The Best Cruise Lines of 2023 for UK Travellers, According to Cruise Critic

P&O Cruises’ Arvia named ‘Best New Ship’, Silversea Cruises awarded ‘Best Luxury Cruise Line’, Scenic Eclipse II receives ‘Best New Expedition Ship’ and Viking Cruises named ‘Best River Cruise Line’

LONDON, Dec. 6, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Cruise Critic®, the world’s leading cruise reviews site and online cruise community, has named the winners of its 15th annual Cruise Critic Editors’ Picks Awards – the industry’s most comprehensive awards – recognizing the best cruise lines of the year for UK travellers, as chosen by the site’s international team of cruise experts.

“This was a phenomenal year for the cruise industry”, explains Adam Coulter, Executive Editor of Cruise Critic UK & AU. “Between record-breaking sales and capacity numbers exceeding 100 percent, we saw travellers flock to the seas for high-value holidays. And for UK-based travellers, the introduction of ground-breaking new ships helped to drive interest in cruising even more.”

This year’s awards are the most comprehensive to-date, naming winners across four key areas – Ocean, River, Luxury and Expedition.

“Wherever you’re looking to travel – whether a more far-flung destination like Antarctica or Alaska, or a warm getaway like the Canaries or Caribbean – the options are endless by sea”, shares Coulter. “And this year, we’ve named the absolute best of the best across all four cruise types – from mainstream ocean and luxury, to river and expedition.”

2023 Award Highlights

Ocean Awards

  • P&O’s Arvia – the line’s new megaship – was named Best New Ship of the Year, for its seamless combination of the line’s popular spaces with new and exciting attractions onboard.

According to Cruise Critic Editors: “Arvia has all the P&O Cruises’ favourites like The Epicurean, Sindhu and Keel & Cow – plus new venues including Tidal Rum Bar (with distillery), the stunning Dome and a top deck high ropes course and swim-up bar – firsts for P&O Cruises.”

  • Marella Voyager was named Best Ship Refurbishment, after a 36-day bow-to-stern makeover that not only updated public spaces but also cabins and suites – as well as introduced new-to-the-line venues.

According to Cruise Critic Editors: “We love that cabins and suites were included in the refurbishment, making them feel almost new, with public spaces and dining venues also given a complete makeover. Marella Voyager boasts an impressive array of new-to-the-line venues, from the speakeasy-style Exchange, to Silver Fork, one of the 17 dining venues onboard.”

  • Ambassador Cruise Line was named Best Value for Money, praised for its competitive fares and special offers.

According to Cruise Critic’s Editors: “This UK-based, no-fly cruise line is a solid choice for cruisers seeking maximum value for money on one of its two ships. Buy-one-get-one-half-price savings, last-minute deals and reductions, combined with affordable lead-in fares, make Ambassador Cruise Line a clear winner in the Best Value category.”

  • Belfast was named the Best UK & British Isles Port of Call for its overall experience provided to cruise visitors.

According to Cruise Critic Editors: “Belfast’s outstanding cruise terminal, located next to the vibrant Titanic Quarter, welcomed its 2-millionth cruise ship visitor this summer following a record 165 calls in 2023. The Titanic Belfast unveiled four new themed galleries following a £4.7-million investment, and the cruise terminal is also close to all the city’s other main attractions.”

Luxury Awards

  • Silversea Cruises received the award for Best Luxury Cruise Line for a second year in a row, as well as Best New Luxury Ship for the line’s newest ship, Silver Nova.

According to Cruise Critic Editors: “Silversea’s constant innovation and a desire to set the luxury bar ever higher sets it apart from all others. Sure, the line has suites, butlers, Champagne and caviar across the fleet, but it’s more than that – Silversea’s restaurants rival Michelin-starred establishments, its S.A.L.T. enrichment program is outstanding, and its art and décor are reminiscent of a five-star hotel. And Silver Nova is a giant step forward for a cruise line that has never been content with the status quo.”

  • Crystal Cruises – recently relaunched by new owner, Abercrombie & Kent Travel Group – received this year’s award for Best Service in the Luxury Category.

According to Cruise Critic Editors: “Crystal has built a reputation on exceptional service, and it comes down to the crew onboard, who are empowered to keep guests happy and satisfied, no matter the issue. Sailing on a Crystal ship feels like a vacation with family. No ask is too small – or too big – and service always comes with a sincere smile.”

Expedition Awards

  • Scenic Eclipse II was named this year’s Best New Expedition Ship, for the ship’s seamless combination of five-star luxury and destination immersion.

According to Cruise Critic Editors: “Whether you’re traveling to Antarctica, the Arctic and Greenland or Australia’s wild Kimberley, the ship allows you to get the most of your destination, by Zodiac, kayak, helicopter and submersible – and return to the best in creature comforts.”

  • Swan Hellenic was named the Best Value for Money in the Expedition Category, praised by editors for its thoughtful inclusions and pricing.

According to Cruise Critic Editors: “Pair thoughtful inclusions like alcoholic drinks (not just at meals) and Wi-Fi, to gratuities and return regional flights and pre-cruise accommodations, with five-star luxury vessels complete with outstanding expedition guides and top-notch food from internationally acclaimed chefs – all for less than £10,000 to the Antarctic – Swan Hellenic is tough to beat when it comes to value for money.”

River Awards

  • Viking received the award for Best River Cruise Line of the Year, for its consistency, breadth of offerings and fare inclusions.

According to Cruise Critic Editors: “Viking has earned its reputation as the leader on Europe’s rivers, where it sails with an enormous fleet designed in serene Scandinavian style. Ships are consistent and instantly feel like home; staterooms are thoughtfully designed; and cruises are inclusive of things like excursions and drinks at mealtimes.”

  • Viva Cruises’ Viva Two received the honor for Best New River Cruise Ship, for its standout offerings in the river cruise category.

According to Cruise Critic Editors: “Viva Two is decidedly different from other riverboats and showcases an innovative split-level layout – plus an extensive use of glass, allowing light to flood in. The ship also stands out for having three distinct restaurants – all free  –  and include an extra-special dinner with wine pairings.” 

2023 Cruise Critic UK Editors’ Picks Awards

Ocean Category

Best New Ship: P&O Cruises’ Arvia

Best Ship Refurbishment: Marella Voyager

Best Cabins: Celebrity Cruises

Best Dining: Virgin Voyages

Best Entertainment: Virgin Voyages

Best for Families: Royal Caribbean International

Best Innovation/Tech: Princess Cruises

Best for LGBTQ+ Travelers: Virgin Voyages

Best Nightlife: MSC Cruises

Best Service: Celestyal Cruises

Best for Solo Travelers: Cunard Line

Best Spa: Celebrity Cruises

Best Specialty Dining: Norwegian Cruise Line

Best Suites: Royal Caribbean International

Best Suite Complex: MSC Cruises

Best Value for Money: Ambassador Cruise Line

Best App: Royal Caribbean International

Best UK Departure Port: Dover

Best UK & British Isles Port of Call: Belfast

Luxury Category

Best Luxury Cruise Line: Silversea Cruises

Best New Luxury Ship: Silversea Cruises’ Silver Nova

Best Cabins: Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Best Dining: Oceania Cruises

Best Enrichment: Silversea Cruises

Best Itineraries: Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Best Service: Crystal

Best Shore Excursions: Oceania Cruises

Best for Solo Travelers: Crystal

Best Spa: Viking

Best Value for Money: Viking

Expedition Category

Best New Luxury Ship: Scenic Eclipse II

Best for Adventure: Quark Expeditions

Best Cabins: Seabourn Cruise Line

Best Dining: Scenic

Best for Luxury: Silversea Expeditions

Best Service: Silversea Expeditions

Best Spa: Viking

Best Value for Money: Swan Hellenic

Best in Alaska: UnCruise Adventures

Best in Antarctica: Scenic

Best in the Arctic: Hurtigruten

Best in the Galapagos: Lindblad Expeditions

River Category

Best River Cruise Line: Viking

Best New River Cruise Ship: Viva Cruises’ Viva Two

Best for Active Cruisers: Emerald River Cruises

Best Cabins: Avalon Waterways

Best Dining: Riverside Luxury Cruises

Best Enrichment: AmaWaterways

Best for Families: A-ROSA

Best for First-Timers: TUI River Cruises

Best for Luxury: Uniworld Boutique River Cruises

Best Service: Viking

Best for Solo Travelers: Riviera River Cruises

Best Value for Money: TUI River Cruises

To view the full details of each category, visit the 2023 Cruise Critic Editors’ Picks Awards. For photos of this year’s winners, click here.

About Cruise Critic

Cruise Critic® is an online cruise guide, offering a comprehensive resource for cruise travellers, from first-time cruisers to avid cruise enthusiasts. The site features more than 650,000 cruise reviews and hosts the world’s largest online cruise community where travellers share experiences and opinions with fellow cruisers. Cruise Critic was the first consumer cruise site on the Internet, launched in October 1995 by The Independent Traveler, Inc., a subsidiary of Tripadvisor, Inc.

About TripAdvisor

Tripadvisor, the world’s largest travel guidance platform*, helps hundreds of millions of people each month** become better travelers, from planning to booking to taking a trip. Travelers across the globe use the Tripadvisor site and app to discover where to stay, what to do and where to eat based on guidance from those who have been there before. With more than 1 billion reviews and opinions of nearly 8 million businesses, travelers turn to Tripadvisor to find deals on accommodations, book experiences, reserve tables at delicious restaurants and discover great places nearby. As a travel guidance company available in 43 markets and 22 languages, Tripadvisor makes planning easy no matter the trip type. The subsidiaries of Tripadvisor, Inc. (Nasdaq: TRIP), own and operate a portfolio of travel media brands and businesses, operating under various websites and apps, including the following:,,,,,,,,,,,

* Source: SimilarWeb, unique users de-duplicated monthly, September 2023

** Source: Tripadvisor internal log files

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