MANY luxury cruise ships based in Southampton have been named as the best in their category by British holiday makers.

Ten liners which sail from Southampton were named as the best in their category after members of the public voted for their favourites in the Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Awards.

It was Celebrity Cruises which came out on top with two of its fleet being praised in the large ship class (2,000-plus passengers).

Celebrity Eclipse won best shore excursions, best fitness, best cabins and best cruise from the UK, while Celebrity Silhouette won best value for money.

Privilege Families across the UK felt that Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas – which until the end of last year sailed from Southampton – was the best for them.

Large ship P&O Cruises’ Aurora (pictured) was named best for passengers embarking at Ocean Terminal while smaller ship Saga Sapphire was also noted.

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The top ten ships in each class were named in a range of categories from their overall design to the type of on-shore excursions they provide.

Ships were placed into three categories according to the number of passengers they carry.

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines won two mid-size (1,200 to 1,999 passengers), and three small ship (less than 1,999 passengers) categories, for Balmoral and Black Watch respectively.

Saga Holidays took four of the small ship class awards with Saga Sapphire taking best overall ship, best dining, best embarkation and best cabins.

Robin Shaw, chief executive of Saga Shipping, said: “Being voted top in these categories is a real privilege, especially as cruisers have taken the time to go to Cruise Critic’s website and post their reviews.

“We take pride in the cruises that we offer and like to think we have considered all the small details to create magical moments.”

Azamara Club Cruises won three awards in the same category, with best entertainment going to Azamara Journey, while Azamara Quest was named best fitness and best for public rooms.

Awards are also given to the top-ranked ships in the popular cruise regions of Alaska, Bahamas, Caribbean and the Mediterranean.

Adam Coulter, UK editor at Cruise Critic, said: “The Cruisers’ Choice Awards recognise the top cruise lines, according to the review ratings submitted by cruisers over the past year, and because they are based on first-hand experiences, provide valuable insight to anyone researching a cruise holiday.”

The Southampton ships and the awards they won:

  • Large ship (2,000-plus passengers):
  • Celebrity Eclipse - best for cabins, best for fitness, best for shore excursions, best cruise from the UK;
  • Celebrity Silhouette - best for value;
  • P&O Aurora - best for embarkation;
  • Norwegian Epic - best for entertainment.
  • Medium ship (1,200 to 1,999 passengers):
  • Fred Olsen Balmoral - best for shore excursions, best for value.
  • Small ship (1,199 passengers or fewer):
  • Azamara Journey - best for entertainment;
  • Azamara Quest - best for fitness, best for public rooms;
  • Fred Olsen Black Watch - best for service, best for value;
  • Saga Sapphire - best cruise overall, best for cabins, best for dining, best for embarkation;
  • Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas was named best for families.