Best and Worst Cruise Lines


MS Riviera (Courtesy Oceania cruises)

The much respected Consumer group ‘Which?’ has published its annual report based on U.K. cruise passengers’ experiences on board. The study looked at 13 cruise companies and rated them out of five stars across eight different categories.

See Daily Mail article: HERE

Malcolm says: There is of course no ‘best’ or ‘worst’ cruise line, it all depends on what experience you are looking for and your budget.

Rory Boland, Which? Travel Editor, said:  “Want to have a fantastic cruise? Book aboard a smaller ship is the simple advice”.  I can’t disagree, you are not going to get excellent food and attentive/personal service, on a vessel with 6,000 passengers.

In the which? chart, generally the passenger satisfaction goes down the less you pay, so a £283 pppd cruise is more satisfying than a £132 pppd cruise, the latter being less than half the price – no surprise there really!  (To put it another way, the highest rated cruise lines are generally the ones with the highest fares.) 

However I wonder how many of the survey respondents have cruised on multiple lines, in order to be able to directly compare the range of products listed – possibly none.

Personally, when I have booked with a budget brand (Thomson and CMV) I have slightly lower expectations, so are more easily satisfied. If I paid £283 a night for a cruise, the experience might never reach my expectations, let alone exceed them.

Q: What do you think of the results of the survey?



6 Responses to “Best and Worst Cruise Lines”

  1. John S [retitred Master Mariner] Says:

    Another ignorant reporter – no credibility.
    Dreadful report on Which article & not able to comment on findings without reading the Which report in full.

  2. Malcolm Oliver Says:

    Hi Gillian, you may be aware that I’m a fan of both Olsen’s and CMV. There are ship reviews on my site.

    I am a man that can enjoy a Gordon Ramsey meal and a McDonald’s. Different price, different objective, but both good in their own way. CMV are not Cunard, but neither are the fares.

  3. Gillian Walsh Says:

    Thank you for linking this very interesting story. I was glad to see Fred Olsen did ‘quite well’ as that’s my favourite (based on fare and experience). The point about expectations is well made. CMV Magellan is my next cruise (based on fare and itinerary) so I’m happy to have a go: Marco Polo in her 50th year was great, though.

  4. Paul stoffels Says:

    Malcolm, I ‘ve read the article
    Did you notice ?
    Best large ship line : P&O. Average price per night £ 163
    Worst : NCL. Average per night £ 175!

  5. Malcolm Oliver Says:

    Hi Bruce, It’s a bit like a £5 bottle of wine – you may well be impressed. However a £25 bottle of wine has a lot to live up to and is VERY unlikely to be five times better. I have only cruised with P&O once, but I though that then fare was quite high and the food and service quite mediocre. Their newer ships are trying to be all things to all men, especially in the UK summer.

    You said “Celebration might have been a vibrating rust bucket but she was an incredibly happy ship.”. Yes there is more to the cruise experience than the hardware, the decor or the facilities. Terms like “friendliness” and “ambience” are very real but difficult to describe and measure.

  6. Bruce Tucker Says:

    Hi Malcolm
    Thanks for this. Agree with most of the assessment but totally agree with your comment on expectations.
    Our first cruise with P&O had high expectations based on my knowledge of them when I was in the industry (Union Castle). P&O failed miserably against expectations.
    Cruise with Thompson’s had very low expectations but we scored them very high for all aspects (Celebration might have been a vibrating rust bucket but she was an incredibly happy ship.

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