Demystifying Cruise Ship Ratings

Cruise ship ratings exist to help customers find the level of quality they want, and are willing to pay for, at sea. Our ratings range from 1 to 6 stars, with 6 stars representing exceptional quality in every way.

As a general rule, we do not recommend or represent any ship rated less than 3 stars, but occasionally an older ship with an established cruise line might drop below 3 stars before being sold or refurbished.

A 6-star cruise ship is not only the best of the best for sea-going vacations, but in my opinion, it also delivers the highest overall service and quality of any vacation on the planet.

Many elements are considered in rating a ship, including the service level (room steward, waiters, purser's desk, etc.), food quality and presentation, the onboard facilities and amenities, and the physical condition of the ship's accommodations and public areas.

Some inaccuracy is inherent in the process of assigning a single numerical rating to an entire ship. For example, a vessel might deliver 5-star food service and 4-star entertainment, and a star rating of 4.5 would not perfectly describe either aspect.

Many ships change in ratings over time. An aging ship may decline a half-star or more due to physical condition, and then be brought back to its original condition (and rating) by a major refurbishment. We list the dates of refurbishments on the ship profile pages on our site.

Personal preference also plays a big part in the perception of a ship's overall quality. After receiving tens of thousands of post-cruise surveys in the past year alone, I can say that even the most experienced cruisers do not agree on a ship's rating. One may weight the dining experience most heavily, while another may be more focused on kid's programs, including facilities and counselors.

Still, the imperfect rating system is the best method for comparing one ship to another in the selection process, and you can see all of our ship ratings by clicking here. Our ratings are based on industry standards, the personal experience of our 500+ cruise counselors and managers, and the surveys and feedback we receive from our customers.

I've gathered all the best deals according to ship rating, for sailings in the next 90 days. Keep in mind that prices reflect the ship's quality, and whatever rating you select, you'll be getting the best vacation value for your money.

Click any link below to see for yourself:

Best deals in the next 90 days, by ship rating

6-Star ships (Exceptional)
5- and 5½-Star ships (Excellent)
4- and 4½-Star ships (Very Good)
3- and 3½-Star ships (Good)


Alan Fox
Executive Chairman
Vacations To Go

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