Everyone wants to know about “the top X,” where “X” can refer to just about anything. We are ceaselessly searching for the top restaurants, the top hotels, the top movies, the top books, and so on. This perhaps explains our infatuation with lists that rank the relative greatness of different things. Presumably, this fixation applies to cruise ships as well, so we’ve compiled a list of the top three cruise ships. (We seem similarly preoccupied with finding the “biggest X,” and hence our article about the world’s largest cruise ship.)
How on earth do we go about compiling a list of the top three cruise ships, and what exactly is meant by “top three cruise ships” anyway? These questions are related, as the criteria we use to determine the top cruise ships also explain what we mean by the top cruise ships. We should point out up front that there are any number of different ways to define the top cruise ships. This could be, for example, a highly subjective list, where we simply list the cruise ships we fancy the most. But such a list would have limited applicability, so we sought a more objective system of ranking instead. Somewhat paradoxically, the ranking system we used is based on the perspectives of others (which are of course subjective), but when taken together, something close to an objective opinion emerges. Such is the nature of collective thought. What we did is this: we used the cruise ship ratings submitted by users of the site cruises.com to arrive at the top three cruise ships. The three ships that are rated the highest constitute the top three cruise ships.
According to cruises.com, the three most highly rated cruise ships (listed in order) are as follows: Holland America’s Rotterdam, Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas, and Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Equinox. Below is some information about each ship.
Rotterdam is a midsize ship relative to the other ships in the Holland America fleet. It has a gross tonnage of 61,849 and the capacity to hold 1,404 passengers. “Signature of Excellence” enhancements to the ship were completed in December of 2009, meaning nearly all parts of the ship, like the staterooms and cabins, were renovated to enhance the overall quality of cruising on the Rotterdam. One innovation in particular is the introduction of Lanai staterooms, which have sliding glass doors that lead to a walk-around lower deck.
Liberty of the Seas is significantly larger than Holland America’s Rotterdam. With a gross tonnage of 154,407 and a passenger capacity of 3,634, it is, in fact, one of the larger cruise ships in existence. Liberty of the Seas was also recently renovated, adding some new entertainment offerings, like the The DreamWorks Experience, which incorporates some of DreamWorks favorite characters into the on-board environment (you might see Shrek walking around on deck, for example).
In terms of size, Celebrity Equinox falls between Liberty of the Seas and Rotterdam. It has a gross tonnage of 122,000 and the capacity to hold 2850 people. Some of the features of Celebrity Equinox include an abundance of staterooms with views of the ocean and the Silhouette Restaurant, a huge and luxurious restaurant with a two-story glass wine tower.
Given their high ratings, odds are you’ll have an excellent cruising experience with any of these three ships. You might also consider booking a vacation with the cruise lines listed above, as the ships in a cruise line’s fleet tend to have many characteristics in common.