The 11 Best Luxury Cruise Lines, According to T+L's Experts

These luxury cruise lines offer stunning suites, fine dining, and exceptional itineraries.

Cruising is back — and you might even say it's better than ever. "Vacations at sea are suddenly one of the biggest things in travel," Travel + Leisure cruise expert Paul Brady reported recently, as summer air travel is looking progressively messier but the cruise industry continues to stabilize post-pandemic.

For those looking to plan a cruise, whether it's a last-minute trip for the summer or a 2024 around-the-world cruise, we've narrowed down the best luxury cruise lines to ferry you to some of the world's most mesmerizing destinations in comfort. Here, our favorite luxury cruise lines in the world.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

The Best Mediterranean Cruises
Courtesy of Regent Seven Seas Cruises

When this luxury cruise line says it's all-inclusive, it's not overstating. Everything from shore excursions, Wi-Fi, and laundry to gratuities, top-shelf liquor, and business-class international flights are included with Regent Seven Seas Cruises' fares. While each luxurious suite features ocean views, nothing beats the view from the epic 4,000-square-foot, two-bedroom Regent Suite, which has two wraparound balconies, three walk-in closets, two Picasso lithographs, and a grand piano.

Oceania Cruises

Oceania Riviera Cruises-7-Day Miami to Miami Tropical Retreat
Courtesy of Oceania Cruises

Oceania Cruises has just seven ships, but the debut of the brand-new Oceania Vista catapults this cruise line into the luxury division. The cruise line's relatively new Go Local shore excursions for small groups bring travelers to under-the-radar destinations, T+L contributing editor and long-time cruiser Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon reported recently. Her 2022 cruise on Riviera included 70 excursions "from canoeing Croatia’s Cetina River to cooking classes in Athens."


Silver Whisper in Sydney Harbor
Courtesy of Silversea

If you've ever dreamed of having your own butler, Silversea is the luxury cruise line for you. In fact, Silversea's butlers take white-glove service to a whole new level — they'll handle your laundry with more care than you do, scour port towns to find your favorite tastes of home, and even help you pack and unpack your suitcase. Further, Silversea's new culinary program, nicknamed S.A.L.T. (for Sea and Land Taste), brings the taste of destinations on board through cooking classes. Of course, there's no need to cook for yourself aboard a Silversea ship, as each one features several restaurants with multi-course menus to whet your appetite every night.

Viking Cruises

Viking Ocean Ship in Iceland
Courtesy of Viking

Viking Cruises is a river and ocean cruise line that recently added expedition sailings and the Great Lakes trips to its repertoire. "T+L readers rave about the consistency of Viking's vessels and their Scandinavian design," cruise expert Fran Golden reported when Viking once again topped T+L's World's Best Awards last year. Viking came in at No. 1 in T+L's best mid-size ship category and river cruise category. Golden said the WBA Hall of Fame honoree's 50 river "longships" are "light-filled floating boutique hotels."


PONANT Cruises

Laureen Robert / Courtesy of Ponant

French luxury cruise line Ponant aims to make passengers feel as if they're traveling on their own private yachts. Guests enjoy Ladurée macarons, Veuve Clicquot Champagne, and luxurious Hermès bath products on board. Each of the company's ships features an onboard spa with massage cabins and either a Turkish bath or sauna. Ponant's luxurious small ships sail to remote destinations like Antarctica, incorporating once-in-a-lifetime experiences such as eclipse spotting from the edge of the earth. The company also partners with Smithsonian and Disney on certain sailings.


The pool deck on board the Seabourn Encore
Courtesy of Seabourn

Seabourn cruises to all seven continents, and most recently launched Seabourn Venture, "marking the first time the Carnival Corporation–owned luxury cruise line will offer adventurous sailings on an expedition ship built for extreme environments," Brady reported. (The sibling ship to Venture, Seabourn Pursuit arrives later this year.) The World's Best Award-winning cruise line has all-suite ships and "is known for its onboard service and over-the-top food including complimentary caviar and Thomas Keller steakhouses on ships such as the Seabourn Ovation," Brady said.

Windstar Cruises

A Windstar cruise ship and sail boat at sea
Courtesy of Windstar Cruises

Windstar Cruises' luxury small ships call on 150 ports throughout Europe, Central America, the Caribbean, and the South Pacific, and there's no way you'll go hungry on the journey. Exquisite onboard menus have been designed by acclaimed chefs from Michelin-starred restaurants. (You'll have to pay extra for alcohol, but all meals and a Windstar signature onboard barbecue — a feast of whole suckling pig, shrimp brochette, and more — are included.) The cruise line is not only a T+L World's Best Awards Hall of Fame honoree, it has a "long-standing partnership with the James Beard Foundation," Brady reported, and regularly brings chefs on board for culinary-focused sailings. Yes, chef.


Scenic Gem sailing down a river in Les Andelys, France

Courtesy of Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours

Whether it's a river or an ocean you want to cruise, Scenic can take you there in style. The luxury cruise line operates river cruises in Europe and Asia, while ocean cruises on Scenic Eclipse (and the forthcoming Scenic Eclipse II) can take guests to Antarctica, the Arctic, Australia, South America, and Greenland, among other coveted destinations. On board, you'll find fine dining, expansive spas and fitness facilities, and butler service.

Cunard Line

Queen Mary2 Arrives NYC Celebrates Cunard Line 175th

Jonathan Atkin / Courtesy of Cunard Line

This British luxury cruise line is known for its transatlantic service, which also transports pets between its headquarters in Southampton, England, and New York City. Cunard operates three ships with a fourth in the works, though only the Queen Mary 2 sails the transatlantic route. It's a cruise line that takes formality seriously; white-gloved waiters serve afternoon tea each day at 3:30 p.m. State rooms include 24-hour room service and evening turndown service with chocolates. Don't forget your tux, the gala nights are black tie.

Paul Gauguin Cruises

A Paul Gauguin Cruise ship Moorea

Roger Paperno / Courtesy of Paul Gauguin Cruises

Paul Gauguin Cruises operates just one ship, but it is exquisite, hosting 330 guests and sailing only in the South Pacific to destinations like Tahiti, Fiji, Tonga, and the Cook Islands. The ship is small enough to access private ports at remote beaches and take travelers well off the beaten path. Named the best small-ship ocean cruise line in T+L's 2022 World's Best Awards, Golden said the line is known for Tahitian-inspired massage techniques in the onboard spa and noted that cruisers particularly love the wonderful staff.

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Edge Naming Ceremonies. Fort Lauderdale, Florida USA. November 2018

Steve Dunlop / Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises' new Edge Series ships are taking things up a notch. Celebrity's signature Iconic Suites on board the Celebrity Edge and Apex offer panoramic views from above the ship's bridge; each suite boasts more than 2,500 square feet of space, including expansive 690-square-foot terraces, and comes with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Celebrity Beyond, which debuted in 2022, accommodates 3,260 guests has 32 bars and restaurants, like Le Voyage by chef Daniel Boulud, and two-story villas on board. Beyond's sibling ship, Ascent, will be delivered later this year.

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