12 Best Cruises: Cruise Critic's Cruisers’ Choice Awards

5.35min read

Published 10 January 2018


The annual Cruise Critic Awards have anchored! Showcasing the best cruises of 2017, we have the winners listed for you here. Discover the best cruise ship, best cruise dining, best value cruise and much more, as voted by the world's largest cruise community.

The results of the most influential cruise awards are in! So, which cruises blew the competition out of the water?

Last month, Cruise Critic released the 2017 edition of its annual Cruisers’ Choice Awards. You could say, they are the Oscars of the cruise world.

The leader of cruise review and information websites, Cruise Critic is a respected and reputable resource for cruise travellers.

The ocean cruise line awards were divided into 12 categories: Best Overall, Best for Cabins, Best for Dining, Best for Embarkation, Best for Entertainment, Best for Fitness & Recreation, Best for Public Rooms, Best for Service, Best for Shore Excursions, Best for Value, Best for Families and Best for First-Timers.

The start of the year marks when travellers start planning their 2018 cruises. Whether you're a cruise veteran or new to the wonderful world of cruising, there are endless options to navigate. Let our Top 12 list of best ocean cruises be your guide!

1. Best Cabins on a Cruise Ship


Runners-up: Disney Fantasy, Celebrity Reflection, Celebrity Eclipse, Harmony of the Seas, Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Silhouette, Anthem of the Seas, Norwegian Escape, Celebrity Solstice.

Critic reviews accounted for all cabin classes, from ocean-view staterooms to interior staterooms. In the case of Royal Caribbean International's Anthem of the Seas, its Virtual Balcony Interior Stateroom helped secure the 8th spot. That's right, thanks to RCI's modern technology, an interior-facing cabin is transformed into one with a balcony from the LED-screen "window." So, which cruise ship needs the least room for improvement?

Winner: Disney Dream

The delightful Disney Dream staterooms were designed for families, making them more spacious and comfortable than many others in its class. There are also a number of accessible staterooms for passengers in wheelchairs.

2. Best Cruise for Dining


Runners-up: Celebrity Eclipse, Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy, Celebrity Equinox, Regal Princess, Grand Princess, Norwegian Escape, Celebrity Silhouette, Celebrity Constellation.

Among the criteria for choosing a cruise that's right for you, the dining experience ranks high. As do these runners-up for best cruise dining. While Celebrity and Disney dominated the top 10, Norwegian Cruise Line got a nod as well. NCL is known for its freestyle dining options, meaning that passengers aren't restricted to seating times like other cruise lines. But which nautical fare reigns supreme?

Winner: Celebrity Reflection

These are the critics' choice awards and when one looks at what the critics say about Celebrity Reflection, the food is constantly praised. Whether it's Cordon Bleu chefs or international breakfast spreads, this seafood is clearly top-notch.

3. Best Ship for Embarking


Runners-up: Disney Dream, Jewel of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, Disney Fantasy, Harmony of the Seas, Celebrity Summit, Celebrity Silhouette, Grand Princess, Freedom of the Seas.

For cruise newbies, embarkation may seem like a surprising category. For cruise aficionados, boarding day, or embarkation day, can make or break a cruise experience. While other categories also reflect the cruise line itself, embarkation can vary within cruise lines, by the ship itself. So which cruise ship made the embarkation process the most seamless, with the most ease on the seas?

Winner: Celebrity Reflection

Going by the previous category, those sailing Celebrity Reflection aren't disembarking in search of better food! In terms of boarding, Celebrity Reflection takes the prize for efficiency and passenger experience.

4. Best Cruise Entertainment


Runners-up: Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy, Harmony of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, Celebrity Infinity, Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Escape.

If you see a theme in these cruise ship names listed here, it's because Royal Caribbean ships share a common element: excellence in live entertainment. Enjoy shows from Broadway and London's West End all under one glorious roof (or, open air.) Ice-skating to Cirque du Soleil, comedy, music and more, even if you don't consider yourself a live show buff, cruise ship entertainment will enhance your journey. So which cruise ship is the most entertaining?

Winner: Allure of the Seas

Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas has won more awards than any other cruise ship, so it makes sense it would earn the best cruise ship in at least one category. Entertainment onboard this Oasis-class ship includes high-diving spectacles in the AquaTheater, award-winning Broadway shows and kid-friendly theatre.

5. Best Cruise Fitness & Recreation Programs


Runners-up: Celebrity Equinox, Allure of the Seas, Disney Dream, Oasis of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, Celebrity Eclipse, Celebrity Reflection, Carnvial Vista, Liberty of the Seas

For many, onboard fitness and recreation programs are a cornerstone of cruising. Disney, RCI and Celebrity, key players in the other categories once again make an appearance, however, Carnival surfaces this time, too. Its newest ship, the Carnival Vista, is considered the most fun of the cruise line known as the 'Fun Ships'! Which cruise ship has the best programs for keeping fit or having fun?

Winner: Disney Fantasy

Sister ship to the Disney Dream, the sprawling 13,000-ton ship makes room for plenty of fun programs for each family member. From golfing to adults-only pools, tots and youth clubs, to fitness centres and the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, everyone can stay healthy or enjoy Disney whimsy.

6. Best Public Rooms on a Ship


Runners-up: Disney Fantasy, Celebrity Reflection

Sure you go on a cruise ship to enjoy the wide expanses of ocean. Yet anyone who's cruised before can tell you the interior spaces are equally as important (if not more!) Which ship's common areas were a dream come true (we just gave you a hint.)

Winner: Disney Dream

When it comes to creating unbelievable, otherworldly environments, no one does it better than those Disney folks. At sea is no exception. And don't think it's all child's play. The spectacular ship boasts beautiful Art Deco interiors and sophisticated spaces. Disney Dream encourages all imaginations to set sail, quite literally.

7. Best Service on a Cruise Line


Runners-up: Celebrity Eclipse, Celebrity Reflection, Disney Fantasy, Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Silhouette, Grand Princess, Island Princess, Vision of the Seas, Celebrity Solstice.

Even the biggest ocean cruise ships strive for the personal service, which can be a challenge with thousands of guests at sea! When it comes to courtesy, availability and high-touch service, the undisputed champion is...

Winner: Disney Dream

Be Our Guest! as the Disney song from Beauty and the Beast goes. Disney is renowned for its next-level hospitality, so while heavy-hitters made the list, the Disney Dream takes the top prize.

8. Best Cruise Shore Excursions


Runners-up: Carnival Freedom, Carnival Breeze, Adventure of the Seas, Carnival Magic, Carnival Fascination, Carnival Dream, Carnival Triumph, Grand Princess.

When it comes to the best cruise ship shore excursions, Carnival, according to the Cruise Critics' Choice Awards, offers well-rounded, organized and

Winner: Disney Dream

9. Best Cruise Value


Runners-up: Celebrity Reflection, Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Eclipse, Grand Princess, Regal Princess, Celebrity Silhouette, Disney Fantasy, Jewel of the Seas, Celebrity Summit.

If you're cruisin' for value, consider these picks from Cruise Critic experts. If you really want bang for your buck, reserve your spots on...

Winner: Norwegian Sky

Norwegian Cruise Line appears on the list again, with its limitless dining options, free open bar and onboard spa. Kids and couples are both entertained by its popular 3* and 4-day year-round cruises to the Bahamas and Cuba from Miami.

10. Best Cruise for Families

Runners-up: Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy, Norwegian Dawn, Disney Wonder, Allure of the Seas, Carnival Pride, Carnival Splendor, Carnival Vista, Harmony of the Seas.

A cruise is one of the most popular family vacations, for good reason. It may be an overused travel adage to say there's something for everyone, but it succinctly describes cruising. So, which of these mass-appealing ships satisfies parents to the tiniest tots?

Winner: Disney Magic

It should come as no surprise, Disney wins the family-friendly cruise vacations category, but don't limit yourself to the one cruise ship. All the other cruise lines on the list are excellent options or ask your Flight Centre cruise expert for additional, value-added family cruises.

11. Best for First-Time Cruisers


Runners-up: Norwegian Jade, Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Reflection, Disney Dream, Allure of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, Norwegian Escape, Brilliance of the Seas, Norwegian Jewel.

This well-rounded list is a helpful guide for all you cruise virgins!

Winner: Viking Star

Viking appears for the first time on the list, but it regularly wins awards and is the quintessential selection for first time cruisers.

12. Best Cruise Ship Overall

Which cruise ship ticks all the boxes, you ask?

Runners-up: Celebrity Reflection, Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Eclipse, Disney Fantasy, Celebrity Silhouette, Regal Princess, Allure of the Seas, Royal Princess, Island Princess.

As you can see, cruise giant Celebrity Cruises and the world's first cruise line, Princess Cruises, dominated this category. Disney and Royal Caribbean ships once again made the cut as well. But which one won the top spot?

Winner: Disney Dream

Trust the folks at Disney to provide the best overall cruise ship experience. Disney Dream ranked overall best cruise ship Disney offers, not to mention the top cruise ship out of any commercial cruise line. Critics cited courteous crew, multi-generational activities, delicious dining as why the best cruise ship is Disney Dream. The overall experience of course with that unparalleled Disney magic.


Inspired to book your 2018 cruise? Contact us! Call us 24/7 at 1.877.967.5302 or visit us in-store!

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