Best Ocean Cruise Line: Carnival Cruise Line wins the title
Viking Ocean Cruises, Princess Cruises, Costa Cruises and Seabourn Cruise Line also winners
Whether you prefer long days at sea or ample time in diverse ports of call, megaships packed with features or intimate yachts, more restaurants than a resort or a single luxury dining room, there's a cruise line out there for you.
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 Lines
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 four ocean vessels, with a fifth debuting in 2018. 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
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
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
Seabourn Cruise Line
Seabourn’s fleet of all-suite, low-capacity ships carry a maximum of 600 guests each, allowing them to sail to some of the world’s most desirable destinations. Passengers enjoy a nearly one to one ratio with crew and one of the highest space-per-guest ratios in the industry. Each of the five luxury ships offers a complimentary water sports marina, open bars serving wine, champagne and spirits, and world-class cuisine. Photo courtesy of Seabourn Cruise Line
Crystal Cruises’ two ocean vessels, the Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, have one of the highest per-guest space ratios in their class; more than half of staterooms have a private verandah (85 percent on the Crystal Serenity). The variety of dining venues onboard includes dishes from Nobu Matsuhisa, and wines and spirits are complimentary. At port, guests enjoy customized off-ship excursions. Other inclusive amenities include internet access, laundry and dry-cleaning and 24-hour in-stateroom dining. Photo courtesy of Crystal Cruises
With fewer than 310 guests per sailing, Windstar Cruises promises passengers a cruising experience free of lines and waiting. Since the six yachts are smaller than a typical cruise ship, they can sail into small European villages, off-the-beaten-path harbors and hidden coves, giving guests the opportunity to visit both major capitals and smaller ports. Complimentary Destination Discovery Events introduce passengers to the local culture and cuisine of these special ports of call. Photo courtesy of Windstar Cruises
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
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
Holland America Line
Holland America Line offers guests enriching journeys in distinctively classic cruise style, connecting them to the most fascinating people, places and cultures on earth. Itineraries span the globe with more than 400 ports of call, a number unequaled among premium cruise lines, and more than 500 carefully crafted itineraries. With elegant fine dining and gracious service Holland America Line’s mid-sized ships welcome guests onboard to discover timeless cruising, refined for a new generation. Photo courtesy of Holland America Line
We asked our readers to vote for their favorite ocean cruise lines, and after four weeks of voting, the results are in.
- Carnival Cruise Line
- Viking Ocean Cruises
- Princess Cruises
- Costa Cruises
- Seabourn Cruise Line
- Crystal Cruises
- Windstar Cruises
- Royal Caribbean International
- Celebrity Cruises
- Holland America Line
A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Don and Heidi Bucolo (EatSleepCruise.com), Anita Dunham-Potter (ExpertCruiser.com), Danielle Fear (Cruise Miss), Carrie Finley Bajak (CruiseBuzz.net), Linda Garrison (TripSavvy), Sherry Laskin Kennedy (CruiseMaven.com), Jason Leppert (Popular Cruising), Chris Owen (ChrisCruises.com), Doug Parker (CruiseRadio.net), Aaron Saunders (From the Deck Chair) and Ming Tappin (Your Cruise Coach Consulting) were chosen based on their knowledge and experience of the cruise industry.
Congratulations to all these wining cruise companies!