Every year, new cruise ships take their inaugural voyage, and there is always a lot of discussion about these new ships as passengers experience them for the first time. This got us thinking: what is the best new cruise ship? As is always the case when you try to determine the best of anything, judgements will differ. The best cruise ship to one passenger will not necessarily be the best cruise ship to another passenger. Even so, we can’t resist a good “best of” article, and although people will inevitably disagree with our selection (which is itself based on what other people regard as the best cruise ship – more on this in a second), we’re still confident that whatever ship we pick will be a topnotch cruise ship.
There are a number of sources to turn to when attempting to find the best of the best in the cruise industry. For example, we recently ranked the top cruise lines according to Condé Nast. To determine the best new cruise ship, we looked at a few different sources, like Cruise Critic, a website with tons of cruise industry-related content, including lots of reviews submitted by passengers. (For more information on similar sites, check out our article on cruise critics and cruise reviews.) Cruise Critic put together a list of the “top new ships,” although their selection criteria is a little bizarre because this list contains both recently released ships and soon-to-be-released ships, as opposed to one or the other. We’re concerned with the cruise ships that are already out sailing, so we’ll select the best cruise ship from this set.
Cruise Critic employs a percentage system, in conjunction with a star rating, to rank cruise ships, such that the cruise ships with the most positive reviews submitted by passengers get the highest percentage assigned to them. Ships also get one to five stars – the more stars the better. A lot of websites that focus on the cruise industry, like Cruises Only, use similar ranking systems (smiley faces are used instead of stars, though), whereas other sites simply compile passenger reviews without assigning any specific rating (in stars, smiley faces, etc.) to a ship.
Based on a few of these websites, the following three ships emerged as some of the best new ships: Celebrity Silhouette, Allure of the Seas, and Oasis of the Seas. Other new ships that were highly rated include the Carnival Magic and the Norwegian Epic.
Of these ships, the Celebrity Silhouette seemed to come out on top. It received very favorable review on a few sites (e.g., five stars on Cruise Critic and five smileys out of six on Cruises Only), and for this reason, we crown the Celebrity Silhouette the best new cruise ship, or in any case it is one of the top new ships (ratings are constantly being updated, so the top ship of today may well be supplanted by another tomorrow). At 122,400 tons and with a passenger capacity of 2,886, according to Celebrity Cruises’ website, Celebrity Silhouette is a fairly large ship that started sailing in the middle of July 2011. One of its coolest features is the Lawn Club Grill, an outdoor venue which allows passengers to select a cut of meat, which they then get to grill alongside a chef of the restaurant. There is also a bar called Michael’s Club that has up to 50 international craft beers, which is one of many places you can relax with a drink. If drinking isn’t your thing, there are also a number of quite places – like The Hideaway, where can get coffee, or the Sky Observation Lounge, an expansive room with epic views of the sea – where you can, say, read a book or listen to music. So, there is a place for the booze hound and the bookworm.
It is worth mentioning that the two other new ships listed above that were highly rated – Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas – are also the world’s largest cruise ships. So, these two ships, both of the Royal Caribbean International fleet, are not only enormous, but also well-regarded by the passengers who have sailed with them.
Celebrity Silhouette, Allure of the Seas, and Oasis of the Seas are all amazing new ships that people have so far enjoyed, so they are certainly worth considering if you are looking to book a cruise vacation.