The Best Mega-ship Ocean Cruise Lines

The best cruise lines for mega-ships, according to Travel + Leisure readers, embrace the ethos of bigger means better with over-the-top entertainment and amenities.

Best Mega-ship Ocean Cruise Lines

The world’s largest cruise ships resumed operations last summer after COVID -19 was decommissioned. The ships sailed at limited capacity, at least initially, but cruise fans on those voyages were no less excited to be on the giants of the seas.

Each year, T+L asks its readers for their opinions on travel experiences around the globe – the best hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines and more – as part of its World’s Best Awards. Readers rated each cruise ship on its cabins and facilities, food, service, itineraries and destinations, excursions and activities, and price. These ratings were combined to determine the results for cruise lines in six categories, including river cruises.

The World’s Best Awards categories for cruises are now based on the number of cabins rather than passenger capacity. Mega ships are those with 1,500 or more cabins. The smallest of the large ships in this category, with its 1,523 cabins and suites, is Celebrity Reflection of the Celebrity Cruises fleet, which claims first place among mega-ships. (The rest of the Celebrity Cruises fleet can be found in the new large ship category.) One voter wrote of the Reflection, “Always world-class service and amenities.”

Close behind Celebrity Cruises in this category is first-time World’s Best Awards winner Virgin Voyages, the new all-inclusive adults-only cruise line. Its first ship, the Scarlet Lady, impressed readers with DJ -led dance parties and creative nightlife, as well as complimentary dining options that include a Korean BBQ with drinking games. British billionaire Richard Branson wanted to turn the cruise on its head, and he succeeded, according to T+L readers. “No kids allowed, and in a good way,” wrote one fan. Another reader added, “Oh man, this cruise line was just amazing! I can not stop raving about it – it was such a wonderful experience.”

Third place goes to perennial World’s Best Awards winner, Princess Cruises. One of the newest ships in the fleet, Enchanted Princess, received high praise from voters, with one voter calling it “beautiful.” The same voter also noted that “Princess really went the extra mile with their health protocols.”

Keep scrolling to see the full list of the best cruise lines for megaships and learn more about why readers were particularly excited about Celebrity.

1. Celebrity Cruises

1. Celebrity Cruises

A cabin on board the Celebrity Beyond cruise ship
Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

“We have sailed three times on this ship. The experiences have all been exceptional,” said one reader about the 10-year-old Celebrity Reflection, the fifth and largest ship in Celebrity Cruises’s award-winning Solstice class. As a mega-ship, the Celebrity Reflection does not do the ice skating rinks, waterparks, and amusement-park attractions found on sister line Royal Caribbean International. Instead, the wows are the sophisticated décor and cuisine, an impressive modern art collection — with Jeff Koons, Robert Rauschenberg, and Kiki Smith among artists represented — and a real grass lawn up on top. “Seems to be always world-class service and amenities,” said one T+L reader, who also praised the “amazing crew.”

honoree. Score: 87.80

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2. Virgin Voyages

The Roundabout, on board a Virgin Voyages cruise ship
Courtesy of Virgin Voyages

Score: 87.37

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3. Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises Enchanted Princess cruise ship
Courtesy of Princess Cruises

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 83.90

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4. Royal Caribbean International

Aerial view of the Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas cruise ship
Courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 83.66

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5. Norwegian Cruise Line

Pool deck on board the Norwegian Bliss cruise ship
Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

honoree. Score: 83.35

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