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  • Writer's pictureJason Leppert

What’s the Best: An Upscale Cruise Line Shootout

The upscale cruise brands – nestled between the quality of premium and luxury ones, all with exceptional value propositions – are Azamara Club Cruises, Oceania Cruises and Viking Ocean Cruises.

Which of the three comes out on top in six categories and overall in our shootout?

Design ~ Winner: Viking Ocean Cruises

Design wise, Azamara has a fleet of two existing, albeit majorly retooled, former Renaissance Cruises ships; Oceania has four of its own previous, almost original Renaissance vessels, plus two newly-built evolutions, and Viking has two of its own new ships. While the Azamara and Oceania ships get honorable mentions across the board for including welcome observation lounges, Viking’s bright double-decker equivalent is hands-down the best.

Oceania’s newest pair of ships comes close to Viking with expanded ceiling heights and cozy public venues, but the latter’s overall great layout and set of superb venues collectively surpass the competition.

Accommodations ~ Winner: Viking Ocean Cruises

Viking wins the accommodations category on one attribute alone: ample private showers. The ones on the former Renaissance R-ships that Azamara and Oceania have inherited and even Oceania’s new ship stalls are the smallest at sea. Other comforts are uniformly plush across the lines, but Viking also wins in

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