Vintage-Classy Cruise Ships and Art Deco

Recently we received a letter from one of our All Things Cruise valued readers, asking us to help him find cruise ships that offer “vintage-classy” experience and feel.

One of our award-winning travel journalists wrote an answer that we’d like to share with you, along with Enrico’s question that got us here in the first place.

Letter from *Enrico* to All Things Cruise:

I just came across your website and have loved getting lost into the amazing info you collated. I had a rather specific question and since you seem to have so much knowledge on the subject I thought I’d email you to see if you can help.

I’m really into Art Deco and recently started researching some of the incredible ocean liners that sailed back then. What an incredible era of glamour!

Sadly it seems all ocean liners from the era have been retired so I was looking for the next best thing which I guess would be a more modern ship but with a “retro” feel to it. So far the only ship I could find that seemed to evoke even slightly that feeling is the Queen Mary II but I’m sure there are others out there.

Do you know any cruise ships that would provide that type of feel? I know most modern ships would have a token “retro” bar or lounge of some sort and the obligatory “majestic stairwell”, but what I’m looking for is an overall more “vintage-classy” experience and feel throughout the ship. Wood paneling, brass decor etc… Any recommendations?

Thanks again for your informative website!

Kind Regards,


Answer from Jackie Sheckler Finch, All Things Cruise Award-Winning Journalist:

Hello *Enrico*,

Thank you for your kind note and interesting question. So glad you discovered our website.

As you said, most modern ships might have a retro touch but I’m not sure any are totally Art Deco. In my experience, Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth probably comes closest. Other readers might have even more suggestions. Here are some cruise ships and riverboats that feature some lovely Art Deco décor if you would like to enjoy a bit of Art Deco on a cruise. I was surprised and pleased to see Art Deco on Disney.

Since you are a fan of old ocean liners, you might like to check out the website of one of my favorite cruise travelers. His name is Peter Knego and he has a fascinating website about the history of some of those old ships as well as what happened to them.

Happy cruising to you,

Jackie Sheckler Finch

                                                   Disney Dream

Children may not notice but adults appreciate the Art Deco touches on the Disney Dream. The ship has huge portholes with window seats and a spectacular story-and-a-half tall Art Deco chandelier in the atrium lobby. At 22 feet wide, the chandelier sparkles with 88,680 Swarovski crystal beads and glows with colorful glass works, plus a dash of Disney whimsy.

                                                   Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth

The Queen Elizabeth features an elegant décor. The Atrium offers an Art Deco marquetry mural centerpiece depicting the bow of the original Queen Elizabeth cruise ship.

                                                   S.S. Joie de Vivre 

S.S. Joie de Vivre welcomes passengers to the “joy of living” on the rivers of France. The vessel features handcrafted furniture, fine antiques and original artwork. Look for signature accents inspired by 20th century Parisian designs from the Roaring 20s to the free-spirited 60s, plus important modern conveniences that travelers have come to expect.

                                                   Riviera River Cruises

I do love the names of these U.K. based ships. MS Emily Bronte, MS Thomas Hardy, MS Oscar Wilde, MS Geoffrey Chaucer, MS George Eliot, MS Lord Byron, MS William Wordsworth, MS Jane Austen, MS Robert Burns and MS William Shakespeare sail the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers as well as tributaries. The ships are decked in sustainable hardwoods with gleaming brass, polished copper, sparkling glass and intricate wrought iron.

                                                     Crystal Mozart

Billed as the largest vessel yet to sail the European rivers, the all-suite Crystal Mozart has a living rooftop garden area with teak benches.

                                                      Silver Muse

Silversea’s 596-pasenger Silver Muse features a lovely teak veranda with floor-to-ceiling glass doors.

                                                Seabourn Encore

Launched in 2016, the 600-passenger Encore is sleek with a yacht-like feel and some Art Deco touches. Rich dark blue and gleaming mahogany veneer, plus stainless steel offer a light-filled décor.

Cover photo: Disney Dream image courtesy of Disney Cruise Line

See more of Jackie Sheckler Finch’s stories here

Also, we invite you to comment further if you know of more cruise ships that may answer Enrico’s request. Thank you!


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