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Cruise Critic picks world's best cruise ships for 2018

Viking Cruises dominated the 11th annual ...

Posted: Dec 5, 2018 1:02 PM
Updated: Dec 5, 2018 1:02 PM

Viking Cruises dominated the 11th annual Cruise Critic Editors' Picks Awards for the second year in a row with five wins in 2018.

Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Seabourn and Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection tied for second place with three award each, all of which were revealed on December 5.

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"In the awards' infancy, they were simply a way to recognize cruise lines that excelled in a particular area," said Colleen McDaniel, executive editor of cruising website Cruise Critic. "And while the list certainly continues to be a compilation of the best experiences at sea, what's very clear this year is that the awards also highlight the wide range of travel experiences that cruising offers.

"You can truly find a cruise for just about every interest, which is something that we've said -- and stood by -- for years, but it's never been more true, with more options to choose from than ever before. And looking at this year's best new ships, it's clear that cruise options will continue to evolve and expand as new ships continue to launch."

Viking rules the waterways

Cruise Critic's editors pick winners in three categories: ocean cruises, luxury cruises (all on ocean ships) and river cruises.

Viking won three luxury awards (best new luxury ship for the Viking Orion, best spa, best value for money) and two river cruise awards (best for first timers and best itineraries).

It's no surprise that Disney Cruise Line won for best for families in the ocean category, while Disney's Adventures by Disney earned top honors for families in river cruising.

The new Celebrity Edge

Celebrity's brand-new ship -- Celebrity Edge -- has been called "one of the most innovative ships we've seen in years" by Cruise Critic's editors. Celebrity Edge boasts a rooftop garden, state of the art theater, a roving deck and more. Celebrity also won this year's award for best dining.

"Celebrity's newest ship -- Celebrity Edge -- brings a whole new experience to large ship cruising, with inventive new offerings and thoughtful touches and details," said McDaniel.

"U by Uniworld is river cruising's newest cruise line, introducing an entirely new way to river cruise, designed specifically with millennials in mind. And Viking Ocean found a way to breathe new life into its already popular luxury offerings -- introducing brand-new features and perfecting what it's already doing incredibly well on its newest ship, Viking Orion."

Ocean winners

Best New Ship: Celebrity Edge

Best Ship Refurbishment: Mariner of the Seas -- Royal Caribbean International

Best for Adventure: Lindblad Expeditions

Best Cabins: Princess Cruises

Best Dining: Celebrity Cruises

Best Entertainment: Royal Caribbean International

Best for Families: Disney Cruise Line

Best Itineraries: Princess Cruises

Best Nightlife: Carnival Cruise Line

Best Service: Carnival Cruise Line

Best Shore Excursions: Princess Cruises

Best for Solo Travelers: Norwegian Cruise Line

Best Suites: Royal Caribbean International

Best Value for Money: Holland America Line

Best North American Homeport: San Juan, Puerto Rico

Ocean winners/luxury

Best Luxury Cruise Line: Seabourn Cruise Line

Best New Luxury Ship: Viking Orion

Best Refurbishment: Silver Spirit -- Silversea Cruises

Best for Adventure: Silversea Cruises

Best Cabins: Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Best Dining: Oceania Cruises

Best Enrichment: Crystal Cruises

Best Itineraries: Ponant

Best for Romance: Windstar Cruises

Best Service: Seabourn Cruise Line

Best Shore Excursions: Azamara Club Cruises

Best for Solo Travelers: Seabourn Cruise Line

Best Spa: Viking Ocean Cruises

Best Value for Money: Viking Ocean Cruises

River cruise winners

Best River Cruise Line: Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection

Best New River Cruise Ship: The A -- U by Uniworld

Best Ship Refurbishment: S.S. Beatrice -- Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection

Best for Active Cruisers: AmaWaterways

Best Cabins: Avalon Waterways

Best Dining: Crystal River Cruises

Best Enrichment: American Queen Steamboat Company

Best for Families: Adventures by Disney

Best for First-Timers: Viking River Cruises

Best Itineraries: Viking River Cruises

Best for Luxury: Crystal River Cruises

Best Service: Tauck River Cruising

Best Shore Excursions: Scenic

Best for Solo Travelers: American Cruise Lines

Best Value for Money: Emerald Waterways

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