See the lines and ships that best represent excellence in ocean, luxury, and expedition cruising, chosen by Cruise Critic's international team of editors.
Best New Ship
"Viking understands its guests, proving it with its two exceptional new expedition ships, Viking Octantis and Polaris. The ships offer the right balance of exploration, learning and comfort. The multi-use Aula is a revolution, while the Science Lab and Expedition Central spaces are perfect for the intellectually curious. Viking didn't miss a detail, even creating one-of-a-kind Special Operations Boats, with easy loading, to get guests closer to the action, faster."
Best for Adventure
"Whether it’s camping outdoors in Antarctica or heli-hiking in Greenland, Quark Expeditions specializes in maximizing your expedition adventure. The line’s newest ship, Ultramarine, boasts two helicopters and a water-level Zodiac marina with multiple boarding areas, allowing passengers to get to the action faster. Kayaking, mountain biking, trekking – even Arctic hot air ballooning: however you want to be active at the poles, Quark will make it happen."
"Imagine waking up to an unimpeded view of the Antarctic glaciers, or witnessing spectacular Arctic Northern Lights from the comfort of your cabin. On Seabourn Venture, the line’s new expedition ship, suites have been thoughtfully designed with floor-to-ceiling windows to maximize view. Warming closets keep wet clothes dry, while heated floors ensure coziness; smart cabinetry mean your items stay in place during the “Drake Shake.,” and don’t forget the in-cabin caviar service."
"We’ve sailed on a number of luxury lines and admired their intuitive service, but we’ve never experienced a line where you are greeted by name by every crew member in the first day or two onboard – be that waitstaff, bar staff, cabin stewards – every one. Disconcerting at first, you soon come to expect it – and love it. Add in a nothing too difficult-approach to any query and you its clear Scenic has raised the service bar to a new level."
"Under the guidance of creative genius Chef Thomas Goetter, dining on Scenic is both ambitious and creative – and all included. We love the addition of an Asian tasting menu at sushi restaurant Koko’s onboard Scenic Eclipse (Nightmarket @ Koko’s); Elements is the best buffet/main dining room at sea and The Chef’s Table is hands down the most extraordinary culinary experience we've had on a ship."
Best Value for Money
"The Norwegian line Hurtigruten has specialized in Arctic and Antarctica travel for decades, at lower price points than the competition. What’s new is the line’s upgraded expedition fleet members, Roald Amundsen and Fridjof Nansen, which combine terrific scientific offerings and sustainable hybrid battery power with more inclusions and greater comfort."
Best for Luxury
"Silversea has mastered the art of luxury on expedition cruises. After a day of exploration, guests return to ships that are beautifully appointed and maximize comfort. Every detail is included, from hot chocolate after a cold tour to easy cleaning and storage of wet gear. Silversea's dining and service are exceptional, with perks like butlers for every cabin and a commitment to local foods through its S.A.L.T. program. With the addition of Silver Endeavour and Silver Origin, the fleet keeps getting newer."
Best for Light Expedition
"Those seeking a mix of adventure and more traditional cruising need look no further than American Queen Voyages. The new-to-expedition line will give you plenty of opportunity to explore in kayaks or by Zodiacs, but you'll also have time to take it easier, with cultural experiences and less-active pursuits. It's the perfect blend for those who want to try something different but still feel pampered and comfortable."
Best Science Offerings
"Viking has created meaningful partnerships with some of the biggest names in science, and it pays off for guests. On Viking's two expedition ships, guests get hands-on in The Science Lab, looking through microscopes and counting microplastics. Or they can witness a weather balloon launch from atop the ship, then follow the balloon's path in the high-tech Expedition Central area. The science isn't simply for show; it's fully immersive."
Best in Alaska
"UnCruise offers expedition cruises to Alaska that are as rugged as the state. Few lines drop you into the absolute wilderness like UnCruise does, and you'll hike, bushwhack, and kayak your way through everything Southeast Alaska has to offer. With its friendly crews, hearty meals and cozy ships, it's as close to a modern-day exploration as you'll find on The Last Frontier."
Best in Antarctica
"As well as providing unprecedented levels of luxury onboard and making a point of taking passengers to less-visited parts of the White Continent, Silversea has pioneered the 'Antarctica Bridge' -- a fast-track way to get you to Antarctica by air, so skipping the Drake Passage -- and by cutting up to four days off the trip, making Antarctica even more accessible to explorers."
Best in the Arctic
"A game changer in the Arctic, Ponant’s newest vessel, Le Commandant Charcot, is not only the first hybrid LNG-powered icebreaker, it has a Polar Class 2 rating, making it one of the few ships able to reach the geographic North Pole. The ship also sets a new standard of luxury for the French line, with the first Alain Ducasse restaurant at sea."
Best in the Galapagos
"Although plenty of lines do a great job in the Galapagos, Lindblad Expeditions sets itself apart. It offers two distinct itineraries that allow passengers to spend between one week and 10 days exploring this natural wonder. Couple that with the company's 50-year presence in the region, family-friendly nature, and outstanding partnership with National Geographic, and it's easy to see why passengers come back again and again."
Cruisers' Choice Destination Awards
View top-rated cruise destinations and lines around the globe according to cruisers, based on member review ratings for trips taken in the last year.
Cruisers' Choice Awards
Get to know the best cruise ships in a variety of categories, based on member review ratings for cruises taken in the last year.