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- #1Viking Ocean Cruises#1 in Best Cruises from New York
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 Italian Restaurant 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 2019-20, Viking Star sails to destinations in Europe, the Mediterranean, Canada, the Caribbean and more.
- #2Disney Cruise Line#2 in Best Cruises from New York
The 2,713-passenger Disney Magic is the oldest ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet (it first launched in 1998) but it received some updates in 2018, including the "Rapunzel's Royal Table" dining experience. The ship features family favorites such as the AquaDuck waterslide, the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique dress-up shop and Edge, an interactive game center for tweens.
Disney Magic features diverse entertainment, including live shows, an open-air Wide World of Sports deck, three pools and a splash area for children younger than 3. Unique to the Magic is the teens-only Chill Spa. When it comes to dining, the ship offers eight eateries, including an adults-only specialty restaurant and buffet options. Recent cruisers gave the food quality mixed reviews.
In terms of lodging, 70 percent of cabins offer ocean views or verandas. All cabins are outfitted with flat-screen TVs, sitting areas and bathrooms with separate showers and tubs. Suites include extra perks such as concierge service and media libraries. Past cruisers noted that the service on this ship is up to Disney's standards, but so is the price tag.
In 2019-20, Disney Magic sails from Miami, New York City, San Juan, Puerto Rico and a variety of spots across Europe. It completes a number of transatlantic cruises, as well as sailings to the Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, the Caribbean and Europe.
- #3Crystal Cruises#3 in Best Cruises from New York
Crystal Serenity first set sail in 2003, and it emerged 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. There is one crew member for every 1.5 guests. Serenity also features better technology (including free unlimited Wi-Fi) and exciting new food options. 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, minifridges 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 2019-20, Crystal Serenity cruises to destinations across the world, such as ports in the Caribbean, Europe, Canada and the Mediterranean. Its departure ports include Barcelona; New York City; Rome and more.
- #4Norwegian Cruise Line#4 in Best Cruises from New York
Built in 2017, the 3,804-passenger, 1,821-crew-member Norwegian Joy was refurbished and redeployed to Alaska in 2019. Accommodation options include Inside, Oceanview and Balcony staterooms, as well as Suites, Concierge rooms (which come with concierge service) and The Haven cabins (which include 24-hour butler service and private sundecks).
There are five inclusive dining options and eight specialty venues on board, the latter of which offer cuisines from Japan, France and Italy. Complimentary restaurants include the ship's three main dining rooms; The Local, a 24-hour pub; and the Garden Café, a casual spot with floor-to-ceiling windows that offers breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Cruisers will find plenty of things to do on board, from shopping at duty-free stores and luxury boutiques to watching stand-up comedians and full-scale productions like the Broadway musical Footloose. The ship also offers a spa, laser tag, a racetrack, a casino, mini-golf, a fitness center, two aqua parks and more.
- #5Norwegian Cruise Line#5 in Best Cruises from New York (tie)
Norwegian Escape debuted in 2015. It carries 4,266 passengers and 1,733 crew members. Highlights include the District Brew House and Norwegian's first-ever wine bar, The Cellars. Guests can choose from a total of 18 dining venues, including 11 specialty restaurants.
When it comes to activities, the ship appeals to multiple generations. Children can play in age-appropriate clubs or in the kids aqua park, while adults can sip cocktails or get treatments at the Mandara Spa. Nighttime entertainment includes live musicals, acts at the Headliners Comedy Club and table games at the casino.
Accommodations are just as diverse, ranging from Studio staterooms designed for solo travelers to Inside, Oceanview and Balcony cabins. There are also larger Mini-Suites, as well as The Haven (exclusive cabins that offer elite perks like 24-hour butler service and access to a private sundeck).
- #5Regent Seven Seas Cruises#5 in Best Cruises from New York (tie)
Carrying only 490 passengers, Seven Seas Navigator offers guests an intimate setting, with all-suite accommodations outfitted with marble bathrooms, private balconies and free Wi-Fi throughout the voyage.
Thanks for a major refurbishment in 2016 (the ship originally launched in 1999), the ship features updated staterooms and refreshed public spaces and restaurants. Passengers can choose from five dining venues, including a specialty steakhouse and the causal Pool Grill.
During days at sea, guests can unwind at the expansive pool deck, play card games or mingle with fellow shipmates at the Pool Bar. In the evenings, cruisers can sip cocktails at one of three onboard lounges, play casino games or take in a show at the Seven Seas Lounge.
Like other ships in the fleet, Seven Seas Navigator prides itself on providing a high-caliber service and maintains a nearly 1-to-1 passenger-to-crew ratio. Guests praise the "Regent Experience," which includes specialty dining and shore excursions in the cruise fare.
In 2019-20, Seven Seas Navigator offers a variety of sailings throughout Canada and New England, the Caribbean, South America, Europe and more.
- #5Silversea Cruises#5 in Best Cruises from New York (tie)
Built in 2001 and last refurbished in December 2018, Silver Whisper can accommodate up to 388 luxury-seeking passengers. With 302 staff members on board and a nearly 1-to-1 crew-to-guest ratio, the ship maintains a higher standard of service than some competitors. The crew members' efficiency and attention to detail earned the ship high marks from many recent cruisers.
Guests appreciated the all-suite cabins, which range from 287 to 1,264 square feet. More than 80 percent feature private teak balconies. Amenities include walk-in closets, minifridges and full marble baths with separate showers. Silver Whisper offers an array of daytime activities geared toward older travelers, including enrichment courses and afternoon tea, in addition to a casino, a spa, a salon and a pool deck.
Like its sister ship, Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper touts four onboard restaurants, including La Dame and The Grill, a lava stone cooking venue. Round out a day at sea with a show in the performance theater or at one of the several cocktail lounges.
- #8Carnival Cruise Line#8 in Best Cruises from New York (tie)
First introduced in 2002, the 2,124-passenger Carnival Legend was last updated in May 2018 to include cosmetic updates and traveler favorites like the Alchemy Bar, BlueIguana Cantina and Tequila Bar, Guy's Burger Joint and the RedFrog Rum Bar. The ship provides a wide array of entertainment and activities to satisfy multigenerational crowds.
Young ones (ages 2 to 17) can play at organized, age-appropriate clubs while adults attend a show at the comedy club or hit the casino. The ship is also one of the first to include the Build-A-Bear Workshop at Sea.
When it comes to lodging, about 80 percent of the ship’s staterooms offer ocean views, and 80 percent of those cabins feature balconies. While Interior staterooms are more budget-friendly, Balcony and Suite category rooms are worth the splurge, according to recent passengers. All staterooms include flat-screen TVs and 24-hour room service.
The ship's food options include two main dining rooms, a steakhouse, a sushi restaurant, a buffet with everything from pizza to Chinese fare and more.
In 2019-20, Carnival Legend departs from Barcelona, London, New York, Vancouver, Tampa, Los Angeles and Venice for sailings in Alaska, Hawaii, Europe, the Caribbean and the Panama Canal. It also completes some transatlantic sailings.
- #8Cunard Line#8 in Best Cruises from New York (tie)
Originally launched in 2004, the Queen Mary 2 underwent a major update in 2016 to introduce redesigned public spaces and restaurants, renovated staterooms and suites, additional spaces and kennels for transatlantic passengers traveling with pets (the only ones at sea). The ship also received a complete exterior facelift.
The 2,691-passenger Queen Mary 2 is Cunard’s flagship, and it is known for its frequent transatlantic crossings and luxury cruising experience. Recent passengers rave about the upscale cabins, which range from Single staterooms designed for solo passengers to Princess Grill and Queens Grill cabins that offer extra perks, such as exclusive dining venues and butler service.
When travelers aren't in their cabins, they can participate in enrichment programming, visit the ship's planetarium, read in the largest library at sea and more. In the evenings, cruisers can enjoy shows at the Royal Court Theatre or musical acts in various venues across the ship.
Queen Mary 2 offers six dining venues, including two specialty restaurants, as well as six bars and lounges. Overall, past cruisers were impressed with the specialty restaurants, while the main dining rooms received mixed reviews.
- #8Norwegian Cruise Line#8 in Best Cruises from New York (tie)
Refurbished in 2017, Norwegian Pearl shuttles 2,394 passengers and 1,072 crew members to a variety of destinations. With its diverse selection of onboard offerings, Pearl has something for cruisers of all ages.
Families can spend quality time playing basketball, bowling or playing cards in the LifeStyle Room. Alternatively, parents can send their youngsters to age-appropriate youth clubs while they enjoy some grown-up time at the Mandara Spa or the Pearl Club Casino.
As far as lodging goes, the Inside and Oceanview cabins are comparable to many other Norwegian ships, ranging from 138 to 161 square feet. Cruisers can find more room in the Balcony and Suite staterooms or The Haven, which offer between 205 and 4,200 square feet.
Norwegian Pearl boasts seven complimentary eateries and seven specialty restaurants. Passenger favorites include the 24-hour O'Sheehan's bar and grill and the specialty Cagney's Steakhouse.
In 2019-20, Norwegian Pearl departs from ports in Miami, New York City and Quebec City. It sails to destinations in the Caribbean, the Panama Canal, and Canada and New England. Pearl also offers convenient weekend cruises to the Bahamas.
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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