The results are in for a prestigious travel industry award.
The past couple of years haven’t been great for the cruise industry, for obvious reasons.
Travel was severely impacted by the onset of covid-19, and cruise ships were hit especially hard, shutting down for the rest of 2020.
The cruise industry slowly reopened last summer, with the three big companies (Royal Caribbean (RCL) – Get Royal Caribbean Group Report, Norwegian (NCLH) – Get Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. Report and Carnival Cruise (CCL) – Get Carnival Corporation Report) spending millions to renovate their ships to meet safety protocols, while the CDC deemed cruising a Level 4 Risk activity.
But even though many people took a wait-and-see approach as new variants continued to pop up, the cruise industry sailed on regardless, and has recently begun to return to full-fleets.
And while times have been tough and strange for the cruise industry, it also demonstrated its resiliency and the loyalty of its biggest fans. And now one of the cruise industry’s most prestigious awards is here to show which lines fans clung to the most in 2021.
Which Cruise Industry Award Is Out?
The publication Travel + Leisure has published its “World’s Best” Awards for 2022. The awards break down the cruise industry by ship sizes.
The period covers October 25, 2021 through February 28, 2022, with votes cast through through digital and print editions of the magazine, social media, and newsletters.
Readers were asked to rank individual cruise ships in different categories based on ship occupancy, from Mega-ship to Large-ship. Some cruise lines could appear in multiple categories.
Image source: Disney Cruise Line.
So Which Cruises Won?
The people have spoken, and here’s what lines have won:
Best Mega-ship: Celebrity Cruises.
These ships have more than 1,500 cabins, and the award went to Celebrity Cruises, which is owned by Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. Richard Branson’s Virgin Voyages, which offers adults-only cruises, came in second. Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, and Norwegian Cruise Line rounded out the top five.
Best Large-ship: Disney Cruise Line.
Defined as between 800-1,499 cabins, this award went to Disney Cruise Line. The cruise line has placed first for three years now, although the definitions of the categories have changed somewhat, particularly as bigger ships are launched.
Disney beat out Cunard, Celebrity, Holland America and Royal Caribbean in the category.
Best Midsize-ship: Viking
The winner in the 300-799 cabin arena goes to the Switzerland-based Viking.
Best Small-ship: Paul Gauguin Cruises.
Size isn’t everything, and people who like to keep it small (say, 150-299 cabins) love the French-based company’s attention to detail.
Best Intimate-ship: Quasar Expeditions
What’s smaller than small? This category has ships with 150 or fewer cabins, and tend to go uncommon locations that larger vessels can’t easily reach. Strictly for the hardcore cruiser.
Best River Cruise Lines: Viking
These ships are designed exclusively for river travel, and Viking takes the win here as well.