Cruising continues to grow as a popular form of travel, with an estimated 25.8 million people setting sail in 2017 according to Cruise Lines International Association. And passengers have more choices than ever; globally, there are more than 60 ocean, river and specialty cruise lines, each operating a fleet of ships and yachts sailing to over 1,000 ports of call around the globe.
To help make planning the perfect cruise vacation easier, we’ve asked a panel of industry experts to nominate their favorite lines and ships in nine categories. Now it’s your job to pick the winners. Vote for your favorites once per day, per category until polls close on Monday, December 18 at noon ET. The winners will be announced on Friday, December 22.
Click on each category below to vote:
Best Ocean Cruise Line
What’s the best cruise line sailing the seven seas? — Photo courtesy of iStock / sorincolac
Whether you prefer long days at sea or ample time in diverse ports of call, megaships packed with features or intimate yachts, more restaurants than a resort or a single luxury dining room, there’s a cruise line out there for you.
Best Adventure Cruise Line
These cruise lines specialize in adventure — Photo courtesy of iStock / waterotter
If you think cruising is all about lounging on the lido deck, piña colada in hand, think again. With these 20 cruise companies, cruising becomes an adventure for active travelers, where exploring an exotic destination might involve kayaking through remote fjords, getting up close and personal with icebergs aboard a Zodiac or walking atop a glacier.
Best Boutique Cruise Line
Boutique cruise lines elevate the cruising experience — Photo courtesy of iStock / baona
Boutique cruise lines, like these 20 nominated as the best of the best by a panel of cruising experts, elevate your vacation experience with extras like small ships, attractive passenger-to-staff ratios, luxury amenities, unique onboard activities and excursions or all-inclusive fares.
Best River Cruise Line
River cruising is exploding in popularity — Photo courtesy of iStock / ake1150sb
River cruising has been exploding in popularity in recent years, and it’s easy to see why. You check in, unpack your bag and let your floating hotel take you on a journey of discovery down some of the world’s great waterways, with experiential guided excursions along the way.
Best Cruise Line for Millennials
Many cruise lines are wooing younger travelers — Photo courtesy of iStock / oneinchpunch
While cruising has long been associated with an older demographic, cruise lines are wooing millennial travelers with adventurous onboard activities (think skydiving at sea) and shore excursions, high-tech amenities, diverse nightlife experiences and greater flexibility with onboard dining.
Best Cruise Line for Solo Travelers
Solo cruising lets you explore the world on your own terms — Photo courtesy of iStock / kosmos111
Solo cruising is an excellent way for travelers to experience the world, meet new friends and indulge in a vacation on their own terms. These 20 cruise lines cater to solo travelers with perks like single passenger staterooms, waived solo traveler surcharges, exclusive social spaces and singles-friendly activities. Which cruise line do you turn to when you need some alone time?
Best Cruise Ship for Dining
These are the most delicious ships at sea — Photo courtesy of iStock /andresr
Gone are the days when fixed seating meals in a single dining room are your only option aboard cruise ships. Modern cruisers enjoy their choice of several restaurants – over two dozen aboard some of the bigger megaships – cooking classes, creative menus and dishes created by some of the world’s top chefs.
Best Cruise Ship for Entertainment
Vote for the most entertaining cruise ship — Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line
Book a trip on one of these 20 cruise ships and you’ll be wishing for more long days at sea to explore all the myriad entertainment options on offer, from bowling or skydiving at sea to Broadway-style shows and stand-up comedy.
Best Cruise Ship for Families
These ships win for family fun — Photo courtesy of iStock / Paha_L
Thanks to their excellent travel value, more and more families are turning to cruising when planning their vacations. These 20 cruise lines cater to young passengers in many ways, including family friendly at-sea experiences (bumper cars, bowling and water parks to name a few), family cabins and kid-approved dining options. Which ship is the most family-friendly?
Remember to vote for your cruising favorites once per day, per category, and check back on Friday, December 22 to see which lines and ships take the crown.