If your definition of luxury is all-inclusive, Regent wins hands down. Passengers need not pay extra for drinks, tips, tours, Wi-Fi, specialty dining or airfare; meaning the line offers more inclusions than its competitors. Its newest ship has serious wow factor, and the older ships don't disappoint with spacious suites and top-notch dining. Add in destinations around the world, and Regent has the recipe for luxury success.
With Silver Muse, Silversea proved it wasn't afraid to take risks in pursuit of the ideal luxury flagship. The ship eschews a traditional main dining room, opting for eight restaurants instead. The simple decor feels luxe and soothing throughout a multi-week cruise -- no brash bling here. With its modern, spacious cabins and gorgeous public areas, Silver Muse offers nearly everything a luxury cruiser could crave.
After a month-long refurbishment, you wouldn't know Crystal Symphony dates to the 1990s. Free unlimited internet and all open-seating dining bring the ship in line with the times. The biggest changes revolve around food: New restaurants include a revamped Nobu, a churrascaria and a casual Chinese restaurant. In addition, Crystal dropped Symphony's passenger count from 922 to 848, creating new, larger suites with updated decor and revamped bathrooms.
Who says you have to sacrifice the finer things for true adventure? Silversea is committed to expedition cruising in far-flung places -- while maintaining all the luxurious touches of its regular cruise ships. The line offers white-gloved butlers, the largest suites in expedition cruising and gourmet dining on its four ships sailing bucket-list destinations from the Galapagos to Antarctica, the Arctic, Asia and Africa.
Part of what makes Regent Seven Seas suites so spectacular is the attention to detail. Passengers will find gorgeous decor, marble finishes that go on for miles, separate bathtub and showers, and bedding with sky-high thread counts. Even the smallest suites are spacious, and the variety of cabin options means there is something for everyone, from couples to families and large groups.
Oceania doesn't merely want passengers to eat well on its ships, it wants to surprise them with unexpected culinary treats. Passengers are as likely to rave about main dining room fare or afternoon tea treats as they are about a meal in a specialty restaurant. Best of all, Oceania's many dining venues -- whether casual or upscale-- are all included in the cruise fare.
Seabourn creates opportunities for passengers to rub elbows with luminaries while traveling the world through its Seabourn Conversation series. Renowned experts from all arenas join Seabourn's sailings, lecturing as well as participating in daily activities and interacting with cruisers. The line's Ventures by Seabourn program brings naturalists and scholars onboard to talk about regional topics and lead informative kayak and Zodiac tours in port.
Azamara Club Cruises believes at its core that cruising is about the destination, and it does an amazing job of immersing travelers in the cruising regions, even with just two ships. All of its itineraries aim for longer stays in ports, with plenty of late-night and overnight visits. Plus, its country-intensive voyages let travelers explore one destination in depth -- a welcome alternative from the new-country-every-day style of other cruise lines.
Couples and honeymooners can choose from two romantic styles with Windstar. The line's sailing ships are perfect for wind-in-your-hair, sunset moments, while its yachts offer oversized suites and luxurious touches. All six ships can sneak into small harbors, providing access to uncrowded destinations and out-of-the-way locales to explore with a loved one.
Crystal crewmembers try hard not to use the word "no" when passengers make requests -- and isn't that what service is all about? From addressing passengers by name to delivering special birthday breakfasts with Champagne and caviar, crew go above and beyond to make your cruise the best ever. By the end of the trip, many passengers report they feel like family.
In keeping with its destination immersion theme, Azamara Club Cruises offers a wide array of tours that let travelers get beyond a surface-level survey of each port. Its "Cruise Global, Connect Local" excursions range from cultural exchanges and forays to local hotspots after dark, to culinary tours and active pursuits. Plus, an exclusive Azamazing Evening event is offered free to all passengers on every sailing.
Calling all the single ladies -- and gents! Crystal's crewmembers make a point to lavish the line's solo travelers with attention, from dinner invitations to dance hosts. Themed sailings, interactive enrichment programming and onboard activities are all great ways to make friends onboard. Plus, low solo supplements mean single travelers can indulge in a cabin all to themselves, without paying double the regular fare.
Viking's spa is beautifully appointed, uniquely designed and wonderfully relaxing. The spa offers a Nordic experience, which combines a variety of hot and cold treatments, as well as a massive thalassotherapy pool, ceramic lounge chairs and peaceful changing rooms. Best of all, the spa complex is free to all passengers. Viking has set the bar high; its ocean ships offer the best spa at sea.
You get a lot for your money with Viking Ocean Cruises -- drinks with lunch and dinner, Wi-Fi, one tour in every port, thermal spa access and meals in main and specialty restaurant venues. But more than fare inclusions, Viking cruisers benefit from smartly designed cabins; gorgeous top-deck, all-weather hangouts; and destination-intensive itineraries. That's what we call value!
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