Everyone has a favourite. Our goal with this chart is to outline the key distinctions among the 10 most popular ships for UK passengers -- accounting for more than 22,000 berths -- in an easily digestible way. The ships' popularity is determined by the number of pageviews accrued over the past three months (October-December, 2015).
If you want more information about a particular ship or to see photos of the ship, just click on the vessel name for a comprehensive expert review and hundreds of reader-submitted critiques.
P&O Cruises' newest and largest ship specifically built for the U.K. debuted in March 2015 -- with HM The Queen presiding over the naming ceremony -- and claims the top place in our chart. The 3,647-passenger vessel combines all the most popular aspects of the rest of the fleet -- Atul Kochhar's Sindhu restaurant, Olly Smith's The Glass House and the Strictly Come Dancing tie-up -- and adds some brand new features such as the Cookery Club and a TV Studio.
- First purpose-built single cabins with balconies
- All outside cabins have balconies
- All suites are butler-serviced
- High-end molecular gastronomy in The Epicurean
- Dine with the celebrity chefs in the Cookery Club
- Atul Kochhar's Sindhu for high-end Indian cuisine
- Limelight Club: A chance to see celebrity performers up close and personal
- Crystal Room showcases ballroom dancing and Strictly dance offs
- The biggest Crow's Nest bar in the fleet -- with 20 different type of British-distilled gins to choose from
The 2,850-passenger Eclipse is the third of Celebrity's sleek, sophisticated and extremely popular Solstice-class ships. Combining big-ship amenities such as a huge spa and gym, big-production shows and a number of high-end restaurants, with small ship service and sophistication, Eclipse regularly gets 90 per cent + approval ratings from Cruise Critic members. A recent (May 2015) refit saw a number of new features added, including: World Class Bar, Gastro Bar and a suites-only restaurant, Luminae.
- 121 connecting staterooms and four Family Ocean View Staterooms with verandahs
- AquaSpa cabins include spa-oriented cosmetics, gels and bath amenities; upgraded linens and access to an exclusive room service menu.
- The 44 Sky Suites have a 79-square-foot verandah accessed through floor-to-ceiling sliding-glass doors.
- Cabin Reviews
- Deck Plans
- Brand new suites-only restaurant, with daily changing menu: Luminae
- Tuscan Grille has the best view of any restaurant afloat, being situated all the way aft
- Qsine is a blend of tapas-style tastes with gourmet interpretations of ethnic comfort food
- New Gastro Bar showcases 45 different craft beers
- New World Class Bar features craft cocktails and top mixologists
- Real grass lawn on the top deck
P&O Cruises' 3,100-passenger Ventura was the first of the line's large family-friendly ships, debuting in 2008. The aim was to attract families, and make a play for new to cruise, with a host of celebrity tie-ups (chefs Marco Pierre White, Atul Kochhar and wine expert Olly Smith all feature), lots more space (the ship is 30 percent bigger than its predecessors), plus plenty of family-friendly amenities.
- High-end molecular gastronomy in The Epicurean
- Sindhu, Atul Kochhar's superb take on Indian cuisine
- Olly Smith's The Glass House
- The Retreat: brand new adults-only area
- Expansive kids facility
- Headliners Theatre Company put on various singing and dancing revue shows throughout the cruise in the Arena Theatre
The 4,100-passenger Barcelona-based Norwegian Epic has recently come out of a dry dock (October, 2015), which saw a ship-wide refurbishment, plus the addition of the Cavern Club. This perennially popular ship has been a hit with U.K. fly-cruisers since its debut in 2010, offering a bewildering array of entertainment, dining and drinking options on this, the fifth-biggest ship in the world.
- Teppanyaki restaurant for knife play, singing, cheering and delicious food cooked in front of you
- No main dining room, but the Art Deco-esque Manhattan Room is the equivalent, complete with dance floor
- O'Sheehans for 24-hour food -- and bowling
- Beatles-inspired Cavern Club will debuted in October, 2015
- New Broadway show Priscilla Queen of the Desert
- Ice Bar, Bliss Ultra Lounge and Cirque Dreams just some of the night time activities
Majesty joined the Thomson line in May 2012 as part of a ship swap. In 2014 it went through a refit to add 28 balconies -- until the refit, it had none -- and take it up to Thomson's inhouse Platinum Status, which is akin to a four star rating. The 1,462-passenger ship is small by modern standards, and old (it was built in 1992) but that doesn't detract from its popularity amongst U.K. cruisers.
Deployment: Cruises in the Mediterranean and Canary Islands.
- Standard cabins are assigned by the cruise line -- passengers can pay a fee to upgrade.
- Only 28 balcony cabins onboard
- Suites feature flat-screen TVs and iPod docking stations
- The ship features two main dining rooms, Seven Seas and Four Seasons
- Three alternative eateries, including a 24-hour buffet venue
- Room service and French alternative restaurant, Le Bistro, are for-fee
- Jubilee Lounge offers production shows, guest acts and late-night discos
- Royal Observatory bar boasts views from ship's highest point
- Small casino, Monte Carlo, has games tables and slot machines
Thomson Dream is the newest, biggest and most luxurious ship in Thomson's fleet of five ships. Thomson took over the vessel from Costa Cruises in April 2010, and the ship underwent a multimillion-pound refit in 2012 and 2014. It's featured on a TV programme (Showboaters), and in two popular YouTube videos involving free running, or parkour, which showcases the ship. The 2014 refit saw a general refurbishment as well as a new speciality Asian restaurant.
Deployment: Mediterranean cruises out of Palma, Mallorca, in the summer; Jamaica throughout the winter.
- 764 cabins in categories ranging from insides to suites
- Only six cabins -- grand suites -- have balconies
- 19 single cabins and four wheelchair-accessible cabins
- Deck Plans
- Asian-themed a la carte restaurant Kora La, specializing in Indian and Chinese cuisine
- The Explorers Lounge & The Coffee Port offers speciality coffees
- Speciality restaurant allows you to grill your own food on super-heated volcanic rocks
- High-ceilinged Broadway Theatre hosts musical reviews
- A headlining entertainer performs twice each week
- Daily enrichment limited to lectures and port talks
Following a refurbishment and re-livery, this ship joined the Cruise & Maritime Voyages fleet in March 2015 as the line's new flagship. The 1,250-passenger ship is based in Tilbury, Essex, and offers unusual itineraries to the Norwegian fjords and beyond. It's an old ship -- 31 years old this year -- and has not been refurbished for some time, and design-wise harks back to the 1970s. Magellan, as with the other ships in the CMV fleet, is adults only.
Deployment: Magellan is based in Tilbury year-round and offers Northern Europe itineraries.
- Just two dedicated single cabins
- 6 Royal Suites, 4 Deluxe Suites and 4 Junior Suites
- 15 grades of accommodation
- Two classic dining rooms, the Waldorf and the Kensington
- No speciality restaurants
- Poolside grill open at lunch for burgers and hot dogs
- Drinking holes include Captain's Club, for a pre-dinner cocktail
- Evening shows held in the Magellan Main Show Lounge
- Fabulous retro-design Scott's Nightclub
The 3,100-passenger Azura is Ventura's younger sister (by two years), and has the same vibe and feel as her older sibling: family friendly, superb dining options, a new adults-only area, plus one or two extra features, including SeaScreen, the new outdoor cinema.
- Superior Deluxe Balcony Cabins come with Champagne, fruit and chocolates on arrival.
- The Suites have butler service, daily canapes, a coffee machine, newspapers and exclusive use of Seventeen for breakfast.
- Families can be accommodated in all cabin grades except those for singles.
- Cabin Reviews
- Deck Plans
- Dozen-plus dining options focus on casual eats
- Main dining room, Crimson, is one of most vibrant at sea
- Surprisingly good for-fee steakhouse
- Adults-only areas including The Retreat
- Great kids' facilities including appearances from Mr. Men and Little Miss Sunshine
- There are 12 bars, including Brodies, a cross between a sports bar and traditional pub but with a small casino attached
Originally Holland America's Noordam, Thomson Celebration is a smaller ship, whose just over 1,250 passengers usually share a love of traditional British cruises. Launched in 1984, Thomson gave the ship a facelift in 2013 and added 26 balconies to the old dame.
Deployment: Eastern Mediterranean, Black Sea, Caribbean and Central America.
- 26 extra balcony cabins added in 2014 (total of 46)
- Inside and standard outside cabins are small
- Refit added flat-screen TVs and updated bathrooms
- Deck Plans
- Meridian Restaurant offers waiter-served meals all day and six-course dinner
- Mistral Restaurant is for-fee alternative
- Room service costs extra
- Broadway Show Lounge offers West End-style revues and special guest headliners
- Films screened in Liberties lounge during the day
- Small casino, Hemingway's, offers gaming tables and slot machines
The 77,000-ton, 2,016-passenger Oceana may not be the largest or fanciest in P&O's fleet, but its contemporary vibe is attractive to both the new-to-cruising younger set as well as veteran cruisers. Launched in 2000, the ship went into dry dock in December 2012 for a £1 million refurbishment.
Deployment: Oceana is based in Genoa during the summer, offering Mediterranean cruises; and Southampton in the winter, offering short break cruises to Northern Europe.
- Marco Pierre White's Italian-inspired Cafe Jardin
- Freedom and fixed time dining available in the two main dining rooms
- Speciality restaurant Horizon Grill offers burgers, seafood and steaks
- Nautically themed Yacht & Compass bar-lounge
- Le Club is a disco at night and a multi-purpose venue for lectures to craft classes
- Oasis spa features seven treatment rooms