Setting Sail for Luxury: A Look at the World’s Finest Cruise Ships


Robin Maclear, Chairman of The Cruise Line Ltd, and Senior Vice President Ian Buckeridge share their insider knowledge of the most spectacular cruises of the future.

Luxury cruises are increasingly appealing to today’s discerning globetrotters. For those wanting privacy, these opulent ocean-going oases offer sanctuaries of seclusion amidst the vastness of the seas. Not only are they loaded with fun-packed activities, entertainment and highly recommended restaurants, but they also have a multigenerational appeal. These luxury ships are essentially the most high-end floating resorts of our time and are ideal for everyone who can afford to holiday on them—families, couples and those wanting to travel solo.

Citation Longitude
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Four Seasons Cruises: Riviera Chic on the Open Sea

Embarking on a voyage with Four Seasons Cruises is akin to stepping into a floating palace of Riviera chic—a world where the glamour of the Côte d’Azur meets the boundless luxury of the open sea. The grandeur of the Four Seasons Yacht, launching in 2025, takes its cue from the legendary Christina O, once owned by Aristotle Onassis, creating an ambiance that is more like a private yacht than a conventional passenger ship.

Each 33,000-tonne, 14-deck luxury yacht has 95 suites, which can be reconfigured into 65 expansive, connecting units; the sense of spaciousness is nothing short of breath-taking. The crown jewel is the Funnel Suite, an expansive, four-storey penthouse space that is set to be one of the largest suites available on any cruise ship. Dubbed the “Eiffel Tower,” it’s an architectural marvel that commands the seas. Sprawling across an expansive 9,600 square feet, this suite is encased in all-glass walls. The curved, wraparound glass windows will stretch from floor to ceiling, offering a sweeping 280-degree panoramic view of the ocean’s grandeur.


Echoing the classic elegance of Christina O, the yacht’s design is evident, particularly in its canoe-shaped stern, a sprawling pool deck, lounge chairs and a large 66-foot saltwater pool. The pool’s design means it can be quickly filled or emptied. A mere press of a button transforms the pool floor, elevating it to serve as a dynamic dance floor, an open-air cinema or even a romantic platform for weddings and exclusive gatherings.

If that doesn’t sound impressive enough, for passengers who prefer swimming in the ocean, the Four Seasons Yacht will have a marina built for swimming and water sports. The marina area will stretch the entire width of the ship. You can go sailing, snorkelling and windsurfing, as well as hire custom-crafted sea limousines designed for transfers and coastal grand touring.

Orient Express Silenseas: Inspired by the French Riviera’s Golden Age

Nearly a century and a half after captivating the world with its luxurious trains, the Orient Express is set to conquer another frontier: the seas! Set to be the largest sailing ship in the world, the renowned brand promises a voyage that transcends time, echoing the glamour of yesteryear while embracing innovation with the mammoth Orient Express Silenseas.


With sights set on its inaugural journey in 2026, the ship aims to redefine luxury sailing. The monumental venture is born from the collaborative spirit between Accor, the stewards of Orient Express and the maritime maestros at Chantiers de l’Atlantique. Architect Maxime d’Angeac will design the interior layout and decor, and Nantes-based design company Stirling Design International will handle the exterior architecture.

Spanning 720 feet, the ‘Silenseas’ will house 54 opulent suites, including a sprawling 15,230-square-foot presidential suite. A pair of pools, gourmet dining venues and a hidden speakeasy bar promise an experience that’s as timeless as it is luxurious. Beyond the walls, guests can bask in the sunlit performances at the amphitheatre cabaret, tap into their creative spirits in the private recording studio, or find solace in rejuvenating spa sessions and tranquil meditation.

Technologically, the ‘Silenseas’ is a marvel. Boasting the revolutionary “SolidSail” technology, its three rigid sails unfurl across 16,000 square feet each, powered by tilting masts that pierce the skies at 330 feet. In harmony with nature, this hybrid propulsion seamlessly integrates wind power with a liquefied natural gas (LNG) engine, while eyes are set on a greener horizon with emerging green hydrogen technology. Although no scheduled cruises are currently available for booking, the cruise liner is expected to provide itineraries for the Mediterranean Sea in the summer and the Caribbean Sea in the winter.

Explora I: A New Era of Luxury Cruising

In the summer of 2023, Explora Journeys unveiled their inaugural vessel, Explora I. Boasting the sophistication of a European hotel, each of its 461 luxury oceanfront suites, penthouses and residences is crafted as a ‘Home at Sea’, boasting sweeping ocean views and private terraces.

Backed by over three centuries of maritime expertise from the Aponte family, owners of MSC Cruises, Explora Journeys introduces a novel luxury cruise approach. Explora I features nine distinct culinary experiences, ten bars, four pools and entertainment spaces that exude individuality. Spaces seamlessly flow, maintaining individuality in each venue. Even the art space resembles a Soho gallery, transcending traditional ship passageways.


Devoting more than 7,500 square feet to indoor and outdoor wellness facilities, including nine spa treatment rooms and a fitness studio, Explora I prioritises well-being. The brand embraces hybrid-ready energy solutions and waste management, with a commitment to eliminating single-use plastic both onboard and onshore. Water fountains throughout the ship provide refillable water solutions, reducing plastic usage and waste.

The staff’s personalised service extends from greeting guests by name to offering curated experiences at each destination. Explora Journeys offers a series of curated experiential distractions and activities, catering to adventurers, explorers, gourmands, historians, nature lovers and culture enthusiasts.

Boasting a promising future, Explora Journeys plans a six-ship fleet (2023–2028) equipped with cutting-edge environmental and marine technologies, targeting travellers seeking a unique blend of resort-like luxury and fresh cruise experiences. The brand’s vision is to immerse guests in an “ocean state of mind”, fostering relaxation, memories and reconnection with what truly matters.

Sailing Elegance: Sea Cloud Spirit’s Majestic Canvas

Sea Cloud Spirit, a legacy of the Sea Cloud Cruises fleet, blends sailing romance with contemporary luxury. The sails are the heart and soul of the Sea Cloud Spirit. The time-honoured practice of setting the sails by hand is not merely a nod to tradition but an immersive spectacle for guests. This intricate ballet of crew and canvas is a daily ritual, evoking the golden age of sailing.

Featuring winter sailings to the Caribbean and Central America as well as summer Mediterranean cruises, Sea Cloud Spirit is a beautifully designed three-masted barque with 28 sails and 69 cabins. With its five accessible decks, it accommodates up to 136 guests, making it the world’s largest sailing ship at 5,431 tonnes and 138 metres in length.

The ship’s cabins – from Superior Single Cabins to Owner Suites – offer elegantly furnished rooms reflecting traditional craftsmanship, and creating a warm, inviting atmosphere with marbled bathrooms, rich wood furnishings and plush textiles.

When it comes to dining, the main restaurant, on the veranda deck, serves local and continental cuisine with a wine selection that complements dishes. Encapsulated by panoramic windows, it provides a backdrop for culinary delights. Fresh, regional ingredients characterise a menu tailored to the destinations for which guests are headed.

Sea Cloud Spirit doesn’t solely dwell in the past. Modern amenities ensure a comfortable voyage, from the cosy library and lounge to the fitness area. The exclusive wellness and spa area on the cabin deck features two treatment rooms, a steam bath, a Finnish sauna, a relaxation room, a multi-sensory shower and a beauty parlour with a hairdressing salon. Wellness treatments provide a rejuvenating counterpoint to days spent stepping ashore and exploring or basking in the sun on deck.

Aman at Sea: Project Sama

Aman, a pioneer in crafting sanctuaries of serenity and luxury for over three decades, is embarking on a bold new odyssey—this time on the high seas. Due to launch in 2027, Aman at Sea is launching a 183-metre superyacht currently referred to as Project Sama, featuring 47 spacious luxury suites, each with a private balcony. It will have dual-fuel technology, which propels the yacht towards a greener future.

The 600-footer has been designed with Dutch studio Sinot Yacht Architecture & Design and is being developed through a joint venture between Aman and Jeddah-based Cruise Saudi, of which Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) is a shareholder. This nautical marvel promises to deliver Aman’s signature experience beyond land, venturing into the majestic realm of oceanic exploration.


Guests can anticipate an onboard experience steeped in rejuvenation, with suites offering private balconies for meditation against the backdrop of the infinite sea. The unique ship will have international Michelin-quality dining restaurants, an on-board beach club and lounge, an Aman Spa with Japanese relaxation garden, two helipads and an expansive beach club offering guests direct access to the water from the stern of the yacht.

This initiative isn’t Aman’s first nautical venture: the company has operated the two-masted rental dive boat Amandira for a number of years in Indonesia’s Flores Sea, affording intimate adventures and underwater explorations. Now, in collaboration with Italy’s T. Mariotti shipyard and Cruise Saudi, Aman is poised to redefine luxury cruising, merging their sanctuary ethos with the boundless allure of the oceans.

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