Posted by: cruise2 | 15 October, 2013

How Berlitz Rates The Ships For 2014

by Kevin Griffin writing for

Last week we revealed that the 2014 Berlitz Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships had awarded Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Europa 2 the top rating, the first new ship to claim the title in fourteen years. Other ships that have held this honour have included Royal Viking Sea (now Albatros), Royal Viking Sun (now Prinsendam) and Sagafjord (sold for breaking up last year). In this year’s guide, five completely new ships area also reviewed for the first time.

It’s the first time since 1989 that two ships belonging to the same company (Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Europa and Europa 2) have achieved a 5-star-plus rating – the last time, twenty-four years ago, it was Royal Viking Line’s Royal Viking Sea and Royal Viking Sky.

Berlitz Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships 2014

Some interesting findings from the 2014 guide:

– eleven out of the top twelve 5/5-star-plus cruise ships are in the small (251-750 passengers) or boutique-sized (50-250 passengers) categories, proof that good things come in small packages.

– half of the top ten large ships (more than 1,750 passengers) belong to Celebrity Cruises. These are of course its Solstice class vessels.

– Cunard Line’s three Queens comprise the three top-rated large ships – Queen Mary 2 (in Grill Class), Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria.

– Seabourn dominates the combined small and boutique ships categories, with six vessels in the top twenty, namely Seabourn Quest, Odyssey, Sojourn, Legend, Spirit and Pride (but none scoring in the top five in either category – see below).

– five of the top ten are Silversea vessels.

The compete rankings for the top five ships in each category (scores are out of 2,000) are:

How Berlitz Rates The Ships For 2014: the compete rankings for the top five ships in each category (scores are out of 2,000)

Only five of the twenty ships named, namely those of Cunard and Celebrity in the large ships sector, are owned by one of the big three cruise ship groupings. Cunard is part of Carnival Corp & plc (which also owns upmarket boutique and small ship operator Seabourn, now run by Holland America) while Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd owns Celebrity.

Also interesting is the fact that none of the all-inclusive Regent Seven Seas ships appears here, although the two newest ships from its non-all-inclusive affiliate Oceania Cruises do.

A new App version of the Guide is also now available for Apple devices and can be used as a perfect cruise planning tool. Filter and search options help potential cruisers choose a vessel and voyage according to their needs. Criteria include cuisine, entertainment, accommodation, size of ship and many others.

Expanded from 704 to 752 pages, and now in its 29th year, the 2014 Berlitz Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships  (£17.99 in the UK, $24.99 in North America) as well as an eBook, will be available in November through Amazon and reputable bookstores. The corresponding App is available from Apple through the iTunes App store.

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