Courtesy of Azamara Club Cruises

What’s the hottest sail on the seven seas? Say ahoy to the best cruise ships, as picked by Travel + Leisure readers.

Top Large Ships No. 5 Azamara Quest

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The 694-passenger Azamara Quest and its twin ship, the Journey, focus on itineraries with late-night harbor departures and port overnights that allow more time for landside exploration. Each sailing includes a complimentary “AzAmazing Evening,” where guests are treated to exclusive cultural events such as an evening at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco or a private performance at the National Theater of Panama. Seven to 14-day itineraries to California, Central America, Europe, and Asia include gratuities, port shuttles, soft drinks, wine/spirits, and self-service laundry. Rates: from $340 per day

World's Best Cruise Ships

Top Large Ships No. 5 Azamara Quest

The 694-passenger Azamara Quest and its twin ship, the Journey, focus on itineraries with late-night harbor departures and port overnights that allow more time for landside exploration. Each sailing includes a complimentary “AzAmazing Evening,” where guests are treated to exclusive cultural events such as an evening at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco or a private performance at the National Theater of Panama. Seven to 14-day itineraries to California, Central America, Europe, and Asia include gratuities, port shuttles, soft drinks, wine/spirits, and self-service laundry. Rates: from $340 per day

Courtesy of Azamara Club Cruises

World's Best Cruise Ships

Even identical twins have different personalities, and so it is with twin 122,000-ton cruise ships. You may deck them out the same, they may hit the same ports, but slight tweaks to layout, amenities, and crew—even the entertainment choices and talking heads—add up to an ambience unique to each ship. And as the number of ocean cruising and river ships has grown well into the hundreds, those differences are important to passengers. (Nobody wants to accidentally pick the evil twin.)

In this year’s annual World’s Best survey, T+L readers voted on staterooms, restaurants, itineraries, service, excursions, and onboard activities. The results: even within beloved cruise lines, readers were more passionate about specific ships when it came to their favorite five.

Related: Great All-Inclusive Cruises

For instance, in the Mega Ship group—ocean liners holding more than 2,200 passengers—three of Celebrity Cruises’s Solstice-class ships made the cut, but they didn’t sweep it with all five. Disney Fantasy (No. 2) and Emerald Princess (No. 5) held their own, even if their line’s sister ships missed the list altogether. The oceangoing Large Ship (600 to 2,199 passengers) and Small Ship (under 600 passengers) categories, as well as River Ships, saw similar splitting of hairs and high-thread-count sheets.

But whether it be a floating city or a souped-up luxury skiff, if you’re looking to go cruising, you can’t go wrong by choosing one of the world’s best cruise ships. Anchors aweigh!

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