The 3 Cleanest Cruise Lines According To The Cdc
According to the CDC data, here are the three cruise lines that scored the highest average scores on their latest inspection reports:
Viking Ocean Cruises When it comes to passing CDC inspections, Viking Ocean Cruises takes the top honor. With five ships, every Viking cruise ship scored well on their latest inspections. Three ships Viking Sea, Viking Sky, and Viking Star scored a perfect 100. The Viking Orion scored a 97 and the Viking Sun scored a 95. Taken together, the five scores come out to a 98.4 average inspection score, making Viking the cleanest cruise line based on inspection scores.
Seabourn While Viking Ocean Cruises took top honors, Seabourn wasnt far behind. The average score on this luxury cruise line was a 98.3. One thing to note is that the CDC only inspects ships sailing from the United States. If a ship doesnt come to the U.S. often, it could be longer before another inspection. As a result, many of Seabourns most recent inspections were years ago, including two from 2017. Still, it has solid inspection scores, including a perfect 100 for the Seabourn Quest and Seabourn Odyssey on their most recent inspections.
Viking Ocean Cruises Review Which Recommended Provider
Yet again, Viking has held onto the number one spot in our survey, earning an outstanding five stars in every category. It specialises in small to medium, adult-only ocean cruises, with all of its ships carrying fewer than 1,000 guests. It’s not cheap, but the classy atmosphere, excellent food and unusual destinations are a winning combination, so it’s no surprise customers rated value for money as outstanding.
, or read our full Viking review for more information.
Vessel Sanitation Program: Health Inspections For Cruise Ships
Many people dont realize it, but the Centers for Disease Control operates the Vessel Sanitation Program .
This program is essentially a health inspection for cruise ships. Just like a restaurant in your town would be checked by a health inspector, ships sailing from the United States are also checked out on a regular basis. These inspections are done without prior knowledge by the cruise line.
In particular, the CDC inspections focus on eight areas:
- Medical facilities
- Ventilation systems
- Common areas
Cruise ships overall do well on these inspections. Scores are on a 100-point scale and anything less than 86 is considered unsatisfactory. If a ship scores below this mark, they have the chance to correct the issues and be re-inspected.
Scoring below an 86 only happens on occasion across dozens and dozens ships. Instead, most ships score well into the 90s on their inspections.
The good news for cruise passengers is not only do ships score well when inspected, but the results are also published publicly. You can visit the CDC website and see the scores and reports for more than 200 vessels. Each report is also complete with a write-up of any issues found. No doubt any cruise ship you are sailing on will have their latest report listed.
Now, while ships tend to score well, there are some lines that seem to do better than others on a consistent basis.
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Carnival Cruise Line Vifp Program
9 cruise lines fall under the umbrella of Carnival Corporation, and the parent company operates over 100 cruise ships around the world. Carnival Cruise Line is one of the most recognized lines in the world. Its loyalty program is called VIFP Club, since the line sees every cruiser as a Very Important Fun Person, especially if they keep coming back for more cruises.
You can sign up for the VIFP Club before your cruise even begins and start enjoying member-only fares and specials.
Carnival has a 5-tier loyalty program. The points for each status are based on the number of days sailed and not on how many cruises have been taken.
Every first-time cruiser with Carnival has Blue status and becomes Red after the 2nd sailing. Red will include a free bottle of water in your stateroom. Gold status is reached after 25 days at sea with Carnival and will include a free appreciation drink on a 5-night sailing or longer.
But its not until youve sailed with Carnival for at least 75 days that the real perks start making a difference. This is where Platinum status is reached, and these perks are included:
After youve sailed on a Carnival cruise ship for more than 200 nights you will have reached the top tier of Diamond. The perks will include everything you received with Platinum with the additional perks listed below:
Index Of 2018 Cdc Sanitation Reports
Check your cruise ship safety and sanitation score here:The Center For Disease Control performs unannounced inspections, which are conducted twice a year and required for any cruise ship with an international itinerary calling at a U.S. port. Vessels are evaluated proper food handling, preparation and storage procedures, and overall galley cleanliness. Ships potable water supplies used in spas and pools are evaluated, as well.
Cruise ships with a score of 85 or lower are deemed unsatisfactory.
To see cruise ships that have been awarded perfect scores for their CDC inspections over the last year ,
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Small Ship Line #: Lindblad Expeditions
This fleet of 15 vesselswith passenger capacities ranging from just 28 to 148sails to rugged, far-flung destinations, including Arctic Svalbard, Antarctica, Indonesia, and the Galápagos. A Lindblad cruise typically prioritizes adventure over luxury. On most ships, expect small, simple cabins, but plenty of memorable excursions, like snorkeling in Borneo or hiking an ice field in Patagonia. But some of its recent fleet additions are truly luxe, from its two polar-sailing expedition ships, National Geographic Endurance and National Geographic Resolution, to the elegant Oberoi Philae, which sails the Nile. Each sailing has an expedition team made up of experts in fields like marine biology and photography.
The Floating Megaresort Lines
Are you a fan of big, bustling megaresorts with every sort of amusement known to humans? Youll probably want to gravitate toward Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and MSC Cruises. These three brands are what I call the floating megaresort lines lines that offer unusually giant ships that are the seagoing equivalent of land-based megaresorts such as Atlantis in the Bahamas.
Were talking ships with a seemingly endless array of deck-top fun zones, from waterparks and surfing pools to go-kart tracks and laser tag courses, as well as oodles of restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, spas, casinos and more. Were also talking ships that can hold as many as 5,000 or even 6,000 people, not including the crew.
These are brands designed to appeal to a wide demographic, including families with children of all ages. They offer cabins for $100 per night, cabins for $1,000 a night, and everything in between. The best way to describe them is that they are like the big Las Vegas resorts, except they float.
Note that the size of each ship operated by these brands varies. In general, the newer vessels in their fleets are the biggest, most megaresort-like vessels.
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How To Snag A Free Drinks Package
Most big-ship lines offer one or more drinks packages for an extra charge but you might be able to get one of the packages for free. Some big-ship lines will throw in drinks packages for no extra cost as a perk during limited-time booking promotions.
The line perhaps best known for throwing in free drinks packages as a booking perk is Norwegian. Norwegian seemingly always is running some variation of its Free at Sea promotion that brings a choice of a free drinks package, free specialty dining, free excursions and other perks. Depending on the cabin category you book, you can get one or more of the freebies thrown in.
Other lines that sometimes run promotions with free drinks packages include Princess Cruises, Celebrity Cruises and Holland America.
Norwegian Cruise Line Latitudes Rewards
As with Carnival and Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line gives you a reward point for each night booked on a Norwegian cruise ship.
An extra point is earned per night when booking a suite, and you can get an extra point per night on top of that by booking one of their Latitudes Rewards inside offers. These special offers are sent out monthly and usually provide other perks like $100 onboard credit.
There are 6 tiers of status in Latitudes Rewards which are Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Platinum Plus, and Ambassador.
Rewards points are applied to your account after you return from your cruise. Points will be applied within 48 hours after you have completed a sailing.
Bronze status is obtained after sailing at least one night on Norwegian. Perks include:
- Priority check-in at the pier
- Bottle of sparkling wine
- 10% discount in duty-free shops
- Discount on buying internet minutes
- Free artwork for attending art auction
- Insider offers on select sailings
- Latitudes rewards magazine
Silver is reached from 30-54 points earned on Norwegian. Perks include everything from Bronze in addition to:
- 15% discount in duty-free shops
- Exclusive cocktail party
- 10% discount on shore excursions
- 20% discount on photos
- 15% discount on spa treatments
Gold level is reached from 55-79 points earned on a Norwegian ship. Perks include everything from Silver in addition to:
- 20% discount on spa treatments
- 1 bottle of water
- 50% off 1 bag of laundry service
- Priority tender tickets
- Priority disembarkation
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Best Cruise Lines For Couples
Awards for the best cruises for those traveling in twos are:
Viking dominates this category due to its “adult-focused environment and luxurious and romantic amenities, such as fireplaces in each ship’s common area and private verandas in every stateroom,” according to a U.S. News & World Report’s press release.
To qualify for this category, at least 62% of a cruise line’s online traveler reviews must be made by couples.
Most luxury cruise lines allow kids, though they often don’t cater to them the way the larger lines do. Viking, however, doesn’t allow children at all.
The company previously welcomed kids aged 12 and older to cruise, but as of 2018, all guests must be 18 or older to board.
Also on the list: Celebrity Cruises , Oceania Cruises , Silversea Cruises , Cunard Line and Holland America Line .
Small Ship Line #: Metropolitan Touring
Operating three expedition vessels in the Galápagos, Metropolitan Touring is the ideal cruise line for those seeking a casual experience in the wildlife hotspot. The tiny ships, which only accommodate between 40 and 78 passengers, have a laid-back atmosphere where the focus is very much on wildlife spotting. The company also offers land-based tours in mainland Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia that can be combined with a Galápagos expedition.
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River Ship Line #: Grand Circle Cruise Line
Grand Circle Cruise Line might not have the largest followingyou probably haven’t heard of it, have you?but it certainly has a loyal one. Known for its immersive itineraries, this smaller cruise line is part of tour operator Grand Circle Travel, but it does have its own fleet of six river ships. Five of them sail in Europe, while the sixth, appropriately named Nefertiti, sails Egypt’s Nile.
Regent Seven Seas Review Which Recommended Provider
For a luxurious, all-inclusive ocean cruising experience, it’s hard to beat Regent Seven Seas. Almost every cabin has a balcony, staff are friendly and helpful, and the port excursions are consistently enjoyably and well-organised. The only real downside is the cost.
, or read our full Regent Seven Seas review for more information.
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Noble Caledonia Review Which Recommended Provider
If a small ocean cruise is what you’re looking for, you’ll want to consider Noble Caledonia. Its cruise ships carry between 36 and 250 guests, making them some of the smallest you can sail on. As well as a personal on-board experience, it’s one of just three companies to earn a full five stars for the quality of its port excursions, making it a compelling way to say to see the world.
, or read our full Noble Caledonia review for more information.
What About Sanitation Ratings
Each year, every passenger vessel with a foreign itinerary must undergo a twice-yearly health and safety inspection by the Center for Disease Control .
The inspection covers water quality, cleanliness, food holding and handling, potential contamination zones, as well as ensuring storage facilities and repairs are intact. The ships then receive a score out of 100, which is published as part of the Summary of Sanitation Inspections of International Cruise Ships.
The Center for Disease Control allows passengers to board any ship with a score of 86% or higher. A perfect score indicates that a ship has passed all 42 checks of the Vessel Sanitation Program.
CruiseShipDetective also covers recent cruise ship safety ratings. .
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Nieuw Amsterdam By Holland America Line
HAL really rolls out the red carpet for gourmets, and its Chefs Table on Nieuw Amsterdam is a little piece of luxury that wont break the bank. Youll be treated to a seven-course meal designed by Master Chef Rudi Sodamin built from decadent ingredients like lobster and truffles. High-quality bottles of wine accompany this epicurean dream, and its all served on the ships best china. This is a great option for food and wine lovers who arent on a cruise to lose weight, as seven courses of rich food will probably leave you sated but a couple pounds heavier.
River Ship Line #: Viking River Cruises
Parent company Viking Cruises has expanded feverishly in recent years, with more than 60 river ships and six ocean vessels in its fleet. Under Viking River Cruises, the company’s riverboats explore familiar waters like the Danube and Rhône in Europe, as well as faraway itineraries on the Volga in Russia, the Nile in Egypt, and the Mekong in Southeast Asia. Viking River Cruises also includes complimentary Wi-Fi and select shore excursions in its prices, and its Culture Curriculum offers experiential learning through events like regional wine tastings and menus that rotate seasonally.
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Types Of Cruise Ships
Cruise ships come in all shapes and sizes but can be roughly divided into three groups: small, mid-size, and large. Some types of ships are too large for certain activities, such as river cruising, which means the kind of ship you want to stay in may dictate the cruise experience you will ultimately have.
Small cruises have the advantage of maneuverability, making it possible to stray off the beaten path and visit more exotic ports that big ships cant reach. The number of passengers may vary from under a hundred to well into the mid-thousands. They might have a handful of restaurants and some small-scale entertainment, but most of the excitement will be happening at the real destination: offboard.
Large cruises are on the opposite side of the spectrum to small cruises. As much , resources are spent on developing what travelers can do on the cruise and off. They usually host numerous stores and dining options and feature music halls, theatres, pools, zip lines, or even kart circuits. They have every amenity you could think of, which helps when youre moving thousands of passengers around and plan plenty of offboard activities at popular ports. Overall, they are akin to giant, floating resorts more than anything else.
Medium Ship Line #: Crystal Cruises
While many cruises are notorious for charging guests for alcohol and specialty dining options, Crystal practices a generally all-inclusive fare structure covering all drinks , one specialty dining reservation per passenger , 24-hour room service, and a Wi-Fi package. The line has just three ocean-going vessels: Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony, which both have capacities of fewer than 1,000 passengers and sail global itineraries, and the newly launched Crystal Endeavor, an expedition megayacht that set sail this year.
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Best Excursions: Crystal Cruises
Crystal has greatly expanded its luxury cruise brand to include ocean and river cruise ships, yachts, expedition ships, and even a private jet charter. The company also offers some extremely exclusive, high-end shore excursions, as well as volunteer excursions so passengers will feel more involved in the ports of call. The company has an impressive 2,000 excursions to choose from in ports all over the world. Onboard Crystal Cruises theres trivia, magic and comedy shows, movies, live music, theater performances, and the fabulous Crystal spa. The two ocean-going ships, Serenity and Symphony, carry around 900 guests, and offer butler service in suites and all-inclusive pricing.
Disney Cruise Lines Concierge Royal Suite
The best suites on Disney Cruise Line ships are the Concierge Royal Suites. The individual suite sizes and layouts vary by ship, but all will wow you with their space and upscale style.
On Disney Magic and Wonder, the suites are smaller , but sleep seven with two separate bedrooms and 2.5 baths on Disney Dream and Fantasy, the suites are larger but only sleep five with one bedroom and two bathrooms. Disney Wish will have Royal Suites in one- and two-level versions, and each will have two bedrooms and sleep six.
No matter which suite you choose, original artwork and an art deco design will ensure you dont feel like youre living in a theme park. You can put your feet up in a large living space with comfortable seating, dining table, pantry, and wet bar. Two or four flat-screen TVs will keep you up to date on all the latest Disney flicks.
At night, sink into a plush Euro-top mattress covered in 300-thread-count Frette cotton linens and topped with a down duvet and your choice of pillows from a menu of feather, foam, and hypoallergenic styles.
All Royal Suites have over-sized balconies. The verandas on Disney Dream, Fantasy and Wish feature private hot tubs, as well as an array of patio furniture.
Perks include free Wi-Fi, concierge services, in-suite dining from a special menu, and access to the Concierge Lounge and its private sun deck.
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