Best Cruise Ships: Cabins, Excursions, Entertainment

Every cruise ship is unique—some are better than others for things like dining, cabins, entertainment and shore excursions. Here are the best, ranked by passengers.
Author:
Publish date:

Are you ready for a warm, sunny vacation? Or an adventure trip?

A cruise, perhaps?

About 32 million people are expected to go on a cruise in 2020, according to the Cruise Lines International Association, and there are almost 300 ships to choose from.

Each ship has its unique qualities—while almost all of them have bars, different styles of restaurants and swimming pools, others offer outdoor movie theaters, climbing walls, mini-golf courses, skydiving…one Carnival  (CCL) - Get Report ship that will set sail this year has a roller coaster. There’s plenty to do on these ships. Some are cleaner than others. Some are more family-oriented, others are more geared toward adventure, or culture, or fine dining.

To find the best cruise ships, Cruise Critic, a cruise review site and online community that boasts about 6 million cruise fans, ranked the ships based on member reviews. The ships on this list all had a minimum number of member reviews and ratings in a particular category in order to be included in that category's top 10.

Based on Cruise Critics rankings, these are some of the best cruise ships overall, followed by the best ships for entertainment, families, and shore excursions, as well as ships with the best service, best dining, and best cabins.

The Best Cruise Ships Overall:

1 Celebrity equinox NAN728 : Shutterstock

1. Celebrity Equinox

Celebrity Equinox was also in the top 10 for:

  • Best entertainment
  • Best service
  • Best for first-timers
  • Best value
  • Best dining
  • Best cabins
2 allure of the seas Felix Mizioznikov : Shutterstock

2. Allure of the Seas (Royal Caribbean)

Allure of the Seas was also in the top 10 for:

  • Best cabins
  • Best dining
  • Best for entertainment
  • Best for families
  • Best for first-timers
  • Best service
  • Best for shore excursions
  • Best value
3 celebrity-eclipse-_CelebrityCruises

3. Celebrity Eclipse

Celebrity Eclipse was also in the top 10 for:

  • Best cabins
  • Best dining
  • Best service
  • Best value
4 harmony of the seas mridulablog : Shutterstock

4. Harmony of the Seas (Royal Caribbean)

This ship was also in the top 10 in these categories:

  • Best cabins
  • Best dining
  • Best for entertainment
  • Best for first-timers
  • Best for shore excursions
  • Best value
5 Celebrity Reflection_Celebrity

5. Celebrity Reflection

This ship was also in the top 10 in these categories:

  • Best cabins
  • Best dining
  • Best for first-timers
  • Best service
  • Best value
6 Regal Princess  Zakariaa El Mikdam : Shutterstock

6. Regal Princess

This ship was also in the top 10 in these categories:

  • Best for entertainment
  • Best for families
  • Best value
7 RC symphony of seas new ship Royal caribbean

7. Symphony of the Seas (Royal Caribbean)

This ship was also in the top 10 in these categories:

  • Best cabins
  • Best for entertainment
  • Best for families
8 celebrity summit David T London : Shutterstock

8. Celebrity Summit

This ship was also in the top 10 in these categories:

  • Best dining
  • Best service
  • Best value
9 nieuw amsterdam alexfaenza : Shutterstock

9. Nieuw Amsterdam (Holland America Line)

This ship was also in the top 10 in these categories:

  • Best cabins
  • Best dining
  • Best service
  • Best value
10 oasis of the seas Yevgen Belich : Shutterstock

10. Oasis of the Seas (Royal Caribbean)

This ship was also in the top 10 in these categories:

  • Best for entertainment
  • Best for families
  • Best for first-timers

Best Entertainment

MSC Musica

MSC Musica

These ships were voted best for entertainment:

MSC Musica

The MSC Musica has a see-through piano and live shows including Cirque du Soleil.

Liberty of the Seas

Liberty of the Seas

Liberty of the Seas

This ship was also on the list for best for shore excursions.

13 enchantment of the seas Nazar Skladanyi : Shutterstock

Enchantment of the Seas

Voters also picked Enchantment of the Seas as one of the best for dining.

14 island princess Princess Cruises

Island Princess

Island Princess holds 2,200 guests and 900 crew, and was refurbished in December 2017.

Best Cabins

Anthem of the Seas

Anthem of the Seas

These ships were voted as having the best cabins:

Anthem of the Seas

Of Anthem’s 2,090 cabins, 1,570 of them have balconies, and many others have virtual balconies, which have large flat screens that display a real-time view.

16 disneyDream pixabay

Disney Dream

Disney Dream was also voted one of the best for families.

17 Carnival Breeze Ritu Manoj Jethani : Shutterstock

Carnival Breeze

This ship was also on the list for best value and best for shore excursions.

Best for Dining:

Celebrity Silhouette

Celebrity Silhouette

For fine dining and great food, these ships were among the top 10.

Celebrity Silhouette

Celebrity Silhouette also made the list for best service.

19 celebrity infinity David Litman : Shutterstock

Celebrity Infinity

Infinity is being modernized and will set sail again in November 2020.

Best Value:

Carnival Inspiration

Carnival Inspiration

Carnival Inspiration

This ship has a water park, mini-golf, a comedy club, kids clubs and adults-only retreats.

Best for Families:

Disney Magic

Disney Magic

Disney Magic

Disney’s  (DIS) - Get Report first cruise ship is painted in the same colors as Mickey Mouse.

22 Ruby Princess Stories In Light : Shutterstock

Ruby Princess

Ruby Princess is based in Los Angeles for cruises to Mexico, Hawaii and and along the California coast, as well as New Zealand.

23 jewel of the seas Photomarine : Shutterstock.

Jewel of the Seas (Royal Caribbean)

Royal Caribbean's  (RCL) - Get Report Jewel of the Seas also made the list for best service.

24 carnival glory Solarisys : Shutterstock

Carnival Glory

Carnival Glory was also voted one of the best ships for shore excursions

25 Freedom of the seas Royal Caribbean

Freedom of the Seas (Royal Caribbean)

This big ship, once the world’s largest until 2007, holds 3,634 passengers and 1,300 crew.

Best for Shore Excursions:

Carnival Conquest and Carnival Valor

Carnival Conquest and Carnival Valor

For those who like to disembark and go on new adventures, passengers on these ships loved their shore excursions.

  • Carnival Valor
  • Carnival Splendor
  • Carnival Triumph
  • Carnival Conquest
  • Carnival Dream (Carnival Dream was also voted one of the best ships for first-timers.)

Pictured are the Carnival Conquest, left, and the Carnival Valor. 

Best for First Timers:

Viking Star

Viking Star

If you've never taken a cruise before, these ships could be one of your best bets.

  • Viking Sky
  • Viking Star
  • Viking Sea

Pictured is the Viking Star, a small ship that holds 930 passengers.

28 marella discovery 2 Ovidiu Curic : Shutterstock

Marella Discovery 2 (Royal Caribbean)

Marella Discovery 2 has seven restaurants, two pools, a mini golf course and an outdoor cinema.

Best Service:

Serenade of the Seas

Serenade of the Seas

Serenade of the Seas (Royal Caribbean)

The ship holds 2,490 guests and 891 crew.

30 vision of the seas Travel Faery : Shutterstock

Vision of the Seas (Royal Caribbean)

Vision of the Seas sails in Northern European ports in summer, and Caribbean cruises in winter out of Tampa, Fla.

See all of the Cruisers' Choice Awards at CruiseCritic.