10 of the most luxurious cruise ships in the world

caption
A cruise ship in the The French Polynesia islands.
source
Photograph courtesy of Paul Gauguin Cruises

Traveling aboard a luxury cruise ship is often the best way to explore new places, but some cruise lines offer experiences that are just a notch above the rest.

In its most recent issue, National Geographic Traveler put together a list of the 21 best cruises in the world, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Nile River.

Below, we’ve selected our favorites from the list, highlighting ships that include perks like “snow rooms” and spa services, and others that offer travelers unparalleled experiences like tours of tropical gardens in the Marquesas Islands. All captions are by National Geographic Traveler.


The Seychelles islands

source
Photograph courtesy of Crystal Cruises

“The 62-passenger Crystal Esprit,the first yacht from this famed luxury line, spends winters at these Indian Ocean islands. Release baby turtles into the surf and admire the giant coco-de-mer palms.”


The Amazon River

source
Photograph courtesy of Aqua Expeditions

“Aqua Expeditions’ Aria Amazon sails through the Peruvian rain forest, with visits to indigenous villages and a chance to fish for piranha. Onboard, menus celebrate local fare with ceviche, river fish, and hearts of palm salad.”


The Nile River

source
Photograph courtesy of Dylan Chandler, Nour El Nil

“Lounging on pillows stuffed with Egyptian cotton on the top deck of Nour El Nil’s Meroë, you’ll feel like a modern-day pharaoh as you journey past date palms, ibis, and the temples at Edfu and Kom Ombo.”


The Mekong River

source
Photograph courtesy of Scenic Spirit

“The orchid-adorned 68-passenger Scenic Spirit launched last year with every cabin a one-bedroom balcony suite. On land, tour the monastery in the old Cambodian capital of Oudong and receive a monk’s blessing.”


The Caribbean Sea

source
Photograph courtesy of Island Wind Jammers

“Since most of the crew ofIsland Windjammer‘s 26-passenger Vela are from the islands, you’ll get super local suggestions for bars and shops. One St. Lucia favorite: the Fish Friday street party in Rodney Bay.”


The French Polynesia islands

source
Photograph courtesy of Paul Gauguin Cruises

“ThePaul Gauguinwas built with a shallow draft for navigating Polynesian lagoons. The line invites local singers and dancers to perform and offers spa treatments that use monoi oil, made from local tiare flowers.”


The Baltic Sea

source
Photograph courtesy of Viking Cruises

“After a day touring Tallinn or seeing a private performance at theRoyal Swedish OperainStockholm, you can head to theViking Skys onboard Scandinavian-style spa for a steamy sauna followed by a visit to the snow room.”


The Mediterranean Sea

source
Photograph courtesy of Guillaume Plisson, Le Ponant

“The three-mastedLe Ponantvisits a variety of small western Mediterranean ports and locations along the Corsican coast. Onboard, toast new friends with flutes of Veuve Clicquot paired with Ladurée macarons.”


The Marquesas Islands

source
Photograph by James D. Morgan/Getty Images

“Half cruise ship, half freighter, the Aranui 5 spotlights its friendly local crew on its 14-day voyage to this remote South Pacific archipelago. They share family stories while leading trips to ancient tiki sites and tropical gardens.”


Transatlantic

source
Photograph by James D. Morgan/Getty Images

The Cunard Line‘s flagship, Queen Mary 2built with a special hull for greater speed – immerses you in British culture. As you ‘cross the pond,’ hit the Golden Lion Pub for trivia night, pints, and fish-and-chips.”


Other destinations in the issue include the Danube River, the Burgundy Canal, and the Mississippi River.

source
National Geographic

See the full list here.