Ultra Cruise Ships
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21 of the Most Luxurious Cruise Ships

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Ultra Cruise Ships
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Sea Change

With each passing year, cruise ships grow more opulent and extravagant, with everything from retractable ceilings to butler's pantries. The cream of the crop rival some of the world's best hotels — and have nightly price tags to match. While a fun cruise can be had for $100 a night or less, if you want to sail in style on your next cruise or just daydream about how the other half lives, here are some of the most lavish options, ranked from pricey to mind-bogglingly expensive.

Note: Prices and availability are subject to change.

Related: 12 Private Islands and Resorts Owned by Cruise Lines

MSC Seaside
Source: MSC Cruises

MSC Seaside

The MSC Seaside is all about the wow factor. A mega-ship, it includes everything from ziplines to water parks. But it's the gorgeous public spaces that put it in the opulent category, says travel journalist David Yeskel, known as the Cruise Guru. The stern of the ship was designed to evoke the feeling of Miami Beach's stylish condominiums. There's also a waterfront boardwalk lined with al fresco dining. Don't miss the two-deck, glass-walled atrium and panoramic glass elevators. Prices start at about $380 per person (or $598 to include drinks and Wi-Fi) for four nights.

Sanctuary Ananda
Source: Sanctuary Cruises

Sanctuary Ananda

Custom-built by local craftsman in Yangon using traditional materials, the Sanctuary Ananda is all about sleek luxury showcasing Burmese style. The teak-filled ship resembles an upscale Burmese home and has 21 spacious suites, a luxe Owner's Suite, a sundeck, and an outdoor pool. All of the suites have floor-to-ceiling windows, full balconies, Malaika Egyptian-cotton sheets, and bathrooms stocked with L'Occitane products. Prices for a two-night cruise start at $450.

Princess Cruises Sky Princess
Source: Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises Sky Princess

Setting sail in October, the Sky Princess will offer cruisers spa services, two top-deck pools, and world-class dining at more than 25 restaurants and bars, including La Mer from 3-Michelin star chef Emmanuel Renaut. The ship's Sky Suites offer space for five guests, two bedrooms and two baths, 270-degree views and the largest balconies at sea. Prices start at a relatively low $499 per person but rise up to nearly $4,400. 

Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas
Source: Royal Caribbean Cruises

Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas

The 25th ship in Royal Caribbean's fleet, Symphony of the Seas includes seven distinctive neighborhoods, the tallest slide at sea, and the ultimate family suite. A two-level, 1,346 square foot space, the suite is filled with over-the-top details. There's an in-room slide, a private cinema with an 85-inch HD television, a floor-to-ceiling Lego wall, and a 212-square-foot balcony complete with table tennis and full-size whirlpool. Prices start around $731 per person for a 4-night cruise.

Celebrity Edge
Source: Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Edge

The Celebrity Edge includes 950-square-foot residences known as Edge Villas, with each featuring one bedroom and two bathrooms, floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a private terrace, and a plunge pool. There's also a private "luxury resort" onboard where a sundeck, pool, lounge, and restaurant are reserved exclusively for suite-class guests. The new guest room concept, Edge Stateroom with Infinite Veranda, turns the entire living space into a veranda. Prices start around $749 per person for some cruises.

Ponant Le Laperouse
Source: Ponant Cruises

Ponant Le Laperouse

Ponant's Le Laperouse includes 24-hour butler service for those on Deck 6, an infinity pool, spa, and a fitness room with a sauna. The ship also offers a multi-sensorial underwater lounge. The lounge is a below sea-level space that allows passengers – thanks to portholes, cameras, and hydrophones — to see and hear what's happening underwater. Sailings range from about $800 to more than $12,000.

Oceania Marina and Riviera
Source: Oceania Cruises

Oceania Marina and Riviera

Oceania's Marina and Riviera ships each include a grand staircase designed by Lalique featuring ornate double stairs with balustrades of crystal medallions. These sailing works of art involved 74 artisans laboring for 3,200 hours and using 9,200 pounds of crystal. The Owner's Suites have 2,000 square feet and are furnished with Ralph Lauren Home Collection decor. The suites span the full width of the ship and include grand entry foyers with hand-laid tiles. Prices range from around $999 for a 7-day cruise to upward of $14,649 per guest for a two-month-plus voyage.

Hanseatic Nature and Inspiration
Source: Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

Hanseatic Nature and Inspiration

For the cruise goer who likes to get off the beaten path, there are these two ships (with one more set to join in 2021) that set sail this year. With expeditions planned as far north as the Arctic Circle, as far south as Antarctica, and plenty of adventurous locales in between, Hanseatic's two new ships have much to offer. Each ship has well-appointed, modern suites, a fitness and wellness area, extendible glass balconies, state of the art environmental technology, 180-degree observation decks, and cushy restaurants and lounges for in-between explorations. Two-day cruises start around $1,330 and go up to about $24,500 for a month-long expedition. 

Silversea Silver Muse
Source: Silversea Cruises

Silversea Silver Muse

The Silver Muse was designed with a focus on offering a predominance of upper category suites and also more connecting suites. Each suite comes with a dedicated butler, and the Owner's Suite even includes a private veranda with floor-to-ceiling glass doors and a dining room for six. Prices range based on itinerary, with some starting at around $1,900 while others start at as much as $14,600.

MS Europa 2
Source: Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

MS Europa 2

A combination of a yacht and a small resort, the MS Europa 2 has its share of stunning suites ranging from the 1,066 square foot Owner's Suite to the 840 square foot penthouse suite. The ship also features family apartments where children and parents live in separate areas connected by a door and a balcony — and one side is kitted out specifically for young travelers. MS Europa 2 has both a public spa and a private spa space that can be booked by guests who want to enjoy a sauna, whirlpool, and relaxation facilities all by themselves. Prices start at about $1,906 for a 3-day cruise and quickly go up from there.

Related: The Most Extravagant Yachts on the Water

Viking Star
Source: Viking Cruises

Viking Star

Designed to look like a Nordic ski lodge, the Viking Star is decorated with stunning light woods like birch and juniper. Like many other ships, the Owner's Suite is the most luxurious. The 1,448 square foot accommodation includes multiple rooms, a private veranda, and three flat screen televisions. The master bathroom features a heated floor, a glass enclosed shower, and a double sink. There's also a private library, ocean-view dry sauna, and a boardroom for catered parties. Some cruises start at $1,999.

Crystal Esprit
Source: Crystal Cruises

Crystal Esprit

A luxury yacht featuring 30 spacious guest suites, the Crystal Esprit was designed to be glamorous. The Owner's Suite is perhaps the most memorable, with its 515-square-foot space outfitted for privacy and exclusivity. It includes living and dining areas, plus a bedroom with king size bed and flat screen television. The bathroom has both a shower and bathtub, practically unheard of on cruise ships. Starting prices on the Esprit vary, but range from $2,250 to about $24,095 for 7- to 11-night trips, respectively.

MS Roald Amundsen
Source: Hurtigruten Cruises

MS Roald Amundsen

Scandinavian design and science enthusiasts will jump at the chance to board the new MS Roald Amundsen, a hybrid ship that reduces emission by sailing with electrical propulsion. In addition to stunning interiors, the ship boasts a wellness center, indoor and outdoor observation decks, infinity pool, and the Amundsen Science Center. The space is packed with state-of-the-art technology such as touch screens and science equipment as well as lecture spaces, a small library, and speciality areas for workshops in photography, biology, and more. Cruise prices start around $2,700 but go up to more than $30,000.

Seabourn Encore
Source: Seabourn Cruises

Seabourn Encore

A ship designed to look and feel like a luxury yacht, the Seabourn Encore includes 300 suites, all with balconies, walk-in closets, and bathrooms that have marble touches. The Wintergarden Suites are even more deluxe, each with a dining area, a butler's pantry, and a solarium with a bathtub that provides sea views. Need more space? A neighboring cabin can be added to form a grand suite. Encore prices start at $2,898.

Uniworld S.S. Maria Theresa
Source: Uniworld Cruises

Uniworld S.S. Maria Theresa

Described by Cruise Critic as regal in its 18th century décor, this homage to the former Austrian empress resembles a floating palace. All accommodations include made-to-order Savoir of England beds, Egyptian cotton sheets, and marble-lined bathrooms. There's also a Viennese café and an enclosed, heated pool. Some cruises start for around $2,999 per person and go as high as $10,999.

M/S Paul Gaugui
Source: Paul Gaugui Cruises

M/S Paul Gauguin

When not exploring gorgeous destinations, guests of the five-star ship will find the ship includes a watersports marina, extensive spa, butler service, and iPod music systems in many rooms. The Owner's Suite 7002 is 531 square feet, a figure that doesn't include its private balcony. The suite bathroom features a full-size tub and separate dressing area. Prices vary based on itinerary, but some are available from between $4,295 to upwards of $7,795.

Seabourn Ovation
Source: Seabourn Cruises

Seabourn Ovation

This cruise ship shines thanks to a few A-list contributors. The restaurant menu on the Seabourn Ovation was dreamed up in partnership with Thomas Keller, who has created three Michelin-starred restaurants, and the onboard entertainment is the work of award-winning lyricist Tim Rice, who wrote the music to "Aladdin" and "The Lion King." Prices range based on itinerary but some start for between $4,999 and $10,999.

Regent Seven Seas Explorer
Source: Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Regent Seven Seas Explorer

Fitness aficionados will be thrilled to discover there's a Canyon Ranch Spa, a smaller version of the famed celebrity favorite in Arizona, onboard. The ship includes 375 suites, with its "top of the ship" residence a 3,000-square-feet behemoth. The suite includes two balconies, three walk-in closets, and its own private spa and solarium. There are also 5,000 chandeliers and more than 2,000 pieces of artwork on board. Prices vary by itinerary and location but some start for around $4,999.

Scenic Eclipse
Source: Scenic Cruises

Scenic Eclipse

Launched this month, the Scenic Eclipse from Scenic Luxury Cruises is an ultra-luxury mega yacht. It was designed with 114 all-veranda suites, ranging from 345 square feet to a staggering 2,659 two-bedroom penthouse suite. The ship also has a state-of-the art theater and a 5,900 square foot spa sanctuary, as well as butler service for all guests. The Eclipse comes equipped with a custom-built, seven-seat submarine, offering underwater exploration for cruise passengers. Prices range from around $6,995 for a 10-day cruise from New York City to Nassau, Bahamas, to just over $37,500 for a 14-day Whales & Wilderness cruise from San Diego to San Jose, Costa Rica.

Ecoventura M/V Origin
Source: Ecoventura Cruises

Ecoventura M/V Origin

While not as big or grand as some other luxury ships, Ecoventura's MV Origin is one of the greenest and most luxurious ships to sail amongst the Galapagos Islands. There are 10 deluxe staterooms, all of which feature large windows providing unobstructed ocean views, fine linens, climate controls, memory foam pillows, flat screen televisions, a personal espresso machine, and rainfall showers. Prices start at $7,650 for a triple cabin and $13,735 for a single.

RMS Queen Mary 2
Source: Cunard Cruises

RMS Queen Mary 2

The top accommodation on The Queen Mary 2 costs a staggering $111,000 per person for the line's round-the-world trip. For that price, a cruiser gets a 2,500-square foot cabin with two floors, his-and-hers bathrooms, a private gym, and a deck. This ship also has a full-scale planetarium and 3D cinema as well as one of the biggest wine cellars at sea. Even pets receive the royal treatment on this ship with a kennel and a kennel master whose job is to pamper each animal.