Best Cruise Lines and Ships for Dining and Service - 2020 Members' Choice Awards

celebrity cruises spa service staff
The spa on Celebrity Silhouette - Photo by Celebrity Cruises

We’re wrapping up our 2020 awards with two of the most important categories: dining and service. We analyzed thousands of verified cruise reviews from 2019 to bring you the top five lines and ships in each of these categories. Here are the places you’ll find the best dining and service at sea!

 Best Lines for Dining

celebrity equinox qsine le petit chef
The Le Petit Chef experience at Qsine on Celebrity Equinox - Photo by Celebrity Cruises

1. Celebrity Cruises - 4.30
2. Royal Caribbean International - 4.22
3. Disney Cruise Line - 4.18
4. Princess Cruises - 4.14
5. Holland America Line - 4.13

Cruise passengers are tough critics when it comes to dining, as food is an essential part of anyone’s vacation experience. Though no line managed to pass the 4.5/5 threshold, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean once again took the top spots with a solid 4.30 and 4.22. These lines consistently push the envelope with unique, imaginative restaurants like Qsine (Celebrity) and Wonderland (Royal Caribbean), while still delivering top quality on staples like Italian with Tuscan Grille, Giovanni’s Table, and Jamie’s Italian, plus other venues offering up sushi, steak, seafood, and more. The variety is there, and the quality is there — that’s what puts these lines at the top. Disney, Princess, and Holland America trail close behind, also offering superior menu choices and top-notch dining service. 

 

Best Ships for Dining

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El Loco Fresh on Symphony of the Seas - Photo by Royal Caribbean

1. Symphony of the Seas - 4.46
2. Allure of the Seas - 4.42
3. Celebrity Edge - 4.41
4. Nieuw Statendam - 4.40
5. Navigator of the Seas - 4.39

The newest addition to Celebrity’s fleet is their only ship that made it into the top five for dining: Celebrity Edge. This shows us that the 2018-launched Edge fell into its groove quickly as both its restaurant service and quality of food is a hit among hungry passengers. The same is true of Symphony of the Seas, which has also received stellar reviews since it, too, launched in 2018. Cruise lines, as with any other industry, put their best into new launches, and it seems that Royal Caribbean and Celebrity do this exceedingly well with things like the Mexican cantina El Loco Fresh and Hooked Seafood on Symphony, and the Le Petit Chef projection mapping show at Le Grande Bistro and the Luminae restaurant for suite guests on Edge

Two other Royal ships made it into the top five: Allure and Navigator. Both of these vessels have appeared in the top five in other categories this year, including Best Cruise Ships overall, Best Ships for Entertainment, and Best Ships for Onboard Activities. They, along with Symphony, are by far Royal’s strongest ships right now. Another 2018 newbuild, this time from Holland America, made it into fourth place, rounding out a strong showing for new ships in the dining category. We aren’t surprised to see one of their vessels here, as Holland America has a strong emphasis on dining through their Culinary Council (comprised of world-class celebrity chefs) overseeing menu and restaurant development.

 

Best Lines for Service

celebrity edge retreat sundeck service staff
The Retreat sundeck on Celebrity Edge - Photo by Celebrity Cruises

1. Celebrity Cruises - 4.63
2. Royal Caribbean International- 4.59
3. Holland America Line - 4.53
4. Princess Cruises - 4.53
5. Disney Cruise Line - 4.52

As we have seen in a myriad of categories this year, Celebrity went home with another win with Royal Caribbean not far behind. This time, in arguably two of the most important aspects of a cruise vacation: dining and service. They both emerged from 2019 with scores above 4.5 — an impressive feat but not one we’re surprised about. As you can see in the top five here and the top five ships below, cruise service scores in general are significantly higher than the average scores in other categories. We see this every single year, and that’s because the cruise industry as a whole delivers exceptional service, to the point where first-time cruisers are often shocked by the staff’s enthusiasm and desire to go above and beyond. Put cruising up against any other travel sector in terms of staff friendliness, willingness to help, and general guest care, and we can bet nothing else will even come close. It’s one of the things we love so much about it. 

 

Best Ships for Service

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A Royal Genie high fives a guest at the FlowRider - Photo by Royal Caribbean

1. Independence of the Seas - 4.73
2. Symphony of the Seas - 4.71
3. Celebrity Summit - 4.70
4. Allure of the Seas - 4.69
5. Celebrity Millennium - 4.69

We fully expected to see another win for Symphony of the Seas here, and were shocked to find that another underdog vessel beat out the world’s largest ship! (It was only by two hundredths of a point, but the point still stands.) Kudos to the officers, staff, and crew aboard Independence of the Seas — they’re clearly doing something right to achieve a 4.73/5 in a category that can completely make or break a vacation. The other four, all Royal Caribbean and Celebrity ships were very close behind. Though Disney received fifth for best lines, we’re a bit disappointed to see that they didn’t make it into the top five for ships. Disney is known for their outstanding service no matter where you encounter the company, whether it be in their theme parks, the cruise line, or even in their retail stores. We’re anxious to see what Disney Cruise Line has in store and how they will shift once the first of their new ships debuts in late 2021. 

Check out the other 2020 Members' Choice Awards results here:

The Best Cruise Lines & Ships For 2020

The Best Cruise Lines for Cabins in 2020

The Best Cruise Lines and Ships for Entertainment and Activities for 2020

The Best Cruise Lines and Ships For Families for 2020

The Best Lines and Ships for Couples, Singles, & First Timers for 2020

 

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What's your favorite line for dining? What about service?

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