The World’s Best Cruises

If you haven’t been on a cruise in the last five years, you’d be surprised how the landscape of the industry has changed.

Gone are the days when the all-you-can-eat dinner buffet and kid’s club were the only amenities on board. Today’s cruise ships are equipped with high-speed Wi-Fi, app-compatible, and packed from prow to stern with chic restaurants, bakeries, breweries, theaters, and other amenities that you wouldn’t expect to see in the middle of the ocean. Also, many cruise lines are dispensing with the larger cruise ships completely. Instead, they are turning to smaller, more intimate vessels that can offer passengers a closer look at cities along the waterways.

If you’re looking for your next adventure, check out some of these amazing cruises.

The Blue Danube – Tauck

Tauck is a small family company that has made it their mission to offer a high level of service to their guests while maintaining a strong connection to the cities that they visit along the way. They offer tons of options for cruises all around the world.

However, their Blue Danube route is one of their most popular. It’s a 12-day cruise that explores some of the most architecturally interesting cities in eastern Europe. This includes Prague, Vienna, Salzburg, and Bratislava. They offer on-board discussions of art and architecture, as well as wine-tastings and plenty of refined entertainment and dining options.

Amazon River Cruise – Aqua Expeditions

Another cruise line that focuses solely on river cruises is Aqua Expeditions.

Their star offering is a seven-day cruise along the Peruvian Amazon River. Their boat, the Aria Amazon, only accommodates 32 guests at a time, which allows for a truly personalized experience.

On-board chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino is known for his innovative cuisine and has designed a menu of delicious local favorites. While onboard, guests will be able to:

  • Go kayaking along the river;
  • Fish for piranhas, and;
  • Explore several of the Amazon’s tributaries like the Ucayali and Marañon rivers that are usually inaccessible to larger vessels.

Transatlantic Cruise – Cunard Line

One of the most iconic cruises in the world is the Atlantic crossing between the east coast of the United States and Great Britain. Before air travel, it was the only way to reach the New World.

Now, Cunard offers a Transatlantic cruise experience that has all the amenities of the modern world coupled with the extravagant historical details that have ensured their place as the last word in luxury for the last 180 years. Enjoy a peerless afternoon tea in the Queens Rooms, a quiet evening in their huge library, or eat fish and chips at their onboard pub, the Golden Lion.

Chobe River Cruise – Zambezi Queen

The cruise company Zambezi Queen Collection bills itself as a “boutique floating hotel”. In fact, they offer two- and three-day cruises up and down the Chobe River aboard a midsize houseboat.

Located between Namibia and Botswana, the Chobe River is home to incredible wildlife. You’ll be able to see this wildlife on private water safaris available to all guests during each day of the journey. Plus, you can go fishing on the river, take part in some bird watching, or just enjoy watching the sunrise and set from your gorgeous stateroom.

Burgundy Canal Cruise – Barge Lady Cruises

Although river barges have the image of being used more for freightage than for people, Barge Lady Cruises and their suite of amazing vessels will quickly dispel that image from your mind.

This company offers river and canal cruises on its fleet of luxury barges. These barges feature three to 10 cozy staterooms, dining areas, along with common areas equipped with comfortable lounge chairs and Wi-Fi. Since these vessels are so compact, they’re able to navigate the ancient canal systems of France, bringing you closer to medieval villages, wineries, vineyards, and many other historical sites of the Burgundy region.

Nile River Cruise – Nour El Nil

Egyptian tour company Nour El Nil offers a range of itineraries for trips up and down the majestic Nile River. Instead of noisy cruise boats, they offer passengers a choice of a few different dahabiyas, which is a barge-like vessel powered by sails.

Onboard, you’ll find luxury staterooms and a huge open deck covered in comfortable pillows, chairs, and recliners. These accommodations are perfect for the six-day journey down the Nile. Most journeys start in Esna and stop in at a variety of temples and historical sites before docking at Aswan.

Mekong River Cruise – Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours

A journey over the Mekong River with Luxury Cruises and Tours will take you through Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia. On this cruise, you can see incredible scenery, vibrant villages, and ancient historical sites all at the same time.

While it may be tempting to stay on board to enjoy your personal butler’s attentive service, Scenic offers you the choice of tons of different on-land excursions. The on-land excursions include cooking classes, Vespa tours, and authentic restaurant experiences.

Tours range from 11 days to a full month of exploring.

Galapagos Islands Cruise – National Geographic Expeditions

The people who brought you decades of top-notch journalism at National Geographic are now curating special cruise experiences for a few lucky people every year.

One of their most incredible experiences is the National Geographic Expedition Galapagos Islands cruise. On this cruise, you spend 10 days exploring these incredible islands along with expert naturalists, photographers, and conservationists.

Each boat comes equipped with kayaks, Zodiacs, and glass-bottomed boats. With these, you can use to get a closer look at the wildlife on each individual island.

Alaska: The Great Land – UnCruise Adventures

Although Alaskan cruises started as a summertime alternative to cruising the Caribbean, now they’re a popular cruise destination.

If you’re looking to get away from the crowd, book an Alaskan cruise with UnCruise Adventures. They offer yacht tours that are more intimate and can traverse much shallower water. As such, it gives passengers the chance to explore glaciers, hike through the backcountry, and get to know the Indigenous people who have lived in this area for centuries.

World Tour – Viking Cruises

If you want the chance to explore the whole world in just over five months, check out Viking Cruises’ World Cruise. The cruise lasts for 161 days.

Starting in Miami and ending in London, this cruise traverses the globe. Explore six continents and 75 cities with their special guided tours. Then retreat to your stateroom to relax before grabbing a meal at one of their many on-board restaurants.

It’s truly the experience of a lifetime.

Photographs by Peter Thornton / Getty Images

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