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Adventures at Sea: The Worst and Best Cruises

Millions of people choose cruise vacations, and there’s a long list of the reasons why. Most travelers want the opportunity to explore exotic and faraway places. Others love cruises for all the amenities, from luxury spas to 4D cinemas, gambling, and exceptional gourmet food. You can sit back, relax, and let someone else do the driving. But not all cruises are created equal. It pays to do some research and find one that not only fulfills your vision of a dream getaway but also has a high level of customer satisfaction.

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01Regent Seven Seas Cruises

For travelers seeking romance, the Regent Seven Seas Cruises is highly rated and has been managing ocean voyages for 30 years. Couples and singles alike love this cruise line, but for families, there are better choices. Their luxury, all-inclusive packages include roundtrip airfare, unlimited shore excursions, alcohol, a spacious suite, private balconies, specialty restaurants, 24-hour room service, spa, and more. Be sure to pack appropriate clothes for the “elegant casual” dress code.

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02Oceania Cruises

With cruises lasting between seven and 22 days, Oceania is a premium cruise line with lots to do while crossing the high seas. While it may be a step below a luxury cruise, you’ll find casinos, driving ranges, swimming pools, and a long list of workshops, cooking classes, lectures, and wine tastings to keep you entertained. All-inclusive packages may be more attractive for older couples who seek a laid-back atmosphere, upscale travel, a mostly child-free environment, exceptional culinary options, and excellent service.

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03Seabourn

Known for its romantic onboard experiences, Seabourn offers casual luxury for adults. Their ships accommodate no more than 600 passengers, so there’s a more intimate atmosphere, with one of the highest space-per-guest ratios in the cruise industry. Because the ships are smaller, Seabourn has a wider selection of port stops available. Enjoy all-inclusive luxury services with amenities like a personal suite steward, complimentary cocktails, champagne, and wine, unlimited Wi-Fi, world-class dining, and a spa and wellness program.

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04Paul Gauguin Cruises

Another cruise line best suited for couples, Paul Gauguin Cruises, has a much smaller fleet with itineraries to utopias like Tahiti, the Cook Islands, Society Islands, and the Marquesas Islands. You can even arrange to spend a day on one of the cruise line’s private retreats in French Polynesia. Cabins with ocean views and amazing Parisian-Polynesian fusion food options are just two of the available amenities. For those seeking deep cultural dives into the Polynesian culture, this is the cruise for you.

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05Azamara Club Cruises

Intimate dining and plenty of spots for some alone time make premium cruise line Azamara a great choice for younger couples. Their excursions across 66 countries and 240 ports also include extended adventures that last up to 17 days, plus opportunities for exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations and culturally immersive itineraries. Ships are small enough to provide cruises on rivers and into scenic waterways, as well as docking in smaller locations where larger liners can’t.

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06Viking Ocean Cruises

When it comes to top-rated cruise lines for couples, Viking Ocean Cruises furnishes a long list of amenities to boost an amorous getaway. With offerings like free Wi-Fi, 24-hour room service, including specialty coffees and teas, self-service launderettes, twice-daily housekeeping, and private verandas, these cruises include just about everything you need. Whether you’re dreaming of a Viking homeland exploration, a voyage into the fjords along the Norwegian coast, or a month-long tour to iconic cities in northern Europe, Viking can provide a cruise that suits your fantasy itinerary.

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07Windstar Cruises

For a more relaxed cruise with a quiet, casual atmosphere, Windstar may be a great option. You can book one of the fleet’s sailing vessels, including the world’s largest, Wind Surf. With ocean expeditions and opportunities to explore tiny villages, ancient ruins, and secluded coves, this cruise line prides itself with its stops at unique ports of call. The culinary options focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients sourced from ports along the way, as well as dishes featuring regional cuisine. Those determined to unplug and put down their digital devices will be less tempted on board. Cabins don’t have Wi-Fi.

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08Crystal Cruises

From Michelin-inspired cuisine to fitness, gaming, and personal enrichment venues, Crystal Cruises is a luxury cruise line. If you love plush comforts but aren’t a fan of pretension, then you’ll find what you’re looking for here. Plan an ocean cruise, a river exploration, or an expedition into remote landscapes, such as one of the newer offerings, Antarctica. Although the cabins are smaller, customers have high praise for the attentive, VIP service, and beautiful decor. There’s not much to keep the kids busy, so it may not be a great choice for a family getaway.

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09Disney Cruise Line

When it comes to showing families a good time, Disney Cruise Line has been one of the best hosts on the open seas. The jam-packed entertainment roster has tons of exciting options and kid, tween, and teen-friendly venues. And, what’s not to love about hanging out and getting selfies with Disney characters? It’s a pricey mainstream cruise line. But, you’ll find parent-friendly options like drop-off childcare that allows plenty of time to catch up on your me-time.

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10Hurtigruten Cruises

This Norwegian cruise line is all about environmental awareness at sea and ashore. It’s become a top choice for those who work from home, families, and adventurers who love to explore remote, less-populated areas of the world, like the Galapagos Islands and Antarctica. Hurtigruten doesn’t set itineraries in stone. Expect diversions along the way to explore unique phenomena. Onboard, you’ll find science centers and a library along with high-end accommodations and three meals daily featuring seasonal and authentic local cuisine and vegan options.

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