When Condé Nast comes out with a readers’ poll, cruise travelers worldwide take notice. To be mentioned near the top of their list is a sought-after award worth bragging about. In the February edition of Condé Nast Traveler, Disney Cruise Line found plenty to be proud of as three of their four ships ranked in the top three places in the large cruise ship category.
Beating out Celebrity Eclipse and Celebrity Equinox to round out the top five, classic Disney Cruise ships Disney Magic and Disney Wonder took the first and second spots, respectively, followed by 2011′s Disney Dream in third place.
“With four ships in our fleet, more families than ever before can set sail on a Disney Cruise Line vacation filled with imaginative fun for the kids and exciting family time for all,” said Karl Holz, president of Disney Cruise Line in a SILive report. “We’re thrilled that the experiences our cast and crew members deliver at sea continue to be recognized as outstanding by our guests.”
It was all a part of Condé Nast’s 100 Best Cruise Ships In the World, a reader poll ranking travel experiences with categories of small ships, medium ships, large ships and river cruise ships.
Interestingly, it was Disney Cruise Line’s two older ships, Disney Magic and Disney Wonder that took top honors followed closely by 2011′s Disney Dream with the latest, greatest version of what Disney does at sea, Disney Fantasy trailing in eighth place. Not that eight place is bad mind you – just not quite as magical.
Here are all top ten in the large ship category. Click on any of them for more information from Condé Nast.
89.9 Disney Magic
Undeniably, the big cruise ship story of 2010 was Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, sister to last year’s Oasis. Coming in a close second and third were two other ships by two other lines that deserve a nod before we get too far into 2011.
The other whopper from 2010 was Norwegian Epic. Small by comparison at 150,000 tons and 4,200 guests but no small story at all. Pre-sailing Norwegian Cruise Line boasted then delivered top-shelf entertainment options that clearly set the bar high for others to grab.
The Cirque Dreams and Dinner show was simply the best entertainment option I have see at sea and worth enduring the somewhat minor to “what were they thinking?” design flaws of the new ship. Throw in a dazzling Blue Man Group performance and fair pricing and this one should do well. Norwegian announced more new ships coming up but nothing specific and no duplicate of Epic is on the horizon. Probably one of those “Oh lookey, we’re doing good so we ordered more ships” things the cruise lines do sometimes to make Wall Street happy.
Next up in order of coolness, was Celebrity Eclipse, the third of Celebrity Cruises Solstice-class ships and clearly the future of the line. This is totally a mature adults ship and I don’t mean old people. Geared towards a relaxing, adult experience, this one defines the serene pleasure-cruise experience that others are working into existing ships and featuring on new builds. If that sounds like boring-ship city it’s not.
Celebrity has fully embraced the latest technology on several fronts that put these ships light-years ahead of others in shipbuilding savvy. Building the ships from the bottom up, as opposed to considering passenger areas first, made for a more energy efficient design. From a Teflon coated hull that reduces drag and increases fuel efficiency to happy-environment solar panels to supplement the ships power, this one stretches known technology to make a real dent in the nasty footprint cruise ships have become known for.
But its not like the passengers were secondary by any means.
New dining options, a Celebrity Life onboard program that promotes well-being and health along with superior dining options make this one a stand-out leader for the line. The only problem I see with these marvels is why would anyone even want to sail on their older, boring ships at all? Look for those to be shipped off to needy ports doing shorter sailings on their way out the door in 2011 and 2012.
Photo courtesy Norwegian Cruise Line