The best cruise ships are like floating cities, with high-quality entertainment, delicious five-star restaurants, exciting casinos, vibrant dancefloors, and refreshing pools. A cruise vacation can be one of the most memorable trips you ever take. With the variety of cruise ships available, it is imperative to choose the right vessel to maximize your cruising enjoyment. This guide will point you in the right direction, so your next cruise will be remembered forever!
The Disney Fantasy is the largest cruise ship in Disney’s fleet and is considered one of the best cruise ships out there! It was launched in 2012, and in 2017 the Disney Fantasy introduced new features, like the Marvel Super Heroes Academy, a “Star Wars”-themed command post, and a Tiffany & Co. retail store. There are so many perks to taking a Disney Cruise that you don’t see even on the other best cruise ships. For example, you get a visit to Disney’s own private island, Castaway Cay. This beautiful island is located in the Caribbean and has snorkeling, submarine rides, parasailing, and epic dance parties with Disney characters.
Interesting Fact: Disney cruises are the only cruise line to perform fireworks in the open sea, right from the ship!
Staterooms are designed with families in mind. Inside staterooms feature different themes and designs of Disney characters, and over 85 percent of the ship’s cabins have an ocean view or a veranda. All cabins are outfitted with flat-screen TVs, minifridges, and iPod/iPhone docking stations. Try the delicious stateroom dining, delivered right to your door and also included in your cruise price. There are three main restaurants on the ship – Animator’s Palate, Royal Court, and Enchanted Garden. In the seven-day itineraries that Fantasy offers, you’ll go to two restaurants twice and one restaurant three times.
The onboard activities include world-class family entertainment such as Broadway-style plays including Wishes, Aladdin, and Disney’s Believe. The Buena Vista Theater offers a variety of first-run Disney movies, including 3D movies. On a seven-day cruise, Disney always shows new blockbuster movies, some of which are still in theatres. Kids have many clubs they can join while the parents relax, such as a nursery, the Oceaneer Club, the Oceaneer Lab, Edge, and Vibe. While kids can go to the clubs throughout the day, parents can enjoy an adult-specific schedule of activities. Disney cruise ships are known to provide the best childcare on the high seas. Both kids and adults will agree that this is one of the best cruise ships out there!
The adult area, which is family-friendly during the days, is called Europa. Clubs and bars include the Tube (themed for the London underground), O’Gill’s Pub (the Irish pub), Ooh La La (champagne bar), and the Skyline Lounge. There’s a whole schedule of fun shows and game shows that take place on the Tube, a perfect getaway for the parents. If adults want to relax at the pool, then Quiet Cove Pool is a perfect pool that is only accessible to adults.
Insider Tip: Disney Fantasy also offers lots of fun outdoor activities, including the famous AquaDuck.
When it comes to dining, the ship offers ten themed dining venues, including two adults-only specialty venues, three main dining rooms, and a new ice cream shop, Sweet on You. The Fantasy sails from Port Canaveral (close to Orlando), Florida, to the Bahamas and various ports in the Caribbean and Mexico. Disney Cruises are the best cruise ships for family fun and adventure.
Norwegian Bliss is a beautiful vessel with a refined feel you normally expect to find on such a mega-ship. Its most striking feature is the 20,000-square-foot Observation Lounge, which dominates the ship’s entire forward section on Deck 15. At 4,004 passengers at double occupancy, it is a big ship, with a robust selection of dining venues, top-deck fun, and enjoyable nighttime entertainment. The Beatles cover band in The Cavern and the Broadway hit musical’s full-scale production, the “Jersey Boys,” are among the high-class entertainment, making this one of the best cruise ships available.
Norwegian Bliss features a revolutionary Observation Lounge for you to soak in every stunning moment. Hidden at the top of the ship is The Haven, an ultra-exclusive group of cabins that feature the most luxurious, well-appointed accommodations, as well as 24-hour butler service. There is a concierge service, a private sundeck, and a private restaurant exclusive to only the Haven patrons. The accommodations offered in the Haven are world-class and will definitely cost a pretty penny.
Symphony of the Seas is one of the biggest and best cruise ships in the world. This massive cruise ship is also the most expensive cruise ship with a production cost of $1.35 billion. Onboard this gigantic ship is a central park with over 20,700 tropical plants, a royal theater with a capacity of 1,400, a zipline, an ice skating rink, a surf simulator, laser tag, rock climbing, an escape room, arcades, and cupcake baking classes.
The Symphony has unique drink menus and is offered by the ship’s many bars and lounges. There is the Schooner Bar, English Pub, Boleros, and the Diamond Club for Pinnacle Club Crown & Anchor Club members. The ship does an excellent job providing places to sit back and relax while sipping a great drink and listening to live music.
Interesting Fact: The Symphony of the Seas has been awarded the Cruisers’ Choice Award as Best Cruise Ships for Entertainment.
Carnival Celebration is an Excellence-class cruise ship under construction for Carnival Cruise Line, and they are aiming to make one of the best cruise ships available. This will be Carnival’s second vessel of the fleet’s XL class, a subclass of the Excellence class. The Celebration will become the largest ship in Carnival’s fleet upon her delivery. The Celebration will have a maximum passenger capacity of 6,500 passengers or 5,282 passengers at double occupancy, with approximately 2,000 crew members.
It will be divided into six zones, incorporating themed elements and spaces that will host activities and events and house various dining and shopping outlets. On the top decks, the Celebration hosts the “Ultimate Playground” zone, where the shipboard roller coaster will be located, dubbed “Bolt.” The rides will consist of self-propelled cars that ride on an 800-foot track and travel up to 40 mph (64 km/h). “Bolt” will also be joined by an extensive water park and sports center.
Carnival Celebration also marks the return of innovations like Bonsai Teppanyaki™, RedFrog® Tiki Bar, Family Feud™ Live, Havana Bar™, Seuss at Sea™, Playlist Productions™ and more. This will be one of the coolest and best cruise ships that people have ever seen.
Viking has brought its signature Scandinavian-chic to long-distance cruising. This is the longest world cruise currently offered, taking a total of 245 nights, or about eight months at sea. Viking is known to have the best cruise ships for luxury travel. The Viking Sun built-in 2017 houses only 930 guests, which makes it ideal for quality service.
Viking Sun is a state-of-the-art ship designed to provide a level of comfort only known to Viking guests. The understated elegance is a fusion of modern Scandinavian elements with a touch of Viking Cruises’ staple design pieces. With a guest capacity of 930, you’re sure to feel the intimacy and thoughtfulness behind each innovation. Look forward to an enriching experience, both on and off the ship as Viking Sun heads into less frequented ports for amazing destination immersion excursions.
Enjoy an all-veranda stateroom equipped with luxurious amenities to enhance your cruise experience. Feel right at home in an Explorer Suite furnished with luxury robes, slippers, toiletries, interactive TV and movies-on-demand, Wi-Fi, direct-dial satellite phone, and cell service mini-bar with alcoholic drinks, and a welcome bottle of champagne. The Veranda Suites are no less stunning, so be sure to de-stress and rejuvenate. Viking offers the best cruise ships for luxury travels on the seas.
Insider Tip: Try the onboard spa which includes a snow grotto, where you’ll actually have snowflakes fall from the ceiling.
Read More: Life Lessons Learned On A Carnival Cruise
Seabourn doesn’t always operate a world cruise, usually choosing to offer a selection of grand voyages instead, so when it does happen, you know it’s going to be particularly special. Seabourn Sojourn offers 458 guests the chance to travel the world in laid-back luxury, with a fantastic combination of contemporary style and expert hospitality, making this one of the best cruise ships out there. The ultra-luxury ship charges a premium, but the package comes with lots of extras, notably all tips and most beverages. There are no surcharges for “specialty” restaurants, and even the internet rates are considerably less than on mainstream cruise lines.
There are six types of cabins available on Seabourn Sojourn, all of which are called suites. Starting at 295 square feet, even the smallest cabins are among the most spacious standard accommodations at sea. Seabourn Cruises are the best cruise ships that money can buy.
Holland America Line has been named the number one, best cruise ships for trips to Alaska, the Mexican Riviera, and the Panama Canal & Central America. Holland America Line Cruise has won the Critic’s 2019 Cruisers’ Choice Destination Awards for their outstanding ships and customer service.
One of the four 1,848-passenger Vista-class ships is the 2003-built Oosterdam, and other Holland America ships share a similar design to Carnival’s Spirit-class ships. Touches of whimsy pop up here and there via bright colors and the odd funky piece of art or furniture style. Overall, Holland has the best cruise ships for those looking for a casually elegant and very spacious experience.
Offering around-the-world cruises departing (and arriving) from North America is Princess, operating since 2015. Its 2021 World Cruise features 50 destinations in 32 countries and six continents, sailing in a westward direction. Passengers are given the choice of embarking or disembarking either in Florida or in California.
Princess Cruises’ Royal Princess has a contemporary New World elegance that’s ideal for a couples cruise or multigenerational family vacation. Royal Princess is a Royal-class cruise ship and was refurbished in December 2018. Many updates included expanded children’s activities, additional spa and fitness amenities, and updated staterooms equipped with the highly anticipated Princess Luxury Bed. Royal Princess isn’t just one of the newest and largest ships from Princess Cruises; it’s also one of the best cruise ships and most elegant.
Passengers enjoy a chic adults-only retreat and pool area 20 percent larger than other ships in the fleet. It’s designed for privacy and intimacy. For example, the adults-only “Sanctuary” features plush lounge chairs, private living room-style cabanas, and secluded villas that can be reserved for a couples massage or alfresco spa treatment. Princess Cruises have the most luxurious and best cruise ships on the ocean for the entire family.
Interesting Fact: The Royal Princess was christened by the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.
Regent has been offering luxury world cruises for quite a few years, with a high ranking amongst the best cruise ships. The yacht-like cruise ship offers cruises that start in Miami, then go west across the Panama Canal and the Pacific, up the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean, then return to Miami. Regent Seven Seas Cruises launched the magnificent Seven Seas Explorer in July 2016. The Explorer exemplifies the hallmarks of exquisite cuisine and the ultra all-inclusiveness for which Regent is renowned.
The Explorer offers a luxury spa onboard that is similar to the famous Canyon Ranch Spa in Arizona. The Canyon Ranch is a hyper-luxury spa and wellness destination where the wealthy and famous go to detox. The onboard facilities include a casino, a club of connoisseurs, a theatre, three exclusive lounges, eight different places to eat, a corporate club, and high-end shopping. The Regent is one of the best cruise ships in the world for adults.
Boutique cruise operator Silversea has two different offerings, a more traditional cruise onboard the Silver Whisper, a ship designed for 388 passengers, and an active cruise aimed at more adventurous travelers. The latter is operated by the Silver Cloud, a relatively small ship with a 250-passenger capacity and a strengthened hull, allowing it to venture into polar waters off-limits to most other ships. This is known as one of the best cruise ships for the courageous explorer.
This cruise travels from Antarctica all the way to the Arctic Circle by way of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Enjoy the beautiful wildlife, landscapes, and jumping into 35-degree water during a polar plunge with icebergs. The Silversea Cruises are one of the best cruise ships that travel to Antarctica. Silversea Cruises are top-rated cruise lines with other ultra-luxury cruises like Silver Spirit and Silver Explorer.
A cruise vacation never has a dull moment! There is never a shortage of fun activities on the best cruise ships between Broadway-style stage shows, movies, playing the slots, and eating at fine restaurants. All of the ships in this guide are ideal for the perfect cruising adventure and will keep you returning for more, year after year!
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