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- #1Disney Cruise Line#1 in Best Cruises from San Diego
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.
In 2018-19, Disney Wonder departs from a range of ports, including Galveston, Texas, Port Canaveral (Orlando), Florida, Canada and California. It sails to destinations in Alaska, the Caribbean, the Panama Canal and more.
- #2Crystal Cruises#2 in Best Cruises from San Diego
On the heels of a dramatic 2017 redesign, Crystal Symphony (first launched in 1995) boasts new open seating and dining areas, new Penthouses and Penthouse Suites, high-tech features and reimagined public spaces. The one thing that hasn't changed is the exceptional customer service Crystal is known for; recent travelers noted the crew was warm, attentive and extremely professional.
The ship offers a variety of activities including fitness programs, musical performances and treatments at the feng shui-inspired spa. All accommodations offer ocean views, flat-screen TVs, mini fridges and bathtubs. Those who choose Penthouse category rooms receive additional privileges, like personal butler service.
New dining options include the Waterside dining room, modern Chinese-inspired fare at Silk Kitchen and Bar and a Marketplace and Churrascaria serving casual buffet breakfast and lunch options by day and Brazilian-style delicacies by night.
For 2018-19, Crystal Symphony cruises to destinations across the world, including ports in the Caribbean, New England and Canada, South America and the Far East. Its departure ports include Fort Lauderdale, Florida, New York, New Orleans and more.
- #3Celebrity Cruises#3 in Best Cruises from San Diego (tie)
Launched in 2010 and most recently updated in 2015, the 2,852-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.
- #3Holland America Line#3 in Best Cruises from San Diego (tie)
Launched in 2016, the 2,650-passenger ms 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.
- #5Holland America Line#5 in Best Cruises from San Diego
Originally launched in 2008 and updated in late 2015, ms 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 ms 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.
- #6Celebrity Cruises#6 in Best Cruises from San Diego
Launched in 2001 and most recently refurbished in October 2018, Celebrity Infinity boasts updated suites, an Italian steakhouse and a rooftop terrace. Other highlights include a wine bar and Qsine, an interactive restaurant complete with iPad menus.
The ship offers a total of nine dining venues, ranging from a casual pool grill to four specialty restaurants that require reservations and an additional fee. While recent cruisers felt that specialty dining was worth the cost, many noted that food quality was hit or miss in the main dining room.
When it comes to activities and entertainment, kids ages 3 to 17 can participate in youth clubs while adults get treatments that Canyon Ranch SpaClub or learn a new skill through a variety of enrichment courses.
As for accommodations, cruisers can choose from four lodging options: Inside, Ocean View and Veranda staterooms and Suites. For more luxury, passengers can upgrade to an Aqua or Concierge Class suite. All cabins are outfitted with flat-screen TVs, small sitting areas and 24-hour room service.
- #7Holland America Line#7 in Best Cruises from San Diego
Borrowing its name from the former city of New Amsterdam (now known as New York City), this 2,106-passenger member of the Holland America fleet launched in 2010 and is famous for its extensive art collection valued at more than $3 million. Guests can admire works from Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein through a complimentary self-guided iPod tour.
Passengers can also pass the time by the pool or in the Greenhouse Spa, while more enriching programs include the new America's Test Kitchen, the BBC Earth Experiences and photography classes in the Digital Workshop, powered by Windows. While the ship offers youth clubs for kids ages 3 to 17, most activities are geared toward adults.
When it comes to dining, guests can choose from seafood at the popular Sel de Mer French restaurant, New York Pizza on the pool deck, Asian delicacies at Tamarind and more. Several casual eateries and the main dining rooms are included at no extra cost.
Meanwhile, staterooms range from Interior cabins to expansive Signature, Neptune and Pinnacle Suites, all of which are equipped with Sealy Premium Euro-Top mattresses and flat-screen TVs.
- #8Holland America Line#8 in Best Cruises from San Diego (tie)
Launched in 2000, ms 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.
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.
- #8Royal Caribbean International#8 in Best Cruises from San Diego (tie)
Introduced in 2004 and last updated in 2016, Jewel of the Seas carries up to 2,702 passengers and 852 crew members. Though it is one of the smaller ships in the fleet, past cruisers said the lower capacity was a major plus.
The ship's smaller size also means more variety and space in the accommodations. Cabins range from 108-square-foot Interior cabins suitable for solo travelers to 1,107-square-foot Suites. Other options include Ocean View and Balcony cabins, and all staterooms include flat-screen TVs and minibars.
While Jewel of the Seas may boast slightly larger lodgings, it doesn't offer as many activities as the larger ships in the fleet. Still, the vessel contains three pools and three whirlpools, a rock climbing wall and a mini-golf course, among other facilities.
Guests can choose from eight dining options, including five specialty venues for an extra fee. Recent cruisers particularly recommend dining at Chops Grille steakhouse. Cap off your evening with a drink at one of 13 bars, clubs and lounges or with a performance at the three-story theater. If you're looking to test Lady Luck, venture to the ship's casino.
- #10Holland America Line#10 in Best Cruises from San Diego
Inaugurated in 2000, ms Amsterdam can carry up to 1,380 passengers and 647 crew members. With this passenger-to-crew ratio of nearly 2-to-1, recent cruisers said that customer service was a top priority.
Another high point for passengers: the accommodations. Options span from 182-square-foot Interior cabins to 1,296-square-foot Pinnacle Suites (including the verandas). About 80 percent of cabins offer ocean views, and all staterooms come equipped with flat-screen TVs and Holland America Line's Signature Mariner's Dream beds with Euro-Top mattresses.
The ship also offers enriching and relaxing onboard activities, from BBC Earth Experiences and photography classes in the Digital Workshop to massages at the Greenhouse Spa and reclining by the Lido pool. There are also several lounges (head to the Mainstage for performances and presentations), as well as a special area for kids and teens. However, on the whole, the ship is not the best for children.
When it comes to food, there are a number of options ranging from the casual Lido Market to the main dining room to the intimate Pinnacle Grill, which serves Pacific Northwest-inspired fare.
In 2018-19, ms Amsterdam departs from a variety of ports, including Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Sydney and Seattle. It sails to destinations in Hawaii and Tahiti, South America, Alaska and the Pacific Coast.
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.