Leppert's List: Top 10 Cruises

Pack your bags and hit the high seas! Check out cruise expert Jason Leppert's list of the hottest cruises to set sail this year, including the Queen Mary 2 and Disney Magic.

You Might Also Like

Disney Fantasy
Disney Fantasy

Disney Fantasy

The fourth ship in the Disney fleet, the Disney Fantasy has 14 decks and can accommodate 4,000 passengers. Visit one of the 3 different pools on deck 11, or splash around in the AquaLab, a 1,800 square foot water play area. When you’ve had enough fun in the sun, catch a Disney musical show or a first-run movie in 3D. 960 1280

Disney Cruise Line  

Carnival Magic

Carnival Magic

Test your climbing ability at Carnival Magic’s SportSquare, the world’s first ropes course at sea! If you’d rather keep your feet firmly planted on the deck, catch a movie or sports game on the ship’s huge outdoor screen at the Seaside Theatre. 960 1280

Carnival Cruise Lines  

MSC Divina

MSC Divina

Stare out to sea from MSC Divina’s infinity pool. For a more exclusive and luxurious experience, upgrade to the MSC Yacht Club and enjoy a private pool deck with a private restaurant featuring panoramic views. 960 1280

MSC  

Norwegian Epic

Norwegian Epic

The Norwegian Epic certainly lives up to its name. With performances by the Blue Man Group and the Second City, an Aqua Park complete with 3 waterslides, Nickelodeon characters and 20 different dining options, the ship has something for everyone. Have a drink in the Svedka ice bar and then head to Spice H20—an adults-only Ibiza-inspired beach club (pictured here). 960 1280

Norwegian Cruise Line  

MSC Fantasia

MSC Fantasia

The new flagship of MSC cruises, the Fantasia has staircases made of Swarovski crystals and a transparent ceiling for stargazing. If that’s not enough to make you sign up, the Fantasia also has an Aqua Park, a Formula 1 simulator and an interactive 4D theatre. 960 1280

MSC   

Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas

Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas

Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas has everything you could ever dream of…including a zipline that’s 9 decks in the air. Climb a rock wall, test your skills in a surf simulator, go ice skating on the rink, play a round of mini golf or see a performance of Hairspray. There’s even a Starbucks on board! 960 1280

Simon Brooke-Webb  

Carnival Breeze

Carnival Breeze

Think all cruise food is boring? Think again. Hop aboard the Carnival Breeze and sample signature burgers by celebrity Food Network chef Guy Fieri. Then, take in a “5D” movie—a 3D movie with special effects and moving seats. 960 1280

Carnival Cruise Lines  

Ruby Princess

Ruby Princess

Christened in 2008 by Trista and Ryan Sutter of The Bachelorette, the Ruby Princess is a perfect ship for couples. Relax in a cabana in the adults-only sundeck called The Sanctuary, or cozy up for a first-run movie in the outdoor theatre. 960 1280

Princess Cruises  

Celebrity Silhouette

Celebrity Silhouette

On the Celebrity Silhouette, order food and wine from an iPad menu in one restaurant and sample 50 international craft beers in another. Take a painting class, grill your own food in the “Lawn Club,” or rent one of the cabana-style “Alcoves” for a relaxing day at sea. 960 1280

Celebrity Cruises  

Disney Dream

Disney Dream

As the only cruise line to feature fireworks at sea, Disney's Dream lights up the sky to dazzle guests with the largest fireworks extravaganza presented aboard a cruise ship. The skies above the Disney Dream explode with brilliant colors during "Buccaneer Blast!" -- a pyrotechnic spectacular choreographed to a dramatic score featuring songs from the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies, "Peter Pan" and the "Pirates of the Caribbean" attraction at the Disney theme parks. 960 1280

Matt Stroshane/Disney  

Mickey's Pool, a favorite feature of the Disney Cruise Line fleet, continues on the Disney Dream. This play area for children features a Mickey Mouse-shaped pool and an oversized version of Mickey's hand supporting a yellow winding slide that splashes down into the pool area. 960 1280

Jimmy DeFlippo/Disney  

Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas' AquaTheater located in the ships Boardwalk neighborhood, hosts spectacular shows during its voyage. 960 1280

Royal Caribbean  

Fireworks cast a colorful light on the Queen Mary 2. 960 1280

Cunard Line  

Passengers aboard the Queen Mary 2 can enjoy planetarium shows in Illuminations. 960 1280

Cunard Line  

Norwegian Pearl

Norwegian Pearl

The Norwegian Pearl's pool area can easily be mistaken for a full-blown water park. 960 1280

Norwegian Cruise Line  

The Emerald Princess Piazza dazzles passengers with its opulence. 960 1280

Emerald Princess  

Photos

Dubai

Dubai

Dubai
A new cruise ship terminal is set to open in Dubai in 2012, allowing a total of 5 ships to dock at a time (currently, there is only space for 2). Expect more ships to add Dubai to their itineraries, and consider cruises to the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf and those that follow the Spice Route to India and Asia.
960 1280

Thinkstock  

Singapore

Singapore

Singapore
Long a popular destination for foodies, Singapore will become easier to cruise to this year thanks to a brand new terminal. While here, check out the infinity pool on top of the Marina Bay Sands hotel -- made up of 3 giant towers connected by a sky terrace on the roof.
960 1280

Thinkstock  

Europe

Europe

Europe
OK, so cruising in Europe isn’t exactly new … but this year, more ships are slated to stay in the Mediterranean through the winter instead of making their traditional journeys to the Caribbean for the season. This winter, consider taking a cruise to the Canary Islands or Morocco during off-peak months for a fraction of the price.
960 1280

Thinkstock  

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro
With Rio the host of the World Cup, the 2012 UN Earth Summit and the 2016 Olympics, the city is expected to be a hot destination over the next few years. Luckily, the city is investing plenty of money in the existing cruise port, making travel to nearby attractions even easier.
960 1280

Thinkstock  

Canada

Canada

Canada
Canada is quickly becoming a more popular cruise destination. This year, Carnival, Regent Seven Seas and Disney are all adding new Canada cruises to their rosters.
960 1280

Thinkstock  

Galveston

Galveston

Galveston
Galveston, TX, is fast becoming the home port to a number of megaships. Carnival and Royal Caribbean both have ships docked here now, and the Disney Magic and Crown Princess are set to begin sailing from Galveston later in the year.
960 1280

Thinkstock  

London

London

London
A new cruise port is set to open in London in preparation for the mass influx of visitors to the city for the Olympic Games.
960 1280

Thinkstock  

Australia

Australia

Australia and New Zealand
Cruising down under is heating up this year, thanks to the additions of ships in Melbourne and Sydney by Princess, Celebrity, Carnival, Holland America and Royal Caribbean. In addition to circuits of Australia and New Zealand, new itineraries even include trips to Fiji and New Caledonia.
960 1280

Thinkstock  

New Orleans

New Orleans

New Orleans
N'awlins is back! For the first time since Hurricane Katrina, the port will be full of cruise ships again this year. Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian will all be offering cruises from the Big Easy.
960 1280

Thinkstock  

Jamaica

Jamaica

Jamaica
Royal Caribbean recently opened a new port in the small 18th-century town of Falmouth, Jamaica, making it the fourth cruise port in the country. Visitors to Falmouth can easily visit Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, each about 30 minutes from the port.
960 1280

Thinkstock  

Honduras

Honduras

Honduras
Set to open later this year, Trujillo on the Banana Coast will be Honduras's first port. Cruisers will be able to explore Honduras's pristine beaches and marvel at its lush tropical rain forests.
960 1280

Thinkstock  

Mississippi

Mississippi

The Mississippi
The Mississippi has seen a steep decline in cruising in recent years after its 2 biggest cruise lines went bankrupt. But fear not! Two new cruise lines are setting their sights on the Mighty Mississippi: one with a totally refurbished steamboat named the American Queen, and another with a brand-new paddlewheeler named the Queen of the Mississippi.
960 1280

Thinkstock  

Best Alaskan Cruise, Princess Cruises, Island Princess

Best Alaskan Cruise, Princess Cruises, Island Princess

Only in Alaska can you take a breath of crisp air while gazing upon the pristine greenery of spruce trees that line the mountains of the Inside Passage. Princess Cruises features its own lodges along this route and is the finest cruise line to offer such multi-day shore excursions. “The Island Princess, in particular, is sized to fit through the Panama Canal, she’s more intimate in scale and more manageable to navigate once onboard," says Jason Leppert, editor-in-chief of PopularCruising.com. The Bayou Café & Steakhouse serves Cajun cuisine, and fleet-wide, Princess bakes some of the best pizza pies at sea. 960 1280

Princess Cruise Lines, Ltd.  

Best Caribbean Cruise, Star Clippers, Royal Clipper

Best Caribbean Cruise, Star Clippers, Royal Clipper

You'll find a very different tropical seagoing experience aboard Star Clippers' 227-passenger Royal Clipper, the world's largest and only 5-mast, full-rigged sailing ship. The elegant tall ship frequents small exclusive ports like Bequia, Tobago Cays and Iles des Saintes. “Attracting sophisticated travelers (roughly half are European), Royal Clipper offers open-seating, dining on sumptuous fare and fine wine. After dinner, guests gather around the grand piano or on deck to watch the enormous sails unfurl in the wind,” adds Anne Campbell. Don’t miss the beach-side barbecue on a deserted beach. 960 1280

Star Clippers  

Best European River Cruise, Viking River Cruises, Viking Longships

Best European River Cruise, Viking River Cruises, Viking Longships

The popularity of river cruising has exploded in recent years and for good reason. There’s no other way to conveniently unpack one time and then leisurely visit a string of legendary European cities. At the forefront of such travel is Viking River Cruises and the line’s innovative new Viking Longships. “These intimate vessels feature a clever offset cabin configuration that provides more spacious accommodations closer in size to those found on larger seafaring ships,” says Jason Leppert. Meals feature destination-inspired cuisine and include house wines and beers. And couples can take a romantic cruise on the appropriately titled Romantic Danube itinerary. 960 1280

Viking Cruises  

Best Family Cruise, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Fantasy

Best Family Cruise, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Fantasy

Get the best family cruising experience onboard the newest Disney Fantasy. Watch Aladdin take flight on his magic carpet or meet Mickey Mouse and the gang dressed in nautical attire. Live out your fantasy of being a Disney animator at Animator’s Palate. “At the end of the meal, you get the thrill of watching the artwork you created (before dinner) come to life,” says Samantha Brown. “I watched as my drawing danced with Jungle Book characters Mowgli and Baloo. Let’s just say I felt 8 years old again.” Regardless of your age, there’s something to keep everyone engaged with amenities like the full-service spa, 2 large theaters, 3 freshwater pools, 6 adults-only nightclubs/lounges and 9 clubs to keep the kids, tweens and teens happy. 960 1280

Disney  

Best Hawaiian Cruise, Norwegian Cruise Line, Pride of America

Best Hawaiian Cruise, Norwegian Cruise Line, Pride of America

Many cruise lines set sail in the Pacific to tour the beautiful Hawaiian Islands. “Norwegian’s Pride of America is the only US-flagged major cruise line ship, which means maximum port time of 85 hours for a 7-night cruise,” says Stewart Chiron. Enjoy 2 days in Maui and Kauai as well as stops at Kona and Hilo. In addition to great food and entertainment, this ship has more balconies than any ship that cruises Hawaii, making it perfect for whale watching, viewing the glow of Kilauea Volcano or witnessing the awe-inspiring views of the Napali Coast. Spend a few days in Honolulu before and after the cruise to experience the sights or to just relax. 960 1280

Norwegian Cruise Line  

Best LGBT Cruise, Atlantis Events, Celebrity Equinox

Best LGBT Cruise, Atlantis Events, Celebrity Equinox

As summer starts to wind down, cruisers begin packing their suitcases for Atlantis Events’ annual and largest gay European cruise on the Celebrity Equinox. “This year’s new route takes passengers to 4 countries and 8 cities, including Barcelona, Ibiza, Rome, Florence and Monte Carlo,” says Kwin Mosby. While at sea, this ship has plenty of amazing amenities to keep everyone occupied including sipping on a frozen cocktail at Slush, rejuvenating at Canyon Ranch SpaClub and dining at one of the seven restaurants on board – including the Italian steakhouse, Tuscan Grille. Passengers can dance into the wee hours of the morning thanks to organized, themed parties every night. 960 1280

Celebrity Cruises Inc.  

Best Luxury Cruise, Silversea Expeditions, Silver Discoverer

Best Luxury Cruise, Silversea Expeditions, Silver Discoverer

Embark on an exciting adventure on Silversea Expeditions’ newest ship, Silver Discoverer. In March, this small cruise ship became the third member of the fleet, and its inaugural expeditions allow guest to encounter Stone Age cultures in Melanesia, spot the rare yellow-eyed penguin in New Zealand’s sub-Antarctic islands and more. “Led by expert guides, you can’t beat the intimate shore experiences of hiking, snorkeling and diving in some of the most remote parts of the world,” says Kwin Mosby. Follow the routes of ancient seafarers to some of the most isolated ecosystems of Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Micronesia, Melanesia and the Russian Far East. All you need to pack is your sense of adventure. 960 1280

Silversea Cruises  

Best Mediterranean Cruise, Windstar Cruises, Wind Surf

Best Mediterranean Cruise, Windstar Cruises, Wind Surf

The Greek Islands and the coastline of Turkey may be unrivaled for world-famous antiquities and spectacular beauty. These locales are best visited aboard Windstar Cruises' intimate 148-passenger Wind Surf. “The motorized sail vessel boasts refined dining and spacious staterooms for pampering the body after a day exploring ports like trendy Mykonos, Santorini and Kusadasi, which is a hopping-off point to see the ruins of Ephesus, where Cleopatra and Marc Antony began their fabled romance,” says Anne Campbell. Passengers get the extra special treat of an after-hours tour of Ephesus and 5-course banquet in the ruins' library courtyard serenaded by a string quartet. 960 1280

Windstar Cruises/Moment/Getty Images  

Best Mexican Cruise, Holland America, ms Veendam

Best Mexican Cruise, Holland America, ms Veendam

Experience the best of the Mexican Riviera on Holland America's ms Veendam. This 7-day cruise whisks passengers off to the Mexican Riviera to experience horseback riding along the beach in Cabo San Lucas; watch traditional Hispanic dance in Mazatlan and swim with the dolphins in Puerto Vallarta. “This is a nice option for seasoned cruisers or first timers looking for traditional cruise experience on a medium-sized ship,” says Stewart Chiron. New staterooms offer special spa amenities and a private resort-style pool. The ‘Showroom at Sea’ and ‘Mix’ are just 2 places where passengers can mingle and meet new friends while sipping on a microbrew, mimosa or martini. 960 1280

Holland America Line Inc.  

Best Unexpected Cruise for Food, Carnival Cruise Lines, Carnival Dream

Best Unexpected Cruise for Food, Carnival Cruise Lines, Carnival Dream

The Carnival Dream offers some of the best food in cruising with the Chef’s Table experience, which allows passengers to tour the gallery that includes an amazing full-service dinner of tasty appetizers, entrees and desserts not found on regular menus. The ship's restaurants and buffets have left lasting impressions on those who have traveled the world including Samantha Brown. “The best food I’ve ever had on a cruise was on Carnival,” says the Travel Channel host. “They have an excellent chef and kitchen staff from India and Bangladesh. I found a small buffet off the side of the pool area, where they served wonderful curries, cumin-spiced vegetables, freshly-made naan and even a refreshing mango lassi.” Other must-try restaurants on this ship include The Taste Bar, Steakhouse and Mongolian Wok. 960 1280

Carnival Cruise Lines  


Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss Travel Channel in your favorite social media feeds.