10 of the most luxurious cruise ships in the world Photograph courtesy of Paul Gauguin Cruises
A cruise ship in the The French Polynesia islands.
Traveling aboard a luxury cruise ship is often the best way to explore new places, but some cruise lines offer experiences that are just a notch above the rest.
In its most recent issue, National Geographic Traveler put together
a list of the 21 best cruises in the world, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Nile River.
Below, we've selected our favorites from the list, highlighting ships that include perks like "snow rooms" and spa services, and others that offer travelers unparalleled experiences like tours of
tropical gardens in the Marquesas Islands. All captions are by National Geographic Traveler. The Seychelles islands
The Seychelles islands
"The 62-passenger Crystal Esprit , the first yacht from this famed luxury line, spends winters at these Indian Ocean islands. Release baby turtles into the surf and admire the giant coco-de-mer palms." The Amazon River
The Amazon River
"Aqua Expeditions' Aria Amazon sails through the Peruvian rain forest, with visits to indigenous villages and a chance to fish for piranha. Onboard, menus celebrate local fare with ceviche, river fish, and hearts of palm salad." The Nile River
The Nile River
"Lounging on pillows stuffed with Egyptian cotton on the top deck of
Nour El Nil's Meroë, you'll feel like a modern-day pharaoh as you journey past date palms, ibis, and the temples at Edfu and Kom Ombo." The Mekong River
The Mekong River
"The orchid-adorned 68-passenger Scenic Spirit launched last year with every cabin a one-bedroom balcony suite. On land, tour the monastery in the old Cambodian capital of Oudong and receive a monk's blessing." The Caribbean Sea
The Caribbean Sea
"Since most of the crew of Island Windjammer' s 26-passenger Vela are from the islands, you'll get super local suggestions for bars and shops. One St. Lucia favorite: the Fish Friday street party in Rodney Bay." The French Polynesia islands
The French Polynesia islands
"The Paul Gauguin was built with a shallow draft for navigating Polynesian lagoons. The line invites local singers and dancers to perform and offers spa treatments that use monoi oil, made from local tiare flowers." The Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea
"After a day touring Tallinn or seeing a private performance at the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm , you can head to the Viking Sky ' s onboard Scandinavian-style spa for a steamy sauna followed by a visit to the snow room." The Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea
"The three-masted Le Ponant visits a variety of small western Mediterranean ports and locations along the Corsican coast. Onboard, toast new friends with flutes of Veuve Clicquot paired with Ladurée macarons." The Marquesas Islands
The Marquesas Islands
"Half cruise ship, half freighter, the Aranui 5 spotlights its friendly local crew on its 14-day voyage to this remote South Pacific archipelago. They share family stories while leading trips to ancient tiki sites and tropical gardens." Transatlantic
The Cunard Line' s flagship, Queen Mary 2 — built with a special hull for greater speed — immerses you in British culture. As you 'cross the pond,' hit the Golden Lion Pub for trivia night, pints, and fish-and-chips." Other destinations in the issue include the Danube River, the Burgundy Canal, and the Mississippi River.
Other destinations in the issue include the Danube River, the Burgundy Canal, and the Mississippi River.
See the full list