The Best Ships for Hospitality - Cruise Ship Hospitality Expo America

The Best Ships for Hospitality

Retreat sundeck on Celebrity Equinox
The Retreat Sundeck on Celebrity Equinox

The quality of hospitality on a cruise can make or break a guest’s experience – and is one of the most important things to consider when choosing which line to go with, and which particular ship. We’ve pulled together a list of some of the best ships across all areas of hospitality, based on a number of well-known industry awards.

Food & beverages

Arguably, nothing is more crucial to the quality of a guest’s time on a cruise than the food and drink. The food & beverage category includes quality of cuisine, customer service, snacks, alcohol and more.

First off we have Celebrity Equinox – voted Best for Dining in the Cruisers’ Choice Awards 2019 by members of Cruise Critic. Celebrity are famed for their glamour and have a large range of complimentary and speciality dining on all their ships. This includes ‘Silhouette’, serving a wide choice of world dishes; ‘Murano’, catering to those with a taste for French food; ‘Qsine’ (formerly ‘Silk Harvest‘) for Asian-fusion cuisine; and ‘Tuscan Grille’, a classic American Steak House. As well as this, Aquaclass guests are able to dine at exclusive restaurant ‘Blu’ – offering Mediterranean spa style cuisine.  A member review on Cruise Critic describes an ‘abundance of options for gluten-free and dairy-free diners in both the dining room and the Ocean View café’, as well as a range of vegan milk options for hot drinks in the Café al Bacio coffee shop onboard Celebrity Equinox.

Oceania Cruises name their onboard culinary experiences ‘The Finest Cuisine at Sea’ – and they may be right, with two separate awards proving it. The Wave Awards, judged by a panel of experts and industry representatives, awarded Oceania ‘Best for Cuisine’ in their 2018 awards, and the British Cruise Awards gave Oceania ‘Best Culinary Experience’ in 2019. With ‘Culinary Discovery Tours’ onboard Oceania’s Marina and Riviera ships, the cruiser is taken on a tour of local culinary culture and regional cuisine during onshore outings. Once back on board, the traveller is treated to an assortment of restaurants covering a huge range of world cuisines – including French, Asian, Italian, and fusion dishes.


After a great night of drinking and fine dining, the cruiser returns to their room. It is essential that the high standard of services and goods is continued into the cabins – including accommodation design, quality of rest, and comfort.

First we have another award for Celebrity Equinox – Cruise Critic members this time voted Equinox as ‘Best for Cabins’ in the Cruisers Choice Awards 2019. Celebrity have a wide range of cabins, from their luxury suites to balcony staterooms to interior rooms, varying in price and size. A Cruise Critic member review describes the room as the “perfect size […] with so much light in the room”. Celebrity’s quality rooms also led them to be named Best for Onboard Accommodation in British Cruise Awards 2019 – voted for by Cruise International readers.

A panel of judges from AHEAD, the Awards for Hospitality Experience and Design, voted for the Yasushi Horibe-designed Guntu river cruise ship in the recent AHEAD Awards Asia in the transport category. Guntu is described by its makers as a “little nineteen-room hotel floating in the Seto Inland Sea”, and is a Japanese-inspired wooden structure built specifically for relaxation. Beating out competition from East Japan Railway and Anantara Hotels to grab the first prize, Guntu houses up to 38 guests, with 19 spacious timber-floored cabins informed by the Japanese ryokan.

Greenhouse Spa and Salon on a Holland America ship
The Greenhouse Spa & Salon on board ms Koningsdam


The other key part of hospitality is recreation – this is anything that people do for relaxation, rest or enjoyment. Cruise lines put a lot of money into recreation, pushing the boundaries of entertainment in the name of attracting more cruisers.

Royal Caribbean’s 6,680-capacity Symphony of the Seas won Best for Entertainment in Cruise Critic’s Cruisers Choice Awards 2019. With 18 decks of entertainment facilities, it’s easy to see why. Symphony of the Seas carries Royal Caribbean’s famous Bionic Bar – two robotic bartenders ready to make the cruiser a fresh cocktail – as well as holding multiple on-board shows, including an adaptation of Hairspray described as ‘amazing’ by one Cruise Critic user. Royal Caribbean’s dedication to onboard enjoyment also lead them to be voted for ‘Best Entertainment’ in Travel Weekly’s Reader’s Choice Awards 2018.

The British Cruise Awards from Cruise International awarded Holland America ‘Best for Onboard Spa & Wellbeing’ in 2019. Featured on all fourteen of Holland America’s ships, the Greenhouse Spa & Salon “nurtures every aspect of your well-being with renowned spa rituals and healing touches”, with the website also describing hair and nail services, treatment rooms, and specially located staterooms just steps from the spa.

The future of hospitality…

Cruise lines are always looking where to go next to improve their customers’ experiences on board – and a huge part of this is the quality of hospitality. A lot needs to be considered below decks on a cruise ship – from waste disposal to water purification to keeping the sheets clean – and all of the exhibitors at our Cruise Ship Hospitality Expo are part of the solution to the problems faced on board.

Interested in exhibiting at Cruise Ship Hospitality Expo? Take a look at the floor plan and apply to exhibit today!

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