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- #1Celebrity Cruises#1 in Best Cruises from San Diego (tie)
Launched in 2010 and scheduled for refurbishment in November 2020, the 2,850-passenger Eclipse is one of Celebrity's largest vessels. About 85 percent of Eclipse's accommodations include verandas, and those who splurge on suites and Aqua Class staterooms receive butler service and access to exclusive specialty dining. All cabins offer interactive flat-screen TVs and 24-hour room service.
As far as activities go, travelers can stay active at the Lawn Club, lounge by three pools, participate in cooking classes and shop at a variety of upscale boutiques. In the evenings, cruisers can enjoy theme parties, comedy acts and Broadway-style shows. Meanwhile, kids programming (geared toward guests ages 3 to 17) includes karaoke, Xbox consoles and organized games.
When it comes to dining, past cruisers praised the variety of casual and formal choices. The ship offers 11 eateries, including five specialty venues where reservations are required and additional charges apply. From the room stewards to the restaurant servers, Celebrity Eclipse's staff was also a point of praise among recent guests.
- #1Disney Cruise Line#1 in Best Cruises from San Diego (tie)
The 2,713-passenger Disney Wonder first debuted in 1999 and was updated in fall 2016, rolling out new family-oriented amenities and entertainment offerings like meet and greets with Disney characters and Frozen, A Musical Spectacular.
The ship offers plenty of onboard activities, with 10 designated family areas, six youth clubs and seven adults-only spaces. While younger passengers play at age-appropriate clubs, grown-ups can relax at the adults-only Quiet Cove Pool. Infants and toddlers in swim diapers are limited to specified kids' wet play and splash areas (this is a requirement by the United States Public Health Service, not a Disney-specific rule).
In terms of dining, Disney Wonder offers six options, including one adults-only specialty restaurant. At night, adults can unwind and enjoy After Hours, a section of the ship that features three nightclubs and lounges.
Like the majority of the ship, staterooms are designed with families in mind. Interior staterooms can accommodate up to four passengers, while larger Suites can sleep up to seven. All cabins come equipped with flat-screen TVs, seating areas and classic Disney designs. Recent cruisers noted the expensive cost of a trip on the Disney Wonder, but most felt the quality of service was top-notch.
- #3Celebrity Cruises#3 in Best Cruises from San Diego (tie)
The 2,218-passenger Celebrity Millennium debuted in 2000 and was fully refurbished in February 2019. The renovation added brand-new staterooms, updated the ship's design and technology, debuted a new lounge area and more.
When it comes to dining, Celebrity Millennium offers eight restaurants, ranging from the Tuscan Grille steakhouse to Qsine, an interactive restaurant with iPad menus (both require an extra fee). The ship also offers an array of bars and lounges, including the popular Cellar Masters wine bar.
While the ship offers programming for children, most of the activities are geared toward adults. Onboard enrichment includes language lessons, art classes and Zumba lessons. The ship also features a rooftop terrace with an outdoor movie screen.
- #3Holland America Line#3 in Best Cruises from San Diego (tie)
Originally launched in 2008 and updated in late 2015, Eurodam carries up to 2,104 passengers and 876 crew members.
The ship’s 11 decks include five cabin categories: Interior staterooms (141 to 284 square feet), Ocean View and Verandah staterooms, and Signature and Neptune Suites. All cabins come equipped with plush Euro-Top mattresses and flat-screen TVs. Suites received updates to the furniture, carpeting and bathrooms, as well as a USB outlet on the bed's headboard and a Bose Bluetooth speaker.
Recent cruisers of Eurodam were pleased with the versatile selection of nine dining venues. Most notably, the ship offers Tamarind, which serves exotic fare from Southeast Asia, China and Japan.
Daytime activities range from the new America's Test Kitchen to the BBC Earth Experiences. More active pursuits include two swimming pools and sports courts. In the evenings, passengers can sip cocktails at one of the bars or lounges or take in a show at the Lincoln Center Stage or B.B. King's Blues Club.
- #3Holland America Line#3 in Best Cruises from San Diego (tie)
Launched in 2016, the 2,650-passenger Koningsdam is one of Holland America's newest ships and the first in the more contemporary Pinnacle Class. Passengers can participate in everything from cooking classes to duty-free shopping, or simply relax by the pool or at the spa.
Guests can spend their evenings playing casino games or watching stage shows and musical acts through partnerships with Lincoln Center and Billboard magazine. While the ship does offer youth clubs for children ages 3 to 17, most of the entertainment and activities are geared toward adults.
When hunger strikes, passengers can choose between 11 dining venues, ranging from the casual New York Pizza & Deli to the more formal Pinnacle Grill steakhouse.
The ship's cabin categories are also diverse. Staterooms range from Interior and Ocean View cabins that range from 151 to 231 square feet, to Verandah rooms and three Suite categories.
- #6Celebrity Cruises#6 in Best Cruises from San Diego (tie)
First introduced in 2001, the 2,218-passenger Celebrity Summit was recently renovated in March 2019 and offers unique activities and acts, like a rooftop terrace with an outdoor movie screen. The renovation added new staterooms, lounge areas and more. The ship also features laid-back venues like the Sunset Bar (which offers spectacular ocean views) and the Cellar Masters wine bar. Cruisers looking for some R&R can retreat to the spa, the outdoor pool or the adults-only indoor solarium. Meanwhile, children ages 3 to 17 can participate in pool games and Xbox tournaments at the ship's kids clubs.
When it comes to dining, there are eight venues on board, including a handful of specialty spots (for an added fee) serving up creative cuisine ranging from French to Italian fare. While some recent cruisers noted long lines and average food at the buffet, most travelers were in agreement when it came to the wait staff and room stewards: service was prompt and friendly.
Speaking of rooms, Summit offers the same four cabin categories found on other Celebrity ships (Inside, Ocean View, Veranda and Suite). Cabins are generally a bit smaller, and only 58 percent feature balconies. Cruisers will find flat-screen TVs, bathrobes and 24-hour room service in all staterooms.
- #6Holland America Line#6 in Best Cruises from San Diego (tie)
Launched in 2000, Zaandam attracts older, more sophisticated travelers, with onboard activities catering more to those in need of R&R than those seeking an adrenaline rush. The 1,432-passenger ship carries up to 604 crew members and was most recently updated in 2017. It is designed to cater to fewer guests while offering spacious common areas.
While active pursuits include sports courts and a fitness center, the majority of onboard activities are geared toward enrichment, such as America's Test Kitchen, BBC Earth Experiences and Digital Workshops powered by Windows. The ship also offers kids clubs for passengers ages 3 to 17.
Most recent guests described the cabins as comfortable. Inside and Ocean View cabins measure between 151 and 267 square feet – large enough to fit a queen bed (or two twin beds), a sitting area and a vanity space. Travelers were also pleased with the multiple onboard restaurants, ranging from the casual Lido Market buffet to Canaletto, which serves Italian fare.
In 2019-20, Zaandam sails from Boston, Buenos Aires, Fort Lauderdale, Montreal, Rio de Janiero, Santiago, Chile, and more for itineraries in Canada, New England, South America, Europe, the Caribbean, Antarctica and beyond.
- #6Princess Cruises#6 in Best Cruises from San Diego (tie)
Emerald Princess, which debuted in 2007 and was recently updated in April 2019, is one of the largest ships in the fleet. It carries up to 3,080 passengers and 1,200 crew members, and it offers balconies in 80 percent of its exterior cabins. Recent cruisers describe the accommodations as sleek and spacious.
While groups can opt for a Family Suite for more square footage, those who splurge on Suite category cabins are granted perks like specialty dining and priority disembarkation at ports. All cabins come equipped with flat-screen TVs and minifridges. What's more, as of August 2020, each guest aboard Emerald Princess will receive an OceanMedallion wearable device to unlock his or her stateroom, make onboard payments, track down friends and family and more.
Activities include duty-free shopping boutiques, the Lotus Spa and a photography studio. In the evenings, theater shows, outdoor movies and multiple lounging areas keep cruisers entertained. The ship also offers age-appropriate youth clubs; in fact, the Camp Discover Youth & Teen Centers were refreshed during the refurbishment. With four pool areas, seven whirlpool spas, the newly reimagined Sanctuary and an abundance of dining venues – including seven specialty restaurants – the ship rarely felt crowded (according to most passengers). Guests will be especially fond of the new Steamers Seafood restaurant and Planks BBQ venue.
- #6Royal Caribbean International#6 in Best Cruises from San Diego (tie)
Serenade of the Seas first debuted in 2003, but don't underestimate what a facelift can add. After some extensive upgrades in 2012 and again in 2017, the ship now features more dining options, upgraded cabin amenities, new lounges and bars and a poolside movie screen.
Guests can dine at three complimentary eateries, including the two-level main dining room. The six specialty venues include Izumi Asian Cuisine, Rita's Cantina and more.
Recent passengers were complimentary of the service across the ship. With up to 2,476 guests and 848 crew members, the ship maintains a crew-to-passenger ratio of 1-to-3. Similar to other Royal Caribbean ships, Serenade of the Seas features four stateroom categories: Interior, Ocean View, Balcony and Suite. Studio Interior rooms cater to solo travelers at 108 square feet, while groups can opt for Suites that span 282 to 1,156 square feet. All cabins include flat-screen TVs and updated showers.
During the day, travelers can enjoy a rock climbing wall, a mini-golf course and six pools and whirlpools. Evening entertainment is a just as varied, ranging from Broadway-style performances to acrobatic shows. You'll also have your pick of many bars and lounges.
- #10Holland America Line#10 in Best Cruises from San Diego
Recently updated in 2018, Maasdam can carry up to 1,258 passengers and 569 crew members. Traveling with fewer guests means there are more spots in onboard learning programs like BBC Earth Experiences and the popular Digital Workshop, powered by Windows. Plus, you'll likely find fewer crowds at the pool deck and in the Greenhouse Spa. While the ship does offer youth clubs for kids, most activities are geared toward adults. In 2018, Holland America Line introduced the new EXC In-Depth Voyages aboard the Maasdam, which explore fascinating corners of the world over 12 to 32 days. Passengers can also participate in excursions on smaller Zodiac boats to get up close and personal with the destinations' flora and fauna.
Dining options on Maasdam range from steaks and seafood at the Pinnacle Grill to pasta dishes at the Canaletto Restaurant to vegetarian and low-carb plates at the Rotterdam Dining Room. Interior cabins are appointed with sofas and flat-screen TVs, while travelers who upgrade to Lanai staterooms receive private balconies. For more luxury, splurge on one of three suite categories, which include whirlpool baths and access to a private lounge area (in Neptune suites).
Disclaimers about ship ratings: A ship’s Health Rating is based on vessel inspection scores published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If a ship did not receive a CDC score within 22 months prior to the calculation of its Overall Rating, its Health Rating appears as N/A; in such a case, the ship’s Overall Rating is calculated using the average Health Rating of all CDC-rated ships within the cruise line. All ship Traveler Ratings are based on ratings provided under license by Cruiseline.com.
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