Itineraries and onboard activities may be the first things you consider when you're booking a cruise, but don't underestimate the value of a stylish stateroom. It's tough for even the most seductive port of call or thrilling day zip-lining across the Lido Deck to maek up for sleepingin a drab, windowless box.
The World's Best cruise lines—chosen each year by our readers—know that in compact cabins, every detail counts. Especially for cruisers on extended itineraries (sometimes as much as a month in length), cruise quarters are more than a place to store luggage: they are, temporarily, home. Comfortable rooms can even turn skeptics into devotees of ocean and river travel.
Related: T+L’s Best Cruises Guide
"Seabourn really changed my mind about cruising," said one voter in our 2015 World's Best Awards survey. "[It's the] next best thing to a private yacht. I upgraded to a spa suite at the last minute and it was so worth it!" Little wonder: the top-rated small ocean cruise line offers penthouse spa suites with dining room tables, separate bedrooms, and spacious verandas. There's also the complimentary in-suite bar (stocked with the liquor of your choice) and a writing desk with personalized stationery. Believe us, you'll want to send a note home about your trip.
That's not to say the only way to enjoy your cruise is to splurge for big-ticket accommodations. The world's best cruise lines, whether they're mega ocean liners or luxury longships, have thoughtful design features and amenities, such as marble baths and tufted leather headboards—even in the most basic cabins.
Like the best hotel rooms, they evoke a sense of place—nautical stripes and gleaming teak, or Venetian glass on European river liners—and offer indulgences that straddle the line between the comforts of home and an indulgent retreat. Cross the Atlantic or meander along the Nile: if you're tucking in on one of these cruise lines, your days spent inside will be just as magical as those spent exploring your ports.