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Best Ocean Cruise Line (2016)

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Ocean cruising has transformed into a diverse industry with a perfect itinerary and ship for just about any type of traveler. These 10 ocean cruise lines, chosen as the best by our panel of cruising experts and voted to the top by 10Best readers, are quite diverse.

  • Princess Cruises

    Princess Cruises

    Princess Cruises' line of large and mega-sized ships sail nearly everywhere big ships can go, and they do so with traditional style and innovative touches. Adults-only deck areas and poolside movie screens were largely Princess innovations, and the fleet's atriums, called Piazzas, pioneered the idea of an atrium gathering place, filled with dining and drinking options.
    Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises

  • Viking Ocean Cruises

    Viking Ocean Cruises

    Viking Cruises earned its reputation through its affordable, destination-focused river cruises. With the debut of Viking Star in April 2015, the line made a grand entrance into the world of ocean cruising. Now the line has two ocean vessels, the Star and the Sea. All cabins come with balconies and are notably larger than the industry average, and while the ships lack a casino and kids club, they offer the same destination-intensive programming that made river cruising so popular.
    Photo courtesy of Viking Ocean Cruises

  • Carnival Cruise Line

    Carnival Cruise Line

    Carnival Cruise Line caters to families and casual cruisers with its fleet of "Fun Ships." On these big ship cruises, passengers have no excuse to feel bored; ships come equipped with water parks, glitzy casinos, live entertainment and a focus on diverse, casual dining, highlighted by a partnership with celebrity chef Guy Fieri to bring Guy's Burger Joint to the fleet. All of this comes at affordable price points.
    Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line

  • Costa Cruises

    Costa Cruises

    A heavy hitter in the European cruise market, Costa Cruises brings Italian flare to sea with cuisine by Michelin-Star Chef Fabio Cucchelli, partnerships with high-end Italian brands and one of the best cruise ship spas, Samsara Spa. Cruisers looking for a fun, festive and affordable cruise (featuring Costa's signature toga party toward the end) will find it on this line.
    Photo courtesy of Costa Cruises

  • Cunard Line

    Cunard Line

    Cunard's three luxury vessels draw inspiration from the golden age of elegant ocean liners, and it's one of the best for making trans-Atlantic crossings. Entertainment options abound, with plenty to fill the hours of days at sea. There's an old world formality to it all, including restaurant assignments based on cabin class, but service is stand out all around.
    Photo courtesy of Cunard Cruise Line

  • Celebrity Cruises

    Celebrity Cruises

    Celebrity Cruises earns high marks for their spacious accommodations, as well as the money and effort they spend to keep their fleet sleek and modern. While kid- and teen-centric amenities are there, Celebrity really shines with its adult offerings, including above-the-norm alternative restaurants, world-class art collections, upscale boutiques and AquaSpa cabins geared toward the spa-going cruise crowd.
    Photo courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

  • Hurtigruten

    Hurtigruten

    Hurtigruten specializes in exploration voyages in Norway, Iceland and Greenland, as well as Europe, Africa, South America, Central America, Arctic Canada and the Antarctic. While the Hurtigruten fleet of expedition ships is designed to sail to remote areas, onboard facilities are modern and comfortable – a perfect base for enjoying spectacular scenery, immersive shore excursions and nature-based activities.
    Photo courtesy of Nottelmann Andre / Hurtigruten

  • Holland America Line

    Holland America Line

    Holland America Line's fleet of 14 vessels offers a traditional cruising experience with a host of modern touches and amenities to please 21st century cruisers. A highlight of the line's extensive entertainment program is Dancing With the Stars: At Sea, and the enrichment program includes activities like cooking classes and digital workshops. Holland America Line helped pioneer the alternative dining movement.
    Photo courtesy of Holland America Line

  • Royal Caribbean International

    Royal Caribbean International

    Royal Caribbean International designed its fleet with the active cruiser in mind. Sure, you can laze away sea days on a deck lounger or ship library, but you can also go rock climbing, sky diving, zip lining, surfing, ice skating or bowling – all at sea. Royal Caribbean operates the six largest ships in the world, including the Harmony of the Seas which debuted in 2016.
    Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

  • MSC Cruises

    MSC Cruises

    MSC Cruises, the largest privately-owned cruise line in the world, specializes in Mediterranean cruises with Italian-flare, though they sail many of the world's waterways. MSC's fleet of 12 vessels offer the highest percentage of sea view balcony state rooms per ship of any line and an eclectic lineup of entertainment.
    Photo courtesy of MSC Cruises

Some ply the seven seas with mega ships outfitted with water parks and skating rinks. Others offer the intimacy of a luxe yacht or clipper ship. Some focus on time at port, while others provide long days at sea. Did your favorite line make the winners list?

The top 10 winners in the category Best Ocean Cruise Line are as follows:

  1. Princess Cruises
  2. Viking Ocean Cruises
  3. Carnival Cruise Line
  4. Costa Cruises
  5. Cunard Line
  6. Celebrity Cruises
  7. Hurtigruten
  8. Holland America Line
  9. Royal Caribbean International
  10. MSC Cruises

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Carrie Finley Bajak (CruiseBuzz.net), Fran Golden (USA TODAY), Sherry Laskin Kennedy (CruiseMaven), Jason Leppert (PopularCruising.com), Chris Owen (ChrisCruises.com), Doug Parker (Cruise Radio) and Aaron Saunders (Fromthedeckchair.com) were chosen based on their expertise in the world of cruising.

Other nominees in this category included Azamara Club Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Fathom, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, Silversea Cruises and Windstar Cruises.

Congratulations to all our cruise winners.

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AlertThe Experts

Carrie Finley Bajak

Carrie Finley Bajak

Carrie Finley Bajak

Fran Golden

Fran Golden

Fran Golden

Sherry Laskin

Sherry Laskin

Sherry Laskin

Jason Leppert

Jason Leppert

Jason Leppert

Chris Owen

Chris Owen

Chris Owen

Doug Parker

Doug Parker

Doug Parker

Aaron Saunders

Aaron Saunders

Aaron Saunders
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