See the lines and ships that best represent excellence in ocean, luxury, and expedition cruising, chosen by Cruise Critic's international team of editors.
Best New Ship
"Norwegian Prima has launched a new ship class that continues what the line does best – lots of specialty dining choices; wide-ranging entertainment; oodles of activities for families – and made the entire experience more upscale. The ship’s suite complex is expanded and reconfigured to become the best in the fleet. But even non-suite guests will appreciate Norwegian Prima’s high-end decor and fresh, modern cabins all paired with new thrills, fun shows and fantastic dining choices."
"Celebrity seems to have thought of everything you could ever want in your cabin, from exceptional storage space and multiple charging options, to a breathtaking, modern design. Best of all, it doesn't matter if you're sailing the newest ship in the fleet or the oldest, in a suite or an interior stateroom: Celebrity's cabins are consistently outstanding, and the wide variety ensures there's something for everyone."
"Fresh and modern, Virgin’s dining program has something for everyone. From a vegetarian restaurant and the first Korean BBQ at sea, to the Mexico City-inspired Pink Agave and a wide-ranging food hall, Virgin caters to all tastes, at all hours. The experiential Test Kitchen has pairing options for cocktails, mocktails and beer; pizzas are made to order – and best of all, every venue is included in your fare."
"On Norwegian, there’s something to do at all hours of the day, no matter what your age. During the day, take a spin on attractions like the go-cart track, mini-golf or slides. At night, find live music in almost every corner of the ship, and shows ranging from Broadway favorites to performing groups. Don’t miss popular venues like The Cavern Club or Syd Norman’s Pour House, where you need to come early to get a seat."
Best for Families
"It should come as no surprise that Disney Cruise Line knocks it out of the park where families are concerned. The line's kid's programs are top-notch, and the company never stops innovating ways to ensure families all enjoy their time onboard, from spacious staterooms with segmented bathrooms to the quality of the crews onboard who delight in ensuring everyone experiences the magic."
"Virgin Voyages promises its 'sailors' it will keep them entertained, and boy, does it deliver -- into the wee hours of the morning. Forget sleep. Virgin Voyages guests will be up all night, dressed in scarlet for an incredible pool party, clubbing in The Manor or joining an impromptu conga line with the line's ubiquitous mermaids. Sleep in, and you'll still be up in time for brunch at Razzle Dazzle."
"All cruise lines talk about providing superb service that anticipates your every need; Holland America Line delivers. Its gracious crews -- most of whom hail from the Philippines and Indonesia -- are downright friendly to a fault. Expect crews to not only remember your favorite drink, but to remember you as well. It's all part of what keeps passengers coming back to Holland America time and time again."
Best for Solo Travelers
"Norwegian Cruise Line has been nailing solo travel for years, thanks to its solo-specific cabins that are perfectly right-sized and right-priced for singles. NCL takes it to the next level with its Studio Lounge, a swanky dedicated space for cruisers staying in solo staterooms. Here, cruisers can make new friends with fellow solo cruisers while grabbing drinks. Norwegian also hosts solo meetups and bar crawls to help make solo travelers feel right at home."
"Few cruise ship spas are as consistently well done as the Greenhouse Spas aboard Holland America Line. Perched high atop the vessel, these gorgeous spas offer large hydrotherapy pools, heated ceramic loungers bordered by walls of floor-to-ceiling glass, aromatic steam rooms, and a multitude of treatment options for individuals and couples. A forward-facing fitness center overlooks the bow of the ship and a welcoming salon round out the line's solid spa offerings."
"Royal Caribbean is nothing if not creative when it comes to its suites, where it offers some of the most imaginative and lavish residences at sea. We're talking about two-story suites, family suites with built-in video game rooms and in-suite slides from one level to the next, plus the services of a Royal Genie -- the line's own concierge service."
Best Suite Complex
"Want the best of a big ship, while still being pampered? That’s what you’ll find in MSC Cruises’ Yacht Club, where you can live large at a lower price point than you would elsewhere. There, passengers enjoy their own dedicated pool, sundeck, lounge and restaurant – along with a host of benefits that make you a VIP on the rest of the ship too, like priority seating and a special beach on MSC’s private island."
Best Value for Money
"Carnival Cruise Line has been named Best Value because it is exactly that: a moderately-priced cruise vacation that doesn't nickel-and-dime passengers. Popular venues like the BlueIguana Cantina and Guy's Burger Joint are provided free of charge, while other optional dining venues incur a modest surcharge. Drinks are reasonably priced, internet packages are economical, (and work!), and much of the line's entertainment options are entirely free."
Best North American Homeport
"With its Canada Place cruise terminal situated at the foot of the city, it's hard to beat this western Canadian homeport for sheer beauty and convenience. The city's vibrant dining scene and historic attractions like Gastown and Stanley Park are easily walkable from the pier. Ships depart Burrard Inlet, pass under the Lion's Gate Bridge and sail directly into the heart of the Inside Passage. What's not to love about that?"
Best for LGBTQ+ Travelers
"Virgin Voyages makes a point to make everyone feel included and be who they are, regardless of orientation; that includes crew as well as passengers. Drag queen bingo and dance-until-dawn nights at the Manor, as well as an outstanding Scarlet Night pool party, give everyone onboard the opportunity to let loose. From venues where you can spend romantic dinners with your partner to the many places where you can hang with your friends, it’s an atmosphere where you’re bound to feel at home."
Best Specialty Dining
"When it comes to specialty dining, Celebrity keeps upping the ante. On its new ship, Celebrity Beyond, Michelin-star chef Daniel Boulud takes the spotlight with his first restaurant at sea. But you won’t want to miss popular other venues across the fleet, including the contemporary Eden, or Raw on Five, our favorite cruise ship sushi venue. The fanciful Le Petit Chef adds a touch of whimsy on several ships, while Italian lovers indulge their cravings at the Tuscan Grille."
"Princess has been steadily pushing the technological envelope over the last few years with its MedallionClass product, and its investment is paying off: from the convenience of being able to open your cabin door without even needing to fish out a keycard, and adding a margarita on-shore in Mexico to your shipboard account via MedallionPay – without cash ever changing hands – Princess wins our technology award for just making cruisers’ lives easier."
"Royal Caribbean’s app offers everything you might need on your cruise in one in-your-pocket-spot. It’s loaded with features that cover every part of your journey. Check-in on the app is simple, and it’s made the required safety drill a self-guided breeze that no longer interrupts your cruise vacation. A useful daily planner that allows you to schedule your day and a fully formed method of keeping in touch with your cruisemates round out this powerful app."
Cruisers' Choice Awards
Get to know the best cruise ships in a variety of categories, based on member review ratings for cruises taken in the last year.
Cruisers' Choice Destination Awards
View top-rated cruise destinations and lines around the globe according to cruisers, based on member review ratings for trips taken in the last year.