You’ve been voting for your favourite cruise lines in 20 categories, from the most environmentally friendly to the best pizza, here are the winners…
Best overall cruise line (ocean)
Celebrity Cruises has always been a favourite with our readers and it’s not hard to see why. with some of the most elegant interiors at sea, incredible food, wine, wellness offerings and some truly beautiful accommodation.
Celebrity Edge and Celebrity Apex have revolutionised the industry, but Celebrity’s fleet remains one of the best around, especially following the multi-million refits – including to Celebrity Silhouette in its third season sailing from Southampton – making it a worthy winner of our best ocean cruise line category.
Best overall cruise line (River)
For the second time in two Cruise 20 Awards, AmaWaterways has been voted the best river line. With sublime food and spacious cabins, its beautiful fleet of river ships have proven themselves the most wonderful way to saunter down a river and head straight into the heart of a destination. On shore, guests can choose from a list of excursions, depending on their mobility and mood.
This is a cruise line that does things very well and, in an increasingly crowded market, has managed to stay ahead of the competition.
Best kids’ club
Royal Caribbean International
Royal Caribbean sets the standard when it comes to kids’ clubs. Not only does the line offer a range of activities – whether it’s discos for teens or dinosaur parties for young sailors – but it also caters for children with special needs. Royal Caribbean was also named the first certified autism-friendly cruise line in 2014.
Best fast food restaurant
Royal Caribbean International
Whether it’s a burger at Johnny Rockets, a hot dog at Doghouse, or a slice at Sorrento’s Pizza – there is a world of choice on board any Royal Caribbean ship. With fast food available virtually around the clock, you’re spoilt for choice. Just remember to hit the SeaPlex for roller-skating, bumper cars and much more!
Viking Ocean Cruises
The vast spa on Viking Ocean Cruises is a cathedral of relaxation. All passengers get access for free, and then can pay extra for treatments. That means that the hydro-pool, sauna, steam room and snow grotto are all gratis. The hot-cold Nordic Spa Ritual is a must-try.
With Alfredo’s Pizzeria, a restaurant, and Slice, a takeaway option on top deck, guests on Princess Cruises are never far away from pizza. It’s no surprise to hear of its popularity – the line has long been one of our favourites to eat on.
The rib-eye steak in Manfredi’s – a restaurant named after the Silversea executive – is as good as anything we’ve had on land. It is even more impressive when you consider the fact that the chefs in Viking’s galley achieve such results without using an open flame.
Best ex-UK specialist
With two ships – Bolette and Borealis – having joined its fleet this year, Fred Olsen has taken its offering to a new level. With cruises from Southampton, Portsmouth, Dover, Liverpool, Newcastle and Edinburgh (Rosyth), Freds make proper use of British ports – something we applaud.
Best for vegetarians and vegans
Oceania Cruises’ claim to have the finest cuisine at sea is certainly well justified and, following on from the launch of its new plant-based dishes, it can be extended to vegetarians and vegans, too. Whether that’s poke bowls or falafel fritters – Oceania Cruises has got you covered.
Best wine list
Another food and drink accolade for Oceania Cruises – a line that proudly invests in culinary offerings. Like the ingredients that make up its dishes, its wine is of excellent quality. As it’s not included in the price of the cruise, a beverage package is an absolute must.
Best expedition line
Hurtigruten, which is best known for its coastal sailings in Norway, recently split its business between the ships sailings the fjords and its expedition offering. The latter has gone from strength, offering fantastic, small-ship cruises in Alaska, the Caribbean, South America and the Arctic.
Even before Ocean Medallion, which has elevated its offering, Princess Cruises was famed for its attentive, but unfussy crew. Its service staff encapsulate what’s a great about cruise, making guests feel looked after and always welcome.
Best UK-based ship
Spirit of Discovery
It’s no exaggeration to say that Saga’s Spirit of Discovery is a game changer. The boutique vessel is designed to serve a discerning British customer – with onboard partnerships with Jools Holland – and has now been joined by sister ship Spirit of Adventure.
Most environmentally friendly
After launching the hybrid powered MS Roald Amundsen, a ship that reduces CO2 emissions more than 20 per cent compared to other ships of the same size, the Norwegian line is setting the standard for low-emission cruising.
Best water park
From the heart-stopping Ocean Loops on Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Joy, where the floor drops out from underneath the slider before taking you over the edge of the ship, to the trippy Aqua Racer, where you whiz past different light patterns – Norwegian Cruise Line is the cruise industry’s slide supremo. We can’t wait to see what they come up with next.
Best interior design
When Richard Branson’s Virgin Group announced plans to launch a cruise line, two things were clear: firstly, Virgin Voyages would shake up the industry and, secondly, its ships would be effortlessly stylish. With design guru Tom Dixon behind the interiors, that’s no surprise – there’s a playfulness on board that makes the spaces truly sing.
Best on-ship gadget
OceanMedallion (Princess Cruises)
OceanMedallion is the piece of industry technology right now. Capable of doing everything from opening your stateroom door to allowing waiters to bring a drink to your lounger, it promises to change the entire cruise experience and ushers in a new world of opportunity.
Best agent rewards programme
Shine Rewards Club (Cunard and P&O Cruises)
Cunard and P&O Cruises’ Shine Rewards Club gives points for activities, including bookings made and completing training modules. Points can be exchanged for a choice of prizes including designer goods and cruises, of course. There is also a bit of gamification involved, for those who fancy spinning the wheel.
Best celebrity tie-in
Whether you’re a fan or not, Gary Barlow joining P&O Cruises as a brand ambassador was a big moment for the industry. A household name, the Take That man will help bring new customers to cruise – a good thing for everyone involved in the sector.
Best for family
Royal Caribbean International
Once again, Royal Caribbean has swept the board in our family categories – winning best kids’ club and best for families. It’s easy to see why. Little can compare to a holiday on an Oasis-class ship – zip lines, surfing machines, carousels and arcades. More than enough to keep your clients’ little sailors busy. Leaving the adults more time to try out the 42 bars and lounges.