The Best Cruise Lines Ranked: A List of Our Top Picks

Did you know there are more than 50 cruise lines currently operating on the oceans and rivers? As consumers, this means that you have more options than ever when it comes to choosing your cruise.

Viking Star, one of six ships in Viking’s ocean fleet. Viking also has more than 50 river cruise vessels, with new expedition ships on the way. © 2016 Aaron Saunders

Because there are so many options, cruising has become a highly customizable experience. Whether you’re a budget or luxury traveler, an active traveler or someone who likes to sit on a ship to watch the world pass by, there is likely a cruise to fit your vacation needs.

To help you plan your vacation, we’ve created a list of the best cruise lines ranked. 

Mainstream

Norwegian Bliss.

This category offers large ships with several opportunities to save on your cruise fare. Your best options in this category are Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian. These cruise lines offer the most bang for your buck and are perfect for the cruiser on a budget.

Family

Disney fun isn’t limited to the ship. There’s also a great private island in the Bahamas, called Castaway Cay. © Ralph Grizzle

If you’re looking to bring the little ones along, then you can’t go wrong with a Disney cruise. The same level of quality and showmanship that you get with Disney’s parks is present on the ships. Enjoy Disney-themed shows, kids-only zones, and meet-and-greets with Disney characters.

The mainstream cruise lines mentioned above are also a great choice for families as their fares are typically lower and the size of the ships allows for more activities onboard such as pools, waterslides, arcades, and more.

Niche

Hurtigruten’s newest ship, Roald Amundsen. Photo courtesy of Karsten Bidstrup / Hurtigruten

If you’re looking for something a little different, turn to a niche cruise. These ships may make trips along the Norwegian coast, Greenland, Antarctica and other remote destinations. Norwegian cruise company Hurtigruten offers great cruises along the coast of Norway and beyond. Lindblad Expeditions is another cruise line to consider. Lindblad is partnered with National Geographic, meaning that National Geographic guides, scientists, expedition leaders, among other roles are present on board during the sailing.

Don’t overlook Silversea, with its fleet of expedition vessels. Viking and Seabourn also have expedition vessels coming.

Premium

Holland America Line’s Nieuw Statendam docked in St. Thomas. © 2019 Britton Frost

If you want a step up from the mainstream cruise lines, then look at Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises, Viking or Holland America Line. These cruise lines are a step up from the mainstream cruise lines, but are still bigger than luxury ships. You can expect to sail with about 1,000-2,000 other people. You’ll find ships that are sophisticated with cutting edge art and on-trend restaurants.

Upper Premium

Azamara Quest in Sorrento, Italy. @ 2013 Ralph Grizzle

These cruise lines are a step below luxury in style and cost. Consider Oceania Cruises or Azamara Cruises for their high-quality dining, service and overall ambiance. Azamara stands out for its smaller sized ships that can navigate to more remote destinations to give you unique experiences and shore excursions.

Luxury

Sister ship to Seven Seas Splendor, Seven Seas Explorer is pictured here in Sorrento. Photo courtesy of Regent Seven Seas

If you have a bigger budget, then you can’t go wrong with a luxury cruise. Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn, Crystal, and Silversea Cruises rank at the top for their commitment to showing their guests the finer things in life.

Regent Seven Seas has some of the most opulent ships on the water today. The Crown Jewels of their fleet is the $450 million Seven Seas Explorer and the newly introduced Seven Seas Splendor.

Sailing

Star Clippers Royal Clipper docked in St. Lucia. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

If you’ve always wanted to take a cruise beneath the sails, then you have two options for the best ships out there. Star Clippers and Windstar Cruises offer you beautiful ships, intimate experiences, and the exhilarating experience of feeling the power of nature on your voyage.

The Best Cruise Lines Ranked for Your Choosing

As you can see, you need to determine what type of cruise you want to go on before you can choose from the cruise lines ranked.

If you’re still unsure of which type of cruise is right for you, we’re happy to assist you. We have a simple three-step process that can make choosing your next cruise easy.

Contact us today and let us use our decades of cruising experience to help you find the perfect cruise for you and your family.

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One Comment

  • Geat site. With over 4 decades of cruising under my belt I would not recommend NCL. Poor consistency and food quality. Service can be spotty. They are well known to nickel and dime you to death. Last time I was on I ordered a double Grey Goose and the cost was $42 which was onbscene. I recommend Princess or Celebrity. You will get the most bang for your buck. If you want to be around lots of kids and noise then go with Carnival.

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