Cruise ships have rapidly evolved into floating resorts, and much like their counterparts on land, the strength of their amenities goes a long way towards attracting certain types of travelers.
Best Line for Onboard Activities
Disney Cruise Line - 2.41 / 3
We knew this category would be a vicious fight between Disney and Royal Caribbean, but Disney managed to squeeze out a victory thanks to its daily game shows and character appearances.
"We actually enjoyed the ship and its activities so much, we didn't even disembark in first port so we could stay aboard and take advantage of the offerings on-board." -BobbieS (read review)
Royal Caribbean: Despite a narrow loss to Disney, Royal Caribbean has nothing to be ashamed of with its offerings. The ships feature onboard activities unlike any other line, with unique features that range from trapeze classes to ice-skating to bumper cars.
"Lots to keep you occupied including miniature golf, wall climbing, volleyball, bingo, etc." - poochandgucci (read review)
Carnival Cruise Lines: This line has always been known for onboard fun, but its FunShip 2.0 upgrades like ropes courses and Hasbro game shows have given Carnival a huge boost in this category.
"From day one until the last day there was never a dull moment aboard ship. From the night clubs to the shows to the amazing dining experiences and trivia challenges, I can't say enough about the amazing trip we had." - jcotton02 (read review)
Best Line for Entertainment
Disney Cruise Line - 2.49 / 3
We actually lost count of how many reviews we read that compared Disney’s stage productions to those on Broadway. With casts consisting of Disney’s most well-known characters, the productions are truly unique among cruise lines.
"I forgot to mention all of the character experiences you have aboard the ship. Any kids dream!" - puckettfamcruze (read review)
"Overwhelming entertainment for all ages." - ilovekimika (read review)
Royal Caribbean: With a combination of traditional Broadway shows, like “Chicago” and “Hairspray,” with off-stage entertainment in the line’s outdoor AquaTheater and shipwide parades, Royal Caribbean’s entertainment is extremely well-rounded.
"As always, the shows were spectacular, and the talent very impressive in every venue. Best ice show ever, by far!" - rkpianos (read review)
MSC Cruises: MSC Divina once again proved to be an all-around powerhouse. Its mix of Michael Jackson and Abba impersonators and the acrobatic “Pirates” production impressed our members just enough to beat out Norwegian Cruise Line’s exciting list of offerings.
"The shows were mind blowing and full of unexpected talents. Every night topped the show from the night before." - CruiseFiance (read review)
Best Line for Service and Staff
Disney Cruise Line - 2.76 / 3
The scores for this category were among the closest of this year’s awards, so even the slightest advantage became invaluable. In this case, Disney’s edge came from its excellent costumed characters and its rotational dining, where cruisers rotate through restaurants right alongside their wait staff.
"We thought it was so amazing that every time we passed staff in the hall or lobby area, they said "hello" - no matter how many times we saw them - they said the most cheerful "hello." Just really great service and people." -puckettfamcruze (read review)
Royal Caribbean: Our members consistently praised the hospitality and attention to detail of Royal Caribbean’s staff.
"The staff on board were incredible. Five star service all the way! Everyone seemed genuinely happy to be working on board the ship." - FlashpackerFam (read review)
Celebrity Cruises: Celebrity’s staff delivers top-notch service without being overly stuffy, a boast confirmed by the water volleyball games between passengers and the uniformed crew.
"Would love to have taken most of the staff home. From the cleaners to the waiters, room attendant and on and on all were very helpful and pleasant at all times." - jhnbelland22 (read review)
Best Line for Food and Dining
Disney Cruise Line - 2.59 / 3
Disney’s trend of satisfying both its child and adult passengers continues into its restaurant offerings: Talking wall animations keep kids entertained at Animator’s Palate, while adult-exclusive restaurant Remy is considered one of the best French restaurants at sea.
"I love the fact that your wait staff goes with you each night to each dining room, and I love that you switch up and you aren't in the same dining room each night. Also each night for dinner there is always something fun - a show, something." - puckettfamcruze (read review)
Celebrity Cruises: Our members raved about the Top Chef at Sea Experience, along with other specialty restaurants like Blu, CQsine, and the Lawn Club Grill, where passengers can sear their own meat.
"Great variety, great quality (even the buffet with its various cooking stations provide good variety and good quality food); Qusine is a good experience for adults and children alike." - TC86 (read review)
Royal Caribbean: While Dynamic Dining got off to a rough start, Royal Caribbean's culinary approach - including innovative cuisine at Wonderland and the classic Windjammer buffet - still pleased passengers across the fleet in 2014.
"The food in the main dining room is very good, and the service is as good as any that you would get at a four or five-star restaurant." - jessicadudley08 (read review)
Best Line for Ship Quality
Disney Cruise Line - 2.66 / 3
Children are uniquely talented at creating disorder and mess, which makes it all the more impressive that Disney excels at keeping its ships clean and polished.
"Beautiful ship....with all of those kids running around the cleanliness was unbelievable. Top notch customer service; they thought of every little detail. The ship is huge and tons of activities both kid and adult only friendly so you don't feel crowded." - VacationMomma (read review)
Celebrity Cruises: In addition to its unique top deck with real grass and layouts that our members found refreshingly easy to navigate, Celebrity ships have a reputation for being meticulously maintained.
"I have been on a lot of cruises and I thought the lay out of this ship was the best I have experienced. Very easy to find things and get oriented. Obviously a lot of thought went into the lay out." - Igastineau (read review)
Royal Caribbean: Our members loved Royal Caribbeans’s fleet of massive ships, and the line’s unique approach to layouts and designs — with innovations like ship “neighborhoods” — made for many days of fun exploration.
"there were always crew members cleaning or painting, keeping it in great shape!" - melodious (read review)
Best Line for Inside Cabins
Carnival Cruise Lines - 2.52 / 3
Carnival has a reputation for getting the basics right, and since it’s hard to find a cruise amenity more basic than an inside cabin, we weren't surprised that they took top honors here by consistently delivering spacious, clean and comfortable accommodations.
"I wanted to take my four granddaughters on their first cruise, and since we couldn't get two adjoining cabins, I took a deep breath and trusted our cruise agent's advice that five of us could fit in one cabin. With a queen bed, two flip down upper bunks and a trundle, it really did work, and with a little bathroom scheduling, I couldn't have been happier with our four day 'slumber party'." - cdresslarmos (read review)
Royal Caribbean: With the innovative “Virtual Balcony” inside cabins introduced in 2014, Royal Caribbean is giving a view to even the most price-conscious cruisers.
"There's more than enough space and the bed was very comfortable." - not2sweet87 (read review)
Celebrity Cruises: The conventional wisdom among many experienced cruisers is that you’re only in your stateroom to sleep and shower, so why spend a lot of money on the view? Our members tell us that you can still have a great cabin – and save a few dollars to spend at Crush Martini Bar – by booking an inside stateroom on Celebrity.
"The stateroom was also well designed with space to put everyhing away. I like when the bathroom has enough storage space for what I bring." - EvelynR4 (read review)
Best Line for Ocean View Cabins
Disney Cruise Line - 2.66 / 3
Offering at least 204 square feet of space and generous storage options, Disney's ocean view cabins were designed with families in mind.
"We had an oceanview stateroom - The stateroom was big, with lots of closet space. The staterooms were really excellent" - JonathanG2 (read review)
MSC Cruises: Comfortable and affordable, ocean view cabins on MSC offered our members a window on the world while they experienced Mediterranean Style Cruising.
"we had our linen changed three times a day with fresh towels." - raybennett (read review)
Costa Cruises: Our members told us that an Oceanview cabin on Costa is a great middle-of-the-road choice, offering savings over a balcony but more room and light than an inside stateroom.
"Good and clean." - patty8 (read review)
Best Line for Balcony Cabins
Disney Cruise Line - 2.70 / 3
Thanks to dual bathrooms and thoughtful touches like a privacy curtain between the living and sleeping space and cordless intercom phones to stay in touch with family onboard, Disney beat out the rest of the pack to claim their second cabin category trophy.
"The nice thing about the cabin was how there was a split bathroom with toilet and sink in one half and tub/shower and sink in other half." - tina434 (read review)
Celebrity Cruises: The little things matter when it comes to cabin bathrooms, like extra storage space and a shaving bar in the shower. Celebrity’s Solstice-class ships have them both, so they edged out their sister line Royal Caribbean to claim second place in the Balcony category.
"Very impressed with the size of the Cabin. We had wondered if we would feel crowded with the amount of luggage and cloths we brought but everything fit just fine and considering we were on a ship it felt more like a luxury hotel room." - jhnbelland22 (read review)
Royal Caribbean: With an unprecedented selection of balcony cabins to choose from, it’s no surprise that Royal Caribbean claimed a spot in this category. Where else butR oyal Caribbean can you choose a balcony overlooking Central Park, an ocean-side boardwalk or the sea itself? And did we mention those choices are all on the same ship?
"The balcony room was spacious enough and we loved sitting on the balcony watchnig the entry and exit of each port." - Sk1pp3r (read review)
Best Line for Suites
Royal Caribbean - 2.647 / 3
Maybe it’s the innovative and fun designs like the two-story loft suite and the wrap-around Aqua Suite that offers a perfect view of the Aqua Theater on the Oasis-class ships, or perhaps it’s the high level of service that suite guests enjoy like access to a concierge lounge. Whatever the reason, our members think Royal Caribbean’s suites are, well, pretty sweet.
"the suite experience was well worth it. It really helped us to navigate with so many people on board. The concierge lounge was amazing and very helpful." - hjstrike (read review)
Princess Cruises: While the suites on most Princess ships tend to be a bit more modest and traditional than some other lines, their loss to Royal Caribbean was on the narrowest of margins, a clear indication that our members think highly of these accommodations. The mini suites are particularly popular, offering extra space and the luxury of a full-size tub.
"With our family of 8 on board it was great to have a meeting room large enough to have Christmas gift exchange. Our grandson slept in our room on the hide-a-bed giving his mom and dad and sister a little more room in their room. It was great and our steward was also great." - cbears (read review)
Norwegian Cruise Line: Norwegian is well-known for The Haven, a ship-within-a-ship that offers a private pool courtyard, a private lounge and private dining room just for suite guests. Our members clearly appreciate the privacy and VIP touches that define Cruising Like a Norwegian in a suite.
"We booked a Penthouse Suite in the Haven and now we're not sure we can ever go back to anything less. It was well worth the little extra it cost. The service was beyond belief. There was simply no request that the staff in the Haven was unable to fulfill." - jbenson171 (read review)