Puerto Rico homeport among Cruise Critic Editors’ picks
“As the cruise industry continues to evolve, travelers are rewarded with extraordinary options and experiences,” explains Colleen McDaniel, senior executive editor of Cruise Critic. “Cruising already is one of the most groundbreaking travel industries, and cruise lines continue to raise the bar when it comes to guest experience – both onboard and in port. This year’s list of winners includes cruise lines that visit every continent, offer technologies that provide an even more personalized travel experience and boast features like a high-tech planetarium, cabins with infinite verandahs and even an onboard silent disco. These are the absolute best experiences at sea, and what’s most exciting is that there’s even more to look forward to in 2019.
Cruise Critic editors named San Juan, Puerto Rico, the Best North American Homeport.
“Puerto Rico’s main cruise port is in the heart of Old San Juan; its people are warm and the history is undeniable — plus it’s the birthplace of the pina colada. A popular homeport on Caribbean cruise itineraries, San Juan offers a bustling city center that bounced back quickly after Hurricane Maria — enough that despite the storm, cruise traffic hit an all-time high this year,” Cruise Critic wrote about San Juan.
For this fiscal year, which ends in June, Puerto Rico is expected to receive 212 homeport stops and more than 502,790 passengers that will use the island as a departure destination in their cruise itineraries.
On Wednesday, Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas, the largest cruiseship by gross tonnage in the world, arrived in San Juan.
2018 Cruise Critic Editor’s Picks Awards
Best New Ship: Celebrity Edge
Best Ship Refurbishment: Mariner of the Seas – Royal Caribbean International
Best for Adventure: Lindblad Expeditions
Best Cabins: Princess Cruises
Best Dining: Celebrity Cruises
Best Entertainment: Royal Caribbean International
Best for Families: Disney Cruise Line
Best Itineraries: Princess Cruises
Best Nightlife: Carnival Cruise Line
Best Service: Carnival Cruise Line
Best Shore Excursions: Princess Cruises
Best for Solo Travelers: Norwegian Cruise Line
Best Suites: Royal Caribbean International
Best Value for Money: Holland America Line
Best North American Homeport: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Best River Cruise Line: Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
Best New River Cruise Ship: The A – U by Uniworld
Best Ship Refurbishment: S.S. Beatrice – Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
Best for Active Cruisers: AmaWaterways
Best Cabins: Avalon Waterways
Best Dining: Crystal River Cruises
Best Enrichment: American Queen Steamboat Company
Best for Families: Adventures by Disney
Best for First-Timers: Viking River Cruises
Best Itineraries: Viking River Cruises
Best for Luxury: Crystal River Cruises
Best Service: Tauck River Cruising
Best Shore Excursions: Scenic
Best for Solo Travelers: American Cruise Lines
Best Value for Money: Emerald Waterways
Best Luxury Cruise Line: Seabourn Cruise Line
Best New Luxury Ship: Viking Orion
Best Ship Refurbishment: Silver Spirit – Silversea Cruises
Best for Adventure: Silversea Cruises
Best Cabins: Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Best Dining: Oceania Cruises
Best Enrichment: Crystal Cruises
Best Itineraries: Ponant
Best for Romance: Windstar Cruises
Best Service: Seabourn Cruise Line
Best Shore Excursions: Azamara Club Cruises
Best for Solo Travelers: Seabourn Cruise Line
Best Spa: Viking Ocean Cruises
Best Value for Money: Viking Ocean Cruises
- Celebrity’s brand new ship – Celebrity Edge – scooped this year’s award for Best New Ship. Named “one of the most innovative ships we’ve seen in years” by Cruise Critic’s editors, Celebrity Edge has revolutionized spaces onboard – from a roving deck to infinite verandahs – and features like the Rooftop Garden, nearly a dozen complimentary restaurants and a state-of-the-art theater make it a ship with plenty to offer travelers. Celebrity also won this year’s award for Best Dining.
- Disney Cruise Line was named Best for Families for the third year in a row, praised for its ability to entertain travelers of all ages, plus its special programs and features, including Marvel Day at Sea and Rapunzel’s Royal Table.
- Princess Cruises was named Best Itineraries for the second year in a row, bringing guests everywhere from the Caribbean and Mexico, to Alaska and Asia. The line also received awards for Best Shore Excursions and Best Cabins.
- Holland America received the Best Value for Money award, lauded for the wide variety of inclusions and programs onboard – including dining options guided by an award-winning Culinary Council, Lincoln Center Stage, BBC Earth and the new Rolling Stone Rock Room.
- San Juan, Puerto Rico was named Best North American Homeport after a record-breaking year for the island’s cruise traffic. San Juan serves as Puerto Rico’s main cruise port, offering cruisers plenty to do in its bustling city center and tons of history to explore.
- Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection was named the Best River Cruise Line, for its stellar overall experience – from impressive dining options and wellness programs, to active shore excursions and multi-generational options. The line also received an award for Best Ship Refurbishment for its ship S.S. Beatrice – the first ship in its fleet to receive Uniworld’s massive “Super Ship” renovation.
- Brand-new river cruise line, U by Uniworld, received the award for Best New River Ship for its ship The A, which launched earlier in 2018 and sails along the Rhine and Danube – with stops in cities like Amsterdam, Budapest and Vienna. Designed for a millennial audience, the ship provides a fresh alternative to traditional river cruising through its casual onboard atmosphere and offbeat shore excursions.
- For the second year, Viking River Cruises was named Best for First-Timers for its wide-range of sailings and smart inclusions like beer and wine at meals, select shore excursions and Wi-Fi. The line also received an award for Best Itineraries, with ships that sail everywhere from Vietnam and China to Russia and most European rivers.
- Seabourn was named Best Luxury Cruise Line, with editors saying it “embraces everything a luxury cruiser is looking for,” including fine dining and a Thomas Keller partnership, all-inclusive fares and some of the most personal service at sea. Seabourn also won the line award for Best Service and received a nod as Best for Solo Travelers.
- Viking Ocean Cruises’ new ship, Viking Orion, was named Best New Luxury Ship – awarded for innovative new features like an onboard planetarium, beautiful cabins and thoughtful details ship-wide. The line also won Best Value for Money and Best Spa – both for the third year in a row.