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Virgin Voyages' Resilient Lady sailing the Mediterranean (Photo: Virgin Voyages)
Virgin Voyages' Resilient Lady (Photo: Virgin Voyages)

Cruise Critic Announces 2023 Editors’ Picks Award Winners

Virgin Voyages' Resilient Lady sailing the Mediterranean (Photo: Virgin Voyages)
Virgin Voyages' Resilient Lady (Photo: Virgin Voyages)
Cruise Critic

Last updated
Dec 6, 2023

Read time
4 min read

(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 VoyagesResilient 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.

This Year's Awards Saw the Return of Best Ship Refurbishment

Crew assemble to welcome the first guests onboard Carnival Venezia
Main Atrium on Carnival Venezia (Photo: Adam Coulter)

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 Include New Categories, a Return of Awards for River Cruises

American Serenade docked in Paducah, KY (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
American Serenade docked in Paducah, KY (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

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 LinesAmerican 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.

Silversea Scoops Best Luxury Cruise Line

Silver Nova sails under a blue sky. (Photo: Silversea)
Silver Nova sails under a blue sky. (Photo: Silversea)

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.

The Full 2023 Cruise Critic Editor's Picks Awards List

Ocean Cruises

  • 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

Luxury Category

  • 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

Expedition Category

  • 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

River Category

  • 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

Full details on each category can be found by viewing Cruise Critic's dedicated Editor's Picks page, while Editor's Picks for the UK can be found on this page.

Publish date December 06, 2023
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