It was that queen of style Coco Chanel who claimed that luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury – and she knew what she was talking about.
Luxury cruising is all about comfort and convenience as well as those little extras that transform a cruise into the trip of a lifetime and make passengers feel special. Whether that means returning from an excursion to find a chilled towel and exotic fruit drink waiting for you, or having your dust-covered shoes whisked away to reappear at your stateroom door 30 minutes later looking like new, luxury is a special way to cruise.
Is luxury cruising your style? Then take a look at our list of the top 10 cruise ships, in no particular order, offering five-star accommodation.
1. Seabourn Quest
With only 450 passengers, Seabourn Quest epitomises luxury on the high seas with all-suite accommodation, daily restocked mini-bars, open bars serving premium wine, champagne and spirits, gourmet cuisine, a retractable aft marina and fabulous spa. The new Seabourn Encore, which will accommodate 600 passengers, is set to join the fleet in December 2016.
2. Seven Seas Mariner
With 700 guests onboard, the Seven Seas Mariner from Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ was the world's first all-suite, all-balcony ship, offering its passengers unprecedented comfort and views from their rooms. The Seven Seas Mariner features lots of luxury inclusions with its main drawcard being unlimited shore excursions. As well as replenished minibars, open bars and personalised service, penthouse suites provide a butler service, an iPad and Hermes toiletries. Their newest & most luxurious ship to sail the seven seas, Seven Seas Explorer, will launch this year.
3. Queen Mary 2
Queen Mary 2 is the flagship of Cunard's renowned and respected fleet of ocean liners. Blending classic decadence with modern technologies, this 2,620 passenger luxury cruise ship is known for its superior facilities, refined elegance and breathtaking design. Queen Mary's Queens Grill suites are the epitome of British luxury and come with a butler, spacious balconies and marble bathrooms – there are also nine options on the pillow menu. Grill passengers have access to specific lounges and terraces and have reservations in their own exclusive restaurants offering the famous white glove service.
A trip on the Riviera feels like a trip on your own private luxury yacht, with designer décor and stunning suites providing you with a special intimate vacation to exotic destinations around the world. Featuring gourmet cuisine curated by world-renowned chef Jacques Pepin, this 1,250 passenger occupant cruise ship from Oceania Cruises is home to the only hands-on cooking school at sea, the Culinary Centre, where well-known master chefs offer excellent cooking classes. Art lovers are catered for by the Artist Loft program and the Canyon Ranch SpaClub has great treatments.
5. The Gauguin
M/S Paul Gauguin is the flagship of Paul Gauguin Cruises and showcases the magnificent beauty of Tahiti and surrounds. The 332 passenger small ship offers spacious suites and staterooms, some with butler service & more than 70% with private balconies, and has an onboard water sports marina, three dining venues and a spa. A troupe of Tahitians known as Gaugines and Gauguins are employed as cruise staff, entertainers and storytellers.
6. S.S. Antoinette
Expect nothing less than the royal treatment onboard the luxurious S.S. Antoinette. The 443-foot, 154-passenger from Uniworld River Cruises is a one-of-a-kind "Super Ship" and dubbed "the most luxurious river cruise ship in the world". The SS Antoinette features a range of exclusive services and facilities that cannot be found on any other river ship. Look out for the 22-seat cinema with Dolby Surround Sound, sheltered public spaces on the top deck, a pool and adjoining hot tub, and a 10-foot Baccarat crystal and sapphire blue chandelier that once hung in New York's famous Tavern on the Green can be found in the two story foyer.
7. Crystal Serenity
The Crystal Serenity is consistently ranked as one of the best cruise ships in the world and its not hard to see why. With a capacity of 1,070 passengers, the Crystal Serenity sparkles in the luxury cruise market with extras such as free wi-fi to all guests for 60 minutes a day, Medi-Spa services, Etro toiletries and an impressive enrichment program. Spectacular international cuisine can be found in the elegant restaurants throughout the ship, including celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa's, Silk Road. The penthouse's bathroom features incredible Italian marble mosaics, heated flooring, and a TV embedded in the vanity. Bridge tournaments are held regularly on the ship and have a big following. The new 62-passenger luxury yacht, Crystal Esprit, launched in December 2015 as part of the cruise line's expansion plan.
8. Silver Spirit
Silversea’s Silver Spirit features stylish surroundings with spacious, ocean-view suites complete with full marble baths and mostly private verandas. The Silver Spirit's personalised butler service is the highlight of the onboard experience with a staff to guest ratio of nearly one to one. Lavish deck parties featuring all the trimmings are held onboard where chefs spend the day preparing a feast of roast suckling pig, carved meats, shrimp and crab leg cocktail, pasta, salads and an array of mouth-watering desserts.
9. Scenic Jasper
Scenic Jasper holds 169 passengers and is the newest in the chic fleet of Scenic space-ships cruising European rivers. Luxury suites feature sun lounges that are perfect for soaking up those views. Electric bicycles take the hard work out of cycling and the sunken Riverview terrace at the front of the Sun Deck remains open when passing under low bridges.
10. SeaDream II
With 112 passengers cared for by 95 crew members, SeaDream II from the Sea Dream Yacht Club provides a luxurious yachting experience for cruise lovers with its intimate size and passenger numbers. As well as stylish staterooms, passengers can sleep under the stars on Balinese Dream beds on the all-teak deck and peek below the sea from glass-bottom kayaks. Gourmet cuisine with selections like lobster filet mignon, and chocolate souffle are on offer along with a raw food, gluten free & vegetarian menu.