Best of the Best Cruises

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Crystal Cruises

Let's face it. We all love "best of" lists. Be it accolades from industry insiders or polls voted on by seasoned travelers, everyone has an opinion on what constitutes the best room, best value, or best experience, and we are all ears. We sorted through some of the popular 2009/2010 lists and compiled a collection of which cruise lines took top honors. Think of them as the Oscars of travel, only they rate excursions instead of art direction. Read on to see who took the top prizes -- and what makes them so special.



Crystal Cruises


Crystal has clinched the pole position on Travel + Leisure's World's Best list for large-ship cruise lines for an impressive 14 consecutive years. What sets it apart? Exclusive offerings like a sushi bar by chef Nobu Matsuhisa, celebrity entertainers, and Berlitz language instruction. www.crystalcruises.com

American Safari Cruises

Citing access to places big boats can't go, travel critic Howard Hillman names American Safari Cruises as top choice for an Alaskan expedition. The deluxe yachts only carry between 12 and 36 passengers and get up close and personal with glaciers and grizzly bears alike. www.americansafaricruises.com

Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line is the overriding family favorite and garnered top honors among mega-ships for activities as well as service in Condé Nast Traveler's 2010 cruise poll. Disney characters come to life onboard, with kids' imaginations in tow, and parents get a coveted pass to the magical kingdom called relaxation. www.disneycruise.disney.go.com

Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean is a multiple winner in TravelWeekly's 2009 Magellan Awards, including best overall large cruise ship, best suite design, and best pool design. The newest member of their fleet is the 16-deck, 220,000-ton Oasis of the Seas (the most expensive cruise ship ever built) which features seven "neighborhoods" with 21 restaurants, 4 pools, and a Central Park with 12,000 trees. www.royalcaribbean.com

Voyages of Discovery

Selected Best Value in Specialty Cruises by the World Ocean & Cruise Liner Society three years running, Voyages of Discovery caters to seasoned travelers who value exploration over extravagance. The mid-size vessel makes long trips to uncommon destinations like Kenya and the Ukraine with onboard naturalists and cultural specialists to enrich the journey. www.voyagesofdiscovery.com
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