Top Cruise Ships Of The Year

A jury of ten experts has selected the best cruise ships of the year.

Which cruise ships are the best in the world? A jury of ten experts from the “Cruise Guide Awards 2015” again pursued this question this year. They were presented for the seventh time in Hamburg.

TRAVELBOOK shows the seven winners:

Info and Entertainment

Almost 5000 passengers can take a holiday on the “Anthem of the Seas” from the Royal Caribbean International shipping company at the same time. What is unimaginable for some is the attraction for others. It goes without saying that there is a lot going on on a ship of this size, which makes it the winner for the jury in the “Info- and Entertainmeint” category. Their reason:

“‘Two 70 Degrees’ is the name of the location in the stern of this ship not for nothing. There, artists, singers and video screens float in front of, above, behind and between the heads of the visitors – and deliver a firework of illusions that can only be called breathtaking.” They also praise the jetstream and the musical theatre “in which Freddy Mercury is resurrected”.

Sport and Wellness

The “Mein Schiff 4” from Tui Cruises won this year in the category “Sport and Wellness”. The main reason for this is the 25 metre long pool on board, which is normally only found in swimming pools on shore. But also the sauna landscape, the jogging track and the large sports field were reasons for the decision. “And last but not least, the fact that the use of the wellness area with the sauna area and almost all sports facilities is free of charge,” the jury writes on the website.

Family friendliness

The “Costa Diadema” from the shipping company Costa Crociere sets sail under the Italian flag. And just like many other cruise ships, not only pensioners are on board. Quite the opposite: the ship is a winner in the category “family friendliness”. As one jury member writes, “the Bambini are more welcome here than with any other provider […]”.

The reason for this is, for example, a pirate ship and a castle including a water playground on the outside deck. But also criteria like the occupancy of the cabins, the low prices for children and the free care were part of the evaluation.


An on-board cooking school, a huge wine list, moderate drink prices and the allegedly best restaurant on the high seas: according to the jury of experts, all this makes the “Europa 2” of Hapag-Lloyd the winner in the “Gastronomy” category. And for the second time in a row. There was only one thing on which the jury disagreed: “One may argue about whether the chandelier in the main restaurant is ugly – or beautiful.


The “Sea Cloud Cruises”, winner in the “Service” category, is one of the most luxurious passenger ships in the world, with just 60 crew members on board and just as many passengers. So instead of mass holidays there is privacy – and above all luxury. “Contact on hardly any other ship is as personal as on this special ship,” the jury explained their decision.

“The service is individual, very professional and extremely warm-hearted. There are even supposed to be guests who come on board because of Simon Kwinta, the host and hotel manager.


Adventure and cruise – two things that exclude each other? Not with the “Hanseatic” of the shipping company Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten. That, in any case, is the opinion of the expert jury, which chose the ship as the winner in the “Routing” category. For example, the ship sails through the Northeast Passage from Murmansk to Alaska, heading for the Azores and the Togian Islands off Sulawesi.

“There’s no closer approach: nature and animal observations from very close up, whether in the ice or at Amazonas and Orinoco, are the absolute speciality of this ship, which is still adventurous even after more than 20 years,” the jury said on the website (see photo above).

River Ship of the Year

Sometimes it doesn’t have to be the big oceans, but a river almost on our doorstep. The “Excellence Princess” of the Mittelthurgau travel agency has been sailing across the Danube since May 2014. But the jury finds that this is no less elegant than its big competitors. On board, for example, there are junior suites with French balconies and a sun deck with whirlpool.

“But the greatest praise goes to the kitchen,” writes the jury on the award’s website, “and not only when the ship, as in the past few weeks, organizes gourmet short trips with a total of 19 (!) top chefs, all of whom have Michelin consecrations, from Johann Lafer and Armin Amrein to Wolfgang Kuchler and Bernadette Lisibach. For this there was first place in the category “River Ship of the Year”.

Here you get class instead of mass

The new buildings that cross the oceans with 6000 passengers are getting bigger and bigger. Small cruise ships are heading against this trend. We present ships for individualists.

Package holidays on the water have become a mass business. New cruise ships have a capacity for several thousand guests. Up to 4947 passengers board the “Costa Diadema” and up to 6360 people the “Harmony of the Seas”.

A personal service is hardly possible under these conditions. A completely different atmosphere prevails on board small ships. The crew already knows your name on the second day and speaks to everyone personally. Many of the smaller ships, which carry less than 500 passengers, are on the move for German shipping companies. The small but fine ships also include sailing ships, which make a true sea voyage experience possible.

“MS Bremen”

The “MS Bremen” is regarded as the alternative to a fun steamer with a constant animation programme. The heart of the smallest Hapag-Lloyd cruise ship is the Club Lounge. Lecturers who accompany the voyages hold their lectures there in front of an inquisitive audience.

The audience also attaches less importance to the dress code, but the curious community of world explorers likes to get on the twelve rubber dinghies to be very close to nature, be it on the upper reaches of the Amazon or in the lonely bays of Antarctica. In addition to the polar regions, the sailing areas of the ship, which has the highest ice class, also include the Northeast Passage – planned for 2015 – and the great rivers of South America.

“MS Hamburg”

The former “MS Columbus” of Hapag-Lloyd has been in operation for two years as “Hamburg” for Plantours Cruises in Bremen and offers passengers a classic cruise programme such as cruises through Norway’s fjords and in late summer during the Indian Summer through the Great Lakes of North America. Due to its small size, the “MS Hamburg” fits through the lock system of the St.-Lorenz-Stroms. At the end of the year the cruise ship, built in 1997, sails up the Amazonas and Orinoco in South America.





May 2019
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