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Which Ships Are Best…And To Where?

Because they're so subjective, cruise ship awards and surveys can be construed as somewhat meaningless, not to mention redundant. Whose "best cruise ship carrying more than 3,000 passengers in the Caribbean on the third Saturdays of January" means the most. (Weak attempt at humor.)

So when Cruise Critic reveals its latest Cruisers' Choice Awards, as it did this week, you have to take it with a grain of salt…as our buddy Phil Reimer did at Ports and Bows by pointing out in today's blog there's a "caveat" at play here.

Having said all that, there's one category in the Cruise Critic awards that we hadn't seen before, which doesn't necessarily mean that it wasn't there.

Destination ships.

That's not which ships are destinations, as Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas — and no doubt their followers — are sometimes called. It's which ships are considered the best ones to take going to or from different parts of the cruising universe. Clever. Helpful even, for the first time cruisers who would like something — anything — to help them decide on which ship to sail to the Caribbean.

Rhapsody of the SeasGoing to Alaska?

Cruise Critic readers recommend Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas (right).

Bahamas?

The Disney Dream.

Caribbean?

Disney Fantasy.

Mediterranean?

Celebrity Silhouette.

Sailing from the Northeast?

Try Explorer of the Seas, from Bayonne, New Jersey.

Across the ocean out of England?

Celebrity Eclipse.

From Florida?

Disney's Fantasy, again.

From the West Coast?

Sapphire Princess.

Nobody says why these ships are the best ion category, of course, so if you buy into the thinking it's because so many people picked these ships.

Just remember one thing.

It is subjective.

Sapphire Princess
4 nights
March 19, 2014 
Los Angeles (return): Catalina IslandEnsenada
Inside: $329
Cost per day: $82
www.princess.com

Cruise Critic's People Pick 'Em

Preferences in cruising, or rating the ships, is at best a straw poll and at worst an utter waste of time. Too many factors can influence the “people’s choices.” Your room steward is lazy. The seas are rough. You’re feeling under the weather. Your stateroom is in the wrong part of the ship. The other passengers you’ve met are boors. Your toast was cold. Etcetra.

Having said that, people who cruise a lot are always being asked for their favorite this and that. And websites like Cruise Critics poll readers and compile their Cruisers’ Choice Awards.

And we all read them.

So when Cruise Critic posted its first-ever Cruisers’ Choice Awards the other day, like everybody else who enjoys cruising, we scoured the results to see if we agree…even if we don’t attach a lot of importance to them.

You can do that, too, at Cruise Critic. If you’d like a snapshot, here it is:

Oasis of the Seas (right) was picked overall Best Large Cruise Ship and also won for Best Embarkation, Best Entertainment and Best for Families among the big ships.

Island Princess was picked best in the Mid-Size category and Celebrity’s Xpedition for small ships.

Celebrity ships won three of the other big-ship categories, Royal Caribbean and Carnival two each.

• The best line among mid-size ships was Holland America with four.

• The best small-ship line was Celebrity (Xpedition) with three.

The best review we’ve heard for “What’s Your Favourite Ship?” is this:

“The one I’m on.”

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