Celebrity Edge is Best New Ocean Ship; U by Uniworld Scoops Best New River Ship for The A and The B.
LONDON – Cruise Critic, the world's largest cruise reviews site and online cruise community, has announced the winners of its 10th annual UK Editors' Picks Awards. The awards are selected by a global panel of impartial cruise experts from Cruise Critic, to highlight the best ocean, river and luxury cruise lines across dozens of categories.
"The cruise industry is experiencing a real boom at the moment and cruise lines are capitalising on this popularity by investing in fantastic new ships, well-thought out refurbishments and a host of amazing, new onboard innovations and destination itineraries to keep British holiday makers coming back for more," explained Adam Coulter, UK Managing Editor, Cruise Critic. "These awards combine our editors' impartial cruise expertise, based on first-hand experiences and industry knowledge, to help travellers select the best cruise choice for them from an increasing number of options, which will include over 20 completely new ships from next year."
The Ocean's Most Outstanding
The award for 'Best New Ship' on the ocean went to Celebrity Edge which debuted on 21 November, 2018. With ground-breaking innovations such as the 'Magic Carpet', which transforms from tender platform to alfresco sushi restaurant; and the Infinite Veranda that changes the shape and size of a cabin at the touch of a button, Cruise Critic Editors felt that Celebrity has really set a new standard for cruise ship design. Celebrity Cruises also secured the 'Best Dining' award for its gourmet innovations fleetwide.
Royal Caribbean International secured four awards this year, including the coveted 'Best Refurbishment' award for Independence of the Seas, a multi-million upgrade that marked the start of Royal's massive ship-wide refresh programme. New features on Indie included a headline-grabbing VR trampoline Sky Pad; a puzzle break room; Observatorium, a laser tag arena; two new waterslides; a new kids' splash park and innovative, new dining areas. The line also scooped awards for 'Best Entertainment', 'Best for Families' and 'Best Suites'.
For the second consecutive year, Marella Cruises, whose fares include all tips and service charges, as well as alcoholic drinks on some of its ships, was awarded 'Best Value for Money'. Celestyal Cruises also won the 'Best for Service' award for the second year in a row.
For the fourth year running, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines won the 'Best Itineraries' award for the wide range of destinations offered – including far flung regions like Africa, Asia and the Middle East – and was also awarded 'Best Shore Excursions' for the first time.
Also for the first time, Saga Cruises bagged the 'Best for Solo Travellers'; whilst Hurtigruten held on to its 'Best for Adventure' award for the seventh year running.
River's Cream of the Crop
Winning the 'Best River Cruise Line' award for the fourth year running, the judges felt that Uniworld's Boutique River Cruise Collection brought the atmosphere of luxury hotels with individually designed vessels to new heights. The line also secured the 'Best Ship Refurbishment' accolade for S.S. Beatrice which was radically overhauled to create a beautiful ship on par with is newer fleetmates. It additionally held on to the 'Best for Service' award. It's sister line U by Uniworld took the 'Best New Ship' award for The A and The B which impressed the judges for well-appointed cabins, trendy decor and its digital daily schedules – all geared towards a younger traveller.
Crystal River Cruises secured the 'Best Cabins' accolade for having some of the most spacious cabins on the rivers. It additionally took the 'Best Dining' and 'Best for Luxury' awards.
Viking River Cruises was named 'Best Itineraries' and 'Best Enrichment' both for the third year; and Emerald Waterways secured awards for 'Best Value for Money' and 'Best for First-Timers'.
In the luxury awards, Crystal Cruises won the accolade for 'Best Luxury Cruise Line' for its fleet of stunning ships and its constant innovation and investment in the updating of ships with modern touches, such as: open-seating dining, new casual eateries, enhanced Wi-Fi and beautifully appointed suites. The line also took the 'Best Enrichment' award.
Seabourn Ovation took the 'Best New Luxury Ship' award for its impressive level of service, accommodation, dining, and overall ambiance. The line also won the award for 'Best Service'.
The 'Best Dining' award went to SeaDream Yacht Club for its imaginative menus and quality range of offerings.
Viking Ocean Cruises was handed awards for 'Best Value for Money' and 'Best Spa' for the third year in a row, and also secured this year's award for 'Best Itineraries', with a wide range of options, including a 245-day world cruise coming in 2019.
London secured the 'Best UK Departure Port' for the fist time; whilst Guernsey took the award for 'Best UK & British Isles Port of Call' for the second year in a row.
2018 Cruise Critic UK Editors' Picks Awards (Ocean):
- Best New Ship: Celebrity Edge
- Best Ship Refurbishment: Independence of the Seas
- Best for Adventure: Hurtigruten
- Best Cabins: Cunard Line
- Best Dining: Celebrity Cruises
- Best Entertainment: Royal Caribbean International
- Best for Families: Royal Caribbean International
- Best Itineraries: Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
- Best Nightlife: MSC Cruises
- Best Service: Celestyal Cruises
- Best Shore Excursions: Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
- Best for Solo Travellers: Saga Cruises
- Best Suites: Royal Caribbean International
- Best Value for Money: Marella Cruises
- Best UK Departure Port: London
- Best UK & British Isles Port of Call: Guernsey
2018 Cruise Critic UK Editors' Picks Awards (River):
- Best River Cruise Line: Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
- Best New River Ship: The A and The B – U by Uniworld
- Best Ship Refurbishment: S.S Beatrice, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
- Best for Active Cruisers: AmaWaterways
- Best Cabins: Crystal River Cruises
- Best Dining: Crystal River Cruises
- Best Enrichment: Viking River Cruises
- Best for Families: Tauck River Cruising
- Best for First-Timers: Emerald Waterways
- Best Itineraries: Viking River Cruises
- Best for Luxury: Crystal River Cruises
- Best Service: Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
- Best Shore Excursions: Scenic
- Best for Solo Travellers: Riviera Travel
- Best Value for Money: Emerald Waterways
2018 Cruise Critic UK Editors' Picks Awards (Luxury):
- Best Luxury Cruise Line: Crystal Cruises
- Best New Luxury Ship: Seabourn Ovation
- Best Ship Refurbishment: Silver Spirit
- Best for Adventure: Silversea Cruises
- Best Cabins: Regent Seven Seas Cruises
- Best Dining: SeaDream Yacht Club
- Best Enrichment: Crystal Cruises
- Best Itineraries: Viking Ocean Cruises
- Best for Romance: Windstar Cruises
- Best Service: Seabourn Cruise Line
- Best Shore Excursions: Azamara Club Cruises
- Best for Solo Travellers: Noble Caledonia
- Best Spa: Viking Ocean Cruises
- Best Value for Money: Viking Ocean Cruises
Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.
She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.