The most expensive cruises all have one thing in common: They focus on the experience. You know the ones we’re talking about-- cruises that take you to astonishing places, wrap you in luxury, and are overall blissful adventures.
These voyages are amongst the most extravagant cruises in the world and each one is a cruise fan's dream come true. Here are our choices for the nine most expensive cruise ships that we love and would book in a heartbeat.
Though long known for river cruises, and more recently for ocean cruises throughout most of the globe, expedition cruising is new in Viking’s portfolio. While the line isn’t known for over-the-top extravagance, it is great at creating an inviting atmosphere that makes an extended adventure appealing.
Viking Expedition Longitudinal Cruises take you along the Great Lakes, the Saint Lawrence Seaway, the east coast of North America, the Panama Canal, the west coast of South America and on an Antarctic adventure in true expedition style-- and all are accomplished in either 65 or 71 days (depending on if you choose Viking Octantis or Viking Polaris).
Explorer’s Suites onboard Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris are 580 square feet, each featuring both a Nordic balcony with an opening glass wall and a step-out balcony. The four suites in the category share a large private garden with lounge chairs and a hot tub. Roomy bathrooms have heated floors Viking -- one of Viking's signature amenities.
Viking’s expedition ships carry 378 guests and offer fan favorites, like Manfredi’s Italian restaurant, Mamsen’s and the traditional Aquavit Terrace.
These ships also feature The Hangar, which is an enclosed in-ship marina. This unique addition makes boarding the ships’ fleet of Zodiacs (inflatable boats for excursions) far easier and more comfortable for all aboard.
Sail the Mediterranean for three sublime weeks on Regent's Seven Seas Splendor. This 750-passenger all-suite ship exudes extravagance. Eye-popping marble, crystal and other bespoke design elements abound.
All accommodations are luxurious, but you deserve the 4,043-square-foot Regent Suite, with a whopping 1,417 square feet more of balcony space. This beyond-fabulous accommodation features two bedrooms (the massive main bedroom features a Savoir horse-hair mattress), two private balconies with a custom heated hot tub, two-and-a-half marble- and stone-swathed baths and a private solarium.
The Regent Suite also has two safes and three walk-in closets. Perhaps you can even hire a pianist to perform in your suite as these digs come outfitted with a custom Steinway piano.
Wrap yourself in cozy cashmere blankets, refresh with Guerlain or Bottega Veneta toiletries and ring the butler to satisfy your every whim. Sample as many Canyon Ranch spa treatments as you can -- they're complimentary and are enjoyed in your suite's private spa retreat.
On sea days, you can take hands-on classes in the Culinary Arts Kitchen, exercise in the fitness center and savor fine cuisine in all eight restaurants. In port, enjoy your private car and driver for exclusive sightseeing, a service that's complimentary for Regent Suite passengers.
Silver Endeavour was designed for both opulence and adventure. Most of Endeavour’s Antarctic sailings are delightful short hops, replacing the two-day sailing between South America and Antarctica with a charter flight.
While those sailings sound enticing, if money really is no object, check out Silversea's longer sailing that ventures deep into South Antarctica. This 20-day itinerary spends an incredible 15 days exploring farther south than most passenger ships dare to go. And since there are only 200 passengers onboard, everyone gets ample time onshore and in the ship’s fleet of kayaks and Zodiacs.
Endeavour’s Owner’s Suite is everything you could want for unwinding in luxury after a day of adventure. The 1,867 square feet of luxury include two bedrooms and two baths, a whirlpool tub with a jaw-dropping view and a private verandah that wraps around the bow of the ship.
Silversea’s fares are inclusive -- including door-to-door service throughout the trip -- which make this one of the best Antarctica expedition cruises out there.
You can explore the remote Kimberley coast in Australia aboard the yacht-like True North for 14 days and experience the trip of a lifetime. This northwestern region's iconic attractions astonish; you'll see King George Falls (Western Australia's highest twin waterfalls), giant estuarine crocodiles and the spectacular Bradshaws (ancient rock art predating other examples of Aboriginal culture).
Hiking, swimming, fishing and helicopter rides (True North has its own air-conditioned six-passenger helicopter) over cascading waterfalls and spectacular sunrises on mountaintops complete with bubbly Champagne will fill your days.
True North is more experience-driven than showy. (Book a top cabin, an Explorer Class stateroom, although it's merely 193 square feet.) You'll only find 36 passengers total, but perks include charismatic onboard biologists, unparalleled service, exquisite modern Australian cuisine (think brined shoulder of lamb, cooked sous-vide with goose fat and herbs, slow-roasted and chilled, for instance) and Oz's finest wines.
Many cruise lines offer around-the-world cruises, but none rival the regal experience offered aboard Cunard's flagship, the 2,691-passenger Queen Mary 2, especially when booked in one of five Queens Grill Grand Duplexes.
If you're spending 100 days or more onboard, why not unwind in luxury? Measuring 2,249 square feet, Grand Duplexes double as "Downton Abbey"-style stunners.
Amenities include a downstairs complete with a dining table seating eight, fitness equipment and an office featuring personalized stationery. Climb the spiral staircase to discover a king-sized bedroom with a pillow menu, twin marble baths and two dressing rooms.
To top it all off, there is a spacious private veranda for you to enjoy at your leisure. Your butler will be able to fulfill your every need throughout your journey, too.
You will truly be a world cruiser as you'll witness various beautiful sights, including 33 UNESCO World Heritage sites, such as the dazzling Palaces of Sintra in Portugal.
Sea days are filled with impassioned lectures, planetarium shows and a wide array of entertainment from comedians to classical pianists. There's always the fitness center, as well, beckoning after splendid teas and fine dining in the Queens Grill.
Experience an exhilarating adventure for 25 days with the luxury tour operator Abercrombie & Kent. This unique voyage sails from western Greenland to Nome, Alaska, following in the footsteps of polar explorers of the early 20th century. There are numerous cruise highlights to admire while aboard Abercrombie & Kent Northwest Passage, but just some include meeting local Inuit people and spotting awe-inspiring wildlife, like grizzly bears, polar bears, beluga whales and a myriad of birdlife.
The scenery is undeniably impressive; think: looming glaciers, jagged icebergs, towering mountains and vast vistas that seem impossible to accurately capture with a camera. Few ever sail the Northwest Passage and you venture to many places only reachable by ship. Cruisers in-the-know consider this voyage a bucket-list topper.
Abercrombie & Kent typically charters expedition ships from the posh French line Ponant. Then it reduces the passenger capacity from 264 to 188 and brings its own distinguished expedition experts onboard, including a photography coach. A&K includes impressive amenities like complimentary Wi-Fi and laundry service; suite passengers also have access to a personal butler.
Just 600 passengers revel in the spacious, all-suite ship; it is reminiscent of a country club, boasting mahogany wood and exquisite furnishings. Be sure to book a coveted Wintergarden Suite, measuring 989 square feet with a lovely 197-square-foot veranda featuring a dining table and double lounger. Host a dinner party with new friends at your dining table, which seats six, and move the party to your living area as it is large enough for everyone to sit comfortably.
There are even more intriguing allures on the Seabourn Ovation, such as holistic seminars created by wellness guru Dr. Andrew Weil and musical journeys imagined by lyricist Tim Rice.
We adore the idea of a single cruise that hits several bucket-list destinations, but cruising the world all in one go is simply unparalleled. Imagine an itinerary that sails through the stunning adventures of Antarctica, African safaris, plus port calls in Southeast Asia, China, and wrapping up in perfect time for a luxury Alaska cruise.
Oceania World Cruise can offer you such a dream-like adventure and then some. Oceania falls perfectly between high luxury and premium cruising, with ships that simultaneously exude opulence and inclusivity.
Vista Suites would be the way to go. With that much time at sea, you’ll want a comfortable personal space, and these 786-square-foot suites can certainly supply you with the space you are looking for.
In conjunction with the 24-hour butler service and unlimited access to the Aquamar Spa Terrace, which contains a stellar fitness center and complimentary exercise classes, this world cruise may very well be the best thing you ever experienced.
For the veteran cruisers out there who desire the hustle and bustle of a mega ship, with all the entertainment and fun that goes along with that experience, Celebrity Beyond is just what you need.
Celebrity’s ship-within-a-ship secluded suite area, known as The Retreat, has a private pool and sundeck and comes complete with premium drinks, Wi-Fi, tips, and even onboard credit you can use for shore excursions. We’d choose a nice long Southern Caribbean itinerary, often with an overnight in Aruba and several sea days to enjoy both the suite and the ship.
The Celebrity Beyond cruise ship features 32 food and drink venues to cater to any and all taste buds, all of which have globally-inspired menus that have been crafted by their Michelin-starred chef, Cornelius Gallagher.
Our favorite suite is the Iconic Suite perched high above even the captain’s bridge. Its two bedrooms offer near-perfect views, ample space for a family or two couples, and just beyond the suite lies the full mega ship experience we sometimes crave.
Updated September 14, 2022