The World's Most Luxurious Cruise Ships (Slideshow)


8. S. S. Catherine by Uniworld River Cruises

The S.S. Catherine navigates the Rhône River, through Provence and Burgundy and its much desired collection of vineyards. It's as much as a trip for the taste buds as it is for the visual senses thanks to the blend of beautiful colors that accompany the region, and guests are privileged to experience local cuisine perfected by local wines.

7. Crystal Symphony by Crystal Cruises

It’s all about luxury and exceptional service aboard Crystal Symphony, a spacious and modern cruise ship. Though the service and amenities all are of top quality, the most exceptional is the food: Japanese celebrity-chef Nobu Matsuhisa is renowned worldwide for his Nobu restaurants in major cities, but Silk Road and Sushi Bar are his only dining options on sea. His signature dishes, including grilled black cod and lobster with yuzu sauce, make an appearance on the menu. For something a little more toned down, don’t miss out on the plethora of fresh sushi and sashimi available at the Sushi Bar.

6. Louis Cristal by Louis Cruises

Exploring the Aegean in further detail, this modern, 480-cabin, cruise ship provides one of the shorter but more affordable luxury cruise tours. Separate myth and legend from history with a tour of historic Greek islands such as Mykonos, Rhodes, and Crete, complemented by Greek hospitality, including welcoming, fresh, authentic Greek food.

5. Seabourn Sojourn World Cruise by Seabourn

Explore more than 40 ports around the world from your bed on one of the 225 suites on this world cruise, skirting natural wonders from New Zealand and Bora Bora and visiting some of the world’s most important ports, both new and old, from Venice and Mumbai to Singapore and Hong Kong. A member of Chaîne de Rôtisseurs, one of the world’s most prestigious gastronomic societies, it is no surprise that the Seabourn exclusively serves the ultimate in luxury in its fine dining options: Black River Ossetra sturgeon caviar, sustainably produced without compromising the species’ future.

4. Alila Purnama by Alila Hotels

Moving into the luxury cruise sector following a string of successful boutique luxury villas and resorts in Asia, this Southeast Asian luxury hotel group presents the Alila Purnama. Modeled after a traditional Indonesian Phinisi ship, the Alila Purnama is decked out in sustainable yet understated luxury, including locally sourced custom-made teak and rattan. The cruise is available for private hire for up to 10 guests. Highlights include tailored cruises, usually lasting six nights, to pristine dive sights and relatively unknown islands across Southeast Asia. Dining is courtesy of the private chef who prepares a mix of Asian and Western dishes, or is equally happy to cater to the guests’ tastes.

3. Silver Shadow by Silversea

Negotiating the South China Sea, this cruise departs Hong Kong on the way to Singapore, occasionally making stops along Vietnam’s splendid coastline. With an overnight stay in Ho Chi Minh City, and visits to Haiphong and Hanoi, enjoying the street food culture of Vietnam’s cities is one of the cruise’s highlights, with trips to the local markets also a part of the cruise. However, it is the fine dining restaurant Le Champagne that draws the plaudits, as it's the only Relais & Châteaux-accredited restaurant at sea.

2. Nenuphar by French Country Waterways

The intimate and extremely private 12-person Nenuphar boat offers a slow-paced tryst with food along France’s finest gastronomic regions. The weeklong cruise centers around the region’s food and wine culture, with a highlight being the multiple-course meals created by the onboard chef featuring the fresh catch of the day complemented by free-flowing wine, and the occasional visit to a three-star Michelin restaurant onshore.

1. Paul Gauguin by Paul Gauguin

Tropical-inspired cabins seem appropriate as the cruise sails the South Pacific, with Bora Bora slipping into view. The ship is decked out with romance in mind, from its queen-sized beds to its dining options, which are plenty on this small cruise ship. In addition to the casual venues that offer indoor and alfresco dining under the stars, L’Etoile is the cruise’s main restaurant, serving French cuisine that draws from its Polynesian surroundings, and is topped off with free-flowing house wine, which is included in your package.