The world’s leading cruise reviews site and online cruise community, Cruise Critic, wants to make choosing your ideal cruise easier. They announced the winners of their annual awards for the best rated cruise lines and ships. The site’s international team of experienced cruisers and travel experts chose the award recipients.
Choosing the perfect cruise line and itinerary can be daunting with all the available choices, destinations, and adventures. The 14th annual Cruise Critic Editors’ Picks Award winners are divided into three categories and 40 different awards to help narrow down your sailing search.
“This is our first full set of Editors’ Picks Awards since before the pandemic, which marks a huge milestone for the industry,” shares Colleen McDaniel, Editor-in-Chief of Cruise Critic.
The growth of the expedition cruise market in recent years is evidenced by the addition of a dedicated Expedition category to this year’s awards. It isn’t at all surprising to see the explosion of once-in-a-lifetime trips, as 2022 has been deemed the year of the “bucket list” trip.
“Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen interest in more far-flung cruises grow significantly among travelers,” McDaniel says.
“And the industry has responded in a big way – there are more ships sailing expedition itineraries than ever before, from longtime industry leaders to new cruise lines offering entirely innovative experiences in these once-in-a-lifetime destinations.”
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Norwegian Prima – the flagship in Norwegian’s brand-new Prima ship class – was named Best New Ship of the Year, welcoming an entirely new generation of Norwegian ships.
According to Cruise Critic’s Editors: “Norwegian Prima continues what the line does best and made the entire experience more upscale. Guests will appreciate Norwegian Prima’s high-end décor and modern cabins – all paired with new thrills, fun shows and fantastic dining choices.”
Virgin Voyages received this year’s award for Best Dining, recognized for its array of high-quality dining options for every taste – all included in the line’s fares.
Carnival Cruise Line was named Best Value for Money for its selection of quality offerings at prices that won’t break the bank. Carnival is known for being an entry-level cruise line, perfect for first-time cruisers and those cruising on a budget.
Vancouver was named this year’s Best North American Homeport, with 2022 marking the first time that the port welcomed cruisers to its city in two years. Western Canada’s picturesque city offers spectacular pre-cruise and post-cruise packages. Historic attractions and a vibrant dining scene are all located steps away from Vancouver’s port.
Here is the full list of Ocean Award winners:
- Best New Ship: Norwegian Prima
- Best Cabins: Celebrity Cruises
- Best Dining: Virgin Voyages
- Best Entertainment: Norwegian Cruise Line
- Best for Families: Disney Cruise Line
- Best Innovation/Tech: Princess Cruises
- Best for LGBTQ+ Travelers: Virgin Voyages
- Best Nightlife: Virgin Voyages
- Best Service: Holland America Line
- Best for Solo Travelers: Norwegian Cruise Line
- Best Spa: Holland America Line
- Best Specialty Dining: Celebrity Cruises
- 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: Vancouver
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Silversea Cruises received the award for Best Luxury Cruise Line for its full range of luxury offerings and constant innovation through new programs like in-suite wellness options and the S.A.L.T excursion and dining program.
According to Cruise Critic Editors: “If it’s pampering you want, Silversea delivers. From the spacious and beyond comfy suites, to the personalized butler service, Silversea treats you to an all-inclusive luxury experience, even before you board.”
Emerald Cruises’ brand-new Emerald Azzurra was named Best New Luxury Ship, boasting a 100-person vessel that editors say looks and feels like a luxury yacht.
Oceania Cruises won this year’s award for Best Itineraries for its thoughtfully designed itineraries that go beyond the usual – even among others in the small-ship category.
Windstar Cruises is famous for its water sports platform, so it comes as no surprise the small ship cruise line won Best Shore Excursions. Windstar’s water sports platforms allow guests direct access from the back of the ship to enjoy complimentary access to water toys, water skiing, and more.
Here is the full list of Luxury Award winners:
- Best Luxury Cruise Line: Silversea Cruises
- Best New Luxury Ship: Emerald Azzurra
- Best Cabins: Regent Seven Seas Cruises
- Best Dining: Silversea Cruises
- Best Enrichment: Viking Ocean Cruises
- Best Itineraries: Oceania Cruises
- Best Service: Seabourn Cruise Line
- Best Shore Excursions: Windstar Cruises
- Best for Solo Travelers: Seabourn Cruise Line
- Best Spa: Viking Ocean Cruises
- Best Value for Money: SeaDream Yacht Club
Viking Expeditions’ brand-new sister ships, Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris were named Best New Expedition Ships for their ability to deliver the high-quality experience for which the line is known in its first-ever expedition vessels.
According to Cruise Critic Editors: “The ships offer the right balance of exploration, learning and comfort, and Viking doesn’t miss a detail – even creating one-of-a-kind Special Operations Boats.”
Quark Expeditions received the award for Best for Adventure, highlighting the once-in-a-lifetime experiences the line delivers guests in its off-the-beaten-path destinations. Their endless list of expedition adventures will appeal to even the most adventurous types, including Arctic hot-air ballooning.
Hurtigruten is synonymous with Arctic and Antarctica travel and was named the Best Value for Money in the Expedition Category, awarded for its competitive pricing, upgraded expedition ships, and overall offerings. Hurtigruten has been sailing the Arctic for years and offers terrific science options to curious guests.
Here is the full list of Expedition Award winners:
- Best New Luxury Ship: Viking Octantis & Viking Polaris
- Best for Adventure: Quark Expeditions
- Best Cabins: Seabourn Cruise Line
- Best Dining: Scenic
- Best for Light Expedition: American Queen Voyages
- Best for Luxury: Silversea Expeditions
- Best Science Offerings: Viking Expeditions
- Best Service: Scenic
- Best Value for Money: Hurtigruten
- Best in Alaska: UnCruise Adventures
- Best in Antarctica: Silversea Expeditions
- Best in the Arctic: Ponant Cruises
- Best in the Galapagos: Lindblad Expeditions
The Best Rated Cruise Lines
Cruise Critic’s annual awards for the best cruise lines are highly respected and sought after by the cruising industry. This year, a total of 27 cruise lines were recognized with an award, from large-scale ocean liners to intimate luxury yachts.
The winners were chosen by the site’s international team of experienced cruisers and travel experts, so these awards are truly a representation of the best that cruising has to offer. If you’re looking for some inspiration before your next cruise vacation, view the full details of each category and check out Cruise Critic’s list of winners.
Casandra Karpiak is a travel writer and the co-owner of Savoteur. A Toronto native with Danish roots currently residing in British Columbia, her travel writing has been seen on The Associated Press wire, MSN, CBS, NBC, Entrepreneur, 24/7 Wall St, Times Daily, and many more.
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