Q – Congratulations on your site. It is extremely helpful but we’d like to reiterate a question I am sure you will be getting from many other confused cruisers. Is there one line or ship that is generally thought to be the best in the world?europa 2 Higth Res

A – We’ve tried to make that perfectly clear in our ratings. At the moment, the Europa I and the Europa 11 are regarded by industry professionals as the best ships afloat. They belong to Hapag-Lloyd, a line that did not even have a sales office in the United States until very recently. These German ships are not for everyone but there is little doubt that, advertising claims aside, they are the very best that cruising has to offer. The Europa 1 is a truly classical vessel with gala formal nights and old world, dignified service. The Europa 11 is a more casual vessel that still maintains the highest standards.

As we point out, however, there is only one best ship for you. Ratings serve as guideposts but there is, we suspect, one ship among the top ten lines that is absolutely the best choice for you. That may not be the top-rated or even the second or third best.

As for “certification”, we’re afraid there is no real industry organization that does impartial rankings. That is why we launched this site. Cruise lines never use the term “mass market” and the less expensive mega-ships have the largest advertising budgets. So the consumer really has no place to go to understand why some small ships cost $500-$700 per day while much larger ships, with more “facilities” cost $100-$300 per day. Despite phony pricing claims, silly claims about “luxury”, no official ship certification, and rather self-serving health and safety standards, cruising is still a cleaner operation overall than professional soccer.

For most consumers, the best cruise line is often the one their travel agent has sailed on an inspection cruise.