Luxury cruise lines are plentiful, and all offer varying degrees of pampering, experiences and exotic voyages to the most unique and glorious destinations. Here are our picks for the brands, one new ( RITZ CARLTON) small and big, but mostly for being consistent across all areas including price, value, food, on board / off board activities and delivering on an unforgettable LUXURY experience.
RITZ CARLTON YACHT – The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection offers an unprecedented opportunity to be untethered. Here, freedom and flexibility allow immersion in life’s exceptional experiences; exploration of earth’s exquisite and unexpected hideaways; and stirring of passions and curiosities that create new and deepened connections. All of this delivered in an intimate setting with a heightened level of care and attention
Viking Ocean Cruises, With 250 awards to its name, “Luxury” should be its middle name. Currently operating a fleet of state-of-the-art ships that have received numerous accolades, including the second year in a row, Viking was voted the #1 River Line and Ocean Line by Condé Nast Traveler in the publication’s 2023 Readers’ Choice .
Regent Seven Seas Cruises®consistently delivers unmatched luxury cruises with the very best value for over thirty years. Unrivaled onboard space. Unforgettable shoreside excursions. Incomparable culinary experiences. Exceptional personalized service. Every lavish amenity is included when cruising aboard The World’s Most Luxurious Fleet™
Seabourn, Cruising on a Seabourn ship is unlike any other form of travel. The experience is luxurious, yet relaxed — elegant, yet casual — sumptuous, yet understated. Our intimate ships visit the most desirable destinations worldwide, sailing to the heart of landmark cities, as well as to hidden gems where larger vessels cannot follow.
Africa is home to a variety of rainforests and rivers that provide habitats for endless species of exotic plants and animals. Explore Africa onboard one of these three river cruises.
Viking River Cruises – Cairo to Cairo
Viking’s MS Antares is a sixty-two passenger river vessel built specifically to sail the Nile river. The Antares features staterooms with French balconies, fifty-five-inch flat screen TVs, private bathrooms with jetted tubs and showers, a stateroom steward and twice daily housekeeping service. All rooms have toiletries, robes, and slippers available and the ship offers a laundry service. The sundeck offers a pool as well as shaded lounge areas and there is an onboard health club, spa, sauna, library, and bar. The Cairo to Cairo cruise offers twelve days exploring ancient Egyptian cities, temples, tombs, and monuments. Egyptologist guided tours are offered for passengers to explore areas and learn about the pyramids and hieroglyphics. Felucca (wooden sailboat) rides down the Nile are offered throughout the trip as well as time to explore local spice markets, bazaars, and museums.
CroisiEurope – Southern Africa River Cruise
CroisiEurope’s MS African Dream features balcony cabins with exterior lounge chairs and sofas, a sundeck with a jacuzzi. The glass-walled restaurant, bar, and lounge offer unique viewing in an elegant setting. Traditional African foods are served throughout the cruise and passengers will have lunch at a floating restaurant. Africa’s Matusadona National Park with its many islands and inlets will be explored via water safari. Passengers have up-close encounters with elephants, hippos, buffalo, and crocodiles. Big cats, sea eagles, storks, and herons can be seen as well. A helicopter tour of the world-famous Victoria Falls is also an option for cruise-goers.
AmaWaterways – Wildlife and the Falls Cruise
The Zambezi Queen ship takes passengers through Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. This twenty-eight passenger ship with staterooms and balcony suites with a pool and a bar is beyond comfortable! The cruise offers morning and evening safaris in the Greater Kruger National Park, a 4×4 safari tour through Chobe National Park, and a Chobe River safari. Can’t miss activities include a guided tour of Victoria Falls, with sunset dinner and cocktails onboard a vintage steam train.
Thanks to technology, organizing your cruise, saving money, and finding the best-hidden gems in port is a breeze. Whether you’re looking to find a WiFi spot in port or translate commonly used phrases, there’s an app for that. We’ve done the research, all you need to do is download these free apps before your cruise. The following apps are available for both Android and iOS.
Let’s start with step one: packing. PackPoint organizes a custom packing list according to your destination, activities, length of stay, and weather. Your list even gets its own website so that you can share with other members in your party.
TripIt consistently ranks as the best travel planning app. It’s an excellent resource for keeping all your itineraries, flights, and tickets, in one place. Once you forward your confirmation emails to TripIt, the app organizes the information into a master itinerary and will even send reminders on upcoming events.
Voted the #1 cruise app, Shipmate is your cruise dashboard. Download it before your cruise and use the deck maps ahead of time to get familiar with the ship’s layout. Access excursions, itineraries, reviews, and more. Once you are in port, check reviews on the destination’s activities, restaurants, and shops. Not only does Shipmate provide information on almost all cruise ships, but it also gives you options on excursions, sends alerts on price drops, and lets you chat with other passengers.
While we all want to disconnect during our cruise, there are situations in which accessing the internet is essential. Download WiFi Map to find and obtain fast and free internet via a VPN secure connection. The app lets you discover more than 100,000,000 WiFi locations in more than 100 countries around the globe.
XE Currency Converter
Not only will XE Currency Converter do the obvious, but the app lets you monitor your money, and even make transfers without any fees.
By far, the most used language app, Google Translate lets you translate between 103 languages. Offline, the app will convert into 59 languages. Type or speak into the app for immediate translation. The coolest feature is the instant camera translation. Just point your camera at the sign and voila, instant translation.
Whatsapp is a great, economical way to message while onboard and overseas. It uses little data, letting you communicate with friends and family for free. Share messages, photos, and even do voice and video calls, at no charge.
Looking for the best local cuisine or quant coffee shop in port? TripAdvisor gives you a range of options in the category you select based on millions of reviews from travelers and locals.
Avoid sticker shock at the end of your cruise by keeping track of your expenses with the Spendee. The app even lets you set a daily budget. It’s user-friendly and enables you to convert currency and save receipts with photos. If you don’t feel comfortable synching your bank, you have the option to enter information manually.
Flush Toilet Finder
There’s nothing worse than searching for a public restroom in an unfamiliar locale. The Flush Toilet Finder App, shows the closet restroom. With more than 190,000 bathrooms, the app works without an internet connection. Thank goodness!
Hopefully, these handy apps will make your cruise that much better!
Fans of the award-winning British drama, Downtown Abby are in for the thrill of a lifetime. If you follow Viking Cruises, you already know of the company’s connection to the celebrated MASTERPIECE series that aired on PBS. For years, Viking has offered a host of ways for guests to experience life at Highclere Castle, the great English estate where the show is filmed. Now Viking offers even more exciting opportunities to explore the set, including Highclere Castle and an eight-day river cruise!
To kick off the of the premiere, Viking unveiled a new Pre/Post Cruise Extension; Great Homes, Gardens & Gin. This fantastic tour gives you exclusive access to some of the country estates featured in the acclaimed productions. “Many of our guests were introduced to both Viking and Highclere Castle while watching the Downton Abbey series. For this reason, we are linked in the minds of many Downton Abbey fans,” said Karine Hagen, Executive Vice President of Viking. “Partnering for the release of the new film is a natural extension of our close relationship with Highclere Castle and our close personal friendship with the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon – with whom we proudly created Viking’s highest-rated cruise extension.”
Beginning in 2023, the new five-day extension will be available on Viking’s Rhine Getaway river cruise itinerary and British Isles Explorer ocean cruise itinerary. The extension awards you the opportunity to explore Oxford and truly dive into English country life.
Expect amazing experiences such as ‘Viking’s Privileged Access® tour of Highclere Castle, a visit to Broughton Castle, home of the influential Fiennes family (the renowned British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes and actors Ralph Fiennes and Joseph Fiennes) and the setting for the MASTERPIECE series Wolf Hall. You’ll also have the opportunity to visit Chavenage House in the Cotswolds, best known for its appearance in the MASTERPIECE series Poldark – and stroll the gardens of Highgrove House, the private home of Charles, The Prince of Wales. While visiting Highclere Castle, you will have an opportunity to taste the recently-launched Highclere Castle Gin, a super-premium London Dry Gin inspired by botanicals from the ‘castle’s gardens. The extension even includes a visit to the nearby Bombay Sapphire Distillery to learn the history and production of gin.
But that’s not all. In addition to the new Great Homes, Gardens & Gincruise extension, Viking also offers Oxford & Highclere Castle– its highest-rated Pre/Post Cruise Extension, which is available for guests on select river and ocean cruise itineraries. The extension provides guests with an exclusive three-day experience in the rolling hills of England’s countryside with a champagne welcome and a tour of the castle and estate.
As part of the exciting launch, Viking is giving U.S. residents a chance to win a trip to Highclere Castle, with the grand prize including roundtrip international Business Class air for two, an 8-day Paris & the Heart of Normandyriver cruise and the 3-night land extension program visiting Oxford and Highclere Castle. For more information and to enter by October 31, 2019 visit: Viking Cruises.
Imagine checking off multiple bucket list destinations with one trip. That’s what a privileged group of globetrotters recently set out to do on Viking’s Ultimate World Cruise. Guests aboard the award-winning, Viking Sun®set sail on August 31 from London on the longest -ever continuous cruise, fully circumnavigating the globe. Viking will attempt to set the Guinness World Record for the “longest continuous passenger cruise,” upon returning to London in May 2020.
Most other world cruises sail between 90-120 day, but Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking states, “Our Ultimate World Cruise is the most extensive itinerary available in the industry, nearly double the length of our previous world cruise itineraries. I am pleased to offer such a unique experience for our guests.”
Let’s live vicariously for a moment. Here’s a look at what those who happen to have eight months and an extra $92,990 to spare will experience throughout their fantastic voyage.
For one, luxury accommodations on an award-winning cruise line. Guests will also enjoy included excursions in each port, free unlimited Wi-Fi, Business Class airfare, and an extensive list of added-value inclusions. A few of our favorite amenities include complimentary beer and wine with lunch and dinner service; alternative restaurant dining; access to the Thermal Suite in the LivNordic Spa; and 24-hour room service.
Part of Viking’s appeal is the immersive experience delivered through excursions and onboard experts. The Viking Way of exploration offers additional, optional excursions that provide insight into Local Life, Working World and Privileged Access® visits to cultural institutions. Overnight stays in 23 cities allow guests to delve deeper into destinations; and Viking’s Culture Curriculum® offers added enrichment on board with regional entertainment and lectures, as well as learning opportunities as part of the Viking Resident Historian® program.
The passengers onboard Viking’s Ultimate World Cruise will explore Scandinavia, the Caribbean and destinations throughout South America before calling on the remote tropical islands of the South Pacific. Viking Sun will then continue its journey along the coast of Australia and through Asia before returning to the Mediterranean and Europe. The journey is filled with intimate experiences such as Behind-the-scenes tours at Highclere Castle, the “real Downton Abbey;” visiting St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum “behind closed doors;” a private cooking class in a Tuscan castle; an intimate organ concert in the Berlin Cathedral; and an exclusive dinner in the Churchill War Rooms in London.
An official from the GUINNESS WORLD RECORD Adjudicator will confirm the successful attempt with a certificate presentation. World record or not, this is a once in a lifetime event for a group of lucky jet setters!
A Transatlantic cruise means a few extra leisure filled days at sea. What better way to ease into vacation mode, leaving stress at shore, than indulging in a little onboard pampering? Sail into bliss at our top five tranquil spas aboard these Transatlantic cruises.
Celebrity Edge: The Spa
Is it any surprise that the newest Edge class ship, Celebrity Edgewould have one of the most magnificent spas at sea? Step aboard for an ahhhhmazing escape as the spa borrows calming elements from its surroundings. Envision peaceful waters, blue skies, and soothing earth tones. Couple the perfect space with state-of-the-art technology and innovative treatments, and your restorative journey is underway. Our favorite? The SEA Thermal Suite’s eight unique experiences featuring everything from HAMMAN to the Float Room.
Regent Seven Sea Cruises: Canyon Ranch
The epitome of relaxation, Canyon Ranch on Regent Seven Sea Cruises will take you on a relaxing reprieve with renewing organic body wraps, and rituals meant to reset your body. Treatments from around the globe set Canyon Ranch apart from other spas at sea. In particular, Ayurvedic (“the science of life”) services incorporating five elements: earth, fire, water, wind, and ether. Shirodhara and Shankara body wraps promote inner and outer harmony. Customized treatments for men, informative wellness talks on everything from aromatherapy to meditation and energizing fitness classes make Canyon Ranch one of the best at-sea spas.
Viking: LivNordi Spa
Leaving no pampering stone unturned, Viking’s LivNordic Spa features saunas, thermal suites, hot stone relaxation lounges, a cold-water splash bucket, and even a snow room. If you are not familiar with a “snow room,” imagine a quick escape into a snow-filled room. The winter wonderland is part of the 12-step process of Nordic Bathing known to detox tired muscles and improve circulation.
Seabourn: Seabourn’s Spa & Wellness
Dr. Andrew Weil’s partnership with Seabourn perfectly balances innovative and traditional approaches to physical and spiritual well-being. With groundbreaking research, guests at Seabourn’s Spa & Wellness are privy to the latest in health and wellness. Education, seminars, and classes intended to enhance body treatments, massages, facials, and fitness allow guests to take home more than beautiful memories of their cruise; they leave with a new holistic mind and body perspective for healthier living.
Princess Cruise: Lotus Spa
Named Best Spa on a Cruise Ship by Spa Finder Wellness 365™, The Lotus Spa is all about pampering Princess passengers with therapies such as aroma stone therapy massages and detoxifying ocean wraps. An inviting atmosphere and ancient treatments from both the Far East and contemporary Western technologies promote mind, body, and spiritual relaxation. Along with thermal suites filled with grottos and chambers releasing dry heat, steam, and mists of aromatherapy vapors, spa-goers are invited to leave the stress of everyday life far behind.
Viking Ocean Cruises recently welcomed its first ship, Viking Star, into the New York harbor as part of its inaugural North American voyage. The 930-guest ship docked at Manhattan Cruise Terminal at noon, just after sailing past the Statue of Liberty with a reception by New York Fireboats. On October 11, Viking officially commemorated its first United States port of call in Boston, with a traditional maritime plaque ceremony attended by local officials and dignitaries. This is the first time Viking has sailed into North American ports, which are part of the company’s new itineraries exploring the Americas and the Caribbean.
“To sail past Ellis Island and into New York for the first time is a proud moment for our entire Viking family. With the same spirit as the Vikings who originally sailed their longships across the Atlantic, arriving in North America signifies a new era of possibilities for our company and our guests,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. “As our fleet continues to grow, we will look for new ways to bring our unique destination-focused approach to more regions of the world. There are no kids onboard, and there are no umbrella drinks. Instead, our Caribbean itineraries are inspired by iconic 18th century navigation routes and were developed to highlight the rich history and culture of the region.”
Known as a leading river cruise line, Viking was recently awarded top honors as the #1 Ocean Cruise line in Travel + Leisure’s 2016 World’s Best Awards. After departing from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal on October 14, Viking Star will sail for San Juan, Puerto Rico, which will serve as her homeport for the winter season. From San Juan, the ship will sail the 11-day West Indies Explorer itinerary, which also calls on ports in the British Virgin Islands, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, Guadeloupe, St. Kitts, St. Martin and the U.S. Virgin Islands. With no sea days on the itinerary, guests are able to avoid the time at sea typically associated with Caribbean cruises originating in Florida. While sailing West Indies Explorer, guests will have an opportunity to learn onboard about the destinations from local
experts, historians and lecturers, as well as through a variety of shore excursions, including optional visits to museums, gardens and historic sites. Viking Star will return to Europe in February 2017, with a transatlantic sailing from San Juan to Barcelona.
From now through October 31, 2016, Viking is offering U.S. residents a special savings of up to $2,000 per couple: up to $1,000 off cruise fare and up to $1,000 off air.
In its first year of service, Viking Ocean Cruises has been named the #1 Ocean Cruise Line by Travel + Leisure readers in the 2016 World’s Best Awards. Viking launched its first ocean ship, Viking Star, in April 2015, and this win comes on the heels of the new cruise line launching its second ocean ship, Viking Sea, in April 2016. Viking’s win of the #1 Ocean Cruise Line unseats luxury cruise line, Crystal Cruises, which held the title in the category for 20 years in a row. Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards are based on results from an annual survey, where readers are asked to cast their votes for the very best in cruising with considerations in the following cruise features: cabins/facilities, restaurants/food, service, itineraries/destinations, excursions/activities and value. Viking will also be featured in the magazine’s World’s Best issue, which will be on shelves in July. Click here for the full results of the awards.
Less than one year ago, Viking Ocean Cruises launched its first ship, Viking Star, and marked the arrival of the travel industry’s first entirely new cruise line in a decade. This week in London the company officially welcomed its second ship, Viking Sea, to its fleet during a celebration on the Thames River in Greenwich.
Though Viking’s ocean ships are classified as “small ships” by Cruise Critic, the 930-guest, 47,800-ton Viking Sea is the largest ship ever launched in London. After passing through the Thames Barrier this morning, the ship received a warm welcome by 28 able sea men, who manned the yardarms of the Cutty Sark – the iconic 19th Century British clipper ship – and saluted Viking Sea as she arrived in Greenwich.
“Today is a proud day for our Viking family. London is one of my favorite cities, and Greenwich is a significant port for Viking. We look forward to bringing more guests here this spring and in future years,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. “Our ships are built for exploration; they are vessels that help our guests spend more time immersed in and surrounded by their destination. With the arrival of our second ship – and with four more sister ships on the way – we are focused on introducing travelers to the Viking way of destination-centered cruising, a unique style that was inspired by our success on the rivers.”
Viking Sea’s christening was the culmination of a maiden voyage that began April 3 when the ship set sail in the Mediterranean. Over the last month, she made stops in what will be regular ports, including Athens, Santorini, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Venice, Rome and Barcelona. Viking Sea will spend the summer sailing itineraries in Scandinavia and the Baltic; she will call on Greenwich again in June as part of Viking’s new Into the Midnight Sun itinerary that sails between London and Bergen and explores the northernmost reaches of Scandinavia and sails across the Arctic Circle.
All Veranda Staterooms: Guests can choose from five stateroom categories, starting from a 270 sq. ft. Veranda Stateroom, all with private verandas and premium amenities that include king-size beds with luxury linens, large showers, luxury toiletries, heated bathroom floors and large interactive flat-screen LCD TVs with movies-on-demand.
Explorer Suites: The ships feature 14 Explorer Suites, which are two-room suites ranging from 757 to 1,163 sq. ft. that offer sweeping views from wraparound private verandas as well as the most amenities and privileges of any category onboard.
Two Pool Choices: In addition to the Main Pool with a retractable roof permitting any-season swimming, the ships feature a first-of-its-kind glass-backed Infinity Pool cantilevered off the stern, allowing guests to swim surrounded by their destination.
LivNordic Spa: In keeping with Viking’s Nordic heritage, The Spa onboard is designed with the holistic wellness philosophy of Scandinavia in mind—from the centuries-old tradition of the sauna to a Snow Grotto where snowflakes gently descend from the ceiling through chilled air. Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2016 named it one of the “5 best cruise ship spas.”
Explorers’ Lounge and Mamsen’s: Share a cocktail with friends. Linger over a Norwegian breakfast and a nautical history book. The Explorers’ Lounge and Mamsen’s gourmet deli are thoughtful spaces located at the bow and designed in the Scandinavian spirit, for complete relaxation and for marveling at sweeping views through double-height windows.
The Wintergarden: Guests looking for serenity will find it in the Wintergarden. In this elegant space under a canopy of Scandinavian trellised wood, guests can indulge in afternoon tea service.
Dining Choices: Viking’s ships offer multiple restaurant locations and food choices—from fine dining in The Restaurant, which serves three full meals and the widest choice of culinary options, and the World Café, which serves international fare and regional specialties—to intimate dining experiences at The Chef’s Table, which offers a multi-course tasting menu complete with wine parings, and Manfredi’s, which features freshly prepared pastas and Italian favorites. Additionally, The Kitchen Table focuses on regional dishes from market to table; the Pool Grill specializes in gourmet burgers; afternoon tea and scones are available in the Wintergarden; and Mamsen’s serves Norwegian deli-style fare. Furthermore, with multiple choices for outdoor seating during meals, Viking Star offers the most al fresco dining at sea.
Enriching Entertainment: Connecting guests to their destinations through authentic experiences is central to Viking in creating “the thinking person’s cruise.” Instead of casinos and water slides, guests are offered Viking’s Culture Curriculum® including: world-class lectures on history and art; tasting of vintage wines from their destinations; restaurant menus inspired by local cuisine; informative port talks; enriching Destination Performances featuring folkloric shows and musicians playing regional and classical music; an onboard cooking school allowing guests to learn how to prepare local specialties.
Sustainable Features: Designed with the environment in mind, Viking’s ships feature energy-efficient hybrid engines, hydro-dynamically optimized streamlined hull and bow for maximum fuel efficiency and equipment that minimizes exhaust pollution and meets the strictest environmental regulations.
Designed for discerning travelers, Viking offers guests “the thinking person’s cruise” as an alternative to mainstream cruises. The Viking Difference is providing guests with extraordinarily well-designed cruises that bring them closer to the cultures of the world. Ships are small to get guests closer to their destination, with more time in port, more overnights and fewer days at sea. In addition, Viking Inclusive Cruising provides a small ship experience at a big ship value—with every cruise fare including a veranda stateroom, shore excursions in each port of call, all onboard meals, and all port charges and government taxes. Guests also enjoy many complimentary amenities as part of their fare, including: beer and wine with lunch and dinner service; premium dining reservations; Wi-Fi; self-service laundry; access to the Thermal Suite in the LivNordic Spa; and 24-hour room service—a value of more than $2,400 per couple for an average cruise.
From now through May 31, 2016, Viking is offering U.S. residents a 2016 Special Savings Discount with free air from 150 cities, plus up to $1,000 off per couple.