We earn a commission from brands listed on this site. This influences the order and manner in which these listings are presented.
Advertising Disclosure
Last Updated: Jul 2024

Top 10 Best Cruise Lines

Whether you're looking for a vacation that'll keep your kids entertained, or you want to relax with your partner, there's nothing like a cruise.

3 Steps to Choosing the Right Cruise for Your Next Vacation

A cruise can be a fantastic vacation for both couples and families of all sizes. Want to learn about the different cruise lines out there and which one is for you? 

No matter if it’s a winter, summer, or spring break, cruises have become a popular way to spend a vacation. They’re not only a fun way to see different places and sceneries, but are a good option for both a couple or a family of 5. With so many options like different lengths of trips, different locations, and different types of ships, half the battle of a successful cruise vacation is choosing the right one.

Before booking your trip, read our tips for finding the right cruise line for your next vacation!

1. Deciding on Location 

The first thing that you will want to decide on when looking at different cruise lines is location. Where do you want to go, what types of scenery do you want to see? There are tons of different cruises out there, all offering different kinds of vacations. Some cruise lines, like Oceania Cruises, offer an Alaskan cruise. Oceania’s Alaskan cruise is known to be beautiful, but is very different from, say, a cruise to the Caribbean on Royal Caribbean International. 

Choosing an Alaskan cruise over a Caribbean one will open your eyes up to staggering natural beauty. You will be awed by the landscape’s unspoiled wilderness, magnificent glaciers, and untouched forests. On board the ship you could whale watch and look out for bears in the meadows on shores. You will be taken to the 450-year-old Hubbard Glacier, and you even have the option to visit a dog sledding camp near Juneau. An Alaskan cruise is magnificent, and though it’s not a top choice for everyone, it’s a perfect cruise for couples or families with older children.

A Caribbean cruise by Royal Caribbean International, on the other hand, offers a completely different experience. Rather than cool temperatures and lush forests, exploring the Caribbean will offer you endless sunny days, beautiful clear blue water, and lush palm trees. Royal Caribbean International’s Western Caribbean Cruise, which leaves and returns from Fort Lauderdale, will have you visiting Grand Cayman, Puerto Costa Maya, and Cozumel.

If you’re looking for a more exotic cruise line, check out Crystal Cruises. It has all sorts of cruises from destinations like Asia and South Africa, to Western Europe and South America. Its cruises are slightly longer than other lines, averaging around 15 days per trip. And some trips, like its Perth to Cape Town cruise, is as long as 21 days. Imagine the sites you can see in that amount of time!

2. Fun vs. Relaxing 

After deciding on the location you want to see, you will need to decide on the type of cruise you want. Deciding on the type of cruise primarily comes down to who you’re traveling with. Whether it’s you and a friend, you and your partner, or you and your family of 4 kids. Every cruise line is different, and markets itself to different people. Some lines, like Carnival Cruise Lines, are known to be kid friendly and offer incredible on board activities and entertainment. Some of its ships have onboard pools, water parks, ziplines, jungle gyms, mini golf courses, and IMAX theaters that are sure to keep kids of all ages entertained while sailing the seas. And of course you can’t forget the adults. Carnival Cruise Lines’ ships also have adult spas, salons, bars, casinos, and late night concerts and plays. If you’re looking for a fun and exciting cruise line that will keep your kids smiling from ear to ear, the Disney Cruise Line will not disappoint. The cruise line was started in 1996 as a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. Unlike other cruises, this one is specifically designed for families. On board you can see live, Broadway-caliber Disney shows, hang out with Disney characters, and feel like a princess or pirate with Disney-themed events.

The other side of the spectrum are cruise lines like Celebrity Cruises and Holland America Line. Celebrity Cruises offers luxury cruises, cruise deals, and vacations. Its cruises are catered toward couples looking for a relaxing and serene vacation. It sails to places like the Galapagos Islands, Bermuda, and Italy, and though it’s pricier than other lines, offers an unforgettable experience. Celebrity Cruises’ trips are the epitome of chic, luxury, and class. The company won the 2024 silver award for “Best Cruise Line” from the Travvy Awards, and have been featured in several high end publications. Holland America Line, which is also catered toward couples and older adults looking for a relaxing cruise experience, has onboard amenities like shows, lounges, and yoga classes to keep you active. Be sure to think about the experience you’re looking for, as choosing the right kind of cruise is crucial to ensuring a top-class vacation.

3. Keep Budget in Mind

Searching for cruises online and looking at magnificent pictures is sure to wow you. But don’t get swept away and forget about your budget. You will want some spare cash to spend on excursions and activities on your cruise.

Some of the best priced cruises can be found on Norwegian Cruise Lines and Princess Cruises. Norwegian Cruise Lines has affordable cruises like its 7-day Southeast Asia cruise that costs only an average of $837 per person. The line also offers a free onboard beverage package, free shore excursions credit, free dining package, and free WiFi. Princess Cruises also has comparable prices, as well as a “highest customer satisfaction” rating from TravelAge West and fantastic customer service. If you're looking to spend a little more, MSC Cruises has some lovely trips that will give you value for money. No vacation is fun when you’re worried about money, so make sure to keep budget in mind when booking.

Set Sail

A cruise is a wonderful vacation for many reasons. They’re affordable, exciting, and allow you to see many places in a short amount of time. So whether you’re a couple looking to lounge around and tan, or a family wanting fun activities, choose the cruise that suits your needs for the best trip!

How we created this
Compiled from “Best of” lists published by the world’s most trusted sources, and with our own recommended brands peppered in - this Top10 list aims to help consumers make smarter decisions.