Cruises that have left the competition in their wakes this year have been named by experts in high seas holidays.
Staff members from Cruise Critic – the world’s largest cruise reviews site and online cruise community – in the UK, the U.S and Australia have handed out gongs for the best cruises of 2019 across dozens of categories in the 11th annual Editors’ Picks Awards.
Scroll down to discover how the silverware was distributed…
The Spirit of Discovery, owned by Saga Cruises, which has been named as the ‘best new ship’ for 2019 in the ocean category by Cruise Critic’s UK editors in the 11th annual Editors’ Picks Awards
Editors praised the Spirit of Discovery’s luxurious thermal spa, inclusive speciality restaurants and its beautiful, boutique hotel-inspired design. Pictured is the ship’s impressive top-deck pool
U.S. Cruise Critic editors named Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Encore, pictured, as the best new ship in the ocean category
Revving up the cruise experience: Pictured is the amazing top-deck go-kart track on Norwegian Encore
Scooping the prize for best new ship in the ocean category in Australia was the Greg Mortimer, pictured, which is owned by Aurora Expeditions
Pictured is a stateroom onboard the Greg Mortimer. The ship launched on October 31 and has an ‘X-Bow’ which, it’s claimed, will help to keep it steady in rough seas
The Greg Mortimer, pictured here in Ushuaia in Argentina, is named after the Australian adventurer who was one of the first Australians to climb Antarctica’s highest peak, the Vinson Massif
The UK editors handed the ‘best new ship’ award to ‘stunning new-build’ Spirit of Discovery, which Saga Cruises debuted in July of this year.
Cruise Critic editors agreed that the ship has set a ‘new quality standard in British cruising with its luxurious thermal spa, inclusive speciality restaurants, beautiful, boutique hotel-inspired design and generous 2:1 passenger-to-crew ratio’.
The same award in the U.S. went to Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Encore while scooping the accolade in Australia was the Greg Mortimer by Aurora Expeditions.
Saga Cruises won a second award in the UK by claiming the title of ‘best for solo travellers’ due to its ‘high number of no-supplement single cabins and daily events such as meet and greets, group dinners and special shore excursions’.
U.S. editors handed Norwegian Cruise Line their award for ‘best for solo travellers’ while Australian editors gave the same award to Cruise and Maritime Voyages.
In the UK, Marella Cruises secured two awards this year, including the coveted ‘best refurbishment’ award for Marella Explorer 2, following a bow-to-stern makeover that saw the addition of four new-to-the-line venues.
For the third consecutive year, the line was also awarded ‘best value for money’ in the UK for its inclusive tips and service charges, as well as alcoholic drinks on some of its ships.
In the UK, Marella Cruises secured two awards this year in the ocean category, including the coveted ‘best refurbishment’ award for Marella Explorer 2, pictured, and ‘best value for money’
The award for ‘best refurbishment’ in the ocean category in the U.S went to the Oasis of the Seas ship operated by Royal Caribbean
Cruise Critic editors in Australia awarded the Explorer Dream ship by Dream Cruises, pictured, the title of ‘best refurbishment’ in the ocean category
‘Best refurbishment’ in the U.S. went to Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas and in Australia, it went to Explorer Dream by Dream Cruises.
‘Best value for money’ in both the U.S. and Australia was Carnival Cruise Line.
Celebrity Cruises bagged the award for ‘best cabins’ in the ocean cruises category from all three teams of editors with those in the UK saying they were impressed with its ‘practical and impressively stylish cabins, as well as new innovative features’ on its newest ship, Celebrity Edge, such as built-in USB ports in the bedside lamps and glass-fronted cabinetry.
The line also won the ‘best dining’ accolade in the UK and Australia for its ‘consistently high standard across all of its restaurants’. In the U.S., the same award went to Holland America Line.
Celebrity Cruises bagged the award for ‘best cabins’ from all three teams of editors. Pictured is one of the cabins on the Celebrity Edge ship
Inside one of the cabins on Celebrity Edge by Celebrity Cruises. Editors in the UK said they were impressed by its ‘practical and impressively stylish cabins, as well as new innovative features’ such as built-in USB ports in the bedside lamps and glass-fronted cabinetry
For the eighth year in a row, Hurtigruten won the ‘best for adventure’ award in the UK.
With its new hybrid vessel, Roald Amundsen, the line can take intrepid travellers almost silently to the most remote and challenging areas, without upsetting the natural wildlife.
The same award in Australia went to Coral Expeditions and in the U.S. the winner was UnCruise Adventures.
Hurtigruten also secured the ‘best shore excursions’ award in the UK for its ‘wide and varied tour offerings’.
The ‘best shore excursions’ award in both the U.S. and Australia in the ocean cruises section went to Princess Cruises.
For the eighth year in a row, Hurtigruten won the ‘best for adventure’ award in the UK. Pictured is its new vessel, Roald Amundsen
MSC Cruises secured two awards in the UK for ‘best entertainment’ – for its partnership with Cirque du Soleil – and ‘best for families’ for onboard link-ups with Chicco and Lego.
‘Best for entertainment’ in the U.S. was Royal Caribbean International while in Australia Holland America Line took the title.
Disney Cruise Line won ‘best for families’ in the U.S. and the Australian winner was Royal Caribbean International.
Fred. Olsen Cruise Line grabbed the ‘best itineraries’ award in the UK for the fifth year running, for its wide range of destinations offered, including sailings to Greenland, the Arctic and the Amazon directly from UK ports.
The same award in the U.S was claimed by Holland America Line, while Ponant scooped it in Australia.
Winning the ‘best river cruise line’ award for the fourth year running in the UK was Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection. Pictured is its ship S.S. Bon Voyage
Inside one of the cabins on the SS Bon Voyage. This vessel was named as having the ‘best refurbishment’ by Cruise Critic editors in both the UK and U.S.
Winning the ‘best river cruise line’ award for the fourth year running in the UK was Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection. The judges praised the continued attention of every aspect of cruise service, food, accommodations and itineraries.
‘Best river cruise line’ in the U.S. was named as AmaWaterways while APT scooped the accolade in Australia.
Uniworld also bagged the award for ‘best refurbishment’ in both the UK and U.S. for its ‘outstanding overhaul’ of its ship S.S. Bon Voyage.
The line also claimed the ‘best cabins’ gong in both the UK and US as well as ‘best for luxury’ in the UK. ‘Best for luxury’ in the U.S. was handed to Crystal River Cruises.
AmaWaterways grabbed the coveted ‘best new river ship’ award in the UK and U.S. for the AmaMagna, pictured
AmaWaterways grabbed the coveted ‘best new river ship’ in the UK and U.S. for AmaMagna.
Double the size of most river cruise ships, this modern ship offers large cabins, a full-sized pool, large gym, dedicated spa space and an array of restaurants – making it a real game-changer on the river scene.
The line also won the ‘best for active cruisers’ award in the UK and U.S.
Viking River Cruises held on to the ‘best itineraries’ award in the UK as well as in America and also grabbed the ‘best for first-timers’ in both countries.
Scenic secured the ‘best for enrichment’ award in both the UK and U.S as well as the ‘best shore excursions’ accolade from UK editors. The same award in the U.S. went to Avalon Waterways.
Crystal River Cruises secured this year’s gongs in the UK and U.S. for ‘best dining’ for its ‘sophisticated dishes, made-to-order meals and excellent wine list’. Pictured is one of the dining rooms on the Crystal Mozart
Adventures by Disney impressed judges with its dedicated family focus to win the coveted ‘best for families’ award in both the UK and U.S.
Crystal River Cruises secured this year’s gong in the UK and the U.S. for ‘best dining’ for its ‘sophisticated dishes, made-to-order meals and excellent wine list’.
‘Best service‘ in the UK was also Crystal River Cruises for its 24-hour butler service in every cabin and low crew-to-passenger ratios. The award in the U.S. went to Tauck River Cruising.
In the luxury awards, Silversea won the accolade for ‘best luxury cruise line’ in both the UK and Australia. It also won the ‘best service’ gong in the UK and the U.S. Pictured is Silver Wind by Silversea sailing through Tower Bridge in London
Opulence a go-go: The luxurious lobby-reception onboard Silversea’s Silver Muse ship
In the luxury awards, Silversea won the accolade for ‘best luxury cruise line’ in both the UK and Australia, with UK editors saying it has a ‘fleet of stunning ships and constant innovation and investment in updating ships with modern touches’. The editors also praised its ‘consistently superlative cuisine’.
The same award in the U.S was claimed by Crystal Cruises.
Silversea also nabbed the ‘best for adventure’ in the UK award for its ‘commitment to seeking out the most exciting, undiscovered and exotic destinations across the globe’. Ponant won the same award in the U.S.
The ‘best service‘ gong in the UK and the U.S. was also won by Silversea for ‘its intuitive service where crew anticipate your every need’.
Scenic Eclipse, pictured, stole the show in the ‘best new luxury ship’ category by claiming the title in all three countries
Pictured is the stunning owner’s suite penthouse lounge on board the Scenic Eclipse
As well as boasting ‘super-chic modern design, generously-sized suites’, Scenic Eclipse also has a six-person submarine on board, pictured
Meanwhile, Scenic Eclipse stole the show in the ‘best new luxury ship’ category by claiming the title in all three countries.
UK editors say it has a ‘super-chic modern design, generously-sized suites, two state-of-the-art helicopters and a six-person submarine’.
Viking Ocean Cruises secured awards for ‘best spa’ and ‘best value for money’ in the UK and U.S and Australia.
It also bagged this year’s ‘best enrichment’ gong in the UK and U.S. for the ‘knowledgeable onboard historians and experts across its fleet, and its stunning planetarium shows on Viking Jupiter and Viking Orion’.
In the U.S., Seattle, pictured, was named as the ‘best North American homeport’
Australian experts crowned Sydney, pictured, as the ‘best Australian homeport’ and the Conflict Islands in Papua New Guinea as the ‘best South Pacific port of call’
Dover secured the ‘best UK departure port’ title while Belfast took the award for ‘best UK & British Isles port of call’.
In the U.S., Seattle was named as the ‘best North American homeport’.
Australian experts crowned Sydney as the ‘best Australian homeport’ and the Conflict Islands in Papua New Guinea as the ‘best South Pacific port of call’.
Adam Coulter, the UK managing editor of Cruise Critic, said: ‘The desire for more experiential holidays, especially amongst younger travellers is certainly helping to boost the UK cruise sector.
‘There is more choice than ever before in ocean, river and expedition cruises as a result of an array of exciting new ships launched this year and next. Whether you are cruising as a multi-generational family, a couple or solo, travellers are starting to realise that there really is a cruise for everyone.
‘Our awards combine our editors’ impartial cruise expertise, based on first-hand experiences and industry knowledge, to help travellers select the best cruise choice for them from an increasing number of exciting ships and itineraries that are available – many of which now sail directly from the UK.’