See the lines and ships that best represent excellence in ocean, river and luxury cruising, chosen by Cruise Critic's international team of editors.
Best New Ship
"Greg Mortimer is rigged with the latest innovations to be a world leader of sustainable expedition cruising. New technologies and design improvements bring gentler sea crossings, reduced fuel consumption and reduced emissions, while its virtual anchoring helps to protect the ocean floor. Water-level launching docks for Zodiacs and a kayak chute help speed things up for passengers, while viewing platforms swing out from the side of the ship to provide unobstructed views of wildlife."
Best Ship Refurbishment
"Dream Cruises' Explorer Dream is new to Australia this year and has been transformed with 42 additional suites, refreshed decor in all cabins and new dining options such as Australian chef Mark Best's Seafood Grill. The ship's spectacular centrepiece is The Palace, an exclusive haven of luxurious accommodation, an oceanview pool, private bar and restaurant."
Best for Adventure
"This year saw the launch of one of the world's most beautiful, spacious and accessible small ships, Coral Adventurer, with a lovely crew, rofessional expedition leaders and an extensive enrichment program of guest speakers. Intriguing itineraries are offered in remote Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand, with free scuba diving, snorkelling, kayaking and hiking. The line works closely with local communities to create respectful, unforgettable experiences."
"Celebrity Cruises demonstrates how any cabin -- from insides to suites -- can be practical, stylish and spacious at the same time. The fleet’s newer "Revolutionised" ships boast built-in USB ports in the bedside lamps, glass-fronted cabinetry and ample storage in all staterooms, while those awaiting refurbishment still offer enough space and amenities so all cruisers can feel at home in their room. This year’s new Celebrity Edge and Celebrity Flora elevated the line’s luxe look even higher."
"Celebrity Cruises excels in all the essential dining elements – great food, wine, service, venue and value. Foodies can choose from Italian steakhouse Tuscan Grille with the best ocean view on the ship, romantic Murano’s French cuisine or the adorable Le Petit Chef, where an animated show takes over your dinner plate between courses. Don’t overlook the main dining room, where the complimentary meals are among the best at sea."
"Holland America Line takes live music to the next level with B.B. King’s Blues Club, featuring musicians from the famous Memphis venue; Rolling Stone Rock Room, starring a five-piece rock and roll band; Billboard Onboard, where pianists play chart-topping hits; and Lincoln Center Stage, showcasing chamber music. The two-storey World Stage theatre, on Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam, also impresses with shows on a 270-degree wraparound LED screen."
Best for Families
"With some of the widest choice of accommodation, entertainment and activities, Royal Caribbean really has something for everyone in the family. Australia’s biggest cruise ship, Ovation of the Seas, is loaded with more bars, restaurants, sports, wellness and fun facilities than any other ship in the region. Voyager of the Seas has returned to Australia with new waterslides, laser tag and redesigned kids and teens spaces."
"Sailing the seven seas is not uncommon, but curating one-of-a-kind itineraries is Ponant’s specialty, with many ocean voyages between two continents. The line also operates expedition voyages with National Geographic, accompanied by their experts and photographers. Aside from annual seasons in the Kimberley and polar regions, Ponant ships explore northern Australia’s Tiwi islands, Western New Guinea and New Zealand’s subantarctic islands, with new routes in southeast Asia."
"Boasting Australia’s longest history of nightlife at sea, P&O Cruises knows how to party. Passengers love to dress up for the Back to School, Gatsby and Bianco theme parties, or bring friends for special celebrations in the cocktail bars, nightclubs, pubs and casino. Adults-only comedy, burlesque shows, karaoke and blues and jazz bands in the Blue Room keep people entertained ‘til late."
"Azamara knows great service is not just about butlers in tuxedos or waiters remembering your name. It's more about the way the crew and senior officers make you feel welcome as a guest in their home. Azamara's professional, friendly, 'ship-proud' team effectively works together to ensure everyone has a special cruise experience and a genuine sense of belonging."
Best Shore Excursions
"Princess Cruises impresses in every aspect of the ship experience, but its excellence extends to land, too. The line's diverse range of immersive excursions includes: World Heritage sites, Discovery and Animal Planet tours; full-day trips that make the most of late-evening departures; and even a multi-night land tour combined with a cruise to visit Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef in one holiday."
Best for Solo Travellers
"For CMV, solo travellers are not an afterthought. Based in WA and SA, Vasco da Gama has 40 twin-size cabins permanently designated for single occupancy. Columbus and Magellan have 150 twin-size solo cabins while Marco Polo and Astoria have 15. Early booking specials offer solo cabins for up to 45 per cent less than the twin-share equivalent, and the line hosts dedicated social events for solo travellers."
"Royal Caribbean’s suite passengers get plenty of space, along with plenty of perks, including special restaurants and "Royal Genie" personal concierges. Stay in lavish penthouses, duplexes with large dining areas for a dinner party and family suites with slides from the bedroom to living room. Some ships in the fleet offer a dozen top-level categories to choose from."
Best Value for Money
"From dining to entertainment, cruisers get more for their money with Carnival Cruise Line. Affordable fares include activities, entertainment, sports, games, waterslides and food. Hungry holidaymakers will be delighted with the number of complimentary choices outside of the main dining room: burgers, burritos, barbecue, pizza and pasta. For no extra charge, the friendly crew and fellow passengers bring the fun."
Best Australian Homeport
"Sailing in and out of the world's most beautiful Harbour, past the Sydney Opera House and coastal enclaves, is unbeatable. As all cruise ships dock within this convenient waterway, cruise passengers can easily enjoy the city's iconic beaches, waterfront bars and restaurants, wildlife attractions and museums."
Best South Pacific Port of Call
"Previously exclusive to P&O, Papua New Guinea’s Conflict Islands have opened up to other cruise lines seeking unspoilt, uninhabited paradise. Visitors can sail on an outrigger canoe, stroll along beautiful white-sand beaches or snorkel in a lagoon with a higher diversity of fish than the Great Barrier Reef. Committed to conservation and self-sustainability, this privately owned destination is a dream stop on your doorstep. "
Cruisers' Choice Destination Awards
View top-rated cruise destinations and lines around the globe according to cruisers, based on member review ratings for trips taken in the last year.
Cruisers' Choice Awards
Get to know the best cruise ships in a variety of categories, based on member review ratings for cruises taken in the last year.