How we rank for
When most people think of cruise lines, they think of an expensive tour across the sea. The first thing that is often looked at is price. So how do you determine price in an industry set on getting you good deals everywhere. A company may offer a good initial price to get on the ship, but then all the food is super expensive or you have to pay to use their facilities on the boat. We look at all these factors. We want customers to know what they are getting for their buck.
There are cruises that charge per person, per night. Other take the route of displaying prices for the entire trip (whether that is just three days or entire week). We get to the bottom line to find out just how much a cruise costs per person each night and then rate each company on their cheapest package. For informational purposes, we show the price range (cheapest to most expensive) on all cruise line reviews.
A good cruise line company should fit to all needs and one way to determine that is how large the company is. We take into consideration all areas of size a cruise line company offers. We look at how many ships they supply and their passenger capacity.
To create a more even playing field, we rate each cruise line based on their largest ship. We display the capacity number for guests permitted on the largest cruise ship available by a certain line. That does not necessarily mean that a traveler will book a cruise on that ship, but is there for informational purposes.
Each and every cruise offers a number of services or amenity options to travelers. For instance, the cruise lines that last several days to multiple weeks have more of a residence type feel on their ships to accommodate for the length of the stay. There are also cruise ships that service their guests for a day or two, so the service options vary.
For ranking purposes, our experts look at five common amenities which include: dining options, entertainment, planned activities, pools on deck, and fitness facilities. If a cruise line offers all amenities, they will receive full credit for this section. Those that do not, will miss certain points since other companies offer more services.
In an effort to accommodate more people and provide options for more travel dates, cruise lines will often times expand their fleet. They will add ships over a number of years as travelers continue to use their services to travel the open sea. The cruise lines that have more ships as part of their fleet will receive higher scores that cruise lines that only have one or two ships.
Sometimes, the nightly rate per person can be a bit misleading. It may appear to be a good deal while it is being booked, but then there are gratuity charges that are tacked on to the end of the bill. Often times, cruise lines charge a daily gratuity fee per person each day. Those dollar amounts are displayed on each review. There are then cruise lines that suggest an 18% tip rate for services rendered, but it is not expected. Finally, there are cruise lines that include all gratuity and service charges into the rate per person. Those that charge a gratuity will not receive as many points as those that do not. The gratuity rates are displayed in the sidebar breakdown.
Those who go on cruises often times are seeking adventure or want to see the world via travel through water. Each cruise line is different in terms of their focus. That means that some cruises only travel to one or two areas consistently, while other plan travels around the world. The cruise lines that offer multiple options in terms of the number of destinations will earn a higher score than providers that do not.
10% Stability Score
We look at the legal history and financial stability of each company. This metric takes into consideration any bankruptcies, class action lawsuits, government lawsuits, or government investigations a company has had in the last five years.
15% User Score
Authentic user reviews are critical to what we’re doing at BestCompany.com. Because customer service is an important reflection of a company overall, nobody can provide better insights about a company’s performance than actual customers. Consequently, every company’s overall score is influenced, at least in part, by reviews submitted by customers.
For more information on how we moderate user reviews submitted to our site, you may refer to our Review Guidelines page.