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Our picks of the best suites you’ll find on a cruise ship aren’t necessarily the biggest at sea (though spacious digs on ships, where standard cabins typically rival a cheap London hotel for sheer meanness of size, are indeed a luxury).
All of these—and I’ve stayed in them—are superb for a variety of reasons, including an elegant ambience, fun tech toys, lavish bathrooms, walk-in closets, and extra services of butlers and other handlers. We also considered location. It’s an odd truism that on some ships the most elaborate suites back right up onto public deck pool areas and sports courts with no privacy at all.
Size matters. But it’s not everything.
Queen Anne Suite
Cunard’s Queen Mary 2
What works: Spacious, yes, but the Queen Anne suite is also cozy, featuring a living room/dining room combo with a table that seats four, a separate bedroom, one and a half—all marble—bathrooms and the all-important walk-in closet. But what I loved most was the view; the suite stretches halfway across the ship’s bow and from its bay-like windows you can see forever.
The Queen Anne Suite's starting price for a 2012 seven-day transatlantic crossing is $11,895 per person, plus government fees & taxes and fuel supplement, if applicable.
Norwegian’s Epic, Gem, Jade, Jewel, Pearl
What works: This is the best suite at sea for families, perfect for passengers who want small-ship pampering with big-ship entertainment and kids’ clubs. There are a variety of categories within the Haven on each ship, but some villas feature a living room/dining area, kids’ bedroom for two, with its own television and bathroom. There’s a separate master bedroom/bath combo with a fabulous whirlpool tub that’s tucked next to full windows.
From $2,999 per person double occupancy.
Seabourn’s Odyssey, Sojourn, Quest