Your Ultimate Cruise Guide

Compare: 10 Most Popular Cruise Ships

Everyone has a favorite. Our goal with this chart is to outline the key distinctions among the 10 most popular ships in the industry -- accounting for more than 45,000 berths -- in an easily digestible way. "Popular" is determined by pageviews, Facebook likes and associated Cruise Critic member reviews.

Want more info about Carnival Breeze or Norwegian Getaway? Click on the vessel name for a comprehensive expert review and hundreds of reader-submitted critiques.

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Cruise Ship Basics Sleep Eat Fun Deck Plan

The 5,400-passenger Oasis launched in 2009 as the largest cruise ship ever built. In addition to debuting many at-sea firsts, including an outdoor AquaTheater, Oasis represents a revolution in design. An open-air corridor carved out along the length of the ship creates space for a tropical foliage- and eatery-filled Central Park and a Coney Island-style Boardwalk.

Deployment: Year-round Caribbean cruises out of Fort Lauderdale.
  • Insides to 14-passenger Presidential Suite
  • In-facing balconies overlook Central Park and Boardwalk
  • Apartment-sized double-decker "Lofts"
  • Cabin Reviews
  • More than 20 dining options, about half for-fee
  • Fan favorite Central Park Cafe for paninis, salads
  • Upscale tasting restaurant has seasonal menu
  • Foliage-filled Central Park is hub for eating, drinking
  • Glass-covered Solarium with pool
  • Surf simulators, zip-line and rock-climbing walls

The 2,974-passenger Carnival Freedom, launched in 2007, received a series of Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades during a spring 2014 dry dock. Among the additions are Guy's Burger Joint, the BlueIguana Cantina and RedFrog Rum Bar, the EA Sports Bar and Alchemy Bar. Freedom is also the first Carnival ship to receive Bookville, a Dr. Seuss-inspired playroom for kids.

Deployment: Seasonal Caribbean cruises out of Fort Lauderdale and Galveston.
  • No-frills cabin options: insides, oceanviews, balconies and suites
  • 194 connecting cabins for more flexibility
  • Beautiful views from suites
  • Cabin Reviews
  • Dozen-plus dining options, mostly free, focus on casual eats
  • Features the incredibly popular Guy's Burger Joint
  • Breakfast burritos at the BlueIguana Burrito bar are out of this world
  • The Punchliner Comedy Club for family-friendly and adults-only comedy
  • Seuss at Sea activities for the whole family
  • "Hasbro, the Game Show" and four, shorter PlayList Production shows

Norwegian Getaway, which debuted in February 2014, is a Cuban Miami-inspired ship that sails year-round from Miami. You'll notice touches of South Beach throughout: the Tropicana room, designed as a 1940s Havana supper club; the Flamingo Grill serving Cuban food; and Burn the Floor with a Havana nights theme and sultry Latin dancing.

Deployment: Cruises to the Caribbean.
  • 2,014 cabins in 11 main categories, some adjoining and wheelchair-accessible
  • Cabins are energy efficient, requiring key cards to operate lighting and power
  • 59 Studio cabins for solos
  • Cabin Reviews
  • 27 restaurants, indoors or out
  • New exclusives include Ocean Blue and Carlo's Bakery
  • Three complimentary main dining rooms
  • Ice Bar (literally the coolest spot onboard)
  • Sky Trail ropes course with an eight-foot-long plank
  • Norwegian's largest variety of waterslides

The 5,400-passenger Allure builds on the blueprint introduced by its sister, Oasis. Both ships feature unique-to-cruise offerings like zip-lining and a handmade wooden carousel, but Allure has its own twists, including cruising's first Starbucks, a hot dog venue and the Broadway show "Chicago."

Deployment: Year-round Caribbean cruises out of Fort Lauderdale.
  • 37 cabin categories range from insides to suites
  • "In-facing" balconies
  • Two-deck loft suites
  • Cabin Reviews
  • 20-plus dining options
  • Johnny Rockets burgers, hot dog joint
  • Alternative venues: Japanese, Italian, steakhouse
  • Coney Island-styled Boardwalk with carousel
  • Outdoor AquaTheater for daredevil diving shows
  • Sun deck has "beach" and "sports" pools

The 3,634-passenger Freedom of the Seas launched in 2006 and boasted the fleet's first surf simulator, a regulation-sized boxing ring and an interactive water park for kids. It underwent a refurbishment in 2011, receiving Oasis-class services including a nursery, LCD Wayfinder system and a cupcake shop.

Deployment: Year-round Caribbean cruises out of Port Canaveral.
  • Four cabin categories offer a variety of configurations for more flexibility
  • Royal Family Suites feature two bedrooms and a living area with convertible sofa
  • Funky promenade-view cabins available
  • Cabin Reviews
  • A dozen dining options including three main dining rooms
  • Passengers with a sweet tooth will love Ben & Jerry's and The Cupcake Cupboard
  • My Time Dining or traditional seating options
  • Nightly music in multiple venues
  • Ice rink at sea
  • The DreamWorks Experience

The boisterous Carnival Breeze debuted in June 2012 as the third offering in the line's popular Dream class. Continuing a transition that began with sister ship Carnival Magic in 2011, 3,690-passenger, 130,000-ton Breeze embodies a new breed of Fun Ship with a toned-down tropical feel and more cohesive decor. Changes come thanks to a new designer and the first full execution of the line's half-billion-dollar "Fun Ship 2.0" initiative, a fleetwide identity overhaul focusing on food, booze and entertainment.

Deployment: Year-round Caribbean cruises out of Miami.
  • Standard insides (except 1A's), oceanviews and balconies each feature two twins that form a king
  • Family "quint" cabins have two bathrooms
  • Deck 2 "cove balconies" offer additional privacy
  • Cabin Reviews
  • Carnival's most varied mix of dining options
  • Pair of two-deck dining rooms, Sapphire and Blush
  • Revamped top-ship buffet for less congested crowds
  • The line's best water park
  • Each bar has (a) unique vibe, music, decor and drink list
  • Great interactive show: "Hasbro, the Game Show"

Cool sophistication is the unmistakable vibe onboard the 126,000-ton, 3,046-passenger Celebrity Reflection, the final -- and biggest -- of the five ships in the line's Solstice Class. Sure, the Solstice Class blueprint is still in place; you can't miss the Lawn Club, Solarium and themed dining venues found onboard all five ships. But Reflection, which debuted in October 2012, turns it up a notch.

Deployment: Caribbean, Mediterranean and Transatlantic cruises from Miami and Rome.
  • 1,532 cabins in 14 main categories
  • Balcony cabins feature 54-square-foot balconies
  • AquaClass cabins offer spa perks and freebies
  • Cabin Reviews
  • A number of for-fee restaurants
  • "Spa-inspired" fare at Blu
  • Qsine diners order on iPads
  • Impressive cocktail serving at Martini Bar
  • Adults-only Solarium for no-sun-burn lounging
  • Cellar Masters: A wine lover's happy place

The 128,690-ton, 2,500-passenger Disney Fantasy -- which debuted in March 2012 -- substitutes brighter Art Nouveau flourishes for Art Deco, while homing in on sister ship Dream's shortcomings. Although only modestly different, Fantasy seems light-years improved over its predecessor.

Deployment: Year-round Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral.
  • Inside cabins feature "magical portholes"
  • Cabins feature bath-and-a-half setup
  • For more room, try a Concierge Suite
  • Cabin Reviews
  • Rotational dining setup: Eat in one of three main restaurants every night, but keep same waiters
  • Buzzworthy $75-a-head French venue, Remy
  • Diners interact with "Finding Nemo's" Crush at Animator's Palate
  • AquaLab, a new 1,800-square-foot water play area
  • Disney produces some of cruising's best stage shows
  • Adults-only Satellite Sun Deck

Princess Cruises doesn't set out to dazzle with gimmickry (no bumper cars at sea, ropes courses or simulated surf pools for this Princess), and it's never wanted (or needed) to. The line opts for a more traditional style of cruising, even as it does occasionally push the bounds in terms of innovation. It's certainly come up with some great ideas -- Movies Under The Stars, the adults-only Sanctuary and the transformation of a functional ship's atrium into the buzzing Piazza -- that are now widely copied by other lines.

Deployment: Caribbean, New England/Canada, Europe and Transatlantic cruises from Fort Lauderdale, New York City, Venice, Copenhagen, Berlin and St. Petersburg.
  • 1,780 cabins fall into five different grades
  • More contemporary decor, larger showers and hand-held showerheads
  • 81 percent of cabins have balconies.
  • Cabin Reviews
  • A choice of 16 places to eat
  • All three main dining rooms offer menus for dietary restrictions
  • Double the number of seats in Horizon Court
  • New Princess Live! -- the first television studio at sea
  • Expanded Piazza with more cafes and lounges
  • Largest Princess Theater in the fleet (along with Royal Princess)

Despite its age, the 2,158-passenger Celebrity Summit remains popular with cruisers because it combines a more intimate atmosphere with the amenities of its larger, Solstice-class sister ships. Upgraded in 2012, Summit boasts the "uniquely unordinary" Qsine restaurant, the always happening Crush Martini Bar and 107 indulgent AquaClass cabins.

Deployment: Bermuda, Caribbean and New England/Canada cruises from San Juan, Puerto Rico and Cape Liberty, New Jersey.
  • 1,119 cabins fall into five different categories
  • AquaClass cabins come with access to spa-inspired Blu restaurant
  • Suite passengers get extra perks
  • Cabin Reviews
  • Qsine provides whimsical, interactive dining experience
  • Two-level Cosmopolitan main dining restaurant
  • Bistro on Five enables noshing between meals and late at night
  • Celebrity iLounge offers technology classes
  • Onboard enrichment program via Celebrity Life
  • Private in-room baby-sitting gives parents more flexibility

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