Best Ocean Cruise Line: Carnival Cruise Line

Readers choose Carnival for second year in a row

Whether you prefer long days at sea or ample time in diverse ports of call, mega-ships 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

  • 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 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 six ocean vessels. 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

  • Norwegian Cruise Line

    Norwegian Cruise Line set itself apart by pioneering the concept of "freestyle" cruising, where passengers are free to do – and more importantly eat – what they want, when they want. The line takes entertainment seriously, and there's a bit of something for everyone: Broadway productions, stand-up comedy from Second City, live DJs and piano bars. Some ships offer solo passenger cabins as well as adjoining cabins for families.
    Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

  • 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 four largest ships in the world, including the Symphony of the Seas which debuted in 2018.
    Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

  • Azamara Club Cruises

    Azamara’s boutique ships carry a maximum of 690 guests, and a focus on longer stays, night touring and more overnights mean those guests have more time to immerse themselves in the various ports of call. Inclusive amenities include AzAmazing Evenings events, select alcoholic beverages, gratuities, self-service laundry, concierge services and shuttles to and from port communities.
    Photo courtesy of Azamara Club Cruises

  • Windstar 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

  • 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. A fourth vessel is set to debut in 2022.
    Photo courtesy of Cunard Line

  • MSC Cruises

    MSC Cruises, the largest privately-owned cruise line in the world, has deep European roots evident in each of its 15 ships and on each of its sailings through its elegant décor, authentic internationally-inspired cuisines and elevated onboard entertainment. MSC offers the highest percentage of sea view balcony state rooms per ship of any line.
    Photo courtesy of MSC 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

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

  1. Carnival Cruise Line
  2. Princess Cruises
  3. Viking Ocean Cruises
  4. Norwegian Cruise Line
  5. Royal Caribbean International
  6. Azamara Club Cruises
  7. Windstar Cruises
  8. Cunard Line
  9. MSC Cruises
  10. Celebrity Cruises

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Don and Heidi Bucolo (EatSleepCruise.com), Carrie Finley Bajak (CruiseBuzz.net), Danielle Fear (Cruise Miss), Sherry Laskin (CruiseMaven.com), Jason Leppert (Popular Cruising), Chris Owen, Doug Parker (Cruise Radio) and Ming Tappin (Your Cruise Coach) were chosen for their knowledge of the cruising industry.

Congratulations to all these winning cruise lines.

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Don and Heidi Bucolo

Don and Heidi Bucolo

Carrie Finley Bajak

Carrie Finley Bajak

Danielle Fear

Danielle Fear

Sherry Laskin

Sherry Laskin

Jason Leppert

Jason Leppert

Chris Owen

Chris Owen

Doug Parker

Doug Parker

Ming Tappin

Ming Tappin