When Coco Chanel said “Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury,” she might as well have been talking about a cruise ship. At its best, a cruise is an ultimate luxury. Anyone can get behind the nowhere-to-be and nothing-to-do lifestyle. Those never-ending ocean views don’t hurt either.
That said, not every cruise is what it’s cracked up to be. Promises of salty sea air, tropical drinks, and living completely unplugged from work email are alluring, but they can quickly dissipate if you fail to do your due diligence. Suddenly, blissful visions of a worry-free vacation vanish once you get on board—between the food and drink surcharges and a cabin with no windows, you’ll wish you coughed up the cash for an actual luxury cruise.
Luxurious cruises may be a splurge, but they’re worth it. The higher fees come with substantially better perks like personalized butlers, specialty wine and cheese, and even domestic airfare. Why not pay extra to enjoy your hard-earned vacation comfortably? To prove our point, we’ve found the seven best luxury cruises traveling throughout the seven seas from Antarctica to Africa and from the Caribbean to Europe. With one of these luxurious cruises, you can relax knowing your trip aboard will be the getaway you’re craving right now.
The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection
Forget cruising. With Ritz Carlton, sailing the seas is a marriage of the hotel chain’s famous luxe amenities and the freedom of a yachting vacation. In the brand’s Yacht Collection, which is now taking reservations for its inaugural 2020 season, you can visit destinations like the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and the Baltic regions aboard a ship that’s designed to hold under 300 guests. Onshore, the Ritz provides curated activities, overnight calls, and elevated dining experiences.
Available in UK sizes 4 to 16.
In a world that offers up the French way to do just about anything, Ponant brings the “French touch” to cruising. Perhaps this is best experienced through the ship’s fare, with crew members serving a curated selection of cheeses and wines, scrumptious specialty breads, and pastries from Maison Lenôtre. With Ponant, you can travel the French way around the world. Cruises travel between glaciers in Antarctica, the remote lands near Alaska, and the islands in the Caribbean so you can enjoy your croissant just about anywhere.
Eating well aboard a cruise is perhaps one of the greatest perks, but with the Silversea luxurious cruises, you won’t have to worry about all those charges to your credit card. It’s all-inclusive. What’s better than bottomless mimosas? Having a personal butler serve them to you in your suite. The brand’s nearly one-to-one staff-to-traveler ratio will bring an entirely new meaning to not lifting a finger while you sail to dreamy destinations like the Galapagos Islands, Asia, and Central America.
Available in sizes 0 to 4.
Viking Ocean Cruises
Whether you’d rather journey down a river in Europe or take an ocean voyage near Africa, Viking Cruises has a luxury cruise for you. The fleet’s signature sleek, Scandinavian-designed river ships boast two-room suites with verandas, so you’ll be forced to look at the water the whole time. Green features, like solar panels, an onboard organic herb garden, and energy-efficient hybrid engines, will help you cruise the world without ruining it.
Available in sizes XS to XL.
SeaDream Yacht Club
Yachting is a lifestyle, and for SeaDream Yacht Club, it’s a lifestyle best experienced as a personal getaway. The brand’s pair of mega yachts hold under 115 guests, so crowds won’t interrupt your “me” time. While the ships travel traditional routes, with Mediterranean and Transatlantic options, SeaDream serves up another option: the wine cruise. Wine Director Ida Dønheim shares her expertise, so you’ll walk away with some extra vino know-how, as well as some tastings at world-renowned wineries.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Cruising the ocean is fun, but so many of the memories made on cruises are those from onshore excursions. Regent Seven Seas knows this, so it has incorporated free unlimited shore excursions in its luxury lineup, so you can truly experience Venice and perhaps even get that gondola selfie while you’re there. Regent aims to be “the most inclusive” of the luxury liners, so don’t worry about your airfare to the port. Domestic roundtrip airfare is included in the usual lineup of amenities.
Luxury is in the details on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2. Billed as the only ocean liner, the Queen Mary 2 is as spacious as it is luxurious for those long transatlantic journeys. Elegant suites and staterooms give you a comfortable place to lay your head, and onboard kennels even allow your pup to be pampered at sea. If you had any doubts, the ship’s entertainment amenities: a 3D cinema, a planetarium, and a classical music venue will confirm you’re cruising in style.