Even the healthiest cruisers sometimes crave the juicy beef and tasty toppings afforded by a great hamburger. That's why we've decided to call out cruise lines that boast the best burgers the industry has to offer. Some are free, and some require you to hand over a bit of extra dough, but all are superb. (Don't worry, vegetarians; there are some options for you, too.)
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Nearly everyone has a favorite cruise ship. In this chart, we outline the key distinctions among the 8 most popular cruise ships in the industry. Look for highlights of onboard accommodations, dining and entertainment, as well as ship itineraries. Don't have a favorite cruise ship just yet? Our picks just might inspire you to find the perfect vacation match. Want more info about these top 8 cruise ships? Click on the vessel name below to read about ship highlights and find links to itineraries, a photo tour of the ship, a comprehensive expert review and hundreds of reader-submitted critiques.
The total price of a cruise is rarely just the ticket price and some government fees. While accommodations, most meals and tons of activities are included in your fare, you will have to pay extra for an array of tempting amenities and activities, like spa treatments, shore excursions and cocktails. If you're on a budget, it can be tricky to figure out just what your total vacation cost will be and what kind of extra charges to anticipate. While a $7 pina colada likely won't break the bank, you might be surprised to discover how quickly an exercise class here and a round of bingo there can add up. To help you figure out how much you might actually spend on a cruise vacation, we've culled and tallied the prices of common extra charges found on weeklong Caribbean cruises and listed them for eight popular -- and amenity-laden -- cruise ships. We've also added in the daily gratuities for each passenger in a standard cabin. (Tips for suite passengers might be higher.) Use these numbers as a guide to help you calculate the total price of a cruise. Editor's Note: Prices may vary by ships within the same cruise line, as well as by itinerary, and they're subject to change at any time, without notice; these prices were accurate as of July 2018. We realize that travelers will not rack up every one of these charges every day, but we have presented both the prices and a sample a la carte cost for one day to make the point that onboard charges can accumulate rapidly.
It's no secret that a dissatisfied teen on vacation can create a messy imbalance among an otherwise happy family. Parents are wise to seriously consider their teen's personality and input when choosing a cruise ship for their next family cruise. Today's cruise ships cater to teens more than ever before with increasingly larger teen clubs (some of which have discos, lounges and outdoor sun decks), spa treatments for adolescents and casual and flexible dining options. The smartest cruise lines also separate out tweens (generally ages 12 to 14) from older teens. Speaking from experience, here are our editors' picks of the best cruises for teens.
A private cabana is a plush way to enjoy the pristine sand and surf of Half Moon Cay, Carnival Corporation's private island in the Bahamas visited by Carnival Cruise Line and Holland America. Half Moon Cay cabanas are colorful wooden outposts peppered along the island's shoreline, and while they all offer special amenities, offerings vary based on cabana type. If you're not sure which enclave is the best fit for you during your time ashore, read Cruise Critic's guide to Half Moon Cay cabanas.
Carnival Sunrise is the reincarnation of Carnival Triumph as a more modern, more activity-laden cruise ship. Carnival is pulling out all the stops to add new dining venues, cabins and entertainment options to the reimagined vessel. Here are six things you'll love about this new-to-you ship, debuting in April 2019.
Cruise ship water parks are a top-deck jumble of cascading tubes in Crayola colors, cartoon characters playfully spraying into kiddie pools, and delighted screams that splash out of slides and from behind water cannons. These water playgrounds are an especially attractive diversion on the warm-weather itineraries offered year-round by most cruise lines. Cruise ship water parks are being quickly one-upped as cruise lines get creative with their brand-new ships. Innovative slides that thrill riders with drop-out floors, two-person floats and spiraling funnels now include dazzling light effects, and expansive top-deck areas have added even more square footage and water features as cruise lines roll out their largest water parks to date. In today's world of water parks at sea, five cruise lines stand out because of their impressive aquatic chops. Here are our favorites.
When Royal Caribbean's gargantuan and game-changing Oasis of the Seas debuted as the then-world's largest ship in 2009, people wondered if anyone would bother to get off the ship in port, as it could take a week to try out all the onboard activities. With 24 dining options, 21 pools and hot tubs, multiple live performance venues (including an ice rink and AquaTheater for high-diving shows) and seven "neighborhoods," the ship practically guarantees that no one will have trouble finding something to do. But you don't need to sail on a 5,400-passenger ship to get the most from your days at sea. Any ship will do if you're content to spend your onboard time passed out on a sun lounger. But if you want the right mix of activity and relaxation options, it's key to pick the right ship with enough onboard attractions and programming to keep you entertained from sun-up to sun-down. Here's our selection of the best ships for days at sea, chosen based on their variety of indoor and outdoor pursuits, plus plenty of daytime dining options. And if you need more inspiration, check out our companion piece: Top 10 Things to Do on Sea Days.
Most cruise ships limit their Japanese food offerings to premade rolls languishing on the buffet. If you want fresh sushi, sashimi and miso soup prepared on the spot, you'll need to seek out a ship with a dedicated sushi venue. When you do find them, cruise ship sushi restaurants range from casual spaces with simple "quick fix" menus to upscale venues that go beyond the limits of sushi and sashimi with lobster, steak and other fancy dishes. The majority of them are priced a la carte -- and one even offers free lunch. We've narrowed down the six best places to indulge on raw fish at sea. When the craving strikes, these sushi restaurants are bound to satisfy.
Cruise ship sun decks are much more than a simple place to swim and sunbathe. Modern top-of-the-ship activity centers can feature multiple pools and hot tubs, water parks with slides and splash zones, outdoor movie screens, active pursuits (ropes courses, ziplines, rock climbing walls and surf simulators) and serene, adults-only lounge spaces. And you're never far from a place to grab a drink or bite to eat. If outdoor relaxation and entertainment are priorities when choosing a cruise, check out our favorite cruise ship pool decks.
Cruisers never have to spend a dime on food onboard their cruise ship, if they don't want to. All mainstream cruise ships offer three meals a day in their main dining rooms and upper-deck cruise buffets, as well as one or more additional venues included in the cruise price. However, complaints about the sparsity and quality of free food on cruises are increasing as more added-fee restaurants infiltrate the cruise dining landscape. So, which of the three biggest mainstream cruise lines (Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International) offers the best free food on cruises? Cruise Critic breaks down the complimentary offerings from each cruise line to help you decide which is best for you.