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 15th annual Cruise Critic Editors’ Picks Award winners are divided into three categories and 40 different awards to help narrow down your sailing search.
“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.
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, the sister-ship Resilient Lady sweeps to victory for the line once again.
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.
PortMiami was named the 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.
Here is the full list of Ocean Award winners:
- 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
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.”
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.
Cruise Critic named Windstar for having the best enrichment in its 2023 Editors’ Picks. It is unsurprising, considering they hire award-winning professional photographers and book publishers like Pat and Rosemarie Keough as guest lecturers for their onboard enrichment and education seminars.
“Windstar’s ships are ‘Happy Ships.’ This you feel from the moment you board,” shared Rosemarie Keough. “There’s good reason why many of the crew have been with the company for well over a decade, even two! Personally, we enjoy Windstar’s casual atmosphere and the fact that the ships are small cruise ships. Guests have the time and intimacy to form true friendships.”
The Keoughs join Windstar for two or three destinations, totaling about two months per year. They joined the company in 2016 and just completed their 5th year with Windstar.
Here is the full list of Luxury Award winners:
- 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
In the ever-evolving landscape of expedition cruises, the market continues its dynamic growth and refinement. Amongst the plethora of categories up for debate, Cruise Critic’s editorial board arrived at a unanimous decision: Scenic Eclipse II claimed the prestigious title of Best New Expedition Ship. Meanwhile, notable accolades were bestowed upon Quark, Seabourn, Silversea, Viking, and UnCruise Adventures, among others, marking their excellence this year.
The decisions were far from straightforward – a testament to the abundance of outstanding options available to cruisers. With cruise lines of diverse sizes and specialties consistently delivering exceptional voyages across the globe’s oceans and rivers, there has never been a more opportune moment to embark on a cruise adventure.
Here is the full list of Expedition Award winners:
- 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
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.
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Casandra Karpiak is a travel writer and 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, FOX, CBS, NBC, Entrepreneur, 24/7 Wall St, Times Daily, and many more. When she’s not traveling, she can be found at hockey arenas all over BC cheering on her two young sons.