Disney Cruise Line won Best Mainstream Line, and other honors. (Courtesy: Disney Cruise Line)
Bon Voyage, a digital cruise magazine, celebrated its first anniversary this week by announcing its first Editor’s Choice Awards, with Disney winning top honors among mainstream lines.
“There are some exciting things going on in cruising right now, so we wanted to reward the lines that are really upping their game,” Bon Voyage Editor-in-Chief Sherri Eisenberg told Yahoo Travel. “The awards are an opportunity to explain our recommendations to readers in a very definitive way.”
An expert panel weighed in on 35 award categories bearing gold, silver, and bronze status. In the General Excellence category, the gold award for Best Mainstream Line went to Disney Cruise Line.
Disney wasn’t done winning golds with Mainstream Line. It also won Best for Multigenerational Families, Best Mainstream Cabin, Best Onboard Evening Entertainment, Best Services for Children Under 3, and Best Services for Children Age 3–12.
“We’re always excited by some of the innovations Disney does,” says Eisenberg. “For example, after her first day onboard, a little girl’s preference of chocolate milk was always waiting for her at the dining table. The line takes care of children in a way most luxury lines take care of adults.”
Celebrity Cruises took silver for Best Mainstream Line. (Courtesy: Celebrity Cruises)
Grabbing gold in the Best Premium Line category was Oceania Cruises, which also won Best Premium Cabin and earned a bronze for Best Food. It was several of these features that prompted Miriam Cywan and her family to book a Mediterranean cruise on the line.
“Being onboard for 14 days, we never got bored with the food due to the huge variety of restaurants and culinary offerings,” she told Yahoo Travel. “Being able to order room service also allowed us to enjoy the views from our spacious balcony cabin.”
The voters found that no luxury line could pamper like Crystal, which also won for Best Service and Best Food. (Courtesy: Crystal Cruises)
In the Best for Couples category, SeaDream won gold. Silver went to Celebrity Cruises. Kerry Bird and his husband are currently celebrating their anniversary on a Celebrity Cruise, their line of choice. Why? “Celebrity has great ships, friendly staff, good food, and enjoyable excursions,” he says. Taking home bronze in the category was Paul Gauguin Cruises.
Not to be left out, Best for Singles had its own category, with gold going to Norwegian Cruise Line.
SeaDream won Best for Couples and silver for Premium Line. (Courtesy: SeaDream Yacht Club)
“Ever since they launched on Epic, I’ve been a fan of Norwegian’s singles cabins,” says Eisenberg. “Instead of making singles feel like second-class citizens, the cabins are sleek, sexy, and feel special. There’s also a great lounge for meeting other people traveling alone. And, unlike some cruise lines that charge a singles supplement, making traveling alone costly, these studio cabins are a great solution.” The category’s silver award went to Carnival Cruise Lines and the bronze went to Cunard Line.
The Best Service gold went to Crystal Cruises. Silver went to Seabourn Cruise Line and Bronze to Disney Cruise Line.
It was value that lured the Snyder family to book an Alaska cruise in July with Holland America Line, which won gold in the Best Value category.
Norwegian earned top marks for making singles feel welcome. (Courtesy: Norwegian Cruise Line)
“We wanted to do a one-way cruise and reach the greatest number of ports in the least amount of time and have myriad options for Inside Passage itineraries,” says Susan Snyder. “Holland America made that goal affordable.”
The cruise line also took home silver in the Best Mainstream Cabins category.
Newcomers to lines were also recognized with Best New Ship awards. Gold went to Norwegian Getaway, silver to Regal Princess, and bronze to MSC Divina.
The Best Food nod went to Crystal Cruises. Coming in with silver was the Seabourn Cruise Line, followed by Oceania Cruises with the bronze. Raising its game with Most Improved Food was Carnival Cruise Lines, which took the gold. And the winner for Best Takeaway Fare was Carnival’s Blue Iguana Cantina.
The big winner in the entertainment categories was Disney Cruise Line. It took gold for Best Onboard Evening Entertainment, followed by Norwegian Cruise Line with the silver and Carnival Cruise Lines with the bronze. Eisenberg says entertainment has improved across the board, as cruise lines replace medley shows with Broadway-style productions.
Disney’s “Aladdin” production helped it win Best Onboard Evening Entertainment. (Courtesy: Disney Cruise Line)
“Full-scale productions like Norwegian’s “Legally Blonde” and Disney’s “Aladdin” make onboard entertainment feel like an evening out in a big city as opposed to passengers making exceptions in quality because it’s a cruise ship,” she said.
Disney also took bronze for Best Onboard Daytime Activities, with Royal Caribbean International grabbing the gold and Norwegian Cruise Line the silver.
Winning gold for Best Water Parks was Royal Caribbean International, with Disney earning a silver and Norwegian Cruise Line the bronze.
As for Best Nightlife, that went to Celebrity Cruises.
What Eisenberg hopes Bon Voyage’s awards will accomplish is this: “People who haven’t cruised before tend to lump cruises together and think they’re one type of vacation. Cruises, though, have wildly different personality types, price points, and activities. It’s critical to determining how your vacation will go to pick the right match in a cruise line. Through these awards, we’ve worked hard to answer that question for people.”