Travel Weekly Readers Choice 2016

Cruise Ships

Allure of the Seas

NOMINATED: Overall Individual

The 5,400-passenger Allure of the Seas was the second of Royal Caribbean International's Oasis-class ships. Like sister ship the Oasis of the Seas, the Allure boasts novel features such as seven themed "neighborhoods," two-story loft suites, a zipline course, a minigolf course, multiple nightclubs and five swimming pools


NOMINATED: River Cruising

AmaWaterways' 164-passenger AmaSonata features multiple dining venues, a piano bar and lounge, massage and salon services, a heated swimming pool with swim-up bar, a fitness room, walking track and complimentary onboard bicycles. The staterooms range from a 160-square-foot lower-deck cabin to a 300-square-foot upper-deck suite, and the majority feature Ama's twin balcony concept (a French balcony adjacent to a full balcony).

Carnival Vista


Carnival Cruise Line's 4,000-passenger Carnival Vista, christened last month, offers a number of new features for the line: the SkyRide recumbent bicycle that riders propel beneath an 800-foot-long track suspended 150 feet above the waterline; an IMAX theater; a craft brewery; and Family Harbor: a class of cabins grouped around a key-carded lounge for families. The Vista's inaugural sailing left from Italy in May, and the ship operated in the Med until its naming ceremony in New York, after which it headed to Miami for year-round Caribbean service.

Celebrity Reflection

NOMINATED: Overall Individual, Premium

The fifth and largest of the Celebrity Cruises Solstice-class ships, the 3,046-passenger Reflection debuted in October 2012 with 72 more cabins, adding capacity for between 150 and 200 more passengers than its sisters. Boasting the class' signature amenities like the Lawn Club and Solarium, the Reflection added more cabin categories, including Celebrity's first two-bedroom suite, a 1,636-square-foot apartment that offers a glass-sided shower cantilevered over the ocean.

Crystal Serenity


This year Crystal Cruises announced it would make major improvements to its two oceangoing vessels, the Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony. Changes will include adding suites and reconfiguring dining so that full open seating is available. The larger of the two ships, the 1,070-passenger Crystal Serenity previously underwent a $52 million makeover in 2013.

Harmony of the Seas


Last month in Fort Lauderdale, Royal Caribbean International christened the 5,479-passenger Harmony of the Seas, the world's largest cruise ship. The Oasis-class vessel benefits from Quantum-class amenities such as a Bionic Bar on its Promenade and Wow wrist bands instead of key cards for cabin access and purchases. Three waterslides atop the forward part of the ship overlook its Central Park atrium. The Harmony entered service in May and spent its first few months sailing in Europe before repositioning for Caribbean sailings.


NOMINATED: New, Overall Individual, Premium

The 2,650-passenger Koningsdam set sail from Civitavecchia, Italy, in April. Its three-story, midship atrium features arcing chrome grills that give the feel of an upward spiral to the open area, which permits views between the first three decks of the ship. Cabin innovations include extra storage beneath the beds, floor-to-ceiling glass doors in the showers, bedside USB outlets and more. Alternative dining options include the Pinnacle Grill steak house and Sel de Mer, a French seafood brasserie.

MSC Divina

NOMINATED: Premium, Overall Individual

The 3,500-passenger MSC Divina, launched in 2012, is MSC Cruises' first ship dedicated to a North American audience. Sailing from Miami to the Caribbean as well as in the Mediterranean, with options to embark in both Civitavecchia (near Rome) and Barcelona, the ship boasts Italian-style dining; 18 bars and lounges; Balinese-style massage and treatments; and the MSC Yacht Club, an all-inclusive, private VIP club level with personal butlers.

Norwegian Escape

NOMINATED: New, Overall Individual

The largest ship ever homeported in Miami, the 4,270-passenger Escape from Norwegian Cruise Line expands on the Breakaway/Getaway platform, with more hot tubs than its predecessors, bigger waterslides, a new private dining room and more. Food and beverage options include the Cellars, Norwegian's first wine bar; Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville and 5 O'Clock Somewhere bar; and Food Republic, where guests order dinner via iPads.

Queen Mary 2


The QM2's amenities include a Canyon Ranch SpaClub, a cultural enrichment program, a kennel for up to 12 dogs and the first planetarium at sea. The 13-deck, 1,132-foot ship has room for up to 2,620 passengers. The ship was "remastered" this year after 10 years in service, with a more contemporary interpretation of art deco design in its suites and the addition of 15 solo cabins and 30 Britannia Club rooms.

Regal Princess

NOMINATED: Premium, Overall Individual

The cast of "The Love Boat" named the 3,560-passenger Regal Princess in 2014 in Fort Lauderdale. The sister ship to the Royal Princess, which debuted in 2013, it has been sailing since its inaugural cruise from Venice in May 2014. It has many of the Royal Princess' signature features, like the SeaWalk, a 60-foot-long glass walkway hovering 128 feet above the ocean. Princess offers its own craft beer on the ship, Seawitch West Coast IPA, produced for Princess by the Strike Brewing Co. of San Jose, Calif.


NOMINATED: River Cruising

Tauck's 130-passenger Savor has 22 suites measuring 300 square feet, 24 staterooms that measure 225 square feet, and 11 cabins that range from between 150 and 190 square feet. There is also a main dining room; an alternative dining venue for light meals at the aft of the vessel, Arthur's; a lounge and bar; and a sun deck with seating, a putting green and a Jacuzzi. The Savor sails several Danube River itineraries.

Seabourn Odyssey


Launched in Venice in 2009, the Seabourn Odyssey has capacity for 450 passengers. Its 229 oceanview suites are divided into 13 categories, with interior measurements from 295 to over 1,200 square feet. Ninety percent have private verandas. The design includes Seabourn Square, the line's "living room" concept that replaces the conventional reception lobby with a lounge/library/guest services area that also has computer workstations and a European-style coffee bar with sandwiches, pastries and gelati.

Seven Seas Explorer


Regent Seven Seas Cruises' 738-passenger Regent Seven Seas Explorer, delivered in July in Monte Carlo, expanded the line's fleet to four. Billed by Regent as the most luxurious cruise ship ever, the Explorer has a 3,875-square-foot, $10,000-a-night suite as its centerpiece. Its cocoon-inspired spa on Deck 5 offers Regent-exclusive treatments devised by Canyon Ranch SpaClub and Red Flower, a New York-based manufacturer of beauty and aromatherapy products.

Silver Spirit


The 540-passenger, 36,000-gross-ton Silver Spirit debuted in 2009 as Silversea's largest ship. The Spirit has six restaurants, including new venues like Stars Supper Club, modeled after the Rainbow Room in New York, and the 24-seat, Japanese-inspired Seishin; the line's largest spa at 8,300 square feet; and balconies in 95% of its cabins



The 672-passenger Sirena, the former Ocean Princess, was acquired from Princess Cruises and underwent a $50 million refurbishment before sailing for Oceania Cruises beginning this year. Like three other Oceania vessels (the Regatta, Insignia and Nautica), the Sirena is an R-class ship that was built for Renaissance Cruises. Additions included the Red Ginger restaurant; the Sirena is the first R-class ship to host the Asian-style venue.

S.S. Antoinette

NOMINATED: River Cruising

Launched in 2011, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection's S.S. Antoinette was the first of Uniworld's new Super Ship generation of vessels. The vessel's top-deck suites and staterooms have open-air, private balconies with sliding-glass windows that convert them into enclosed spaces. The ship also features a heated swimming pool and a 20-seat movie theater with Dolby surround sound. For 2017, the S.S. Antoinette will sail the Rhine River.

S.S. Maria Theresa

NOMINATED: River Cruising

Uniworld christened the 150-passenger S.S. Maria Theresa in March 2015. The vessel features antique mirrors throughout, gold leaf details and custom furniture pieces from around the world. The public areas include a Viennese cafe, Uniworld's signature Leopard Bar at the aft of the ship, a 10-seat cinema, a fitness center, a swimming pool and a spa. There are 64 staterooms that measure between 162 and 194 square feet, 10 suites at 305 square feet each and one Royal Suite at 410 square feet. The S.S. Maria Theresa sails Uniworld's European Jewels itinerary from Budapest to Amsterdam as well as the Tulips & Windmills, European Holiday Markets and Grand Christmas & New Year's Cruise itineraries.

Viking Longship Lif

NOMINATED: River Cruising

The Viking Longship Lif was christened in March 2014, and like Viking River Cruises' entire Longship class of vessels is outfitted in a sleek Scandinavian modern design. The public areas include the Aquavit Terrace with an indoor/outdoor viewing area at the bow of the ship and al fresco dining; a lounge and bar; the main restaurant; a library; a boutique; and a sun deck with a shaded sitting area, organic herb garden, solar panels, putting green and a walking track. There are also a wide variety of stateroom configurations, ranging from 150-square-foot, lower-deck cabins to the sprawling 445-square-foot, upper-deck Explorer Suites.

Viking Longship Tor

NOMINATED: River Cruising

The Viking Longship Tor launched in 2013 and features two Explorer suites, seven Veranda suites, 39 Veranda staterooms, 22 French balcony staterooms and 25 standard staterooms. The public areas include the Aquavit Terrace with an indoor/outdoor viewing area at the bow of the ship and al fresco dining; a lounge and bar; the main restaurant; a library; a boutique; and a sun deck with a shaded sitting area, organic herb garden, solar panels, putting green and a walking track.

Viking Sea


This year saw the debut of the second of six ships planned for the Viking Ocean Cruises fleet, the Viking Sea. The 930-passenger vessel shares much in common with its elder sister ship, the Viking Star: a two-story Explorers' Lounge, the Aquavit Terrace, a spa, three pools and cabins ranging from 270 to 757 square feet. In its first year the Viking Sea remained in Europe for Mediterranean cruises during the fall, winter and spring.

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