by Kevin Griffin writing for cybercruises.com
Sister lines Celebrity and Azamara walked away with the top positions in the Cruise Critic Cruisers Choice awards last week. Looking at the top five ships in three categories in the US and UK polls, Celebrity scored nine firsts and Azamara eight, followed by Oceania and Thomson with six each.
For purposes of its polls, Cruise Critic defined a medium-sized ship as carrying between 1,200 and 1,999 passengers, with anything above that being defined as large and anything below as small. The results are laid out below for the best five ships in each of category for each of the UK and US, as well as the best ship in each category for dining, entertainment and service for the UK and US. The actual ships’ scores are given in brackets. Some of the surprizing results: are laid out below.
Cruise Critic Cruisers Choice awards 2013 – Scores courtesy of Cruise Critic
The most interesting result was that of the forty-eight results laid out above, Royal Caribbean brands collected eighteen of the top spots, compared to only four for Carnival brands. Celebrity’s nine wins were all for 2,850-berth Solstice class ships except for 1,814-berth Celebrity Century positioning third in the UK medium ships category. Celebrity took the UK’s top three large ship positions.
Azamara did proportionally even better in that with only two 684-berth ships, it managed to pick up eight of these awards. The other Royal Caribbean win was the 5,408-berth Allure of the Seas, which took third-best large ship in the US results.
Oceania managed six wins in the categories we have chosen above, all by its two newest ships, the 1,258-berth Marina and Riviera. But the real surprise was Thomson Cruises walking away with six awards, not only from their own market in the UK but also from US voters. We can think of only one reason for that and that is that the UK results must be included in the US ones, but the website is not clear as to the methodology.
Certainly, with Thomson selling off brands, such as its ski operation, Neilson, and contemplating unloading others to pay down £1.6 billion in debt, any aspiring bidder might look at Thomson Cruises as a possible acquisition. That its older ships should have achieved tops in the mid-size awards for entertainment in both polls and also outscored Carnival’s brand-new 3,690-berth Carnival Breeze makes Thomson worth a look.
It is actual cruisers who are being polled here and of the Carnival brands only one ship from each of Carnival, Cunard, Holland America and Seabourn managed to score in this sample, and none from P&O or Princess. What makes it even odder is that Carnival Breeze won her spot in the UK survey and not the US one. In the US, Disney managed to score as many wins as all Carnival brands combined.
Norwegian Cruise Line and Crystal each achieved three places, but Azamara’s two ukltra-premium ships taking eight places to only three for Crystal’s two ultra-luxury ships is an interesting surprise.