The Best Cruises for Every Type of Traveler
Whether you're looking for something ultra-lavish or family friendly, set your sights on the seven seas.
Best cruise for families with kids
Royal Caribbean tops the list for youngster-approved fun. “Especially its larger ships, such as Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas, can’t be beaten for entertainment and kid-friendly facilities,” says Rob Clabbers, president of Q Cruise + Travel, a Virtuoso Agency. Wouldn’t your little ones be thrilled to see a magical ice-skating show or take a spin on a classic carousel?” Pint-sized fans of the Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, and Shrek movies will be delighted to run into their favorite DreamWorks characters aboard the ship. Parents can reserve a table for the whole family to have breakfast with these beloved on-screen pals IRL. The cruise line even offers a My Adventure Personality quiz that was developed in partnership with the CPP The Myers-Briggs Company, so you can be sure the cruise you pick best matches your vacation-style. Check out these cruise ships with crazy cool amenities.
Best cruise for families with teens
Not surprisingly, Royal Caribbean also offers a wide array of activities that cater to the older underage crowd. Depending on the ship, you might find bumper cars, rock climbing walls, water slides, ziplines, or surfing and skydiving simulators. On top of that, Royal Caribbean divides teens into age groups—12 to 14 and 15 to 17—so parents can rest assured they’ll be with their peers. A day might start with bumper cards, include an afternoon DJ lesson, and end with a teens-only casino night. Check out these vacations that even jaded high schoolers will enjoy.
Best cruise for singles
AmaWaterways European river cruises are great for singles and solo travelers. It’s easy to meet and mingle with people on the ship, particularly since meals are open seating and ships are a manageable size (only about 160 to 170 passengers). And, because daily excursions are included in the cruise fare, you’ll quickly have common experiences to share and discuss with fellow travelers. “AmaWaterways also often reduces or waives the dreaded ‘single supplement,’ so having a private room becomes much more affordable,” notes Clabbers. “The key is to book early, though, as these accommodations sell out quickly.” Use these cruise expert travel tips to book the right cruise for you.
Best cruise for couples
Couples can set sail with Uniworld on a romantic river cruise—perfect for a honeymoon or intimate getaway. It doesn’t get much more amour-inducing than the Tulips & Windmills voyage, a scenic 10-day journey from Amsterdam’s scenic canals to Antwerp’s dazzling diamond district, with plenty of sweet treats along the way. On the ship—which Clabbers likens to a gorgeous floating boutique hotel—pairs can opt for a romance package that includes champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, and breakfast in bed.
Best cruise for seniors
“While younger folks can certainly feel at home on Cunard, a venerable cruise line that has crossed the oceans for over 170 years, its heritage tends to appeal to mature travelers,” explains Clabbers. Line loyalists enjoy the opportunity to dress up and celebrate a special occasion. Of course, the legendary sailing routes don’t hurt either. “Everyone should do Transatlantic Crossing on the Queen Mary 2 at least once.” Don’t miss the 28 secrets cruise lines won’t tell you.
Best cruise for wellness seekers
Luxury cruise line Seabourn recently debuted a fleet-wide holistic health program in partnership with Dr. Andrew Weil. In addition to more traditional spa treatments, wellness-oriented guests can take Pilates and yoga, or join certified guides for complimentary sessions in mindful meditation. There’s also a state-of-the-art, ocean-view gym and full-service salon. Afterwards, savor fresh hamachi, tuna, and shrimp—flown in from Japan—at the new sushi restaurant. These are the pro-approved tricks for staying healthy on a cruise (while still having an amazing time).
Best cruise for foodies
Looking for a gourmet adventure on the high seas? When it comes to gastronomic delights, Oceania Cruises blows its competition out of the water (pun intended). The line’s dedication to fine dining is evident in the choice to appoint legendary French chef Jacques Pepin as executive culinary director. Our advice: Bring your appetite and prepare to savor mouthwatering cuisine, from Maine lobster to dry-aged beef. There are also on-board cooking courses and foodie-friendly excursions.
Best cruise for adventurers: Quark Expeditions
Outdoor enthusiasts should consider venturing Antarctica on Quark Expeditions. Think less luxury cruise, more polar adventure. “Exceptional, approachable guides—biologists, ornithologists, historians, and photographers—whisk you around sea ice and bergs in their Zodiacs to maximize your time ashore,” explains Clabbers. Explore the pristine wilderness of the world’s most remote continent on a snowy hike or kayak excursion. You can even forgo your cozy accommodations for a frosty overnight of camping. Adrenaline junkies will jump at the chance to discover the most extreme travel adventures on earth.
Best cruise for wildlife enthusiasts: UnCruise Adventures
As the name would suggest, UnCruise Adventures prides itself on eschewing tradition. Unlike massive vessels, its small ships sail without adherence to a strict schedule. This refreshing go-with-the-flow attitude allows travelers more time to come face-to-face, err fin, with wildlife in dreamy destinations like Alaska, the Galapagos, and Mexico’s Sea of Cortés.
Best cruise for luxury lovers: Regent Seven Seas Cruises
From posh guest quarters to fine dining, Regent Seven Seas Cruises spares no cost when it comes to delivering an indulgent experience. Other opulent amenities include pampering spa services, premium wine, and top-shelf liquor. The splurge-worthy Regent Suite comes with a personal butler, complimentary in-room massage, and private car with a guide at every port. Find out the best cruises that aren’t in the Caribbean.