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The best cruise lines in the world: 2023 Readers' Choice Awards

By Condé Nast Traveller

Viking River Cruises

The survey for the 2024 Readers' Choice Awards is open, vote now for your favourite places, hotels, airports, cruise lines, travel fixers and more.

Cruises are booming right now, buoyed partly by the popularity of domestic seacations that hauled in first-time sailors. So much so that Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ 34,000-mile world trip for 2024 sold out in just over two hours, while the adults-only Virgin Voyages, which aims to throw cruise stereotypes overboard, rose to first place in Large Ships. And we’ve brought back last year's new category showcasing the expedition cruises – small, often sustainable vessels with a shoal of scientific experts onboard – that follow in the wake of adventurers such as Sir Ernest Shackleton.

These are the best cruise lines in the world, according to the 2023 Readers' Choice Awards .

Viking River Cruises

The best cruise lines in the world 2023

Mega ships (More than 4,000 passengers)

4. MSC Cruises. Score 83.42 3. Carnival Cruise Line. Score 85.35 2. Royal Caribbean International. Score 86.69 1. Norwegian Cruise Line. Score 86.72.

Large ships (2,500 to 4,000 passengers)

10. MSC Cruises. Score 83.77 9. Royal Caribbean International. Score 84.31 8. Norwegian Cruise Line. Score 86.41 7. Holland America Line. Score 87.79 6. Costa Cruises. Score 87.95 5. Celebrity Cruises. Score 88.57 4. Princess Cruises. Score 89.42 3. Cunard. Score 89.55 2. Disney Cruise Line. Score 92.21 1. Virgin Voyages. Score 94.07

Medium ships (500 to 2,500 passengers)

15. Carnival Cruise Line. Score 80.56 14. P&O Cruises. Score 83.29 13. Princess Cruises. Score 84.84 12. Marella Cruises. Score 85.60 11. Hurtigruten. Score 86.23 10. Cunard. Score 86.33 9. Holland America Line. Score 86.42 8. Celebrity Cruises. Score 86.68 7. Azamara. Score 87.50 6. Silversea Cruises. Score 87.74 5. Oceania Cruises. Score 87.99 4. Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Score 91.07 3. Seabourn. Score 91.67 2. Disney Cruise Line. Score 92.92 1. Viking. Score 94.98

Small ships (Fewer than 500 passengers)

10. Variety Cruises. Score 86.75 9. SeaDream Yacht Club. Score 89.66 8. Silversea. Score 89.93 7. Seabourn. Score 91.34 6. Ponant. Score 91.45 5. Windstar Cruises. Score 91.87 4. Sea Cloud Cruises. Score 91.94 3. American Cruise Lines. Score 92.88 2. Paul Gauguin Cruises. Score 92.94 1. Emerald Cruises. Score 95.27

10. AmaWaterways. Score 93.09 9. Sanctuary Retreats. Score 93.14 8. Uniworld River Cruises. Score 93.24 7. Pandaw. Score 95.28 6. Grand Circle Cruise Line. Score 95.69 5. Les Bateaux Belmond. Score 95.90 4. Oberoi Hotels & Resorts. Score 95.91 3. Tauck. Score 96.14 2. American Cruise Lines. Score 96.66 1. Viking. Score 97.32

Expedition ships

15. Alaskan Dream Cruises. Score 80.77 14. Lindblad Expeditions. Score 91.23 13. Silversea Cruises. Score 91.81 12. Hurtigruten. Score 91.87 11. Ponant. Score 92.25 10. Quark Expeditions. Score 93.15 9. Seabourn. Score 93.37 8. Metropolitan Touring. Score 94.71 7. Quasar Expeditions. Score 94.91 6. Celebrity Cruises. Score 95.38 5. Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours. Score 95.80 4. Ecoventura. Score 95.82 3. Aqua Expeditions. Score 95.97 2. UnCruise Adventures. Score 96.41 1. Viking. Score 96.52

U.S. News Announces the 2022 Best Cruise Lines

U.S. News Announces Best Cruise Lines

Washington, D.C. – U.S. News & World Report, publisher of Best Hotels , Best Vacations and Best Travel Rewards Programs , today announced the 2022 Best Cruise Lines rankings , designed to provide up-to-date information on the leading cruise lines.

With much of the world reopening to international travel, U.S. News surveyed travelers to understand the effects of COVID-19 on cruiser sentiments. U.S. News unveiled the survey results at the Seatrade Global Conference in October which found that cruisers – both first-time and longtime – are booked at higher levels than before the pandemic. U.S. News survey data also revealed that of the frequent travelers who indicated that they would cruise again, 20% are already signed up for their next sailing.

"Though most avenues of travel have been impacted throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the cruise industry has seen the most challenges," said Nicola Wood, travel editor at U.S. News. "U.S. News is excited to once again highlight the leading cruise lines and provide in-depth information on ships, onboard activities and itineraries to travelers looking to research and book a cruise vacation."

Celebrity Cruises takes the No. 1 spot as the Best Cruise Line for the Money . Viking Ocean Cruises is the No. 1 Best Cruise Line for Couples and Best Luxury Cruise Line thanks to its adult-focused environment and luxurious and romantic amenities, such as fireplaces in each ship's common area and private verandas in every stateroom.

Disney Cruise Line, which offers ships tailored specifically to children and families, has remained the No. 1 Best Cruise Line for Families since U.S. News began ranking cruise lines. Additionally, for the eighth consecutive year, Disney is also the No. 1 Best Cruise Line in the Caribbean . Viking Ocean Cruises takes the spot of No. 1 Best Cruise Line in the Mediterranean for 2022.

The rankings help travelers select the best cruise by brand, region, traveler type and budget. This year's rankings are accompanied by an editorial rundown of the most popular river cruise lines for those looking for guidance on a different type of cruise that still offers itineraries with multiple destinations.

The methodology for the Best Cruise Lines rankings factors in expert evaluations of cruise ship quality, reputation among travelers, results from health assessments conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other factors, such as price class and itinerary offerings.

2022 U.S. News Best Cruise Lines Rankings

For the Money

  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Holland America Line
  • Royal Caribbean International
  • Viking Ocean Cruises
  • Seabourn Cruise Line
  • Regent Seven Seas Cruises

For Families

  • Disney Cruise Line
  • Carnival Cruise Line

For Couples

In the Mediterranean

In the Caribbean

To share your thoughts about the Best Cruise Lines rankings, visit Facebook , Twitter and Instagram using #BestCruises.

Media Contact: Sarah Javors, [email protected] , 202-955-2153

About U.S. News & World Report

U.S. News & World Report is the global leader in quality rankings that empower citizens, consumers, business leaders and policy officials to make better, more informed decisions about important issues affecting their lives. A multifaceted digital media company with Education, Health, Money, Travel, Cars, News and 360 Reviews platforms, U.S. News provides rankings, independent reporting, data journalism, consumer advice and U.S. News Live events. More than 40 million people visit USNews.com each month for research and guidance. Founded in 1933, U.S. News is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

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USA TODAY 10Best

These are the best cruise ships and cruise lines of 2022

10Best Editors

July 22, 2022 // By 10Best Editors

By 10Best Editors July 22, 2022

Cruising is among the most popular ways to see the world. Unpack once and take in the sights of the world’s rivers and seas from your floating hotel. More than a dozen new vessels are introduced each year, making the sheer variety of cruises overwhelming.

To help narrow it down, we invited our readers to vote for their favorites. After four weeks of voting, the results are in.

Click on each category below to see the full winners list:

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Best Adventure Cruise Line: Adventure Canada

Adventure Canada wins the title of Best Adventure Cruise Line

While Adventure Canada does indeed lead small ship adventures through the rivers, icy fjords and secluded waterways of Canada, this expedition cruise company also takes travelers to experience landscapes and cultures further afield, places like Scotland, Iceland, Ireland, the Faroe Islands and Greenland. The company shines with an always stellar lineup of onboard experts and guides.

Full list of winners: Best Adventure Cruise Line »

Best Boutique Cruise Line: Viking Ocean Cruises

Viking Ocean Cruises named Best Boutique Cruise Line and Best Ocean Cruise Line

Viking Cruises earned its reputation through its affordable, destination-focused river cruises, and after expanding into sea voyages, the line now has six ocean vessels too. All cabins come with balconies and are notably larger than the industry average, and while the ships lack a casino and kids' club, they offer the same destination-intensive programming that made river cruising so popular.

Full list of winners: Best Boutique Cruise Line »

Best Large Ship: Celebrity Reflection

The 3,046-passenger Celebrity Reflection is all about cruising sophistication

The 3,046-passenger Celebrity Reflection is all about cruising sophistication. At The Art Studio, master artists from The ArtCenter/South Florida host hands-on demos and classes in a range of art mediums. Passengers enjoy nightly live music scattered throughout the ship, as well as big production shows, stand-up comedy, music and magic performances at the two-level Reflection Theater. There are over a dozen dining venues to choose from, as well as a half dozen bars and lounges.

Full list of winners: Best Large Ship »

Best Mid-Sized Ship: Rotterdam - Holland America Line

Rotterdam named Best Mid-Sized Ship

Launched in October 2021, Rotterdam is the newest Pinnacle-class line flagship for Holland America. Over 60% of the 1,340 passenger cabins have balconies and offer amenities such as specialty soaps and luxurious bathrobes. Live music is the ship’s entertainment focus, and venues include a blues club, a live rock room and a piano bar. Various dining opportunities are available, including New York pizza, sushi, a poolside grill, and French, Italian, and Far Eastern cuisines.

Full list of winners: Best Mid-Sized Ship »

Best Ocean Cruise Line: Viking Ocean Cruises

Viking Ocean Cruises named Best Boutique Cruise Line and Best Ocean Cruise Line

Viking Cruises earned its reputation through its affordable, destination-focused river cruises. With the debut of Viking Star in April 2015, the line made a grand entrance into the world of ocean cruising. Now the line has nine ocean vessels. All cabins come with balconies and are notably larger than the industry average, and while the ships lack a casino and kids' club, they offer the same destination-intensive programming that made river cruising so popular.

Full list of winners: Best Ocean Cruise Line »

Best River Cruise Line: Avalon Waterways

Avalon Waterways named Best River Cruise Line

River cruisers in Europe will find the largest standard staterooms and suites aboard Avalon’s fleet of luxurious ships. Onboard amenities include fitness centers, a Sky Deck with a whirlpool and shade system, free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and a self-serve beverage station. The Avalon Choice program allows cruisers to customize the details of their experience, ensuring each vacation is a perfect fit.

Full list of winners: Best River Cruise Line »

Best River Ship: Avalon Envision

The newest addition to the Avalon Waterways fleet debuted in 2019. Two decks of Panorama Suites offer wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling windows and window-facing “Beds with a View.” Guests enjoy free wi-Fi access, a fitness center and adventure center for bikes and other gear, multiple dining venues and an observation lounge.

Full list of winners: Best River Ship »

Best Ship for Dining: Koningsdam - Holland America Line

Best ship for dining? Koningsdam

Guests sailing on Holland America Line's Koningsdam have 10 dining options to choose from. In addition to the main dining room, there's Asian specialties at Tamarind, French seafood at Sel de Mar, authentic Italian at Canaletto, poolside burgers at Dive-In and the chance to take hands-on cooking classes at the Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine.

Full list of winners: Best Ship for Dining »

Best Ship for Families: Regal Princess - Princess Cruises

Best family cruise ship? Check out the Regal Princess

A favorite feature among kids aboard the Regal Princess is the SeaWalk, a glass-bottomed walkway extending 28 feet over the ship’s edge. The ship's youth and teen center has teamed up with the California Science Center for some interactive edutainment at sea. The three kids' spaces are excellent, and teens even have their own outdoor hot tub.

Full list of winners: Best Ship for Families »

Best Small Ship: Royal Clipper - Star Clippers

Royal Clipper provides the Best Small Cruise Ship experience

Designed after the tall ship Preussen, the Royal Clipper is the world’s largest full-rigged sailing ship, complete with 42 sails. The vessel carries just 227 guests with luxurious accommodations and modern amenities like three swimming pools, relaxed dining and a marina platform for water sports. Passengers can even don a harness and climb the mast to a crow's nest.

Full list of winners: Best Small Ship »

Congratulations to all these winners! Remember to visit 10Best.com daily to vote in our Readers' Choice contests.

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Our 10 Favorite Cruise Lines In The World

best cruise line in the world 2022

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best cruise line in the world 2022

If your dream vacation includes leaving the logistics to others and being transported from destination to destination while enjoying scrumptious meals, exciting entertainment, and gorgeous panoramic views, a cruise may be in your future. From all-inclusive, luxury accommodations to budget-friendly State-side excursions, you need only pick the journey that best suits you.

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the thought of planning a cruise? Consider one of these 10 great options, handpicked by our readers as their favorites. From small-ship to mega-ship, and everything in between, these are our readers’ 2022 picks for favorite overall cruise line.

Viking Cruise canal boat on the Danube in Budapest.

1. Viking (Winner)

Viking is well-known — and beloved — in the river cruise market. But did you know they also offer small ship ocean cruises as well as intimate expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic? All in all, Viking’s fleet of around 80 ships is ready to help you explore the world in comfort, no matter where your wanderlust wants to take you.

Viking put river cruising on the map for many travelers, perfecting the process from beginning to end, especially across Europe. Enjoy luxury accommodations as you float down the Danube, Rhine, Douro, and Elbe rivers among other European waterways. Their services have expanded to include cruises along the Nile, Mississippi, and Mekong River in Vietnam and Cambodia.

Viking ships do not include casinos and do not allow children under 18 onboard, as they seek to create an inviting atmosphere for sharing meaningful experiences with their guests, free from distraction. What is more, Wi-Fi and alcohol come included in your ticket, so once you purchase your ticket, just sit back and enjoy the experience.

View of the pool deck on a Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship.

2. Royal Caribbean

The name alone should tell you that you will be treated like royalty while on board. Set sail around the Caribbean on a classic Royal Caribbean journey with a stop at their privately owned island oasis in the Bahamas: CocoCay. Spend the day on dry land — or in the water — enjoying the thrills of the water slides, zip lines, cabanas, and the largest fresh-water pool in the Bahamas. This is one cruise line that knows how to do a Caribbean cruise right.

That said, the cruise line’s fleet of over 25 ships don’t stay only in the Caribbean. With Royal Caribbean, you can experience the beauty of the Mediterranean, the gorgeous glaciers of Alaska, the many islands of the South Pacific, or even embark on a nine-month-long trip of a lifetime, visiting over 60 countries and each of the seven continents.

Dining, beverage, and Wi-Fi packages can be purchased in addition to your fare to enhance your experience while limiting the cost of daily incidentals. And it is always helpful to book shore excursions through the cruise ship as well; the boat won’t wait for guests who arrive back late from personally curated off-ship activities. Keep this in mind so you don’t miss the boat!

Norwegian Jewel along the Kamchatka Peninsula in Avacha Bay.

3. Norwegian Cruise Line

Like their competitor in the number two spot, Norwegian has grown past the destination in its name. Norwegian Cruise Line will take you everywhere from Norway to the Panama Canal, Africa to Australia. Set sail for a weekend or three weeks, the choice is yours. Determine where you want to go, and what you want to experience, and then choose the cruise that best fits your desires.

If you decide on a Caribbean cruise, be sure to enjoy a day at Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas, a 268-acre island paradise solely for guests of Norwegian Cruise Line. Here you will enjoy private beaches covered in white sand, experience native wildlife, and have ample opportunities to enjoy the water up close.

Disney Cruise Line off the coast of tropical island.

4. Disney Cruise Line

The magic of a Disney Cruise cannot be overstated as the customer experience has always been at the heart of the Disney business model. The moment you step on board, your childhood dreams begin to become reality. Dine alongside your favorite Disney Princess, experience a Broadway-worthy musical experience, or enjoy the thrill of an onboard water coaster.

Castaway Cay is Disney’s private island oasis for Bahamian and Caribbean cruise passengers to enjoy. Go snorkeling in the lagoon while watching out for a hidden Mickey, experience the Pelican Plunge water-play area, or sneak off to Serenity Bay, an adults-only oasis for when you need a break from the excited youngsters scurrying about.

Consider a Disney cruise to Alaska or Canada, enjoy the brisk waters of the Baltic in northern Europe, or enjoy a cruise around the British Isles. No matter the destination, Disney’s staff will ensure you are entertained and leave the ship with a return trip already being planned in your head.

Holland America Line vessel sailing into Ketchikan, Alaska on a hazy evening at sunset.

5. Holland America

Holland America has been sailing the seven seas for almost 145 years. Enjoy South America, New England, Mexico, or a classic cruise through the Caribbean or Mediterranean aboard one of Holland America’s 11 elegant ships. With staterooms ranging in size from 150 square feet to Pinnacle Suites with nearly 1,300 square feet of living space, you will find a room to fit your group, and your budget.

Having trouble deciding on the perfect Holland America itinerary? Work with a personal cruise consultant to help you navigate the uncertain waters and nail down a plan that is perfect for you and your family.

Royal Princess docked in Curaco.

6. Princess Cruises

The Princess Cruise fleet includes 14 large-ship vessels, ready to take you just about anywhere you want to go. Enjoy a three-week-long cruise from Sydney to Hong Kong, a month-long trans-Pacific journey from LA to Sydney with stops in Hawaii and the South Pacific, or a more traditional week-long trip around Alaska or the Caribbean.

Entertainment includes Broadway-worthy productions, magic shows, and comedians. Enjoy a hand crafted cocktail and indulge in the many dining options available onboard, many of which come included in your fare — even some fine dining!

Royal Princess near Curaco.

7. Celebrity Cruises

Set sail for just about anywhere in the world on a Celebrity Cruise . From South America and the Galapagos to the South Pacific and Europe. The 14-ship fleet is primarily made up of mid-size and large ships that can house anywhere from 2,200 to 3,200 guests.

That said, they also have a sub-fleet of small-ship vessels dedicated to the Galapagos that provide a more intimate experience for enjoying this natural paradise. From the 16-person Xploration to the 100-person Flora , enjoy the beauty of Darwin’s Galapagos up close with Celebrity.

Outdoor dining aboard the Silver Spirit.

8. Silversea Cruises

Silversea Cruises boasts a staff-to-guest ratio of nearly one to one, ensuring someone will be available to provide exactly what you need, when you need it. Guest capacity on their 11-ship fleet ranges from just 100 aboard the Silver Origin of the Galapagos to 728 on their newest ship, the Silver Nova .

Silversea cruises touch all seven continents, with ports in over 900 locations. Spend up to 140 days at sea — or as few as five. The luxury begins as soon as you leave your home, with a chauffeured ride from your home to the airport as part of the Silversea experience.

P&O Oceania anchored near Santorini, Greece.

9. Oceania Cruises

Small ship luxury at its finest is what you will receive when you step on board one of Oceania’s ships. With four ships housing around 650 guests and two more that can hold just over 1,200, Oceania ships are built small to ensure the service you receive is top notch.

Sail through the Panama Canal, explore the sites around the Baltic Sea and Scandinavia, Or, for just over $50,000 per person, embark on a seven-month-long journey around the world. This Miami to New York trip will take you through the Panama Canal (twice) and down to Antarctica, and it includes stops in Europe, Africa, Asia, and all of the Americas.

Windstar cruise ship docked in St. Maarten.

10. Windstar Cruises

If you are looking for a more intimate cruise experience, Windstar Cruises is ready to set sail. There are six ships in their fleet, ranging from the 342-guest Wind Surf flagship sailing ship, down to the 148-guest Wind Star and Wind Spirit . If there is somewhere you want to cruise, there is a good chance that Windstar can get you there.

Yes, you can enjoy the Caribbean and Mediterranean, but have you considered a Black Sea cruise? Or how about a tour of the Holy Lands, Northern Europe, or the South Pacific? Book today and enjoy world-class accommodations while getting up close and personal with local culture through the cruise line’s many shore excursion options.

Did our readers’ overall picks whet your appetite? Be sure to enjoy our readers’ picks in each of these individual cruise categories as well:

  • 7 Best Caribbean Cruise Lines
  • 7 Best Mediterranean Cruise Lines
  • 8 Best Alaska Cruise Lines
  • 5 Best Small Ship Cruise Lines
  • 6 Best River Cruise Lines

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Best Cruise Lines for the Money

With lodging, food and entertainment all included in one price, a vacation at sea is often a better value than a

With lodging, food and entertainment all included in one price, a vacation at sea is often a better value than a land-based getaway – if you choose wisely. To help you make the most of your travel budget, U.S. News ranked the following cruise lines based on a methodology that factors in itinerary affordability, amenities included in the base fare, health ratings and reputation among experts and travelers. Read on to learn more about this year's best cruise lines for the money, and be sure to check our latest cruise deals for an even more affordable vacation experience. 

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best cruise line in the world 2022

Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages may not seem like the most affordable offering at a glance, but it presents cruisers with supreme value. Base fares include all onboard dining, gratuities, Wi-Fi access, group fitness classes and more. Add those benefits to Virgin's ongoing sales, and you're looking at a top-notch experience for less. 

  • 4.39 Overall Rating
  • 3 Ships in Fleet

best cruise line in the world 2022

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises' vessels offer the endless amenities and buffets of its competitors' megaships but maintain the service standard of smaller lines. Rates on Bahamas and Caribbean itineraries run less than $200 per person, and all-inclusive add-on packages are available.

  • 4.36 Overall Rating
  • 13 Ships in Fleet

best cruise line in the world 2022

Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises targets more adult travelers (especially on longer voyages) than family-oriented lines like Royal Caribbean International, but at similar prices. Along with lodging and select dining, fares cover activities like cooking demonstrations and educational lectures.

  • 4.02 Overall Rating
  • 15 Ships in Fleet

best cruise line in the world 2022

Royal Caribbean International

With more than 25 cruise ships, Royal Caribbean is one of the largest lines sailing the ocean today. Having the ability to accommodate thousands of guests per ship allows the company to keep rates low. In fact, travelers may find itineraries in popular destinations throughout the Caribbean, Mexico, the Bahamas and the Pacific Coast for around $250 per person.

  • 4.17 Overall Rating
  • 25 Ships in Fleet

best cruise line in the world 2022

Holland America Line

Cruisers will find this premium cruise line to be a pretty good bargain, with four-day Caribbean sailings often starting at less than $300 per person, and short voyages along the Pacific Coast coming in around $100 per person. But cutting costs doesn't mean skimping on service; Holland America ships offer individualized attention, free room service and all-inclusive package options.

  • 4.14 Overall Rating
  • 11 Ships in Fleet

best cruise line in the world 2022

MSC Cruises

MSC offers sailings from North American ports like Miami, New York City and Orlando, Florida, though the majority of its voyages depart from international locales. But even if you have to fly to a foreign port, you'll save money over a typical land vacation abroad. Mediterranean sailings can start at around $100 per person, and the line offers several deals and money-saving packages.

  • 3.79 Overall Rating
  • 22 Ships in Fleet

best cruise line in the world 2022

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival specializes in budget-friendly fun, offering frequent, significant discounts on already low prices. In fact, itineraries for around $200 per person are the norm. Access to most of the ships' activities won't cost a penny, but keep in mind that some extras (like specialty restaurants, beverages and certain attractions) aren't covered in fares.

  • 3.90 Overall Rating

best cruise line in the world 2022

Norwegian Cruise Line

With its popular, frequently running Free at Sea program, Norwegian offers travelers discounts on Wi-Fi, excursions, alcohol, airfare and more on top of its already low prices. And, similar to luxury lines, Norwegian ditches steadfast rules like assigned dining times, but costs a fraction of the price.

  • 3.97 Overall Rating
  • 19 Ships in Fleet

best cruise line in the world 2022

Cunard Line

While you may not expect to find a more opulent line like Cunard on this list, the cruise provider has a surprising number of relatively reasonable fares for upcoming sailings. Travelers can fully enjoy the line's old-world elegance knowing that room service, onboard activities and most dining options are included in the base price.

  • 4.07 Overall Rating

best cruise line in the world 2022

Costa Cruises

A member of the Carnival family, Costa Cruises is primarily based in Europe. The fleet offers lower rates than its competitors, particularly for its Mediterranean itineraries (think: fares starting at less than $100 per person). Although it offers family-friendly amenities, Costa's ships are also well-suited to adults, with various entertainment options like theater shows and casinos.

  • 3.50 Overall Rating
  • 8 Ships in Fleet

Disclaimers about ship ratings: A ship’s Health Rating is based on vessel inspection scores published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If a ship did not receive a CDC score within 22 months prior to the calculation of its Overall Rating, its Health Rating appears as N/A; in such a case, the ship’s Overall Rating is calculated using the average Health Rating of all CDC-rated ships within the cruise line. All ship Traveler Ratings are based on ratings provided under license by Cruiseline.com.

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

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U.S. News Announces The Best Cruise Lines For 2022

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Sarah Bretz, Contributor

  • November 9, 2021

U.S. News & World Report has announced its 2022 Best Cruise Lines rankings .

The publication surveyed travelers to understand the effects of COVID-19 on cruiser sentiments. It unveiled the results at the Seatrade Global Conference in October which found that cruisers — both first-time and longtime — are currently booked at higher levels than before the pandemic.

Survey data also revealed that among the frequent travelers who indicated that they would cruise again, 20 percent are already booked on their next sailing.

“Though most avenues of travel have been impacted throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the cruise industry has seen the most challenges,” said Nicola Wood, travel editor at U.S. News. “U.S. News is excited to once again highlight the leading cruise lines and provide in-depth information on ships, onboard activities and itineraries to travelers looking to research and book a cruise vacation.”

disney magic nassau bahamas mardi gras multiple ships

The method used to collect these rankings factor in expert evaluations of cruise ship quality, reputation among travelers, results from health assessments conducted by the CDC, and other factors such as price class and itinerary offerings.

Celebrity Cruises took the top spot as the Best Cruise Line for the Money. Viking’s ocean cruises venture is number 1 for couples and luxury cruising, thanks to its adults-only environment and amenities such as fireplaces in common areas and balconies in every stateroom.

Disney Cruise Line has remained number 1 for Best Cruise Line for Families since U.S. News began ranking cruise lines, and for the eighth consecutive year, is also Best Cruise Line in the Caribbean.

Viking’s ocean ships also allowed the line to rank top for Best Cruise Line in the Mediterranean.

MORE:  Kid-Free Options on Carnival’s Mardi Gras

Here are this year’s top four rankings in each category:

For the Money

  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Holland America Line
  • Royal Caribbean International
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Viking (ocean)
  • Regent Seven Seas Cruises

For Families

  • Disney Cruise Line
  • Carnival Cruise Line

For Couples

  • Crystal Cruises

viking venus and sea in valletta malta

In the Mediterranean

In the caribbean.

READ NEXT: Port Everglades Sees Busiest Cruise Day Since Industry Shutdown

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The 5 Best Midsize-ship Ocean Cruise Lines in 2022

The best cruise lines for midsize ships, according to Travel + Leisure readers, strike a balance between big-time amenities and smaller crowds.

best cruise line in the world 2022

Note: If you’re looking for our most recent recommendations, check out the 2023 list of our favorite midsize-ship ocean cruise lines .

Travelers have been eager to return to the seas, and many were particularly interested in sailing on vessels that achieved the delicate balance between big-time amenities and smaller capacities. Enter the cruise lines in the newly tweaked midsize-ship ocean category, which now includes ships with 300 to 799 cabins.

Every year for our World's Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated individual cruise ships on their cabins and facilities, food, service, itineraries and destinations, excursions and activities, and value. Those assessments were combined to generate results for the cruise lines in six categories, including river cruising.

In second place is Seabourn, with its pair of 300-suite ships: the Encore and Ovation . (Seabourn's smaller vessels are recognized in the World's Best Awards small-ship category for 2022.) "Blown away by how nice the ship, food, and service were," said a reader who sailed on Encore.

Highly applauded as well, and in the No. 3 spot for 2022, is Silversea, in this category with its largest ship, the Silver Spirit . "There is a feeling of spaciousness in the ship layout," wrote one fan. "You can always find a place to tuck away and read or enjoy a private conversation."

In the No. 4 spot is luxury line Regent Seven Seas Cruises, noted by one T+L reader for having "above excellent" crew. Rounding out the top 5 is Regent's sister line, Oceania Cruises, which was praised for its cuisine. "Best food on the ocean and great variety," said one fan.

But it was Viking that stole the show among the best cruise lines for midsize ships. Read on for more about what makes the line so popular.

T+L readers rave about the consistency of Viking's vessels and their Scandinavian design. The ships have plenty of nooks and crannies that encourage socializing. Guests can indulge in afternoon tea in the Wintergarden or listen to a lecture by a historian in the theater. Adding oomph is the line's value proposition, with wine and beer at meals, shore excursions, and specialty dining all included in the cruise fare. "What you see is what you get," wrote one reader. "Straightforward, consistently high quality and value at every turn."

Score: 95.16

More information: viking.com

2. Seabourn

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 92.84

More information: seabourn.com

3. Silversea

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 92.08

More information: silversea.com

4. Regent Seven Seas Cruises

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 90.85

More information: rssc.com

5. Oceania Cruises

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 89.68

More information: oceaniacruises.com

Related Articles

  • Best overall
  • Best for affordability
  • Best for seniors
  • Best for expensive trips
  • Best for exotic locations
  • How we reviewed cruise insurance plans

Best Cruise Travel Insurance of June 2024

Affiliate links for the products on this page are from partners that compensate us (see our advertiser disclosure with our list of partners for more details). However, our opinions are our own. See how we rate insurance products to write unbiased product reviews.

A cruise vacation can take much of the stress out of planning a vacation. With a pre-set itinerary on the high seas, you don't have to worry about how you're getting to your destination and what you're going to do there. However, an unexpected emergency can take the wind out of your sails and money out of your travel budget. So you'll want to ensure you have the best cruise insurance plan that won't leave you high and dry in an emergency.

Best Cruise Insurance Plans

  • Best overall: Nationwide Travel Insurance
  • Best for affordability: AXA Assistance USA
  • Best for seniors: Seven Corners Travel Insurance
  • Best for expensive trips: HTH Worldwide Travel Insurance
  • Best for exotic locations: World Nomads Travel Insurance

Compare the Best Cruise Travel Insurance Companies

While booking a cruise takes off much of the pressure when coming up with itineraries, your trip can still encounter several hitches, which is where cruise travel comes in. The best cruise travel insurance will have high coverage limits on emergency medical evacuations, as sea to land evacuations can be expensive. They'll offer coverage for baggage delay, trip interruption, and it might be a good idea to have some adventure sports coverage if you plan on participating in any outdoor activities like snorkeling or scuba diving. 

Here are our picks for the best cruise travel insurance companies in 2024.

Best Cruise Insurance Overall

Nationwide travel insurance.

Nationwide Travel Insurance  is a long-standing and reputable brand within the insurance marketplace that offers cruise insurance plans with solid coverage and reasonable rates.

It has three cruise insurance options: Universal, Choice, and Luxury. The Nationwide Choice plan, for example, offers $100,000 in emergency medical coverage and $500,000 in emergency medical evacuation coverage.

The right plan for you depends on your budget and coverage needs. But each plan offers cruise-specific coverages like ship-based mechanical breakdowns, coverage for missed prepaid excursions if your cruise itinerary changes, and covered service disruptions aboard the cruise ship.

Read our Nationwide Travel Insurance review .

Nationwide Nationwide Travel Insurance

  • Trip cancellation coverage of up to 100% of trip costs (for cruises) or up to $30,000 (for single-trip plans)
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Three cruise-specific plans to choose from
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Annual travel insurance plans available
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Strong trip cancellation coverage
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Cancel for any reason coverage available
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. CFAR insurance not available with every single plan
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Medical coverage is lower than what some competitors offer

Nationwide Travel Insurance offers many of the standard benefits you might see with a travel insurance policy. This can include things like trip cancellation coverage, so you can recover pre-paid costs or trip interruption in the event your vacation is interrupted by an unexpected event. There's also baggage delay coverage and medical coverage.

  • Cancel for any reason coverage available

Best Cruise Insurance for Affordability

Axa travel insurance.

AXA Assistance USA  offers three comprehensive coverage plans: Gold, Silver, and Platinum. Each of these plans offers coverage for issues like missed flights, medical emergencies, lost luggage, and more.

The highest-tier Platinum plan provides $250,000 in medical emergency coverage and $1 million in medical evacuation coverage. The baggage loss coverage is $3,000 per person, and their missed connection coverage is $1,500 per person for cruises and tours.

In addition, travelers can take advantage of AXA's concierge service, which provides an extensive network of international service providers. They'll be able to assist you with things like restaurant reservations and referrals, golf course information, and more. This service could come in handy if you're stopping at a variety of unfamiliar destinations during your cruise.

The coverage limits on AXA's policies are on the higher end compared to other providers. And you can buy coverage for a little as 4% of your trip cost depending on your age, travel destination, and state of residence.

Read our AXA Travel Insurance review .

AXA AXA Assistance USA

  • Trip cancellation coverage of up to 100% of the trip cost
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Generous medical evacuation coverage
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Up to $1,500 per person coverage for missed connections on cruises and tours
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Covers loss of ski, sports and golf equipment
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Generous baggage delay, loss and trip delay coverage ceilings per person
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Cancel for any reason (CFAR) coverage only available for most expensive Platinum plan
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. CFAR coverage ceiling only reaches $50,000 maximum despite going up to 75%

AXA Assistance USA keeps travel insurance simple with gold, silver, and platinum plans. Emergency medical and CFAR are a couple of the options you can expect. Read on to learn more about AXA.

  • Silver, Gold, and Platinum plans available
  • Trip interruption coverage of up to 150% of the trip cost
  • Emergency medical coverage of up to $250,000

Best Cruise Insurance for Seniors

 seven corners travel insurance.

Seven Corners Travel Insurance lets cruisers enjoy traveling in their golden years with the knowledge they're covered in the event of an accident or emergency. While other providers do offer coverage to those 80+ years old, Seven Corners is known for its affordable premiums while offering above-average medical expenses and medical evacuation coverage limits — two areas of travel insurance coverage that are even more important as we get older.

Seven Corners also offers the option of a pre-existing conditions waiver and CFAR insurance at an additional cost, plus "Trip Interruption for Any Reason" coverage, which you won't find on many policies.

You can choose between the Trip Protection Basic or Trip Protection Choice plans, with the higher-tier Choice plan costing more but providing more coverage.

Read our Seven Corners Travel Insurance review . 

Seven Corners Seven Corners Travel Insurance

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Diverse coverage options such as CFAR, optional sports equipment coverage, etc.
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Available in all 50 states
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Prices are higher than many competitors
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Reviews around claims processing are mixed
  • Trip cancellation insurance of up to 100% of the trip cost
  • Trip interruption insurance of up to 150% of the trip cost
  • Cancel for any reason (CFAR) insurance available

Best Cruise Insurance for Expensive Trips

Hth worldwide travel insurance.

HTH Worldwide Travel Insurance  offers three levels of trip protection: TripProtector Economy, Classic, and Preferred. The higher the tier, the more coverage you'll get for things like baggage delays, trip delays & cancellations, and medical expenses. But their premiums remain reasonable even at the highest tier of coverage.

Not only does the HTH Worldwide Trip Protector Preferred plan offer higher-than-average medical emergency and evacuation coverage limits ($500,000 and $1 million, respectively), but you'll also get a baggage loss coverage limit of $2,000 per person and coverage for trip interruption of up to 200% of the trip cost. You also have the option to add CFAR coverage for an additional cost, as long as you purchase within 21 days of your initial trip deposit.

Read our HTH Worldwide Travel Insurance review .

HTH Worldwide HTH Worldwide Travel Insurance

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Three plans to choose from
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Reasonable premiums
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. CFAR coverage available with some plans
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. High medical emergency and evacuation coverage
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Special coverages for pets, sports equipment, etc not available
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Limited reviews with complaints about claims not being paid
  • Trip cancellation of up to $5,000 with the Economy plan and up to $50,000 with the Preferred plan
  • Cancel for any reason insurance and missed connection insurance available with the Preferred plan
  • Baggage delay insurance starting after 24 or 12 hours depending on the plan

Best Cruise Insurance for Exotic Locations

World nomads travel insurance.

World Nomads Travel Insurance  has been a top choice for comprehensive travel insurance for many years now. And it's a great option when it comes to cruise coverage, too.

Even the most basic Standard Plan comes with $100,000 in medical emergency coverage and $300,000 in emergency evacuation coverage. And you'll get higher coverage limits with their Premium Plan. Plus, unlike many other providers, World Nomads trip cancellation and emergency medical coverage include COVID-19-related issues.

What sets World Nomads apart from many other insurance companies is that its policies cover 200+ adventure sports. This can be important for adventurous cruisers who plan to take part in activities like jet skiing, scuba diving, or parasailing during their cruise.

Read our World Nomads Travel Insurance review .

World Nomads World Nomads Travel Insurance

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Coverage for 200+ activities like skiing, surfing, and rock climbing
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Only two plans to choose from, making it simple to find the right option
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. You can purchase coverage even after your trip has started
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. If your trip costs more than $10,000, you may want to choose other insurance because trip protection is capped at up to $10,000 (for the Explorer plan)
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Doesn't offer coverage for travelers older than 70
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. No Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) option
  • Coverage for 150+ activities and sports
  • 2 plans: Standard and Explorer
  • Trip protection for up to $10,000
  • Emergency medical insurance of up to $100,000
  • Emergency evacuation coverage for up to $500,000
  • Coverage to protect your items (up to $3,000)

Introduction to Cruise Insurance

Cruise insurance may offer unique coverage like missed port of call and medical evacuation coverage. You might not need the flight protections of a regular travel insurance plan if you're catching a cruise at a port near you, but medical and cancel for any reason coverage could be critical. The best travel insurance plans will provide flexibility to add coverage options to fit your travels needs.

Understanding the Basics of Cruise Insurance

At its core, cruise insurance is your financial lifeboat, designed to protect you from unforeseen events that could disrupt your sea voyage. Whether it's a sudden illness, adverse weather, or other unexpected occurrences, having the right insurance can make a world of difference.

Why Cruise Insurance is Important

Picture this: You're all set for your dream cruise, but a sudden family emergency means you can't set sail. Or worse, you fall ill in the middle of the ocean. Without cruise insurance, you're not just missing out on an adventure, but also facing potentially huge financial losses. That's why securing cruise insurance isn't just recommended; it's a crucial part of your cruise planning.

Types of Cruise Insurance Coverage

Cruise insurance isn't a one-size-fits-all life jacket. There are various types of coverage, each tailored to protect different aspects of your cruise experience.

Trip Cancellation and Interruption Coverage

This coverage is like your safety net, catching you financially if you need to cancel your trip last minute or cut it short due to emergencies, be it due to personal, health-related, or even certain work conflicts. Interruption coverage should also include coverage for missed stops on your cruise.

Medical Coverage

Being on a cruise shouldn't mean being adrift from medical care. Travel medical coverage ensures that if you fall ill or get injured, your medical expenses won't sink your finances. 

When you purchase travel medical insurance, be sure to note whether your coverage is primary or secondary. Secondary insurance means you'll need to file a claim with your primary insurance provider before filing with your travel insurance provider. 

Emergency Evacuation Coverage

In the rare case that you need to be evacuated from the ship due to a medical emergency or severe weather, this coverage ensures you're not left adrift in a sea of expenses. You'll want high coverage limits for emergency evacuation, as sea-to-land evacuations can be costly. 

Baggage and Personal Effects Coverage

Imagine reaching your dream destination only to find your luggage lost at sea. This coverage ensures that lost, stolen, or damaged baggage doesn't dampen your cruise experience. It'll reimburse you for any money you spent replacing items while traveling. 

Adventure Sports Coverage

Cruises often offer activities that can be classified as adventure sports, such as snorkeling and scuba diving. Medical treatment for injuries sustained while participating in these activities isn't normally covered under normal travel medical coverage. You'll want to ensure that your policy explicitly includes these policies or offers an add-on for adventure sports coverage. 

Tips for Buying Cruise Insurance

Securing the best cruise insurance isn't just about finding the best price; it's about ensuring it covers all your potential needs. 

When to Purchase Cruise Insurance

It's always best to purchase cruise insurance soon after placing the initial deposit on your cruise. The sooner you buy your insurance, the quicker your trip is protected against a sudden cancellation. Additionally, most travel insurance plans have optional riders you can add to your policy as long as you purchase your policy within a certain window.

For example, cancel for any reason coverage often needs to be purchased within a purchasing window, which can last anywhere between a few days to three weeks from your initial trip deposit. You can also get your pre-existing conditions covered under the same conditions. 

That said, most companies will let you buy travel insurance up until the day before your departure. There are some limited policies that you can purchase after you've left for your trip, such as Allianz OneTrip Emergency Medical  policy.

How to Find the Best Deals on Cruise Insurance

Keep a lookout for deals, but remember, the cheapest option isn't always the best. Balance cost with coverage, and ensure you're getting the protection you need at a price that doesn't rock your financial boat. A travel insurance comparison site like VisitorsCoverage and InsureMyTrip are good places to compare multiple quotes from all of the major carriers at once.

Why You Should Trust Us: How We Reviewed Cruise Insurance Plans

When comparing cruise travel insurance providers, we evaluated them based on the following criteria to come up with our list of top picks:

Customer Satisfaction

We look at ratings from JD Power and other industry giants to see where a company ranks in customer satisfaction. We also look at customer review sites like Trustpilot and SquareMouth.

Policy Types

We look at policy types and offerings, from standard travel protections to adventure sports coverage. We look at the amount of insurance offered

Average Premiums

We compare average premiums per trip. Some companies also offer annual plans, and we compare policies accordingly.

Claims Paid

How frequently do companies pay claims easily and quickly? We check customer reviews and other resources to see which companies honor policies most effectively.

We look at the company's overall behavior. Is it operating ethically? Companies can earn additional points for such behaviors.

You can read more about how Business Insider rates insurance here.

Best Cruise Travel Insurance FAQs

As a rule of thumb, you can expect to pay between 5% and 10% of your prepaid, nonrefundable trip expenses for cruise insurance coverage. The price will vary depending on factors like your age, your travel destination, and whether you require additional coverage.

Cruise insurance typically covers trip cancellations, interruptions, medical emergencies, emergency evacuations, and lost or damaged baggage, though coverage can vary based on the policy

Your options for travel insurance is severely limited after your trip starts, but you still have a few options.

The difference between traditional travel insurance and cruise insurance is that cruise insurance offers more specialized coverage, for situations such as missing a departure port and more coverage for medical evacuations, since it's more expensive to evacuate someone at sea than on land. 

Most cruise insurance includes coverage for missing a departure port, so you should be able to claim for a missed port. Just make sure you check the details of your policy before you file a claim and before you travel, so you know what compensation you're entitled to.

best cruise line in the world 2022

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Read our editorial standards .

Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they're subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.

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  23. The 5 Best Midsize-ship Ocean Cruise Lines in 2022

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