Like pirates, we’ve scoured the oceans to find the very best adventures and most luxurious escapes that you can have on the high seas. These cruise lines not only carry the fanciest food and drink, the finest entertainment, and the most glorious of amenities found on any body of water (whether lake, river, or ocean), but rival even those found on land. These truly are the cabins worthy of your vacation days.

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The Best Luxury Cruise

WINNER

Crystal

Sailing with Crystal is like being whisked away on an exclusive floating club, where luxury means super personalized service (hello, butler!) and a one-to-one crew to passenger ratio. That means whether you sail to the Seychelles on their 62-person yacht or to Singapore on their 200-passenger expedition ship, you won’t feel lost in the crowd. Champagne and wine are free flowing, and most activities and meals are included, but you can choose to splurge even more on some swoon-worthy extras. Lavish penthouse with a wraparound veranda? Exclusive chef's table with master sommeliers at hand? Yes and yes. And while we wouldn’t recommend sushi on just any cruise ship, we can attest that the ship’s Nobu Matsuhisa restaurants are, in fact, Nobu quality—and that says a lot.
Regent Seven Seas

RUNNER-UP

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

When you're looking for luxury, you don't want to hear "no." From the moment you step into your suite (yes, they are all suites on these ships) to the minute you disembark your Regent Seven Seas Cruise, you'll be coddled and comforted as you stroll the marble-clad atrium and teak decks. Want foie gras with every meal? Sure. Would you like Champagne with your hors d'oeuvres? Why not! Can't choose between shore excursions? Do all the trips you can fit in. Want to arrive a day early for your cruise? Definitely (and breakfast is included before you head to the ship). Guests who don't have access to private jets also get business-class airfare on intercontinental flights (sadly, though, only economy on domestic flights).
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The Best Budget Cruise

WINNER

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival ships are designed to appeal to the masses, and while the older ships are smaller and less elaborate, the newest Carnival ships are just as full-featured as any others, with an adults-only Serenity Deck (which does not carry an additional charge, unlike most others). Guests on a budget who book the cheapest cabins will have 185 square feet of space (it's as little as 114 square feet on some other lines) in the typical inside cabin, among the largest at sea. And they will be able to eat at Guy's Burger Joint and Blue Iguana Cantina for no extra charge (and on some ships, Guy's Pig & Anchor BBQ, too). Want an all-you-can-drink plan? It's $49.95 on Carnival, the cheapest you'll find.
Norwegian Cruises

RUNNER-UP

Norwegian Cruise Lines

Our runner-up for Best Budget Cruise is Norwegian Cruise Lines, specifically, their cruises to the Caribbean. If you're trying to cut down on the cost of a long vacation, you can't do better than their multi-day cruises. We know because we've crunched the numbers. An 11-Day Southern Caribbean cruise from New York costs just $849 per person on average, that's just under $80 dollars a day. And some run cheaper, down to around $50 per day. But despite the low price, you'll find plenty of amenities on Norwegian's Jewel-class ships, great deals for singles with no upcharges, and fantastic destinations including Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas, which has the best beaches of all their Caribbean ports.
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The Best River Cruise

WINNER

Aqua Expeditions

If cruising into the Peruvian Amazon on a sleek-and-sexy riverboat with an Amazon-inspired and derived menu directed by one of Peru’s top chefs; a crew of naturalist guides who really know the Amazon and show genuine joy in sharing it with you; and a captain who only breaks from carefully navigating to play the bongos doesn’t float your boat, then you need to reexamine your flotation criteria. Aqua Expeditions’ Aria Amazon offers a luxurious floating 32-guest boutique hotel experience in one of the world’s most magical environments. Take daily excursions on small skiffs to explore the winding canals and jungles of the Amazon while you look for hawks, howler monkeys, and sloths overhead and rare pink river dolphins, spectacled caiman crocodiles, and anacondas along the river bank. Visit riverside communities, fish for red-bellied piranhas, and lunch on delicious local dishes at a ranger station in the jungle while learning about sustainability efforts. Or just take in the mesmerizing Amazon while you sip a Pisco Sour from the Jacuzzi on the sun-soaked top deck, or watch it glide past the floor-to-ceiling windows in your elegant, air-conditioned suite. As well as river cruises on the Amazon and the Mekong, Aqua Expeditions just launched new cruising experiences in the pristine East Indonesian Archipelago.
Amawaterways

RUNNER-UP

AmaWaterways

We admit that river cruise ships can start to seem pretty cookie cutter (they’re all the same shape after all), but AmaWaterways’ family-owned fleet stands out. More luxurious than your average river line, these ships have a chic, boutique-like atmosphere and spacious rooms with beds facing floor-to-ceiling windows, some even with French balconies. Itineraries span the globe, from classic Rhine Christmas market cruises to sailings in Africa supplemented with safari excursions. Their latest ship, AmaMagna, debuted just this year, so you can sail on a ship that’s still shiny and new (plus, the ship’s godmother and travel TV queen Samantha Brown is joining a Danube sailing this July). The line also has a Disney partnership on select cruises, which means kids are encouraged to join in on an active, family-centric itinerary—a rarity for river cruise lines.
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The Best All-Inclusive Cruise

WINNER

Regent Seven Seas

While many cruise lines claim to be all-inclusive, Regent is the only line that truly delivers—and the ships are luxurious to boot. The line folds everything into the fare, from spa treatments and shore excursions to gratuities and Wi-Fi, to alcohol and specialty restaurant dinners to (arguably best of all) airfare. Okay, so the price tag is high, but you won't want for anything, and you’re really getting a great value for your money. If you’ve experienced how nickel-and-dime the cruise industry is, that's a big deal.
Viking Ocean Cruises

RUNNER-UP

Viking Ocean Cruises

Speaking of being nickel-and-dimed, Viking Ocean Cruises was designed for those who despise such practices. Here, you'll find several specialty restaurants but no extra charges. Wine and beer are included at every meal (and if you want an unlimited drinks and premium wine, a Silver Spirits package is available for about half of what you'll pay on most other cruise lines). What else is included? The minibar in your cabin, at least one free shore excursion in every port, Wi-Fi throughout the ship, and use of the extensive thermal suite in the spa. Guest laundries are also found on every deck (and are, of course, also free, including detergent and fabric softener).
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The Best Family Cruise

WINNER

Disney Cruise Lines

It should surprise no one to discover that Disney Cruise Lines won this year’s Fodor’s Award for Best Family Cruise. Disney Cruises feature entertainment from Disney hits from Toy Story to Marvel’s Avengers. And now that Star Wars is part of the Disney family, you can even learn lightsaber techniques from a Jedi Master.

But what’s also great about a Disney cruise is that, if you’re an older fan, you’ll love that the ships are high-end, with “adult beverage” tasting seminars, a world-class spa, and plenty else to rival the giddy feeling of little ones hanging out with Mickey on a ship for the first time.
MSC Seaside

RUNNER-UP

MSC Seaside

The MSC Seaside, which currently departs out of Miami, offers families every amenity they could want in a cruise—an outrageous on-board waterpark, a supervised children’s club, expansive pools, kid-friendly activities, and food options around the clock. Many family cabins on the ship also feature couches that turn into bunkbeds and roomy decks that let the whole family enjoy sunrise and sunset views. The ship’s current Caribbean itineraries include stops in family-friendly spots like Ochos Rios, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and even their private Ocean Cay Marine Reserve starting in late 2019. Not only that, but kids ages 11 and under cruise free on select MSC Cruises, including some itineraries on the MSC Seaside. What’s not to love?
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The Best Booze Cruise

WINNER

Norwegian Cruise Line

If your only vacation goal is to see how many frozen drinks with umbrellas you can finish, nobody does it better than Norwegian Cruise Line. Norwegian Sky and Norwegian Sun sail the perfect long weekend itineraries from Miami that are always inexpensive and include—wait for it—a free open bar. Considering most other lines (especially budget lines) charge you an arm and leg for alcohol or make everyone in your party purchase a pricey drink package, that's impressive. The bottoms-up mentality is supplemented by nightlife so great, Pitbull was dubbed the godfather of Norwegian Escape. But don’t let that be the only reason you choose Norwegian: even if unlimited drinks don’t appeal, the line has the best Broadway-style shows at sea, flexible dining schedules, and rare single-supplement cabins for solo cruisers.
U River Cruises

RUNNER-UP

U River Cruises

U River Cruises is one of our favorite booze cruises because they offer more than just an inebriated vacation; an educational experience is at hand with regional libation tasting opportunities featuring cocktails, beer, and wine that hail from each port city. Drinking can be a scheduled activity on this cruise, as well. Before you get back to purely recreational drinking, you can enjoy wine and painting classes on-board or cocktail sessions led by the boat’s world-class bartenders.
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The Best Cruise to Replace Your Dating App

WINNER

Kesha Cruise!

As icon Kesha says (sings?), “Tik tock on the clock but the party don’t stop...” and these words are truly brought to life on the pop star’s new cruise offering, which first set sail last February to Nassau, Bahamas from Tampa, Florida. Featuring performances by the queen herself and “her friends,” Betty Who, Girl Talk, and Bob the Drag Queen, Kesha’s Weird & Wonderful Rainbow Ride also sees Kesha hosting a lip sync competition on-board called “Lip Sync for Your Life Boat,” alongside such guest judges as Jonathan Van Ness and Thorgy Thor. As for the ship, the Norwegian Pearl, with its massive spa, casino, and multiple dining options, offers plenty of places to mingle with guests.
Virgin Voyages

RUNNER-UP

Virgin Voyages

If you are dating and millennial-ish, Virgin Voyages is your best chance of not only meeting someone but finding something to do in the space between “How you doin’?” and deciding whether or not you’re going to hook up (which is an important part of the process). For dining and dating, there are 20+ restaurants (no buffets on this trip) plus room service. For after-dinner drinks, the mixologists are “creative and theatrical” and schooled in getting you the right amount of tipsy. For anything else, there are DJs, yoga classes, drag shows, and blowout bars—basically, everything you need to stay engaged and entertained.
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The Campiest Cruise

WINNER

U River Cruises' Drag Cruise

If you’re a fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race, then you already know that a cruise starring contestants Jiggly Caliente and Phi Phi O’Hara is just about the most fun you can have on the open water. And the U in Drag German river cruise is almost like being on your own episode. You can Lip Sync for Your Life during karaoke night, enjoy your own drag makeup lesson, and maybe even get read for filth at the comedy show. And that’s just on-board. This cruise’s excursions include a bar crawl. Wigs and six-inch stilettos are optional.
A.F. ARCHIVE/Alamy

RUNNER-UP

The "Golden Girls" Themed Cruise

Blanche, Dorothy, Sophia, and Rose...at sea! That’s right, “The Golden Girls At Sea: A Fan Cruise” is based on the beloved Golden Girls sitcom that chronicles four women who lived together in Miami during their “golden years.” A five-night highs seas adventure departing from the girls’ home—Miami—this treat of a trip to Key West and Cozumel includes multiple Golden Girls-themed drag shows, a panel discussion with original writer Stan Zimmerman, a costume contest, and a karaoke party. While tickets are pricey ($250/cabin or $1,000/suite), the trip should be on the radar of any fan of the show. Unfortunately, the cruise has sold out, but there is a waitlist!
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