Best cruise ships of 2012 announced

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PENNINGTON, N.J. – Cruise Critic announced its Editors’ Picks Awards, recognizing the best in the cruise industry as noted by its team of editors.

This year’s Editors’ Picks Awards list includes 18 categories, awarding 12 different cruise lines. Winners include:

Best New Ship: Carnival Breeze

Carnival Breeze embodies a new breed of Carnival’s Fun Ship concept with a toned-down tropical feel and new-to-Carnival restaurants and entertainment, while also remaining true to its casual cruising roots.

Best for First-Timers: Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Epic, Norwegian’s newest ship, and the line’s Jewel-class series of vessels offer the industry’s largest selection of restaurants, a massive spa and fitness complex, and a much-improved kids program.

Best Value for Money: Carnival Cruise Lines

Carnival consistently offers solid prices and hard-to-beat value. As part of its fleetwide Fun Ship 2.0 overhaul, the line is adding burger, BBQ and taco dining venues to a number of ships, surcharge-free.

Best Shore Excursions: Disney Cruise Line

Disney invests an enormous amount of time and money in creating unique “port adventures,” with tours created specifically for both adults and families.

Best U.S. Port: San Francisco

San Francisco has long been a contender as one of the country’s best ports, but new efforts to redevelop its waterfront and build a state-of-the-art cruise terminal, combined with fantastic sightseeing and easy-to-access air service, put it over the top.

“Each year, our Editors’ Picks Awards reflect the cruise lines and ships that we feel best exemplify excellence in categories we consider the most important to people when choosing a cruise,” says Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor-in-chief of Cruise Critic. “In the cruise industry, many lines go above and beyond, but our awards narrow down the list to those that stand out as the best of the best.”

In 2012, the cruise industry also saw continued growth in the popularity of river cruises, and Cruise Critic recognized this by awarding these standout lines:

Best New River Ship: Viking Cruise Line’s Longships

The first six of Viking’s revolutionary Longships debuted this year, offering an airy ambience with plenty of big-ship amenities. And the ships are state-of-the-art when it comes to engineering, with hybrid engines and solar panels.

Best River Cruise Line: Uniworld River Cruises

In addition to its excellent service, what really sets Uniworld apart from other river lines is its lavish decor, superb cuisine, interesting assortment of themed tours in addition to the usual, and innovative ship designs.

Additional winners include:

Best for Luxury: Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Best Suites: Oceania Cruises

Best for Families: Royal Caribbean International
Best Inside Cabins: Disney Cruise Line – Disney Dream & Disney Fantasy

Best Itineraries: Azamara Club Cruises

Best for Adventure: Lindblad Expeditions

Best Standard Cabins: Holland America Line

Best Dining: Oceania Cruises

Best for Honeymoons: Windstar Cruises

Best Entertainment: Royal Caribbean International

Best Cruise Ship Bar: Carnival Cruise Line’s Alchemy
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