CruiseMates Reader's Poll Results

The results from our CruiseMates reader poll are in, and more than 5,000 of you have sent in your opinions and rankings for ships and cruise lines in a variety of categories.

The results: Crystal Cruises ranks tops in the luxury category, Orient Lines is the highest-ranked mid-market company, and Radisson Seven Seas Cruises' Song of Flower is the top-rated individual ship.

Poll respondents were asked what they thought about cruise companies' overall value, food, service levels, cabins, entertainment, shore excursions, children's programs and ship appearance.

For a complete 20 page summary of the CruiseMates poll click here: CruiseMates Poll Report

Respondents' answers provided some significant passenger impressions of the cruise industry as a whole. They see a cruise vacation as an excellent value for the cost, especially praising the quality of shipboard food and service. They tended to give their highest ratings to newer ships, although some older vessels scored quite well in the poll, especially Radisson Seven Seas' Song of Flower, Cunard Line's QE2 and Caronia, and Orient Lines' Marco Polo.

Based on their poll responses, passengers seem to appreciate the industry's ongoing efforts to add more onboard activities and entertainment options as new ships are constructed, but they seem somewhat cool toward the trend at some lines to initiate a more casual onboard ambience. They also indicate significantly that shore excursions represent an area where lines could do a better job.

Cruise lines with smaller passenger loads were rated as a single entity. Larger cruise lines with many ships were rated on a ship by ship basis and the overall results were tallied into a single rating.

The top cruise lines in the CruiseMates reader poll, and their overall composite ratings 10 being best, are:

The top ten ships are as follows:

  1. Song of Flower 9.57 (Radisson Seven Seas Cruises)
  2. Summit 9.49 (Celebrity Cruises)
  3. Seven Seas Mariner 9.38 (Radisson Seven Seas Cruises)
  4. Crystal Symphony/Crystal Harmony 9.33 (Crystal Cruises)
  5. Paul Gauguin 9.19 (Radisson Seven Seas Cruises)
  6. Silver Wind/Cloud/Whisper/Shadow 9.17 (Silverseas Cruises)
  7. Marco Polo 8.89 (Orient Lines)
  8. Seabourn Legend/Pride/Spirit 8.88 (Seabourn Cruise Line)
  9. Ocean Princess 8.83 (Princess Cruises)
  10. Crown Odyssey 8.75 (Orient Lines)

Value for Money. In terms of which ships which provide the biggest bang for the buck, cruisers ranked the following vessels as highest in the value category:

  1. Celebrity's Summit
  2. HAL's Veendam
  3. Celebrity's Galaxy
  4. Orient's Marco Polo
  5. HAL's Ryndam
  6. Celebrity's Mercury
  7. Orient's Crown Odyssey
  8. HAL's Statendam
  9. HAL's Rotterdam
  10. RCI's Adventure of the Seas

Top-ranked ships and/or cruise lines in specific categories included:

Food: Celebrity Cruises' Summit

Service: Crystal Cruises

Staterooms: Seabourn Cruise Lines' Legend/Pride/Spirit; Radisson Seven Seas' Seven Seas Navigator Seven Seas Mariner (note: all five are all-suite vessels)

Overall Appearance: Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas; Radisson Seven Seas' Radisson Diamond

Entertainment: Crystal Cruises

Children's Programs: Disney Cruise Line's Disney Wonder

Shore Excursions: Orient Lines' Marco Polo

Value: Celebrity Cruises' Summit

Best Ship Overall: Radisson Seven Seas' Song of Flower

For a complete 20 page summary of the CruiseMates poll click here: CruiseMates Poll Report

Among the mid-priced cruise lines, CruiseMates readers rated tiny Orient Lines tops on the strength of its onboard service and its shore excursions--an important factor for its passengers, since Orient tends to specialize in more exotic itineraries than the giant mainstream lines.

In the same mid-priced category, Celebrity ranked second, earning high rankings in a number of categories, including an "excellent" rating for service for every ship in its fleet. Holland America also scored very high on service across its fleet, and on its shore excursions and the size and quality of its cabins. Since the Disney organization specializes in families and entertainment, it's probably no surprise that Disney's cruise company rated highest in entertainment and children's programs; taking second place in those categories was Royal Caribbean International.

In the individual ship ratings, Radisson Seven Seas' Song of Flower won top honors, even though it is hardly a new vessel. Readers praised the ship's food, service level, appearance, shore excursions and overall value. Celebrity's Summit ranked second, followed by Radisson Seven Seas' Seven Seas Mariner and the Crystal Symphony and Harmony.

Among the mega-ships (more than 100,000 tons), CruiseMates readers gave the top three ratings to RCI's Explorer of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas and Adventure of the Seas, in that order, followed by Carnival's Victory in fourth place and the Grand Princess in fifth.

Go to the CruiseMates Poll?

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