The most popular company in the small/midsize-ships category is again WINDSTAR CRUISES, with its three distinctive super-deluxe ships, each featuring a set of computer-operated sails. The Wind Surf, which carries 312 guests, is twice the size of the other two. Gourmet meals and spa treatments are customer favorites. In 2011 and 2012, sailings will include new Baltic, European, Caribbean, and Costa Rican voyages.
The ever-elegant CRYSTAL CRUISES now consists of two ships, the Crystal Symphony and the Crystal Serenity, each of which tops out at around 1,000 passengers. Tuxes are welcome but no longer required for formal nights. Like wandering stars, the ships vary the itineraries year by year. In 2011, they are undertaking some new Alaskan cruises in addition to their usual European and Pacific programs.
Top 5 Small/Medium Ships1. Windstar Cruises
2. Crystal Cruises
3. Regent Seven Seas Cruises
4. Seabourn Cruise Line
5. Oceania Cruises
SEABOURN CRUISE LINE offers six deluxe vessels, with the new Seabourn Quest debuting in Barcelona in June. She will spend her maiden season exploring the Greek Isles, Turkey, and the Black Sea. Staff-to-cruiser ratio is about one-to-one on Seabourn.
With the advent of the 1,250-passenger Marina, OCEANIA CRUISES now has a flagship almost twice the size of its other three vessels. The new ship seems designed for epicureans, with 10 dining rooms — six of which are open-seating restaurants — all at no additional charge. Sister ship Riviera will debut next year.
The cruise operations launched by ABERCROMBIE & KENT garnered an Editors’ Mention for small ships this year. The half-century-old luxury travel provider charters with several different vessels for its worldwide waterborne explorations, and it remains a perennial favorite with our readers. Many tours are also on rivers and canals.
With new ships, new itineraries, and heightened standards of comfort and luxury, the maritime outlook ahead calls for some wonderful sailing adventures this year and in the years to come.
Celebrated Living editors also recognize these outstanding cruise lines.
Large Resort Ships
Abercrombie & Kent