The Cruise Critic website has been on the scene for more than 15 years, which has more than earned its editors the right to list their best cruise choices of the year.
The winners on their annual best-of lists are picked by their editors in Europe and North America, so there's a bit of European flavour in these picks.
The various categories for their awards are quite subjective. I agree with many of the choices, but some left me a bit bewildered.
I have found a fierce loyalty by cruisers when it comes to certain brands. Some would never think of trying another cruise line.
Because Carnival Dream and Oasis have just come on the scene, neither is to be found on the lists below.
Best family cruise line: Royal Caribbean
Best for first-timers: Carnival
Best for couples: Azamara
Best for sophisticated singles: Cunard
Best luxury cruise line: Crystal
Best for romance: Princess Cruises
Best for adventure: Lindblad
Best for kids: Royal Caribbean (Freedom Class)
Best for teens: Royal Caribbean (Freedom Class)
Best river cruise line: Uniworld
Best sailing ship: Windstar
Best new ship: Celebrity Solstice and Equinox (sister-ships)
Best new luxury ship: Seabourn Odyssey
Best new river ship: Uniworld's River Beatrice
Best kept secret: MSC's Fantasia and Splendida
Food and dining
Best main dining: Carnival
Best specialty restaurants: Oceania
Best for healthy dining: Celebrity
Best buffet: Carnival
Best luxury dining: Seabourn
Accommodations and service
Best for big-ship suites: NCL's Courtyard Villas
Best for cabins: Holland America
Best big-ship luxury enclave: MSC's Fantasia and Splendida
Best luxury service: Crystal
Best luxury staterooms: Regent Seven Seas
Best for nightlife: Carnival
Best for activities: Holland America
Best sun deck: Celebrity Solstice and Equinox
Best cruise line private island: Disney's Castaway Cay
So how do you feel about the picks? Leave us your comments at portsandbows.com.
Ports and Bows is hosting its first annual cruise.
We wanted something unique, almost all-inclusive, and of good value -- so here it is: A 20-day cruise departing from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on April 18, 2010. We picked a premier ship in Holland America's Zuiderdam.
The cruise passes through the Panama Canal to Vancouver. Included is return airfare from Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary or Edmonton, or a one-way flight from Vancouver or Victoria.
You also get two nights at the Hilton Marina hotel on the water and near the port in Fort Lauderdale.
Ports of call include Cayman Islands, the Panama Canal, Costa Rica, Puerto Chiapas, Huatulco, Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas, San Diego, Port Angeles and then into Vancouver for the start of the Alaska cruise season. You also get dinner at the private Pinnacle restaurant on board.
Prices for all of the above start at $2,999 from Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary and Edmonton. For Vancouver it's $2,799 and Victoria is $2,899. All air and ship taxes are included.
Dave's Cruises is organizing the holiday and you can reach them at 1-888-432-8344 or online at davescruises.com.
Visit portsandbows.com for daily updates on the latest cruise news, best deals and behind the scenes stories from the industry. You can also sign up for an email newsletter on the site for even more cruise information. Phil can be contacted directly at preimercanwest.com.
--Canwest News Service