The Best Cruise Lines, According to Condé Nast

What are the best cruise lines? It is a natural enough question to ask, not only because it is always entertaining to learn of the best of anything, but also because it bears on how you might plan your next cruise vacation. If you are looking for the best cruise vacation, then presumably you’ll need to book it through the best cruise line.

Of course, what constitutes the best cruise line depends on what you value in a cruise line. If you are only interested in taking cruises to a particular part of the world – like, say, the Caribbean – then the best cruise line is probably the one that offers the most cruises to the places of the Caribbean you wish to visit. If you are really taken by enormous cruise ships, then you might consider the Royal Caribbean International cruise line the best, as two ships in its fleet, Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas, are the world’s largest cruise ships. But for a more general list of the best cruise lines, one that doesn’t place too much weight on any given characteristic of a cruise line, let’s consider which cruise lines are the top rated. (We used the same metric in our article about the top three cruise ships; it seemed to work in that case, so we have to assume it will work in this case as well.)

There are a number of sources on the Internet that rank the most highly rated cruise lines, so let’s take a look at a list composed by one well-regarded source, Condé Nast Traveler. A recent issue of this magazine listed 13 cruise lines as the top rated, as determined by the readers of this magazine (who, presumably, have sailed with these cruise lines). Although each of these 13 cruise lines is given a numerical score, the magazine does not place them in order from highest to lowest (or vice versa), but rather lists them in alphabetical order. So, allow us to reorganize the list from highest rated to lowest rated, as that seems more helpful for our purposes:

  1. Yachts of Seabourn
  2. Crystal Cruises
  3. Regent Seven Seas Cruises
  4. Disney Cruise Line
  5. Grand Circle Small Ship Cruises
  6. SeaDream Yacht Club
  7. Oceania Cruises (tied in rating to SeaDream Yacht Club)
  8. Cunard Line
  9. Silversea Cruises
  10. Oberoi
  11. Windstar Cruises
  12. Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
  13. Abercrombie & Kent

Depending on your knowledge of cruise lines, you might notice that many of these are small, luxury cruise lines. This makes sense, as the more expensive and luxurious cruise lines surely provide excellent service and accommodations. Otherwise, they couldn’t get away with charging more for a cruise vacation than other, more major cruise lines. (Interestingly, though, Disney Cruise Line is rated very highly, and it is definitely not a small cruise line.)

So, if you are looking for a highly rated cruise line to book a cruise through (and you can afford to do so), the list above points you to several excellent possibilities. Again, though, these aren’t necessarily the best cruise lines for everyone, as people want different things from their cruise vacations. We’ll keep posting articles that rank cruise lines by other methods, so stay on the look out for those.

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