from USA TODAY 10Best

These are the 10 best boutique cruise lines

Boutique cruise lines, like these 10 voted as the best of the best by our readers, elevate your vacation experience with extras like small ships, attractive passenger-to-staff ratios, luxury amenities, unique excursions or all-inclusive fares.

10. Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Image courtesy of Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Guests aboard the five Regent Seven Seas vessels enjoy all-suite staterooms, nearly all of them outfitted with private balconies. A staff-to-guest ratio of 1 to 1.5 means each guest receives stellar service.

9. Ponant

Image courtesy of Ponant / Francois Lefebvre

Ponant, the world’s only French cruise line, is also a top choice for polar cruising. Ponant’s luxury yachts have no more than 132 staterooms and suites, allowing them to sail to smaller, more intimate ports.

8. American Queen Steamboat Company

These all-American, all-inclusive itineraries include themed voyages that dive deeper into topics of interest, such as wine, bourbon, Mark Twain, Civil War, Elvis or Big Band.

7. Oceania Cruises

Image courtesy of Oceania Cruises

One of the world’s largest luxury cruise lines, Oceania Cruises attracts passengers with its destination-centric itineraries to more than 330 ports around the world.

6. Seabourn Cruise Line

Image courtesy of 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.

5. Star Clippers

Image courtesy of Star Clippers

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.

4. Uniworld Boutique River Cruises

Image courtesy of Uniworld Boutique River Cruises

Passengers on Uniworld itineraries to Europe, Russia and Asia enjoy gourmet cuisine, immersive shore excursions and many all-inclusive benefits.

3. Viking Ocean Cruises

Image courtesy of Viking Ocean Cruises

This line has six ocean vessels. All cabins come with balconies and are notably larger than the industry average, and they offer the same destination-intensive programming that made their river cruises so popular.

2. American Cruise Lines

Image courtesy of American Cruise Lines

These ships journey along the Mighty Mississippi, through New England, to the wilds of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. Meals are crafted from locally sourced ingredients to support the communities visited.

1. Windstar Cruises

Image courtesy of Michael Nalley / Windstar Cruises

Since Windstar's six boutique ships 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.

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