The Top 10 Large-ship Ocean Cruise Lines in 2018

Infinity Pool, Viking Cruises
Photo: Courtesy of Viking Cruises

Cruising continues to surge in popularity, drawing an astounding 27 million passengers last year. The reason? There are many new, sleekly-designed ships out on the high seas. And our readers are falling in love with them, voting many brands with just-launched or renovated vessels onto the World’s Best large-ship list. Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated individual cruise ships on their cabins/facilities, food, service, itineraries/destinations, excursions/activities, and value. Those assessments were combined to generate results for the cruise lines in five categories; large-ship ocean cruise lines have vessels that can carry 600 to 2,199 passengers. Related: The 2018 World's Best Awards Seabourn, for example, makes its debut appearance on this list at No. 4 thanks to its new, 600-passenger ship, Seabourn Encore. (The line’s three 458-passenger vessels, the Odyssey class, afforded Seabourn a fourth-place ranking in the midsize-ship category as well.) With its of-the-moment design courtesy of Adam D. Tihany and innovative dining options, the Encore was an instant hit with our readers. “The addition of the new Grill by Thomas Keller is a big plus,” said one reader. “The food has gotten even better, which I didn’t think was possible!” Regent Seven Seas Cruises (No. 3) placed this year, no doubt in part to its 750-passenger ship, the Seven Seas Explorer, which now offers wellness excursions in addition to having a sprawling Canyon Ranch spa with a spacious outdoor deck. The design also impressed readers, too. “Everywhere you looked there was artwork and beautiful fabrics,” said one fan. No. 2 winner Crystal Cruises just put its Crystal Symphony through a multimillion-dollar renovation, changing the cabin décor and even adding unlimited Wi-Fi. (Crystal Serenity will soon follow suit.) “We’ve been on several Crystal Cruises,” said one fan. “How is it possible that they always hit it out of the park?” And our readers are definitely taking note of the on-shore programming: Azamara Club Cruises (No. 7) got special shout-outs for staying late in port and for offering AzAmazing Evening excursions, such as a nighttime concert by the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra. Sophisticated design, stellar service, and cultural programming are at the heart of the large-ship cruise line that has now been No. 1 for three years in a row. Read on for more about it, plus the other nine winners.

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10. Celebrity Cruises

Infinity, Celebrity Cruises
Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

Score: 79.09

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9. Holland America Line

Nieuw Amsterdam, Holland America
Courtesy of Holland America

Score: 80.63

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8. Princess Cruises

Coral Princess, Princess Cruises
Courtesy of Princess Cruises

Score: 84.62

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7. Azamara Club Cruises

Quest, Azamara Club Cruises
Courtesy of Azamara Club Cruises

Score: 85.49

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6. Oceania Cruises

Insignia, Oceania Cruises
Courtesy of Oceania Cruises

Score: 86.13

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5. Cunard

Queen Victoria, Cunard Line
Courtesy of Cunard Line

Score: 87.76

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4. Seabourn

Encore, Seabourn Cruise Line
Courtesy of Seabourn Cruise Line

Score: 89.58

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3. Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Voyager, Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Courtesy of Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Score: 90.04

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2. Crystal Cruises

Crystal Symphony, Crystal Cruises
Courtesy of Crystal Cruises

Score: 91.55

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1. Viking

Infinity Pool, Viking Cruises
Courtesy of Viking Cruises

Score: 94.39

This river cruise mainstay took to the oceans in 2015, and since then, it has added to its impressive fleet at a steady clip. There are now five 930-passenger Viking ships that travel the globe, from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean. Readers love the minimalist, Scandinavian-inspired design, with one saying, “the staterooms rival fine hotels.” Other standout amenities include the cabins’ heated bathroom floors, the local cuisine served on board, and the intimate dining experience at the Chef’s Table. Resident Viking historians, guest lecturers, and TED Talk screenings add to the enriching atmosphere.

See all of our readers' favorite hotels, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2018.

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