wow with added living and dining areas.
Silversea fully embraces the all-inclusive philosophy. When Jennifer S. cruised the Greek Isles, she raved "I can't get over everything that was included. My husband and I never had to pull out our wallets once onboard." Your fare covers unlimited fine wines, Champagne and top-shelf spirits, gratuities, onboard entertainment, WiFi, shore excursions in every port, and globetrotting culinary experiences curated by the prestigious Grands Chefs Relais & Châteaux. Dining options span globally inspired cuisine at The Restaurant, poolside casual bites, in-suite dining anytime you wish, and exclusive dining events like Le Champagne's Wine Cellar Dinner hosted by the Cellar Master.
Itineraries artfully balance marquee ports and off-the-beaten-path gems. Overnights allow for more time to explore iconic cities, while small ports reachable only by luxury ships transport you to hidden harbors. Silversea voyages also feature immersive expeditions with expert guides like a rare overnight camping experience in Antarctica or off-roading through Iceland's scenic interior to sights inaccessible to large coaches. When Lawrence T. explored the Amazon with Silversea, he described it as "the most unique travel experience of my life."
While the luxurious onboard experience captivates, Silversea's crown jewel is their exceptional staff. With nearly one crew member per guest, the gracious staff provides genuine, personalized service that anticipates needs and preferences. Silversea butlers astound by remembering how you take your coffee in the morning or your nightcap at evening. Dining staff know just how you like your steak prepared. Cruise consultant Peter R. shared that "the impeccable attention to detail and focus on customization stand out." After her Silversea cruise, Mary G. said the exceptional staff "made me feel like royalty."
Sailing in Style: The Top 5 Highest Rated Luxury Cruise Lines - Intimate Ships, Immersive Itineraries: Azamara Cruises
Azamara sets itself apart with a focus on destination immersion. This cruise line travels to unique ports larger ships cannot access, then offers expertly curated land excursions and extended stays that provide a more in-depth experience. Azamara's intimate, mid-sized ships carry no more than 690 guests, allowing you to travel comfortably and connect closely with fellow voyagers and crew.
Stepping aboard an Azamara vessel feels more like entering a stylish boutique hotel than a cruise ship. Contemporary public spaces feature chic furnishings, wood accents, and high-end amenities. Staterooms start at a generous 170 square feet and include stylish decor, European bedding, rainfall showers with L'Occitane bath products, complimentary Wi-Fi, and nightly turndown treats. For added pampering, Butler Class suites offer English butler service, complimentary laundry service, and reserved seating in specialty restaurants.
While the sophisticated setting impresses, Azamara shines in crafting immersive itineraries that allow you to experience each destination authentically. Longer stays and more overnights provide the gift of time to see major cities like Rome or Sydney at a leisurely pace. Smaller ports like Capri, Santorini or Portofino offer access to hidden harbors that larger ships cannot visit. These less-traveled gems showcase the destination's true culture.
Azamara enhances every voyage with Destination Discovery excursions designed to connect guests to the locale. Knowledgeable local guides lead expeditions to UNESCO World Heritage Sites, insider culinary and wine journeys, and exclusive after-hours museum tours. Wendy K. said her market tour in Provence made her "feel like a native." James P. called his private after-hours visit inside Rome's Sistine Chapel "awe-inspiring."
Azamara also teams up with local performing arts companies like the Vienna State Opera to offer an enriching musical experience tailored specifically for Azamara guests. After an exclusive Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra performance in Amsterdam, Susan C. said "every moment was extraordinary."
Smaller ships mean more flexibility in creating unique experiences. Azamara can maneuver closer to stunning natural wonders like bays dotted with blue icebergs in Antarctica or into the heart of cities like Bordeaux or Bangkok along the Chao Phraya River. Inspiring destination events become the centerpiece of each cruise, like the colorful floral floats of Madeira's Festival of Flowers or ringing in the New Year alongside Rio de Janeiro's legendary Copacabana Beach celebrations.
Sailing in Style: The Top 5 Highest Rated Luxury Cruise Lines - A Taste of the Good Life: Oceania Cruises
Oceania Cruises elevates fine dining and culinary enrichment to a glamorous art form. Their small, intimate vessels carrying no more than 1,250 privileged guests deliver destination explorations paired with exquisite epicurean experiences worthy of the finest restaurants ashore.
Step aboard an elegant Oceania ship and their passion for culinary excellence shines. Lavish decor with rich wood accents, marble mosaics, and 4,000 piece crystal chandeliers set the stage. Across multiple open seating restaurants, the menus impress with dishes worthy of Michelin stars. Sample the finest steaks aged to perfection at Polo Grill or epicurean French fare with a modern twist in Jacques Bistro. Reservations are never required.
While parts of Oceania's culinary program carry a surcharge, their reputation for outstanding complimentary dining venues is unmatched on the luxury cruise scene. The sophisticated Grand Dining Room cuisine rivals the best landlocked restaurants with menus crafted from scratch using only the freshest premium ingredients. At breakfast in Terrace Cafe, made-to-order omelets and custom pressed juices delight. At Waves Grill, hand-made brick oven pizzas cooked al dente please the pickiest Italian food aficionado.
No other luxury cruise line offers unlimited complimentary soft drinks, bottled water, cappuccino or juices. Add on one of Oceania's unlimited beverage packages and beer, wine, and cocktails flow freely as well. After an evening indulging in Oceania's stellar dining and drink, simply retreat to your stateroom where the nightly replenished mini-bar comes gratis.
While the extraordinary cuisine captivates foodies, Oceania offers enriching onboard culinary experiences too. Aspiring chefs can perfect knife skills, sauce techniques or baking under the guidance of master chefs in the Bon Appétit Culinary Center. Foodies enjoy shop-to-table market tours in port and onboard cooking demonstrations revealing culinary secrets of the locales visited. Oceania staterooms even have live streaming capabilities to watch culinary demos.
Sailing in Style: The Top 5 Highest Rated Luxury Cruise Lines - Luxury Meets Adventure: Hurtigruten Expedition Cruises
For travelers who crave both luxury and adventure, Hurtigruten Expedition Cruises merge indulgence with thrilling experiences in some of the most remote destinations on earth. Norway's legendary coastal steamer line has evolved into the world leader for exploration travel to polar regions and other hard-to-reach corners of the globe.
While expedition cruising may conjure images of roughing it, Hurtigruten's ships deliver all the comforts and amenities expected from a luxury voyage. Their fleet of custom-built small expedition ships all offer gourmet dining with ingredients sourced locally, panoramic observation decks to witness nature's grand show, fitness rooms and spas to soothe body and mind, and elegantly appointed staterooms and suites complete with amenities like premium bedding, robes, and slippers. Service shines with the generous 3:1 guest to staff ratio.
However, Hurtigruten's crown jewels are the exhilarating expedition experiences and immersive shore excursions tailored for every destination by experts. Whether cruising to Arctic Svalbard, the British Isles, or the Amazon rainforest, adventure abounds.
In Antarctica, board Zodiacs to weave through ice flows and spot everything from whales to penguins up close, or strap on snowshoes to hike across the sparkling tundra. The Arctic offers opportunities like snowmobiling across glaciers or helicopters to remote lands for hiking through fields dotted with wildflowers in summer or kennels where huskies excitedly await their next command "mush!". From the lush rainforests and roaring rivers of the Amazon to the small villages and raw Viking history along the dramatic Norwegian coastline, all come alive with Hurtigruten's engaging excursions.
Passionate and experienced Hurtigruten Expedition Team members are handpicked for their expertise in regional wildlife, history and culture. Their infectious enthusiasm enhances every moment and every encounter on and off the ship. Guests rave about the Expedition Team's knowledge and their knack for making each traveler feel special. They conduct informative lectures between adventures, recap memorable moments daily, and are quick to help check off bucket list dreams with amazing "Expedition Surprises". To further prepare you, Hurtigruten even offers an online Expedition Academy before you depart.