On rivers and oceans around the world, cruising is on the rise as a popular way to travel. According to Cruising.org, more than 23 million passengers boarded cruise ships in 2015, and that number is expected to rise in 2016 and beyond.
With over 60 cruise lines to choose from (and each line operating numerous ships and itineraries), picking the right cruise can be overwhelming.
To help narrow it down, our panel of cruising experts nominated their favorite ocean cruise lines, river cruise lines, boutique cruise lines, cruise ships for dining, cruise ships for entertainment and cruise ships for families. For the last four weeks, our readers have been voting daily for their favorites.
Click on each category below to see the full list of winners.
Best Ocean Cruise Line: 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.
Best River Cruise Line: Viking River Cruises
Founded in 1997, Viking River Cruises plies the waterways of Europe, Russia, China, Southeast Asia and Egypt with its fleet of 35 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 Boutique Cruise Line: Windstar Cruises
With fewer than 310 guests per sailing, Windstar Cruises promises passengers a cruising experience free of lines and waiting. Since the three all-suite 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.
Best Cruise Ship for Families: Carnival Vista
Carnival elevated its already very family-friendly offerings with the debut of Carnival Vista, the newest ship in the line. Kids can ride a bike through the sky, go mini bowling or play ping pong at SportSquare, and the onboard water park is the largest in the fleet. Kids love the Cherry On Top candy store and ice cream counter, and parents will appreciate the Family Harbor staterooms equipped with board games, family movies and video games.
Best Cruise Ship for Dining: Royal Princess
Passengers aboard Royal Princess can opt for traditional set-time dining in the Traditional Dining Room, or go with more flexibility at one of the ship's numerous restaurants through the Anytime Dining option. The ship's two specialty restaurants, Sabatini's and Crown Grill, serve Italian and steaks respectively, while casual eateries include Horizon Court top deck buffet, The Pastry Shop, Alfredo's Pizzeria, and Vines wine, sushi and tapas bar.
Best Cruise Ship for Entertainment: Regal Princess
The Princess Theater aboard Regal Princess is one of the largest theaters in the fleet. Within, passengers are treated to two big productions, Fiera and Bravo, as well as a variety of other live acts. A poolside screen on the Lido deck screens movies, sporting events and concerts under the stars (with free fresh-popped popcorn), while the Princess Live! TV studio presents comedy shows, cooking demos, concerts and destination lectures.
Congratulations to all of our winners! Remember to visit 10Best.com daily to vote in more Readers' Choice categories, and keep this list handy for planning your next cruise.