Big is Beautiful for Cruise Giant

Cruise Critic Announces the Best Ships Based on Reviews and Ratings from Thousands of Cruisers

Big certainly appears to be better when it comes to cruise travel with the news that Oasis of the Seas, a 5,400-passenger mega-ship, which is less than two years old, has swept the boards in the first of an international awards scheme, based purely on passenger ratings.

Cruise news and reviews web site Cruise Critic today announced the winners of its first-ever Cruisers’ Choice Awards. Cruise Critic boasts the world’s largest online cruise community with more than 700,000 members and 70,000 cruise reviews.

The Cruisers’ Choice Awards are based on ratings submitted by cruisers and include dedicated awards for the top-rated ships according to U.K. consumers. This is the first time the site has released annual ratings for cruise ships.

Said Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor in chief of Cruise Critic, “The reviews and ratings submitted by our members are an outstanding resource for cruise travellers and offer a fantastic insight into the different cruise experiences you will find on each ship.

“These awards recognise the ships that rank highly with passengers by providing exceptional facilities, accommodations, activities and service.”

The Winners

The Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Awards are divided into three ship classes — small, mid-sized and large — based on passenger capacity. Awards are given to the top 10 ships in each class. Awards are also given to ships in special categories, which include: Value-for-Money, Service, Dining, Cabins, Entertainment, Shore Excursions, Public Rooms, Family, Fitness and Embarkation.

Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas dominated the U.K. awards in the large-ship class and was rated best overall, as well as best for cabins, dining, embarkation, entertainment, value, fitness and public rooms among U.K. passengers. Said Spencer Brown, “This ship, which sails in the Caribbean year-round, has confounded the soothsayers who claimed that the mega-ship floating-resort experience would be a turn-off for cruise travellers. The reviews and ratings that we have seen clearly demonstrate that Oasis of the Seas is providing a winning formula and truly exceptional levels of quality.”

In the mid-sized class, Thomson Spirit was rated best overall and best for dining, entertainment, value, service and shore excursions by U.K. passengers. “Thomson offers an authentic cruise experience which focuses on camaraderie and community — not simply having all the latest amenities onboard,” continued Spencer Brown. “Passengers enjoy a traditional cruise with a modern twist.” Thomson recently announced that it will resume sailing from a number of U.K. regional ports in summer 2012, ending a three-year exodus from homeport cruising.

Azamara Journey and sister ship Azamara Quest cleared the decks in the small-ship class with the former winning best overall and best in six categories. “Azamara has undergone an onboard and onshore makeover that clearly resonated with travellers,” said Spencer Brown. “The two-ship cruise line’s new focus has blended culinary excellence with itineraries that offer exotic ports of call.”