(5 a.m. EST) -- Cruise Critic has released its 2023 Editors’ Picks Award winners, highlighting the best in cruising and cruise travel as selected by Cruise Critic's international editorial team.
Virgin Voyages’ Resilient Lady claimed top honors this year as Best New Ship. The line’s first vessel, Scarlet Lady, charmed Cruise Critic’s editors enough that the vessel was awarded Best New Ship in 2021. Now, sister-ship Resilient Lady, which has just arrived Down Under for the season, sweeps to victory for the line once again.
Other winners in the Ocean Cruises category included Disney Cruise Line as Best for Families; Celebrity Cruises for Best Cabins; MSC Cruises for Best Nightlife; Holland America Line for Best Service and Carnival Cruise Line for Best Value for Money.
“This was a banner year for the cruise industry,” said Colleen McDaniel, Editor-in-Chief of Cruise Critic. “On Cruise Critic, we saw demand for cruises surpass pre-pandemic times, and a number of lines reported ships sailing at over 100% capacity. Cruising has always been a high-value vacation, but with costs of land- and air-based travel through the roof, the true value of a cruise really hit home this year.
“The value of a cruise doesn’t stop with mainstream sailings. From the fare inclusions on river and luxury sailings, to those on expedition sailings to farther-flung destinations like Antarctica and the Galapagos, you’d be hard-pressed to find a land-based vacation that delivers the experience and value that a cruise offers,” McDaniel said.
Cruise Critic has been releasing its highly anticipated Editors’ Picks Awards for 15 years. This year’s awards are the most thorough to date, naming winners across four key areas – Ocean, River, Luxury and Expedition.
Cruise Critic also brought back a heralded category in 2023: Best Ship Refurbishment, which went to the gorgeously decorated Carnival Venezia. The former Costa Venezia was refitted prior to entering service with Carnival Cruise Line, leaving it with a fascinating blend of Italian-style interior décor courtesy of the line’s longtime design guru Joe Farcus, along with a blend of Carnival favorites tweaked ever-so slightly.
PortMiami was named best North American Homeport thanks to an abundance of innovation and investment that has come out of the new and improved terminal structure and growing improvements to the passenger experience.
Cruise Critic’s 2023 Editors’ Picks Awards is noteworthy for the return of the River Cruise awards for the first time since the global health pandemic shut down travel three years ago. In that category, river cruising giant Viking took top honors as the Best River Cruise Line, while the Best New River Cruise Ship was awarded, for the first time, to an American river cruise ship – American Cruise Lines’ American Serenade.
Other winners in the River Category included AmaWaterways for Best for Active Cruisers, Avalon for Best Cabins, Riverside for Dining and Tauck for Enrichment.
In the Luxury Cruise category, Silversea Cruises was named Best Luxury Cruise Line, thanks to its tireless dedication to service, its modern fleet, and continually innovative offerings. Its Silver Nova was Cruise Critic’s pick for Best New Luxury Ship, while Oceania snapped up Best Dining. The luxury category even held a bit of nostalgia, as restarted (and beloved) brand Crystal took two categories: Best Service and Best for Solo Travelers.
Finally, the Expedition Cruise market continues to expand and mature at a rapid pace. Some of the most hotly deliberated categories were found here, but Cruise Critic’s editors came to consensus: Scenic Eclipse II was named Best New Expedition Ship, while Quark, Seabourn, Silversea, Viking and UnCruise Adventures, among others, walked away with honors this year.
One thing that was apparent for the entire editorial team in selecting this year’s winners was how close many of these categories were for the ships and lines in the running. Few were easy choices – and that’s good for cruisers. With cruise lines of all shapes and sizes delivering stellar experiences across the oceans and rivers of the world, it’s never been a better time to take a cruise.
Best New Ship: Virgin Voyages’ Resilient Lady
Best Ship Refurbishment: Carnival Venezia
Best Cabins: Celebrity Cruises
Best Dining: Virgin Voyages
Best Entertainment: Virgin Voyages
Best for Families: Disney Cruise Line
Best Innovation/Tech: Princess Cruises
Best for LGBTQ+ Travelers: Virgin Voyages
Best Nightlife: MSC Cruises
Best Service: Holland America Line
Best for Solo Travelers: Norwegian Cruise Line
Best Spa: Norwegian Cruise Line
Best Specialty Dining: Norwegian Cruise Line
Best Suites: Royal Caribbean International
Best Suite Complex: MSC Cruises
Best Value for Money: Carnival Cruise Line
Best App: Royal Caribbean International
Best North American Homeport: Miami
Best Luxury Cruise Line: Silversea Cruises
Best New Luxury Ship: Silver Nova
Best Cabins: Viking Cruises
Best Dining: Oceania
Best Enrichment: Windstar Cruises
Best Itineraries: Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Best Service: Crystal
Best Shore Excursions: Oceania Cruises
Best for Solo Travelers: Crystal
Best Spa: Viking Cruises
Best Value for Money: Emerald Yacht Cruises
Best New Expedition Ship: Scenic Eclipse II
Best for Adventure: Quark Expeditions
Best Cabins: Seabourn Cruise Line
Best Dining: Scenic
Best for Light Expedition: Viking Cruises
Best for Luxury: Silversea Expeditions
Best Science Offerings: Hurtigruten
Best Service: Silversea Expeditions
Best Spa: Viking Cruises
Best Value for Money: Atlas
Best in Alaska: UnCruise Adventures
Best in Antarctica: Scenic
Best in the Arctic: Ponant Cruises
Best in the Galapagos: Lindblad Expeditions
Best River Cruise Line: Viking Cruises
Best New River Cruise Ship: American Cruise Lines’ American Serenade
Best for Active Cruisers: AmaWaterways
Best Cabins: Avalon Waterways
Best Dining: Riverside Luxury Cruises
Best Enrichment: Tauck River Cruising
Best for Families: Adventures by Disney/AmaWaterways
Best for First-Timers: Viking Cruises
Best for Luxury: Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
Best Service: Viking Cruises
Best for Solo Travelers: Avalon Waterways
Best Value for Money: Emerald River Cruises