15 cruises that rival other vacations in experience and price

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Whether you are looking for a special family vacation, a romantic getaway, or the waterway less taken, there may be a cruise for you. 24/7 Wall Street compiled a list of some of the best cruises you can take for your next vacation.

Transatlantic cruise • The seven-day trip from New York to Southampton, England, aboard the Cunard line’s Queen Mary 2 is the old school, classic cruise experience — lectures and course offerings, relatively low-key entertainment and a lot of down time. It is an alternative to air transport for those who dislike flying and have both the time and the means to take a leisurely sail. Noted for luxury, the Queen Mary 2 is not just for elite travelers. Costs range from $1,700 per person (double occupancy) for a tiny inside cabin to $7,500 and upward for a luxury suite. The quality of the dining experience varies with the cost of your ticket.

Around-the-world cruise • Ranging from four to eight months, around-the-world cruises define “trip of a lifetime.” They don’t actually circumnavigate the world, but instead focus on the Pacific, the Americas or other expansive regions of the world. They also vary in levels of luxury and educational emphasis. Among the longest and most diverse is Viking’s 245-day Ultimate World Cruise out of London that explores six continents, 53 countries and 111 ports of call as divergent as Montreal and the Amazon. Referred to as a “value” cruise, considering amenities and price, eight months aboard the 970-passenger Viking Sun costs between $90,000 for a lower deck cabin with a veranda, to $270,000 for the owner’s suite.

European river cruise • There are many cruise lines that ply the many scenic rivers of Europe, stopping at the historic towns and villages that grew up along the waterfront. Often docking during the dinner hour, passengers can stroll the streets of town in the early evening and then enjoy a guided walking tour in the morning. After lunch on the ship, motor coaches leave for various nearby destinations and return passengers back in time for dinner and more cruising. For many travelers, particularly retirees, this is a perfect vacation. With a 14-day itinerary that includes five countries and dozens of places to explore, Ama Waterways offers one of the more affordable river cruises, taking travelers along a very popular route for river boats. The voyage sails from Amsterdam to Budapest along the Danube, Main and Rhine rivers to some of Europe’s most storied cities and charming villages.

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