Best Premium Cruise Lines

Premium cruises occupy the space between affordable mainstream lines (Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian) and high-class luxury lines (Crystal, Seabourn and Regent Seven Seas). This is most evident in the price point as premium sailings are more expensive than a mass-market cruise, but won’t give you the sticker shock of luxury sailings costing upwards of $400 per night, per person. Premium ships tend to be much larger than luxury ships (think 1,500 to 3,000 passengers) but come with bigger staterooms and a higher crew-to-passenger ratio. Amenities such as beverage packages and WiFi are either included as part of an early booking bonus or purchased at a lower rate than mass-market lines. With the slightly higher price tag upfront, premium ships generally have a minimal number of children on board with the exception of some multi-generational families traveling together during school breaks.

Windstar Cruises

Ranked #1 Premium Cruise Line by Cruiseline.com Users
4.3
147 Reviews

Windstar's ambience is sporting and refined, like that of a private yacht. These tall, masted sailin...

Best for:
Couples and families with older teens who like the idea of sailing without the actual need for wind.

Not for:
Children, as well as anyone who needs a lot of organized activities.

Sails to:
Alaska Canada, New England, New York Caribbean Caribbean - Eastern Caribbean - Southern Coastal - West Coast Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Europe - Mediterranean Europe - Northern Europe Europe - Western Europe Europe - Western Mediterranean Mexico Other (Asia/Africa/Middle East) Panama Canal, Central America South Pacific South Pacific - Australia South Pacific - Tahiti Transatlantic

Top ship:
Wind Surf

Viking Ocean Cruises

Ranked #2 Premium Cruise Line by Cruiseline.com Users
4.3
171 Reviews

Ushering in a new era of ocean cruising, Viking brings their signature award-winning river cruise ex...

Sails to:
Alaska - Inside Passage Canada, New England, New York Caribbean Europe Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Europe - Mediterranean Europe - Northern Europe Europe - Western Europe Europe - Western Mediterranean Other (Asia/Africa/Middle East) South America South Pacific South Pacific - Australia Transatlantic Transpacific World Cruise

Top ship:
Viking Star

Azamara Club Cruises

Ranked #3 Premium Cruise Line by Cruiseline.com Users
4.2
228 Reviews

Explore the hidden corners of the world onboard these well-appointed, intimate ships. Indulge in sum...

Best for:
Couples who prefer medium- or small-ship cruising with a resort-casual dress code.

Not for:
Families or intergenerational groups with teens or kids.

Sails to:
Caribbean Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Europe - Mediterranean Europe - Northern Europe Europe - Western Europe Europe - Western Mediterranean Other (Asia/Africa/Middle East) Panama Canal, Central America South America South Pacific South Pacific - Australia Transatlantic Transpacific

Top ship:
Azamara Journey

Paul Gauguin Cruises

Ranked #4 Premium Cruise Line by Cruiseline.com Users
4.2
44 Reviews

Sail to the shallow seas of Tahiti and French Polynesia aboard an intimate and luxurious ship. Exper...

Sails to:
South Pacific South Pacific - Tahiti

Top ship:
Paul Gauguin

Oceania Cruises

Ranked #5 Premium Cruise Line by Cruiseline.com Users
4.1
572 Reviews

Luxury awaits aboard the intimate ships of Oceania Cruises. The casual elegance of a country club is...

Best for:
Sophisticated couples or friends who like great food, wine, design, art, and service.

Not for:
Families — the line just launched its first kids’ club program on a limited basis.

Sails to:
Alaska Bermuda Canada, New England, New York Caribbean Coastal - West Coast Europe Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Europe - Mediterranean Europe - Northern Europe Europe - Western Europe Europe - Western Mediterranean Other (Asia/Africa/Middle East) Panama Canal, Central America South America South Pacific South Pacific - Australia South Pacific - Tahiti Transatlantic Transpacific World Cruise

Top ship:
Riviera

Cunard

Ranked #6 Premium Cruise Line by Cruiseline.com Users
4
508 Reviews

Cunard's legendary ocean liners exquisitely blend 21st-century luxury and the grandeur of a bygone e...

Best for:
Seniors, families, anglophiles, and those wanting to relive the glory days of ocean liners.

Not for:
Sea-day haters and those who get seasick easily.

Sails to:
Alaska Alaska - Inside Passage Australasia Canada, New England, New York Caribbean Caribbean - Eastern Coastal - West Coast Europe Europe - Mediterranean Europe - Northern Europe Europe - Western Europe Europe - Western Mediterranean North America Other (Asia/Africa/Middle East) Panama Canal, Central America South America South Pacific South Pacific - Australia Transatlantic World Cruise

Top ship:
Queen Mary 2