New Cruise Ratings Accurate Or Stupid: You Choose


The funny thing about lists that rate cruise lines; if your favorite is #1, that is one great and accurate list.  If not, it’s a stupid list and no one should pay any attention to it.   One list might tap visitors and followers of a web site focused on cruise travel for rankings.  Another could source their ‘votes’ from travel editors, agents and other professionals in the cruise industry.  There are nearly as many criteria for counting votes as there are lists, making comparison by consumers difficult.  Still, when a major publication like U.S. News and World Report comes out with a cruise ratings list, we pay a bit of attention.  When we read they ‘why’ that drives their effort and find something along the lines of why U.S. News Travel has thrown its hat in the ring, we pay a whole lot of attention.

“U.S. News Travel has made it easier to find the cruise that’s right for you with our Best Cruises rankings, which identify the best cruise lines and cruise ships for a variety of regions and traveler types,” says U.S. News and World Report of their new Best Cruises ranking.

We know that matching a first-time cruise traveler with the right cruise line and ship is critical; we have been doing it for years.  Put someone ready for active adventure on a cruise line with ships that offer something other than active adventure and see what happens.  Odds are, the experience is not going to end well; we see that on nearly every ship we sail.  Someone did not do their homework, was ill-advised or most commonly; failed to connect with and take advantage of the absolutely free knowledge and guidance of a travel professional, at least for the first sailing.

Miami  + Carnival Breeze - 114

“These rankings will help you find the cruise that best suits your needs,” says U.S. News Travel and we agree.  Cruise ratings do help find the right cruise line if not the right ship and make for a good tool to use in the process.  Agree with their findings or not, the U.S. News Travel Best Cruises ranking is out there now and will be seen and believed (or not) by many readers.  Let’s look at some of the big categories and focus on value, specific travel interests and geo-ratings…and keep reading.  Below we have probably the most important factor to consider when viewing rankings of cruise ships.

Best Cruise Lines for the Money

  1. Royal Caribbean International
  2. Disney Cruise Line
  3. Carnival Cruise Lines

Best Cruise Lines for Families 

  1. Disney Cruise Line
  2. Royal Caribbean International
  3. Celebrity Cruises

Best Cruise Lines For Romance

  1. Silversea Cruises
  2. Crystal Cruises
  3. Azamara Club Cruises

Best Cruise Lines in the Caribbean

  1. Disney Cruise Line
  2. Royal Caribbean International
  3. Carnival Cruise Lines

Miami  + Carnival Breeze - 122

Important to note, and I am really sorry to be a nag about this; the fine print.  Like seeing a fabulous bargain on a cruise vacation advertised online, the fine print defines the offer as does the fine print in a ranking list.  U.S. News ranked cruise lines using reviews and ratings collected by Cruiseline.com (dedicated to helping travelers find the right cruise) along with results from health evaluations conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. News editors analyzed data for 148 ships across the 15 major cruise lines that were included in the rankings. The top three in each ranking category received a U.S. News “Best” designation.

Lists we like?