From Cabins to Excursions, Best Cruise Ships for 2014

PHOTO: The Carnival Freedom was awarded the best ship for shore excursions in the large-ship category in the 2014 Cruisers Choice Awards by CruiseCritic.com. Pictured here, the ships slide.

There may be no more passionate subset of travelers than cruisers.

That's why, despite the sometimes-negative stories that muddy the waters of the cruise industry, the cruise lines continue to build. And build bigger. They have to. According to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) the cruise lines will collectively carry 21.7 million guests in 2014.

But if you're a first-timer, how do you know which ship to pick? What's the difference between the Disney Fantasy and the Disney Dream? Between a Royal cruise line and a Celebrity or Princess one? That's where the members of CruiseCritic.com come in: Because if cruisers are the most passionate travelers, Cruise Critic members are the most passionate of cruisers. And the 2014 Cruisers’ Choice Awards are based entirely on their opinions -- no editor's picks, no surveys -- posted to the web site.

“The Cruisers’ Choice Awards are a fantastic honor for cruise lines to receive as they’re based on personal experiences shared by cruisers themselves,” said Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor-in-chief of Cruise Critic. “This list of winners truly reflects excellence in the industry, and serves as a seal of approval from consumers who have sailed on these ships over the past year.”

Read: 70 Percent Off Cruises? New Tool Says Yes

The Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Awards are awarded in three ship classes, based on passenger capacity (Large: 2,000+ passengers; Mid-Size: 1,200 to 1,999 passengers; Small: 1,199 or fewer passengers) and are calculated using the ratings submitted with each Cruise Critic member review.

The Winners:

Destination Categories:

Best Cruises to Alaska: Rhapsody of the Seas (Royal Caribbean)

Best Cruises to the Bahamas: Disney Dream

Best Cruises to the Caribbean: Disney Fantasy

Best Cruises to the Mediterranean: Celebrity Silhouette

Best Cruises from Florida: Disney Fantasy

Best Cruises from the Northeast: Explorer of the Seas (Royal Caribbean)

Best Cruises from the West Coast: Sapphire Princess (Princess Cruises)

Best for Families:

Disney Fantasy

Large Ship Category

Best Overall Ship: Disney Fantasy

Best Cabins: Disney Fantasy

Best Dining: Disney Fantasy

Best Embarkation: Oasis of the Seas (Royal Caribbean)

Best Entertainment: Disney Fantasy

Best for Fitness: Oasis of the Seas (Royal Caribbean)

Best Public Rooms: Disney Fantasy

Best Service: Disney Fantasy

Best Shore Excursions: Carnival Freedom

Best Value-for-Money: Carnival Liberty

Mid-Size Category

Best Overall Ship: Disney Wonder

Best Cabins: Riviera (Oceania)

Best Dining: Riviera (Oceania)

Best Embarkation: Coral Princess (Princess Cruises)

Best Entertainment: Disney Wonder

Best for Fitness: Norwegian Sun

Best Public Rooms: Riviera (Oceania)

Best Service: Disney Wonder

Best Shore Excursions: Island Escape (Thomson)

Best Value-for-Money: Norwegian Sun

Small Ship Category

Best Overall Ship: Seabourn Quest

Best Cabins: Seven Seas Navigator (Regent Seven Seas)

Best Dining: Crystal Serenity

Best Embarkation: Pacific Princess (Princess Cruises)

Best Entertainment: Crystal Symphony

Best for Fitness: Crystal Serenity

Best Public Rooms: Seabourn Quest

Best Service: Crystal Symphony

Best Shore Excursions: Celebrity Xpedition

Best Value-for-Money: Seabourn Quest

(The Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of both ABC News and Disney Cruise Line.)

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