20 Best Cruise Lines in 2024, According to Members Choice Awards

The results are in, and these cruise lines have what it takes to impress the most discerning passengers.
Updated April 9, 2024
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For those of us ready to plan our next big vacation, a cruise may be high on our list. But how can you make sure you book the best one? Enter Cruiseline.com with its ninth annual Member Choice Awards.

Reviewers meticulously took stock of every detail, from ship amenities and food and drink to entertainment options and customer service. Cruiseline.com sifted through the data and determined who truly leads the pack and can help you step up your travel game. Here are the winners.

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Best river cruise line

Richard Semik/Adobe cruise ship at peso da regua

5. Uniworld River Cruises

Coming in at number five, this boutique cruise line has its roots in the 5-star hotel business. Ships are small, as is the guest-to-staff ratio.

Experts say Uniworld stands out for its old-school luxury, old-money decor, classic high-end cuisine, butler service, and bucket-list destinations.

4. Avalon Waterways

Beds face floor-to-ceiling windows on this cruise line, a major perk for those sick of staring at walls. Ships seldom feel crowded, and the vibe is casual but well-curated, good for couples.

Flex dining means everyone isn’t having dinner at once, and excursions are customizable depending on your preferences.

3. AmaWaterways

If enjoying fine food and wine in elegantly decorated spaces is your happy place, AmaWaterways is for you. Service is known for being exceptional, too.

You’ll have your pick of excursions, many of them free of charge. Speaking of free, AmaWaterWays gives you great overall value.

2. American Cruise Lines

Geared for mature travelers, American Cruise Lines operates in rivers all over the U.S., highlighting charming local gems. Enjoy wholesome entertainment and regional cuisine.

These classic riverboats have large staterooms, rocking chairs on the deck, an elevator, and a pure Americana vibe. Many excursions are free.

1. Viking River Cruises

Designed for mature folks who want a set itinerary, the number one riverboat cruise line is also the biggest. You sit back and enjoy all the stunning views, and it’ll handle everything else.

Viking highlights local culture and cuisine from each destination, giving you an authentic experience.

Best luxury cruise line

Allen.G/Adobe cruise ship at port in Juneau

5. Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection

The number five best luxury cruise line aims to make you feel like you’re on a private yacht. Nearly all-inclusive, the vibe is elegant yet restrained, with three Michelin-star dining.

On the boat, enjoy posh suites and amenities. On shore, visit off-the-beaten-path destinations that larger cruise ships can’t access.

4. Compagnie Du Ponant Yacht Cruises

Only one cruise line flies the French flag, and it’s number four on our list. Expect French culture and cuisine to be the star on these luxe, yacht-style boats.

Service is personal and exceptional. You’ll also access exotic locations because the ship is so small.

3. Silversea Cruises

Every suite has an ocean view on Silversea cruise ships, which are small and create a posh, intimate atmosphere. The staff-to-passenger ratio is often 1:1.

On board, enjoy ample luxe amenities, fine dining on a flex schedule, and a couples vibe. Visit bucket list destinations on land.

2. Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Luxury is king on this all-inclusive cruise line. Service, amenities, and dining are top-tier. Decor includes paintings by artists like Picasso, and the wine list is outstanding.

Elegant casual is the dress code on board, where suites are indulgent. On shore, the destinations are second to none.

1. Seabourn

Seabourn is a luxury cruise line that boasts the best spas in the industry. Wake up in an ocean-view suite, enjoy Michelin-star cuisine, and even play golf.

Geared for couples and friends, you’ll embark on private off-shore excursions in exotic locations. You might even get served caviar and champagne by the captain!

Best premium cruise line

Olena Zn/Adobe cruise ship near town Perast Kotor bay Montenegro

5. Oceania Cruises

Oceania balances luxury with unpretentiousness; you can enjoy high tea and foie gras but still play cornhole. Dining options are abundant, the decor is high-end, and there’s a library on board. Cooking classes and wine tastings are frequent.

Step off the ship to enjoy exciting adventures depending on your route.

4. Cunard

If you want a posh British vibe, Cunard is the cruise line for you. Expect elegance, dress codes, regular afternoon tea, and formal dining (though there is a buffet). Class divisions are stark on board.

Cunard is famous for its transatlantic crossings with stops in Europe and the Mediterranean.

3 Viking Ocean Cruises

With stylish Scandinavian decor and modern suites (think heated bathroom floors and charging stations), Viking snags the number three spot. Diverse dining options don’t disappoint.

The spa is a must, as is afternoon tea in a gorgeous garden setting. Enjoy walking trips at your ports of call.

2. Azamara Club Cruises

Best known for longer stays in ports of call, Azamara prides itself on meaningful cultural excursions. The ship has an upscale vibe that makes you feel right at home.

Cabins are modern, dining options are exceptional, and games like trivia are beloved activities. The White Night Party is a must.

1. Windstar Cruises

Number one, Windstar is known for small ships that can access less-visited ports. Boats have retractable marinas that unfurl when docked — hello, watersports!

Best for couples, enjoy James Beard chefs and big cabins on board. The vibe is upscale but intimate. Windstar is more about the exotic destinations.

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Best mainstream cruise line

5. Disney Cruise Line

Coming in fifth for mainstream cruise lines is Disney, which is famously family-friendly. You and the kids can experience multiple character interactions and magically curated dining adventures.

Famous destinations include Castaway Cay in the Bahamas, a private island with ample amenities — including adults-only spaces.

4. Holland America Line

This Dutch-helmed cruise line skews toward the traditional and has become more family-friendly over the years. Ships are comfortable, inviting, and spacious, with top-tier service.

After relaxing all day, taking in abstract art, and enjoying delicious, traditional cuisine, excursions can be tailored to your stamina levels.

3. Carnival Cruise Lines

Carnival is famous for being the fun cruise line. Ships have endless show programming, casinos, and water and sports activities for the whole family. Dining is endless.

Ships may feel crowded, but that’s part of the adventure. Excursions vary by location, from exciting wildlife encounters to cultural adventures.

2. Celebrity Cruises

Elegant but affordable, Celebrity ships have impeccable design. Service and dining are outstanding, lodgings are spacious, and the AquaSpa is worth a visit. Don’t miss perusing the extensive wine list.

Once you step off the artfully curated ship, enjoy private transportation to your excursion of choice on land.

1. Royal Caribbean

The number one mainstream cruise line has the biggest ships out there, bursting with entertainment and fun activities. Think ziplining, ice skating, Broadway shows, and endless dining.

The whole family can enjoy pleasant lodgings at night, have fun at any time of day, and enjoy excursions in your destinations of choice.

Bottom line

Mariakray/Adobe cruise ship terminal

Cruising has something for every traveler, and these cruise lines are at the tippy top of the food chain. Whether you want to travel on a budget or splurge on a bucket list adventure, and do so using a top travel credit card to earn rewards on your vacation, there's a voyage for you.

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Cat Lafuente Cat Lafuente is a Florida-based writer and editor with extensive experience in digital and print content spaces. Her own personal finance journey — particularly consolidating debt and paying it off, in turn boosting her credit score and becoming a homeowner — inspired her to join the FinanceBuzz team; she hopes she can help others do the same.

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