Cruise Critic names best cruises for 2019


Cruise Critic®, the world’s leading cruise reviews site and online cruise community, today announced the winners of its 9th annual Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Awards – naming the most popular cruise ships of the year, based on consumer reviews and ratings shared on Cruise Critic over the past year. The site boasts the world’s largest online cruise community with more than 350,000 cruise reviews, covering approximately 700 cruise ships across the globe.

“Since the initial launch of our awards, nine years ago, we’ve seen incredible growth in the industry,” explains Colleen McDaniel, Cruise Critic’s Senior Executive Editor. “As traveler needs and expectations continue to evolve, so do cruise options – as evident by this year’s list of winners, highlighting incredible options for travelers of all kinds. This year, we see winning ships with amazing offerings created especially for families, while others welcome adults, exclusively. And there are different definitions of value – from large-ship bells and whistles and a pay-as-you-prefer pricing structure, to more inclusive offerings on smaller ships. What’s really exciting, is the continued focus on destinations – with itineraries that span the globe, and ships specially designed for the regions they sail.”

Highlights include:

Large Ship Category

  • Celebrity Cruises was the big winner in the Large Ship category, scooping up five first-place wins. Its Caribbean-based ship, Celebrity Equinox, was the winner of four categories – including Best Overall Ship, Best Dining, Best Public Rooms and Best Value for Money. The ship is scheduled to receive an extensive facelift in May 2019, receiving additional suites, a brand-new gastrobar and a dining venue.
  • Royal Caribbean International also won three awards in the Large Ship Category – all for different ships. Harmony of the Seas was named Best Cabins – boasting cabin options to suit one passenger in its solo cabins to up to 14 in its Family Presidential Suite; Symphony of the Seas won Best Entertainment – with everything from piano singalongs and ice skating shows to a full-scale production of the Broadway musical Grease; and Allure of the Seas ranked as Best for Fitness & Recreation.

Mid-Size Ship Category

  • Oceania Cruises’ received three top placements, with its ship Riviera named Best Overall Ship and Best Dining in the Mid-Size category. With master chef Jacques Pepin as Oceania’s culinary director, a premier wine pairing restaurant in partnership with Wine Spectator, an onboard Culinary Center and in-port Culinary Destination Tours – there’s plenty for foodies to enjoy on Riviera. Oceania’s Marina was also named Best Cabins.
  • Princess Cruises’ Coral Princess was named Best Shore Excursions and Best for Fitness and Recreation. Carrying just under 2,000 passengers, Coral Princess provides a wide range of itineraries – offering cruises to AlaskaAntarctica, the Panama Canal and South America.
  • MSC’s MSC Sinfonia was named Best Entertainment and Best Value for Money – the ship boasts Cirque du Soleil-style shows as it brings guests throughout the Mediterranean.

Small-Mid Ship Category

  • The adults-only Viking Ocean Cruises swept the Small-Mid Category – winning all but one award. Its ship, Viking Sky, brings guests all over the globe, to places like Iceland, the Mediterranean, Russia and – starting in 2020 – Cuba. The ship was named Best Overall, Best Cabins, Best Dining, Best Public Rooms, Best Service and Best Value for Money. The line’s Viking Star was named Best Shore Excursions, and its ship Viking Sun – which is gearing up to sail a 245-day Ultimate World Cruise in August 2019 – was named Best Entertainment.

Small Ship Category

  • Silversea’s Silver Galapagos was named the top ship in four Small Ship categories, including Best Overall Ship, Best Shore Excursions, Best Value for Money and Best Public Rooms. The 100-passenger ship sails in the Galapagos year-round and offers guests an all-inclusive experience. Cruise fares include all shore excursions, alcoholic beverages, all gratuities and Wi-Fi — plus round-trip airfare and a two-night pre-cruise hotel stay in Quito.
  • Paul Gauguin Cruises also received four top placements, including Best Cabins, Best Entertainment, Best Serviceand Best Embarkation for its ship, Paul Gauguin – a luxury vessel, purpose-built to sail French Polynesian itineraries.

Specialty Categories

  • Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Magic was named Best for Families. The ship hosts the popular-with-all-ages “Marvel Day at Sea,” and, after a 2018 refurbishment, is now home to a Tangled-theme restaurant, an upgraded teen club – complete with a DJ spin-off, movie making and a smoothie bar — and a new adults-only café.
  • For the fourth consecutive year, a Viking Ocean Cruises ship was named Best for First-Timers – this year, the award was given to Viking Sky. The ship was built in 2017 and offers Viking Ocean Cruises’ popular inclusions – such as specialty restaurants, beer and wine at lunch and dinner, select shore excursions and Wi-Fi.

NEW in 2019: Best for River Cruises

  • For the first year, Cruise Critic also unveiled a Best for River Cruises category – with Viking Vidar crowned as the inaugural winner. The ship sails the Rhine and Danube rivers, offering popular port stops in cities like AmsterdamBudapest and Vienna.

“As a site driven so heavily by consumer feedback and insight, we’re constantly reviewing our award programs to ensure we’re providing the most helpful information to travelers,” explains McDaniel. “From an industry perspective, the river sector is continuing to grow at an impressive pace, and consumers are responding. It’s an area with significant interest from travelers, and we’re excited to be able to expand our awards to highlight that cruise style.”

The winners of the 9th annual Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Awards are awarded in four ship size classes, based on passenger capacity (Large: 2,000+ passengers; Mid-Size: 1,200 to 1,999 passengers; Small-Mid Size: 400- 1,199 passengers; Small: Fewer than 400 passengers.) The rankings are calculated using ratings published with user-submitted reviews on Cruise Critic.

First-place winners include:

Best Cruises Overall

  • Celebrity Equinox – Celebrity Cruises (Large)
  • Riviera – Oceania Cruises (Mid-Size)
  • Viking Sky – Viking Ocean Cruises (Small-Mid)
  • Silver Galapagos – Silversea Cruises (Small)

Best Cruise Ship Cabins

  • Harmony of the Seas – Royal Caribbean International (Large)
  • Marina – Oceania Cruises (Mid-Size)
  • Viking Sky – Viking Ocean Cruises (Small-Mid)
  • Paul Gauguin – Paul Gauguin Cruises (Small)

Best Cruise Ships for Dining

  • Celebrity Equinox – Celebrity Cruises (Large)
  • Riviera – Oceania Cruises (Mid-Size)
  • Viking Sky – Viking Ocean Cruises (Small-Mid)
  • Wind Spirit – Windstar Cruises (Small)

Best Cruise Ships for Embarkation

  • Regal Princess – Princess Cruises (Large)
  • Oosterdam – Holland America Line (Mid-Size)
  • Pacific Princess – Princess Cruises (Small-Mid)
  • Paul Gauguin – Paul Gauguin Cruises (Small)

Best Cruise Ships for Entertainment

  • Symphony of the Seas – Royal Caribbean International (Large)
  • MSC Sinfonia – MSC Cruises (Mid-Size)
  • Viking Sun – Viking Ocean Cruises (Small-Mid)
  • Paul Gauguin – Paul Gauguin Cruises (Small)

Best Cruise Ships for Fitness & Recreation

  • Allure of the Seas – Royal Caribbean International (Large)
  • Coral Princess – Princess Cruises (Mid-Size)
  • Viking Orion – Viking Ocean Cruises (Small-Mid)
  • Wind Surf – Windstar Cruises (Small)

Best Cruise Ships for Public Rooms

  • Celebrity Equinox – Celebrity Cruises (Large)
  • Queen Victoria – Cunard Line (Mid-Size)
  • Viking Sky – Viking Ocean Cruises (Small-Mid)
  • Silver Galapagos – Silversea Cruises (Small)

Best Cruise Ships for Service

  • Celebrity Eclipse – Celebrity Cruises (Large)
  • Grandeur of the Seas – Royal Caribbean (Mid-Size)
  • Viking Sky – Viking Ocean Cruises (Small-Mid)
  • Paul Gauguin – Paul Gauguin Cruises (Small)

Best Cruise Ships for Shore Excursions

  • Carnival Valor – Carnival Cruise Line (Large)
  • Coral Princess – Princess Cruises (Mid-Size)
  • Viking Star – Viking Ocean Cruises (Small-Mid)
  • Silver Galapagos – Silversea Cruises (Small)

Best Cruise Ships for Value

  • Celebrity Equinox – Celebrity Cruises (Large)
  • MSC Sinfonia – MSC Cruises (Mid-Size)
  • Viking Sky – Viking Ocean Cruises (Small-Mid)
  • Silver Galapagos – Silversea Cruises (Small)

Best Cruises for Families

  • Disney Magic – Disney Cruise Line

Best for First-Timers

  • Viking Sky – Viking Ocean Cruises

Best for River Cruises

  • Viking Vidar – Viking River Cruises

About Cruise Critic
Cruise Critic® is an online cruise guide, offering a comprehensive resource for cruise travelers, from first-time cruisers to avid cruise enthusiasts. The site features more than 350,000 cruise reviews and hosts the world’s largest online cruise community where travelers share experiences and opinions with fellow cruisers. Cruise Critic was the first consumer cruise site on the Internet, launched in October 1995 by The Independent Traveler, Inc., a subsidiary of TripAdvisor, Inc.

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