Thousands of cruise passengers have voted for the best and worst cruise lines in this year’s survey.
Scandinavian newcomer Viking took the crown with an 88% customer score as passengers were impressed by how much room they had on board its small, yet spacious, ships. Viking was closely followed by Saga (87%), Noble Caledonia (86%) Hurtigruten (85%) and Azamara (84%), proving the continued popularity of small ship cruise lines over traditional mega-ships.
Historic cruise lines such as Cunard were beaten by the new wave of boutique liners offering intrepid itineraries and port excursions. Similarly, popular P&O failed to wow passengers. A lacklustre performance saw the British giant slump towards the bottom half of the table.
The worst cruise line only scored two stars for customer service, cabins, on-board facilities and port excursions. Find out why by reading our full results.
Small ships equal the best cruises
Viking’s five-star on-board facilities and ‘friendly, knowledgeable service’ pushed it to the top of the table. Unlike larger, more congested ships, customers enjoyed the lack of queues and awarded the brand five stars for its passenger-to-space ratio.
Noble Caledonia fans praised its five-star port excursions for stopping at ‘small towns and beauty spots not visited by large ships’. Local guides and intimate excursions were complimented, with travellers feeling well taken care of.
Azamara’s affordable, all-inclusive luxury ranked higher than its high-end rivals, with customer service and social atmosphere on board giving it the edge.
Cunard and P&O struggle against competition
Cunard is one of the world’s most famous cruise lines and with a four-star rating for matching its brochure billing and value for money, it delivered what passengers expected. However, younger brands and smaller ships have successfully pushed Cunard down the rankings, into eighth place.
Likewise, P&O failed to challenge the dominance of the smaller cruise ships in this year’s survey. Despite being one of the cheapest, and by far the most used cruise line, passengers gave it a mediocre three-star rating in most categories. Dozens of rivals felt less busy on board and this coupled with wi-fi that P&O customers felt was overpriced, saw the brand plummet to 13th place out of 20 cruise lines.
See what our worst performer promised and what passengers thought it delivered.
VIDEO: Worst cruise line revealed
Cruise line reviews
Twenty cruise companies were rated for customer service, passenger-to-space ratio, description matching reality, cabins, food and drink, value for money, on-board entertainment, port excursions and more.
Which? only recommends cruise lines that provide clear information about gratuities, excursions and drinks at the booking stage. After all, it’s hard for customers to compare prices if they can’t find these details before parting with their cash. If the companies fall down in more than one area, they’re not eligible to be Which? Recommended Providers, whatever score they receive in the survey. Find out which cruise companies are Which? Recommended Providers.