This year’s World’s Best Awards survey closed on March 2, just before widespread stay-at-home orders were implemented as a result of COVID-19. The results reflect our readers’ experiences before the pandemic, but we hope that this year’s honorees will inspire your trips to come — whenever they may be.
When it comes to traveling by sea, there’s a cruise ship out there for everyone. Huge vessels and expedition yachts — and everything in between — have proliferated over the past decade. Yet readers of Travel + Leisure find much to love about the more traditional big-ship cruise, as evidenced by the stellar scores they awarded a number of large-ship lines, including No. 2 Crystal Cruises and No. 4 Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated individual cruise ships on their cabins and facilities, food, service, itineraries and destinations, excursions and activities, and value. Those assessments were combined to generate results for the cruise lines in five categories; large-ship ocean cruise lines have ships that can carry 600 to 2,199 passengers.
To create that everything-for-everyone experience that readers expect of large ships, the winners relied on two factors: a dizzying mix of onboard amenities and a broad range of interesting itineraries. At No. 3 this year, Seabourn excelled in both regards. “The service is extraordinary,” said one reader, who cruised aboard the Seabourn Ovation, the line’s newest ship. “The staff read minds,” concurred another, who added that “the service is above and beyond, and ‘no’ has been removed from the dictionary!” Passengers also complimented Seabourn’s dining menus — created in partnership with chef Thomas Keller — and spacious staterooms.