For those who don’t know, Cruise Critic is a widely used and respected online forum, where cruisers can discuss previous experiences on any particular cruise ship in any particular region. Cruisers are also able to provide rankings on the vessels they have cruised on, which is what the annual UK Cruisers’ Choice Awards are based upon.
The UK Cruisers’ Choice Awards 2016 winners were based on the ratings received by Cruise Critic members throughout 2015. Ships are placed into three categories: Large Ships (2,000+ passengers at double occupancy), Mid-size ships (1,200 – 1,999 passengers at double occupancy), and Small ships (1,199 passengers or fewer based on double occupancy). Cruise Franchise takes a closer look at a few of the winners across a few of the fields.
|Best Overall Ship||Large Ships||Mid-Sized Ships||Small Ships|
|Winner||Norwegian Spirit (NCL)||Riviera (Oceania)||Seven Seas Voyager |
(Regent Seven Seas)
|Second||Norwegian Jade (NCL)||Norwegian Sun (NCL)||Viking Star|
|Third||Queen Elizabeth (Cunard)||Thomson Spirit||Azamara Quest|
In terms of large ships, Norwegian Cruise Line has dominated the field for ‘Best Overall Ship’ by claiming the first and second prizes. Norwegian Spirit may be 18 years old this year (having debuted in 1998), but that hasn’t resulted in the ship being any less popular with passengers. The ship has received regular refurbishments and offers a range of sophisticated and chic bars and lounges. From the moment you step on board, you feel a friendly vibe and this will stick with your throughout the duration of your cruise.
Norwegian Cruise Line also took the second prize for the best mid-sized ship, but the top accolade went to Oceania’s Riviera. This ship is truly immaculate, with beautiful interiors and furnishings that have been designed by pioneers of the fashion world. The extensive range of facilities includes a full-service Canyon Ranch SpaClub, a Culinary Centre for cooking demonstrations and classes and an exquisite wine bar.
Regent Seven Seas place a lot of emphasis on their fantastic space per guest and passenger to crew ratios. These factors alone make Seven Seas Voyager a truly magical vessel, where your every want and need is catered for on board. Viking Cruises, who are new to the world of ocean cruising, took the second prize with their brand new vessel, Viking Star, which features an infinity pool and stunning Swedish décor.
|Best for Dining||Large Ships||Mid-Sized Ships||Small Ships|
|Winner||Island Princess (Princess Cruises)||Riviera (Oceania)||Viking Star|
|Second||Norwegian Spirit (NCL)||Queen Victoria (Cunard)||Seven Seas Voyager |
(Regent Seven Seas)
|Third||Queen Elizabeth (Cunard)||Rhapsody of the Seas (Royal Caribbean)||Braemar (Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines)|
Dining remains one of the top reasons for passengers cruising with a particular line or on board a particular vessel. Norwegian Cruise Line features yet again in this department, but the top prize for the large ships category goes to Princess Cruises’ Island Princess. The crew onboard Island Princess will go out of their way to cater for any dietary requirements you may have. You can choose to dine traditionally, at 5:30 pm or 8 pm, with the same people each night; take advantage of ‘Anytime Dining’ which allows you to eat anytime between 5:30 pm and 10:00 pm; or enjoy complimentary room service.
As well as winning the award for ‘Best Overall Ship’, Oceania’s Riviera also claimed the top prize in the ‘Best for Dining’ category. There ten restaurants to enjoy, each offering the finest cuisine and excellent service. Of these restaurants, six are open-seating gourmet restaurants, which you can enjoy at no extra cost.
Viking Cruises’ new vessel, Viking Star, has enjoyed a fantastic first year in the industry, claiming the second prize for ‘Best Overall Ship’ and the top prize for ‘Best Dining’ across all small ships. Across all three daily meals, Viking Star delivers above and beyond expectations, with a huge offering available. There is no extra cost to dine at any particular restaurant and wine, beer and soda is all available free-of-charge during meals.
|Best for First Timers|
|Winner||Arcadia (P&O Cruises)|
|Second||Norwegian Jade (NCL)|
|Third||Caribbean Princess (Princess Cruises)|
For those who have never cruised before, choosing a particular line or ship can prove to be a difficult task. In many respects, it comes down to the customer’s specific needs, tastes and desires; but there are three vessels in particular that provided the most passengers memorable experiences.
Norwegian Cruise Line features yet again, which cements its position as a good all round line that offers something for everyone. Norwegian Jade, in particular, has been well received by passengers for its fantastic dining options and entertainment available on board.
The top prize, however, goes to a line that is renowned for providing the very best of British on board. P&O Cruises’ Arcadia underwent a £34 million refit in 2013, and passengers have never looked back. Interestingly, this ship was initially going to become Queen Victoria, in 2005, and renovations had commenced that would bring about the transformation. Some of the Cunardesque features have remained on board Arcadia, including the specially adapted funnel.
Whilst on board, passengers will be able to enjoy fantastic food on offer in Marco Pierre White’s grill restaurant and Atul Kochhar’s ‘Sindhu’ restaurant. You can choose to unwind in the expansive spa, complete with hydrotherapy pool; or watch a show in the three-tiered theatre and boutique cinema.
When it comes to trying to work out a customer’s needs, reviews can prove quite useful. If you have someone who enjoys culinary experiences, for example, you could recommend Oceania Cruises. If you have someone who enjoys travelling in blissful luxury, recommend Regent Seven Seas to them. Seeing as the Cruisers’ Choice Awards are awarded based on passenger reviews, it can work as a useful tool for establishing which vessels a customer may enjoy the most.
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