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- #1Seabourn Cruise Line#1 in Best Cruises for Couples
Ovation debuted in May 2018, making it the newest addition to the Seabourn family. The ship holds 600 passengers and has an intimate crew-to-passenger ratio of nearly 1-to-1. Still, some recent travelers felt service was not up to the standard of Seabourn's other ships.
Seabourn Ovation adhere's to the line's penchant for luxury, offering all-suite accommodations, fine dining experiences and indulgent onboard activities. All suites boast verandas that overlook the ocean, plus standard amenities like a complimentary in-suite bar and flat-screen TVs. Extra perks, like spa-style "Pure Pampering" baths drawn by your personal suite stewardess, are available.
Onboard amenities range from complimentary fitness classes to spa and salon treatments to a deck with private cabanas and a whirlpool. Come nighttime, cruisers can unwind at the alfresco Sky Bar, try their luck at the casino or enjoy a movie or dancing under the stars.
Passengers also have a variety of eateries to choose from, including The Grill by Thomas Keller, which serves steakhouse classics created by its namesake Michelin-starred chef. Should the restaurant be fully booked, guests can dine at one of four other casual and fine dining venues, such as the Japanese-focused Sushi and the buffet-style Colonnade.
- #2Viking Ocean Cruises#2 in Best Cruises for Couples
Launched in April 2016, Viking Sea is the second vessel in Viking's Ocean Cruises fleet. Carrying just 930 passengers, the ship's small size is designed to allow direct access to smaller ports such as Bergen, Norway, and Montreal.
Viking Sea's staterooms range from 270-square-foot Veranda Staterooms to the 1,448-square-foot Owner's Suite. All accommodations include balconies, flat-screen TVs, king-sized beds, complimentary Wi-Fi access and bathrooms with heated floors. Those who splurge on upgraded staterooms receive extra perks like priority reservations for excursions, spa treatments and specialty restaurants.
The ship's facilities include a fitness center, a Nordic spa (complete with a snow grotto), an outdoor gym and yoga area, a theater and a one-of-a-kind infinity pool on the stern of the ship that gives the illusion of swimming in the ocean.
When you work up an appetite, the Viking Sea offers a variety of dining options to quell your hunger. They range from casual Norwegian cuisine at Mamsen's to alfresco dining on the Aquavit Terrace. Recent passengers report a stellar onboard experience, describing the food as delicious, the ship as comfortable and the service as top-notch.
- #3Celebrity Cruises#3 in Best Cruises for Couples
Launched in 2012 and updated in January 2018, the 3,046-passenger Reflection sets itself apart with features like a top-deck Lawn Club and the Game On interactive activity center with flat-screen table games. Another highlight is the Alcoves, where guests can enjoy crowd-free cabana lounging (for an extra fee).
And with 12 restaurants, including seven specialty dining venues, passengers have plenty of choices when it comes to cuisine. As far as cabins go, 85 percent of Reflection's staterooms offer verandas, and the ship offers a wider variety of suite cabins than other Celebrity ships. All cabins come appointed with minibars and flat-screen TVs. Passengers who choose AquaClass suites receive extra perks, such as direct access to the spa and 24-hour butler service.
Recent passengers compliment the ship's layout, citing the pool areas are particularly comfortable and never overly crowded. Thanks to a 2-to-1 guest-to-crew ratio, cruisers can also expect personalized service.
- #4Viking Ocean Cruises#4 in Best Cruises for Couples
Viking's newest ocean ship, which set sail in 2018, can accommodate up to 930 guests. All staterooms on the Viking Orion are equipped with balconies, flat-screen LCD TVs and minibars. Cabins also feature bathrooms with glass-enclosed showers and heated floors.
When it's time to relax, cruisers can head to the spa for a treatment or – for a unique experience – cool their body temperatures down in the snow grotto (where snowflakes fall) before jumping into the sauna or hot tub to warm up. Recent travelers said this spa experience is not to be missed.
The ship is also home to a fitness center, a living room that hosts live entertainment, a library, shops, a salon and two movie theaters. The main pool area is expansive, featuring ample lounge seating, a retractable roof and a poolside bar. At night, the ship screens poolside movies under the stars.
Viking Orion's guests can enjoy meals at several onboard restaurants, including the main restaurant where menus rotate daily. Or, guests can book a private dining room for intimate gatherings. Recent cruisers raved about the service and food quality across the ship. Come nighttime, the ship's theater offers live performances ranging from themed shows to history and art lectures.
- #5Seabourn Cruise Line#5 in Best Cruises for Couples
The 458-passenger Seabourn Odyssey began sailing in June 2009 and – like its sister ships – is an all-suite vessel. Travelers can enjoy complimentary Champagne upon arrival, fresh fruit daily and 24-hour room service, plus everyone has access to a personal suite stewardess for additional requests. Each cabin is equipped with a separate living area and bedroom, a stocked bar, a flat-screen television, a walk-in closet and a bathroom with a tub, shower and dual sinks.
The four dining options aboard the Seabourn Odyssey range from casual poolside fare, such as pizzas and salads, to The Grill by Thomas Keller, which serves upscale meals and tasty libations. Post-dinner, travelers can relax with a cocktail at one of the bars or test their luck at the casino. The Seabourn Odyssey also offers nightly entertainment like movies under the stars and dance parties on the boat's deck.
Onboard amenities on this ship include two pools, six outdoor hot tubs, a fitness center, a nine-hole putting green and a spa. The ship also allows cruisers to enjoy water sports equipment like kayaks, paddle boats and Hobie Cat sailboats in select destinations.
- #6Azamara Club Cruises#6 in Best Cruises for Couples (tie)
Like its sister ship, the Azamara Journey, Quest appeals to travelers seeking an intimate, relaxed atmosphere. According to recent cruisers, the 690-passenger vessel is small enough to provide individualized service (thanks to its excellent crew-to-passenger ratio) but large enough to offer multiple dining venues, including two specialty restaurants, a main dining room and three causal venues.
The ship's staterooms were recently refurbished and include flat-screen TVs, minibars and 24-hour room service. Suites offer additional perks, such as 240 free internet minutes and complimentary seating at the ship's specialty dining restaurants. Cruisers can also spend time at the spa and fitness facilities, which previous passengers described as modern and comfortable.
Onboard entertainment includes seminars and wine tastings, among other enrichment programs. At night, passengers can enjoy blackjack in the Casino, watch live performances at the Cabaret Lounge or sip cocktails at one of Quest's multiple bar areas. On top of all that, itineraries that are seven or more nights include a complimentary night experiencing local culture in a port, known as AzAmazing Evenings.
- #6Azamara Club Cruises#6 in Best Cruises for Couples (tie)
The 690-passenger Azamara Journey attracts travelers who like large-ship amenities and enriching onboard programs (think a guest lecture series, culinary demonstrations and sommelier-led wine tastings) without the crowds. Plus, with 408 crew members on board, Journey offers a higher level of personalization than a megaship. While the recently refurbished staterooms are appointed with minibars, flat-screen TVs and new decor, suites include extras such as 240 free internet minutes and complimentary seating in the ship's specialty dining restaurants.
Cruisers have plenty of food options to choose from, including three causal eateries, a main dining room and two specialty restaurants – all of which recent cruisers praise. The ship also offers a complimentary cultural immersion program on sailings of seven or more nights (known as AzAmazing Evenings), new entertainment options like live theatre shorts and Broadway entertainment, a spa and a fitness center. Journey was revitalized in early 2016 to include the latest technology and an updated interior design.
- #6Crystal Cruises#6 in Best Cruises for Couples (tie)
Crystal Serenity first set sail in 2003, and it emerges from its most recent multimillion-dollar renovation in November 2018. It now welcomes 980 guests (fewer than its previous 1,070-passenger capacity), with the aim of enhancing the ship's personalized service and atmosphere. Serenity also features better technology (including free unlimited Wi-Fi) and exciting new food options. New dining choices include the Asian-inspired Silk Kitchen and Bar, the Brazilian-style Marketplace and Churrascaria and a new centrally located main restaurant.
The Serenity's updates continue into its cabins, with the addition of 36 new Penthouses and two new Penthouse Suites. All cabins come outfitted with flat-screen TVs, mini fridges and bathrooms with tubs. Guests staying in Penthouse category rooms have access to extras like Jacuzzis, nightly hors' d'oeuvres and personal butler service.
Crystal has long garnered high marks from cruisers and critics for its tailored onboard experience. Guests can enjoy a feng shui-inspired spa, multiple bars and lounges and a casino. Additional onboard offerings include shopping boutiques, a sports deck with a driving range and the Computer University@Sea. As of the 2018 redesign, a number of the ship's public spaces, including Palm Court and the Stardust Club, feature new finishes, carpeting and seating areas.
For 2018-19, Crystal Serenity cruises to destinations across the world, such as ports in the Caribbean, the Atlantic Crossing, the U.S. West Coast, Northern Europe, Hawaii and the Mediterranean. Its departure ports include Miami, Lisbon, Los Angeles and more.
- #6Regent Seven Seas Cruises#6 in Best Cruises for Couples (tie)
Regent Seven Seas Explorer debuted in 2016, making it the newest ship in the fleet. It's also the largest, welcoming up to 750 passengers. The ship makes service a top priority, with a nearly 1-to-1 crew-to-guest ratio. According to recent cruisers, the crew was friendly and attentive.
Travelers were even more impressed by the all-suite accommodations, which are some of the largest offered among ocean liners. All 375 suites include spacious balconies, marble bathrooms, walk-in closets, interactive flat-screen TVs and unlimited Wi-Fi.
Another high point: the cuisine. Explorer offers eight dining areas that range from the casual Pool Grill to Asian creations at Pacific Rim. As part of 'Regent Experience,' all specialty dining is included in the cruise fare.
Outside the cabins, guests can spend their days participating in cooking demonstrations, lounging by the pool or relaxing in the library. At night, entertainment options include casino games, cocktail lounges and shows in the Constellation Theater. Complaints about this ship are few and far between, though some reviewers felt the entertainment could be more impressive.
The best perk, according to recent passengers? All shore excursions are included. In 2018-19, Seven Seas Explorer will depart from Miami, Los Angeles and ports in Europe. Cruises sail to destinations in Africa, the Tropics and Panama Canal, Europe, the Mediterranean and South America. Seven Seas Explorer also completes transatlantic journeys during this time period.
- #6Viking Ocean Cruises#6 in Best Cruises for Couples (tie)
When it debuted in 2015, the Viking Star was the fleet's first ocean liner. Welcoming up to 930 passengers, the Viking Star stands outs for its staterooms, which are all outfitted with a veranda. Cabins range from 270-square-foot Veranda Staterooms to the 1,448-square-foot Owner's Suite, which offers a dining area that can seat six, an ocean view dry sauna and a boardroom that seats 12, among other amenities.
Beyond their rooms, passengers will find a spa, several shops, a theater that hosts live performances and lectures, two cinemas for screening movies and two pools, including a glass-backed infinity pool cantilevered off the stern.
There are eight dining options to choose from, all with no additional charge or fee. For fine dining, there's The Restaurant, Manfredi's and The Chef's Table, which touts a multi-course tasting menu with wine pairings. For a more casual atmosphere, passengers can stop at Mamsen's for Norwegian deli-style eats or the Wintergarden for afternoon tea, among others.
In 2018-19, Viking Star sails to destinations in Europe, the Mediterranean, Cuba and more.
Disclaimers about ship ratings: A ship’s Health Rating is based on vessel inspection scores published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If a ship did not receive a CDC score within 22 months prior to the calculation of its Overall Rating, its Health Rating appears as N/A; in such a case, the ship’s Overall Rating is calculated using the average Health Rating of all CDC-rated ships within the cruise line. All ship Traveler Ratings are based on ratings provided under license by Cruiseline.com.
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