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- #1Viking Ocean Cruises#1 in Best Cruises from Sydney
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.
- #2Azamara Club Cruises#2 in Best Cruises from Sydney (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.
- #2Crystal Cruises#2 in Best Cruises from Sydney (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.
- #2Regent Seven Seas Cruises#2 in Best Cruises from Sydney (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.
- #5Seabourn Cruise Line#5 in Best Cruises from Sydney
The 458-passenger Seabourn Sojourn debuted in June 2010 and features all-suite accommodations. About 90 percent of the suites offer verandas, and all accommodations provide 24-hour room service, flat-screen TVs, bathrooms with dual sinks and a separate living area and bedroom. What's more, cruisers are welcomed with complimentary Champagne upon arrival and can enjoy a fruit basket that's refreshed daily. A suite stewardess is assigned to each cabin to assist with requests as well. Sojourn is virtually identical to its sister ships, Seabourn Odyssey and Seabourn Quest.
Outside the rooms, travelers can gamble at the casino, work up a sweat in the fitness center or relax at the spa. Those interested in soaking up the sun can snag a spot by one of two swimming pools or enjoy one of six hot tubs. Cruisers can also fuel their competitive juices with a round of shuffleboard or golf on the nine-hole putting green. When anchored, vacationers in select destinations can take advantage of the ship's water sports equipment, such as kayaks and paddle boats.
There are four dining venues to choose from on the Seabourn Sojourn, including casual and fine dining options. In the evening, cruisers can enjoy cocktails at one of the bars or dance under the stars. The ship's nearly 1-to-1 crew-to-passenger ratio means cruisers should expect exceptional service.
In 2018-19, Sojourn sails to destinations in Australia and New Zealand, Asia, Africa, Canada, Alaska and more. Itineraries are as short as eight days and as long as 72 days. Soujourn is set to begin cruises to various ports in Cuba, including Havana, in October 2019.
- #6Regent Seven Seas Cruises#6 in Best Cruises from Sydney (tie)
After undergoing a massive refurbishment in late 2016, Seven Seas Voyager boasts updated decor throughout the ship. The ship features all-suite accommodations outfitted with flat-screen TVs, private balconies and marble bathrooms. The roughly 700-passenger Seven Seas Voyager employs 447 crew members, ensuring an excellent crew-to-guest ratio and a high standard of service.
While onboard, passengers can lounge poolside or receive treatments at the Canyon Ranch Spa. After working up an appetite, guests can dine at one of the ship’s six venues, including the Prime 7 steakhouse and the French-inspired Chartreuse. As with all Regent Seven Seas ships, specialty dining is included in the cruise fare.
When nighttime rolls around, guests can try their luck at the casino, catch a stage production at the Constellation Theater or savor a nightcap at one of four lounges and bars.
- #6Silversea Cruises#6 in Best Cruises from Sydney (tie)
Silversea's largest ship to date, Silver Muse, is the line's newest flagship (it debuted in April 2017). Muse offers nearly a 1-to-1 crew-to-guest ratio, with 411 crew members and space for 596 passengers.
Among the ship's standout features are its spacious all-suite accommodations, which range from 334 square feet to 1,389 square feet. All cabins are serviced by a butler and include Pratesi bed linens, a marble bath with Bulgari toiletries and a picture window or balcony. While all passengers are treated to a complimentary hour of internet per day, those staying in upgraded suites get extras like balconies, multiple flat-screen TVs and interactive media libraries.
When it comes to dining, Silver Muse boasts eight venues that showcase a variety of cuisines, including Italian and Asian, as well as French fare at the upscale La Dame by Relais & Châteaux.
Similar to other ships in the fleet, Silver Muse offers a variety of onboard activities and facilities, including a spa, a pool deck and gym, a casino and several lounges.
- #6Viking Ocean Cruises#6 in Best Cruises from Sydney (tie)
Like its four sister ships, Viking Sun – which began sailing in November 2017 – carries 930 passengers and 550 crew members. One of the ship's highlights is its all-veranda accommodations. Cabins range from 270-square-foot Veranda Staterooms to the 1,448-square-foot Owner's Suite. All accommodations include flat-screen TVs, complimentary Wi-Fi access, stocked minibars and bathrooms with heated floors. Those who choose an upgraded room receive additional perks, such as priority reservations at the spa and specialty restaurants.
Onboard dining options include Manfredi's Italian Restaurant, the internationally focused World Café and the poolside Aquavit Terrace. Guests can also visit the main restaurant for a menu that changes daily.
When it comes to ship activities, guests can receive treatments at the spa, lounge by one of two pools (including an infinity pool on the stern of the ship) or mingle with other passengers in The Viking Living Room. In the evenings, entertainment includes live performances in the theater and movies in one of two cinemas.
- #9Seabourn Cruise Line#9 in Best Cruises from Sydney
Like its sister, Seabourn Ovation, the 600-passenger Seabourn Encore is one of the larger ships in the fleet. The ship debuted in December 2016 and maintains a roughly 1-to-1 crew-to-passenger ratio.
Every cabin in the all-suite Seabourn Encore has a veranda with ocean views. Additionally, all accommodations offer designer bath products, a stocked bar, a flat-screen TV, personalized stationery and complimentary 24-hour room service. All guests are greeted with Champagne and fresh fruit upon arrival.
As for activities and onboard amenities, Seabourn Encore features two swimming pools, six outdoor whirlpools, a spa and a fitness center with complimentary fitness classes. Once nighttime falls, cruisers can choose from a variety of indoor and outdoor bars, as well as the Grand Salon performance venue and a casino. There are also five eateries available to guests, with a sixth to be added in spring 2019. Current dining options include the main dining room, a buffet, The Grill by Thomas Keller (a Michelin-starred chef) and more.
- #10Celebrity Cruises#10 in Best Cruises from Sydney
Recently refurbished in 2016 (and first launched in 2008), the 2,852-passenger Celebrity Solstice offers a sushi restaurant and the Alcoves retreat (a private cabana area with dedicated attendants) in the Lawn Club. Other daytime activities range from spa treatments to cooking lessons to art classes. Young passengers ages 3 to 17 can also participate in age-appropriate youth clubs.
As far as dining goes, Celebrity Solstice boasts 10 restaurants, half of which are specialty spots that require an extra fee. Guests were pleased with the cuisine variety, and with a nearly 1-to-2 crew-to-passenger ration, the ship makes service a priority.
When it comes to lodging, 85 percent of Solstice's cabins feature verandas. Guests can choose from Inside, Ocean View, Veranda and Suite category cabins, all with amenities like flat-screen TVs, minibars and 24-hour room service. Those who spring for an AquaClass cabin receive additional amenities, like an upgraded room service menu.
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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