12 Best Cruise Lines In The US

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The best cruise lines are the ones that allow their passengers to relax and indulge, pamper their passengers, keep their children engrossed and active with various activities, and give them undisturbed me-time or a romantic getaway. We have compiled a list of the best cruise lines that give you all the above-mentioned and then some more.

Read on to learn more about the 12 best cruise lines.

Royal Caribbean International

One of the best cruise lines for first-timers, Royal Caribbean Ships boasts of a fleet of 28 vessels sailing the entire globe from Alaska to Mexico Riviera, Norwegian fjords, and the Canary Islands in Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific. Their vessels are known to have some of the most innovative features such as robotic bars, surf and skydive simulators, mini golf, and entertainment venues that provide entertainment to both young and old. In early 2024, they added Icon of the Seas to their fleet, which is the world’s largest cruise ship with seven swimming pools, a 17,000-square-foot waterpark, the first cantilevered infinity pool at sea, the largest ice arena at sea, twisting waterslides in many colors, and tropical lush greenery.

Carnival Cruise Line

Cruisers looking for maximum value for their dollar, Carnival offers budget-friendly, fun, and family-friendly cruises. Apart from offering their guests spacious rooms, 24-hour room service, kid-friendly dining options, and kids clubs, they also provide impressive onboard entertainment options such as waterslides, roller coasters, sports courts, casinos, piano bars, and nightclubs. Although Carnival sails mostly from North American ports, they have a seasonal presence in Northern Europe, Australia, and the Caribbean.

Disney Cruise Line

A family cruise with Disney – it can’t get any better than this. However, the cruise line offers much more than just character meet-and-greets. The cruise line boasts activities like waterslides, themed pools, kids clubs, live Disney shows, and fireworks at sea. The length of the cruises depends on the itinerary and destination. Shore excursions or Port Adventures vary depending on the itinerary, and guests on cruise lines are offered monkey adventures in Barbados, wine tasting in Corsica, France, and a visit to Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas.

Seabourn Cruise Line

From an almost 1:1 ratio of crew members to guests to the crew that is trained to pay attention to detail, stylish décor, and complimentary caviar, premium spirits, and wines throughout the voyage, Seabourn’s fleet of all-suite ships offers luxury and indulgence to its guests. The fleet of Seabourn sails the world, leaving no area unvisited.

Celebrity Cruises

Catering to mostly younger couples, Celebrity Cruise ships resemble an all-inclusive couples’ resort. It’s not that they don’t take kids on board; it’s just that kids are not their primary target group; hence they don’t have waterslides or zip lines on their ships. Its fleet of ships is chic, sophisticated, and edgy, and offers elegant and opulent décor and luxurious fine dining.

Norwegian Cruise Line

One of the top players in large-ship cruising, Norwegian Cruise Line, or Norwegian as it is called in short, is known for its new Prima fleet of ships. Its cruise ships sail around the world with numerous routes from the US to Caribbean destinations, and the Mediterranean and Baltic Seas. Any NCL cruise will offer all meals in buffet restaurants and main dining rooms, access to the fitness center and swimming pools, kids’ activities and clubs, and live shows and entertainment. NCL is known for the Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas, which is used as a private island for cruise passengers, a race track, an ice bar, a bowling café at sea, and freestyle dining that encourages you to indulge in globally inspired eateries.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Regent Seven Seas Cruises draws a clientele that is 50-60 years old, well-traveled, and affluent, however, its shorter cruises are popular with a slightly younger crowd and families during school holidays. It offers spacious suite-style cabins, pre-cruise hotel stays and transfers, complimentary fine dining, beverages throughout the ship, in-suite minibars, specialty restaurants, and shore excursions. As it mainly caters to adults, Regent Seven Seas offers live music performances, culinary classes, and educational lectures on the history and culture of the region as a way of entertainment.

Viking Cruises

Catering to an Adults-only market (all guests must be 18 years or older), Viking places a heavier emphasis on educational and adventurous experiences. Viking offers seasonal itineraries that cover the Arctic and Great Lakes, Antarctica, the Atlantic Coast, the Caribbean, and Chilean fjords. It offers at least one excursion at every port of call, 24-hour room service, and complimentary snacks and meals, while its excursion ships offer in-room coffee makers, complimentary coffee and tea supplies, heated drying closets for wet gear, and complimentary launderettes.

Holland America Line

A mid-size line, Holland America usually draws guests who prefer classic cruising experiences to partying. However, it still offers plenty of interesting onboard activities for tweens and teens like pirate treasure hunts, gaming tournaments, whale watching, zip lining, and kayaking. Holland America offers a choice of solo cabins, free room service, and all-inclusive package options. While the cruise line has a more focused presence in The Bahamas, Caribbean, Alaska, and Mexico, it offers a comprehensive list of world cruises.

Cunard Line

Cunard Line is known for its old-world elegance retained over a 180-years-service at sea, white-glove service, and grand afternoon tea affairs. Cunard offers impressive onboard amenities like a planetarium and a kennel. Apart from catering to families, Cunard Line offers daily onboard events including morning coffee meets and pre-dinner cocktail get-togethers targeting solo guests. Though it is best known for its transatlantic crossings between London and New York, its fleet travels the entire globe.

Costa Cruises

Known for its luxurious ships and excellent service, Costa is a class apart from other European cruise lines as it offers Mediterranean-inspired interiors and a perpetual festive atmosphere. Costa’s fleet of ships departs from several ports around the world and offers affordable cabins, casinos, fitness facilities, multiple pools, spa facilities, and hot tubs.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises

As far as the best cruise lines go, Uniworld has made a mark of its own in river cruises. The last word in opulence and luxury, its ships resemble floating boutique hotels with tasteful décor, antique artwork, marble bathrooms, Egyptian cotton linens, French balconies, Nespresso coffee machines, and more. Its all-inclusive packages cover farm-to-table dining, alcoholic beverages, airport transfers, chosen excursions, and entertainment. Uniworld sails to historic cities across France, Italy, central Europe, India, Egypt, and Peru. It mainly caters to clientele in the age bracket of 50-60, however, it does offer select itineraries for families, LGBTQ, and solo travelers.

Anika is a CPA and founder of What Anika Says. She shares simple and actionable frugal living, money management and money-saving tips to live a debt-free financially independent life. She has been featured on popular websites like Bankrate, Forbes, Mint ,and Authority Magazine. Byline: MSN