Cruise Critic took notice when the publication Travel + Leisure released its 2013 World’s Best Awards this week, an annual online survey of 17,000 magazine, e-device and website readers.
For the first time, Costa Cruises — the same line that made headlines when its ship, Concordia, sank off the coast of Italy in January 2012, killing 32 people — appeared on the list, in the pub’s new category of Mega-Ship (defined by T + L as vessels that carry more than 2,200 passengers).
Costa came in eighth out of eight in the category, which based its line ranking on how many votes each individual ship received. Celebrity Cruises, Disney Cruise Line and Cunard Line took the top three spots, with Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruises and Carnival Cruise Lines rounding out the contenders.
Editors at Travel + Leisure were not available for comment Wednesday.
Costa took the ranking as a sign that its core audience from North America — which it defines as sophisticated travelers who enjoy a European-style cruise experience — had moved on. Based in Italy and owned by Carnival Corporation, Costa has 14 ships in service and boasts the largest fleet in Europe.
Bookings from passengers on this continent are up in 2013, said Scott Knutson, vice president of sales and marketing for Costa Cruises North America. “One of the unintended consequences of last year was the exposure that the line got in North America,” he said Wednesday. He noted that not only is it the first time that Costa has made the list, but it’s also the first Italian line to do so.
Lists remain popular with readers (we run plenty of polls and lists here too), and the World’s Best Awards, which are online, will be in the August issue of Travel + Leisure, out later this month.
In other cruise categories, Crystal Cruises continued to top the large ship rankings (600 to 2,199 passengers), as it has done every year since the reader survey began in 1996. Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises came in second and third in that category, while Seabourn Cruise Line, SeaDream Yacht Club and Windstar Cruises were voted as the top small ship lines. Tauck River Cruising, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection and Grand Circle Cruise Lines received honors in the river ship rankings.
Read our 2013 Cruisers Choice Awards
Read our 2012 Editors Picks.
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