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2014 US Editors' Picks Awards

2014 Editors’ Picks for Cruise Critic
Editors' Picks Awards
The Cruise Critic Editors' Picks Awards are chosen by Cruise Critic's international team of editors, based on the lines and ships they feel best represent excellence in each of the designated categories. Awards announced November 2014.
US
UK

Best New Ship

Quantum of the Seas Quantum of the Seas cruise Quantum of the Seas is all about innovation. Bumper cars and skydiving at sea grab the headlines, but the ship itself is simply revolutionary. The technology available onboard makes staying in touch a snap, and thoughtful details like USB ports in cabins and interactive kiosks for booking onboard activities are perfect for the modern cruiser.

Read our review of Quantum of the Seas

Best Ship Refurbishment

Oceania Cruises (R-Class) Oceania Cruises cruise Three of the loveliest ships afloat, even before 2014's $50 million refurbishment, Oceania's 694-passenger trio reflects the contemporary ambience of Marina and Riviera, the fleet's newer siblings. Our favorite aspects? The luxe makeovers of cabins, from new mattresses to splendidly redesigned suites, the French Riviera-inspired pool deck revamp and the addition of Barista's coffee bar.

Read our review of Oceania Cruises

Best For Luxury

Ponant Yacht Cruises & Expeditions Ponant cruise The French Ponant, which has three 264-passenger yachts with another launching in 2015, offers adventurous itineraries framed by luxury onboard. All have ice-strengthened hulls for travel to the Arctic and Antarctic, plus a fleet of zodiacs for sightseeing in out-of-the-way ports. From cabins and restaurants to the spa, the nautical decor is upscale yet low-key.

Read our review of Ponant

Best for Families

Disney Cruise Line Disney Cruise Line cruise Disney proves its understanding of what's important to parents by providing a cruise vacation that is fun and relaxing for kids and adults of all ages. It covers the basics with creativity and flair, then goes beyond with thoughtful touches that make it easier to travel as a family.

Read our review of Disney Cruise Line

Best Itineraries

Princess Cruises Princess Cruises cruise In addition to its battery of standard Caribbean, Canada/New England and Europe sailings, Princess is known for offering standout Alaska voyages. Throw in bucket-list destinations like the Panama Canal, Australia/New Zealand and Tahiti, as well as world cruises that last more than 100 days, and you'll understand why Princess takes 2014's top honors for itineraries.

Read our review of Princess Cruises

Best for Adventure

International Expeditions International Expeditions cruise Primarily a land tour company, International Expeditions offers ship-based explorations of the Peruvian Amazon and the Galapagos Islands. What's special about IE's cruises is how much the regions are incorporated into the experience, both onboard and in port. Particularly special are the guides, chefs and crew that create a family ambience onboard.

Read our review of International Expeditions

Best Value for Money

Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Cruise Lines cruise When cruisers book with Carnival, they get great included features like waterslides, Guy's Burger Joint and the Seuss at Sea family program. To make sure passengers get more bang for their bucks, the line introduced Carnival Live, its fun, well-priced concert series. The icing? Carnival's Great Vacation Guarantee -- proving the line's confidence in its product.

Read our review of Carnival Cruise Lines

Best Dining

Oceania Cruises Oceania Cruises cruise Variety abounds when it comes to dining on Oceania's ships, which feature world-class gourmet options with an open-seating scenario in its main dining rooms. Where the ships really shine, though, is with their included alternative restaurants: Asian Red Ginger and French Jacques, named for the line's famous executive culinary director, Jacques Pepin.

Read our review of Oceania Cruises

Best Entertainment

Norwegian Cruise Line Norwegian Cruise Line cruise From the sing-along fun of Legends in Concert on Norwegian Epic to the head-banging joy of "Rock of Ages" on Norwegian Breakaway and sizzling Latin sounds of Burn the Floor on Getaway, Norwegian Cruise Line is all about entertainment. Fleetwide, you'll find musical revues, comedy and jazz on all Norwegian vessels.

Read our review of Norwegian Cruise Line

Best Suites

Celebrity Cruises Celebrity Cruises cruise Celebrity's suite perks set it apart. Nearly every suite level includes butler service and upgraded amenities like in-suite dining and at least one complimentary dinner at an alternative restaurant. The 1,636-square-foot Reflection Suite is over the top, with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a 194-square-foot verandah and a glass shower that hangs over the side of the ship.

Read our review of Celebrity Cruises

Best Inside Cabins

Royal Caribbean International Royal Caribbean International cruise When Royal Caribbean introduced virtual balconies into some inside cabins on Navigator of the Seas, the line surpassed its competition. The cabins, also found on Quantum of the Seas, give passengers the feeling of being in an outside cabin via real-time video from outside the ship that's piped in and displayed on wall-sized digital screens.

Read our review of Royal Caribbean International

Best Standard Cabins

Holland America Line Holland America Line cruise With more space and included amenities than the industry average, Holland America's standard cabins speak for themselves. Gratis robes, fruit and shoeshine service are sweet perks. And Lanai cabins -- a bright cross between outside and balcony cabins, with access to the Promenade Deck -- continue to make their debut throughout the fleet.

Read our review of Holland America Line

Best Shore Excursions

Azamara Club Cruises Azamara Club Cruises cruise With more overnight port stays than most mainstream cruise lines, Azamara Club Cruises gives its passengers more time in major ports for in-depth exploration. Additionally, the line offers passengers one free "AzAmazing" evening excursion on every sailing, providing exclusive access to popular attractions, like a private orchestral performance in Ephesus' Odeon Roman theater.

Read our review of Azamara Club Cruises

Best for Romance

Windstar Cruises Windstar Cruises cruise Exotic ports, small size and masted sails on most ships make Windstar the choice for swoon-worthy romance at sea. Honeymooners love the line's luxe touches and indulgent service, while couples of all ages enjoy the ships' casual vibe. With the addition of three yachts, the line has doubled in size, while maintaining its intimate flavor.

Read our review of Windstar Cruises

Best Cruise Ship Bar

Martini Bar, Celebrity Cruises Celebrity Cruises cruise The hottest spot on Celebrity ships happens to be its coolest: the frosted-ice counter of the Martini Bar. Located off the atrium on both Millennium- and Solstice-class ships, the circular hangout is almost always packed with cocktail aficionados, pre-dinner drinkers and people-watchers checking out the crowd -- as well as shaker-wielding bartenders.

Read our review of Celebrity Cruises

Best North American Homeport

New Orleans New Orleans cruise The party rarely stops in the Crescent City, which is why this historic port along the Mississippi River is the perfect spot to start your vacation. There's world-class music, food and shopping; in 2014, the Outlet Collection at Riverwalk opened adjacent to the terminal, giving passengers even more incentive to let the good times roll.

Read our review of New Orleans

Best New River Ship

Emerald Star and Emerald Sky Emerald Waterways cruise Emerald Star and Emerald Sky are like nothing else on the rivers. Decor is straight-up modern and bright, and innovations, such as a pool with retractable roof, are a breath of fresh air. Smartly priced and inclusive enough to appeal to first-time or younger cruisers as well as seasoned travelers, Emerald's new ships have an easygoing vibe and casual elegance.

Read our review of Emerald Waterways

Best River Cruise Line

Viking Cruises Viking Cruises cruise In an expanding river market, Viking continues to reign, thanks in part to exceptional excursions that include exciting and unusual options like truffle hunting and cognac blending. Its casual Aquavit Terrace, which provides a unique indoor/outdoor experience, is a hallmark of the line, which shows no signs of slowing when it comes to growth.

Read our review of Viking Cruises
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