Windstar Cruises Named Best Boutique Cruise Line

Variety Cruises, Star Clippers, Quark Expeditions and Hurtigruten in top five

Boutique cruise lines bring something extra to the cruising experience, whether it be small ships with attractive passenger-to-staff ratios, luxury amenities, unique on-board activities and excursions or all-inclusive fares.

  • Crystal Cruises

    Crystal Cruises’ two ocean vessels, the Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, have one of the highest per-guest space ratios in their class; more than half of staterooms have a private verandah (85 percent on the Crystal Serenity). The variety of dining venues onboard includes dishes from Nobu Matsuhisa, and wines and spirits are complimentary. At port, guests enjoy customized off-ship excursions. Other inclusive amenities include internet access, laundry and dry-cleaning and 24-hour in-stateroom dining.
    Photo courtesy of Crystal Cruises

  • Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection

    Each of Uniworld’s boutique cruise ships has an average capacity of only 130 guests, as well as one of the best staff-to-guest ratios in river cruising. Passengers on Uniworld itineraries to Europe, Russia and Asia enjoy gourmet cuisine, immersive shore excursions and many all-inclusive benefits. The ships themselves are each unique, complete with sumptuous staterooms and original art commissioned exclusively for Uniworld.
    Photo courtesy of Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection

  • Azamara Club Cruises

    Azamara’s boutique ships carry a maximum of 690 guests, and a focus on longer stays, night touring and more overnights mean those guests have more time to immerse themselves in the various ports of call. Inclusive amenities include AzAmazing Evenings events, select alcoholic beverages, gratuities, self-service laundry, concierge services and shuttles to and from port communities.
    Photo courtesy of Azamara Club Cruises

  • Seabourn Cruise Line

    Seabourn’s fleet of all-suite, low-capacity ships carry a maximum of 600 guests each, allowing them to sail to some of the world’s most desirable destinations. Passengers enjoy a nearly one to one ratio with crew and one of the highest space-per-guest ratios in the industry. Each of the four luxury ships offers a complimentary water sports marina, open bars serving wine, champagne and spirits, and world-class cuisine.
    Photo courtesy of Seabourn Cruise Line

  • Paul Gauguin Cruises

    The m/s Paul Gauguin sails to exotic ports throughout the South Pacific with no more than 332 guests on board. Passengers on board enjoy several dining options, a spa and fitness center, casino, piano bar, pool and a ratio of one crew member for every 1.5 guests. The Gauguin marina provides easy access to the ocean (and complimentary equipment usage), and an extensive shore excursion program introduces passengers to many facets of Tahitian culture.
    Photo courtesy of Paul Gauguin Cruises

  • Hurtigruten

    Hurtigruten specializes in exploration voyages in Norway, Iceland and Greenland, as well as Europe, Africa, South America, Central America, Arctic Canada and the Antarctic. While the Hurtigruten fleet of expedition ships is designed to sail to remote areas, onboard facilities are modern and comfortable – a perfect base for enjoying spectacular scenery, immersive shore excursions and nature-based activities.
    Photo courtesy of Hurtigruten

  • Quark Expeditions

    Quark made its first North Pole voyage in 1991, and since then thousands of intrepid travelers have set sail to the Arctic and Antarctic aboard a Quark vessel. These small expedition ships – each carries a maximum of 200 passengers – come equipped with Zodiacs, making it possible to comfortably and safely reach some of the most remote places on the planet, from the poles to the Galápagos. The Ocean Diamond is completely carbon neutral, making it one of the most eco-friendly options for cruising the Antarctic.
    Photo courtesy of Quark Expeditions

  • Star Clippers

    Cruisers with Star Clippers get to sail on three of the largest full-rigged sailing ships in the world, Star Clipper, Star Flyer and Royal Clipper. Passengers aboard these four- and five-masted ships have complimentary access to sailing, waterskiing, windsurfing and other water sports, as well as fitness classes, shore excursions and a variety of daily activities. The views from lookout stations positioned 60 feet above the deck on each mast can’t be beat.
    Photo courtesy of Star Clippers

  • Variety Cruises

    Variety Cruises operates 11 mega-yachts and motor sailers on itineraries in destinations around the globe. With no more than 72 fellow passengers, guests aboard a Variety cruise enjoy more leisure time (and often overnights) at ports of call, personalized service, small-group excursions, swimming platforms and restaurants serving Mediterranean fusion cuisine with a focus on local flavors and ingredients.
    Photo courtesy of Variety Cruises

  • Windstar Cruises

    With fewer than 310 guests per sailing, Windstar Cruises promises passengers a cruising experience free of lines and waiting. Since the three all-suite yachts are smaller than a typical cruise ship, they can sail into small European villages, off-the-beaten-path harbors and hidden coves, giving guests the opportunity to visit both major capitals and smaller ports. Complimentary Destination Discovery Events introduce passengers to the local culture and cuisine of these special ports of call.
    Photo courtesy of Windstar Cruises

The top 10 winners in the category Best Boutique Cruise Line are as follows:

  1. Windstar Cruises
  2. Variety Cruises
  3. Star Clippers
  4. Quark Expeditions
  5. Hurtigruten
  6. Paul Gauguin Cruises
  7. Seabourn Cruise Line
  8. Azamara Club Cruises
  9. Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
  10. Crystal Cruises

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Carrie Finley Bajak (CruiseBuzz.net), Fran Golden (USA TODAY), Sherry Laskin Kennedy (CruiseMaven), Jason Leppert (PopularCruising.com), Chris Owen (ChrisCruises.com), Doug Parker (Cruise Radio) and Aaron Saunders (Fromthedeckchair.com) were chosen based on their expertise in the world of cruising.

Congratulations to all our winning cruise lines!

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Carrie Finley Bajak

Carrie Finley Bajak

Fran Golden

Fran Golden

Sherry Laskin Kennedy

Sherry Laskin Kennedy

Jason Leppert

Jason Leppert

Chris Owen

Chris Owen

Doug Parker

Doug Parker

Aaron Saunders

Aaron Saunders