Note from 10Best: Someday, we'll all be ready to pack our suitcases again and head out on our next adventures. In the meantime, we'll keep supporting the places that inspire us. Contact individual cruise lines for the latest updates.
Cruising is among the most popular ways to see the world. Unpack once and take in the sights of the world’s rivers and seas from your floating hotel.
More than 29 million people cruised in 2019, aboard more than 50 cruise lines sailing in all seven regions of the globe. More than a dozen new vessels are introduced each year, making the sheer variety of cruises overwhelming.
To help you narrow it down, we asked our readers to vote for their favorite lines and ships across 11 categories. The polls have closed and the results are in.
Click on each category below to see the full list of winners.
Best Adventure Cruise Line: Adventure Canada
This is the third straight win for Adventure Canada — Photo courtesy of Lydia Schrandt
While Adventure Canada does indeed lead small ship adventures through the rivers, icy fjords and secluded waterways of Canada, this expedition cruise company also takes travelers to experience landscapes and cultures further afield: places like Scotland, Iceland, Ireland, the Faroe Islands and Greenland.
The company shines with an always stellar lineup of onboard experts and guides.
Best Boutique Cruise Line: Windstar Cruises
Winning line has fewer than 350 guests per sailing — Photo courtesy of Michael Nalley / Windstar Cruises
With fewer than 350 guests per sailing, Windstar Cruises promises passengers a cruising experience free of lines and waiting. Since the six boutique ships 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.
Windstar’s award-winning shore excursions offer guests the opportunity to immerse themselves into the local culture and cuisines of these special ports of call.
Best Cruise Ship for Dining: Carnival Horizon
There's something for everyone aboard this winning ship — Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line
Dining options abound aboard Carnival Horizon – feast on barbecue at the world’s first Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse | Brewhouse, sink your teeth into a juicy burger at popular Guy’s Burger Joint, enjoy some culinary theater at Bonsai Teppanyaki or tuck into seafood with ocean views at the Seafood Shack.
Both included and specialty dining shine, with something for everyone.
Best Cruise Ship for Families: Carnival Horizon
The young and young at heart will find something fun aboard Carnival's latest ship — Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival’s latest and greatest ship, Carnival Horizon, sails from Miami to the Caribbean with plenty of family fun onboard. Kid-approved amenities include two movie theaters (including an IMAX screen), Dr. Seuss Waterworks waterpark, nighttime babysitting and reduced prices for kids at some specialty restaurants.
Best Large Cruise Ship: MSC Meraviglia
Winning ship carries 4,500 passengers — Photo courtesy of MSC Cruises
Introduced in 2017, the 4,500-passenger MSC Meraviglia has quickly become known for its family-friendly modular staterooms, private access MSC Yacht Club and loads of onboard entertainment. The ship is home to the first custom-built Cirque du Soleil theater at sea, a dozen different dining venues, the longest LED dome at sea, a beautiful Mediterranean-style promenade, water park and five kids’ clubs.
Best Mid-Sized Cruise Ship: Island Princess
Island Princess features loads of amenities at a manageable size — Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises
The 2,200-passenger Island Princess sails from the California coast. Refurbished in 2017, the ship features a range of classic and specialty dining venues, Discovery at SEA programs for kids, a Vegas-style casino, an art gallery with life auctions, sports courts, movies under the stars and original musical productions.
Best New Cruise Ship: Carnival Mardi Gras
This brand new ship will debut in 2021 — Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival is celebrating its first-ever ship, the 1972 TSS Mardi Gras, with an all-new version packed with the line’s signature entertainment options. When Mardi Gras launches in 2021, it will feature six themed Zones with amenities like the first rollercoaster at sea, Emeril’s Bistro 1396, Family Feud Live and a jazz bar inspired by the sounds of New Orleans.
Best Ocean Cruise Line: Carnival Cruise Line
You'd be hard-pressed to feel bored on a Carnival Fun Ship — Photo courtesy of 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.
Best River Cruise Line: Viking River Cruises
Viking River Cruises has long been a leader in river cruising — Photo courtesy of Viking River Cruises
Founded in 1997, Viking River Cruises plies the waterways of Europe, Russia, China, Southeast Asia and Egypt with its fleet of more than 60 vessels. While Viking has also launched an award-winning ocean cruise line, the company built its reputation in river cruising.
These all-inclusive cruises feature outside staterooms, Wi-Fi, wine and beer with meals, shore excursions in every port and Viking’s signature Culture Curriculum program.
Best River Cruise Ship: Avalon Envision
This new, winning ship offers "Beds with a View" — Photo courtesy of Avalon Waterways
The newest addition to the Avalon Waterways fleet debuted in 2019. Two decks of Panorama Suites offer wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling windows and window-facing “Beds with a View.” Guests enjoy free Wi-Fi access, a fitness center and adventure center for bikes and other gear, multiple dining venues and an observation lounge.
Best Small Cruise Ship: Viking Orion
This small ship is big on amenities — Photo courtesy of Viking Ocean Cruises
The new 930-guest Viking Orion offers all-veranda staterooms with amenities like free Wi-Fi, flatscreen TVs and heated bathroom floors. It’s also the first ship in the fleet to feature a high-tech planetarium in a 26-seat dome theater.
Congratulations to all these winning cruise lines and ships.