Cruise Critic picks world’s best cruise ships for 2018

CNN  — 

Viking Cruises dominated the 12th annual Cruise Critic Editors’ Picks Awards for the third year in a row with five wins in 2019.

Royal Caribbean International, AmaWaterways and Crystal Cruises tied for second place with three awards each, all of which were revealed on December 4.

“Our list of winners represents just how much the industry continues to change – and the fact that there really is a cruise for every traveler,” said Colleen McDaniel, executive editor of cruising website Cruise Critic.

“Our editors keep close tabs on the industry throughout the year, and this list of winners is a compilation of our first-hand experience and industry expertise, highlighting the lines that have truly stood out as being exceptional throughout the year,” McDaniel said.

Viking still rules the waterways

Cruise Critic’s editors name winners in three categories: ocean cruises, luxury cruises (all on ocean ships) and river cruises.

Viking won three luxury awards (best enrichment, best spa, best value for money) and two river cruise awards (best for first-timers and best itineraries).

It’s no surprise that Disney Cruise Line won the best for families in the ocean category, and Disney’s Adventures by Disney earned top honors for families in river cruising – and both won for the fourth year in a row.

The new Norwegian Encore

“On the other hand, our best new ship in the luxury category – Silverseas’ Silver Muse – carries fewer than 600 passengers, and boasts understated luxury with all suites and butlers,” she said. “In the river category, Uniworld’s Joie de Vivre carries just under 130 guests, but offers the opulence and elegance Uniworld is known for with its fans.

“Celebrity’s newest ship – Celebrity Edge – brings a whole new experience to large ship cruising, with inventive new offerings and thoughtful touches and details,” said McDaniel.

After Cruise Critic’s editors boarded the Norwegian Encore, they knew it was the one.

Ocean winners

Celebrity Edge won best new ship honors.

Best North American Homeport: Quebec City

Best Ship Refurbishment: Mariner of the Seas – Royal Caribbean International

Best for Adventure: Lindblad Expeditions

Best Cabins: Princess Cruises

Best Dining: Celebrity Cruises

Best Entertainment: Royal Caribbean International

Best for Families: Disney Cruise Line

Best Itineraries: Princess Cruises

Best Nightlife: Carnival Cruise Line

Best Service: Carnival Cruise Line

Best Shore Excursions: Princess Cruises

Best for Solo Travelers: Norwegian Cruise Line

Best Suites: Royal Caribbean International

Best Value for Money: Holland America Line

Best North American Homeport: San Juan, Puerto Rico

Ocean winners/luxury

Seabourn Cruise Line was rated the best luxury cruise line by Cruise Critic editors.

Best Value for Money: Viking Ocean Cruises

Best New Luxury Ship: Viking Orion

Best Refurbishment: Silver Spirit – Silversea Cruises

Best for Adventure: Silversea Cruises

Best Cabins: Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Best Dining: Oceania Cruises

Best Enrichment: Crystal Cruises

Best Itineraries: Ponant

Best for Romance: Windstar Cruises

Best Service: Seabourn Cruise Line

Best Shore Excursions: Azamara Club Cruises

Best for Solo Travelers: Seabourn Cruise Line

Best Spa: Viking Ocean Cruises

Best Value for Money: Viking Ocean Cruises

River cruise winners

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection is the best river cruise line, according to Cruise Critic.

Best New River Cruise Ship: The A – U by Uniworld

Best Ship Refurbishment: S.S. Beatrice – Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection

Best for Active Cruisers: AmaWaterways

Best Cabins: Avalon Waterways

Best Dining: Crystal River Cruises

Best Enrichment: American Queen Steamboat Company

Best for Families: Adventures by Disney

Best for First-Timers: Viking River Cruises

Best Itineraries: Viking River Cruises

Best for Luxury: Crystal River Cruises

Best Service: Tauck River Cruising

Best Shore Excursions: Scenic

Best for Solo Travelers: American Cruise Lines

Best River Cruise Line: AmaWaterways