These Are The Most Hated Cruise Ships in the World (Plus, the Ones We Think You’ll Love)


Julia Mullaney

Cruise ships are one of the most affordable ways to see some of the world’s most beautiful spots. Whether you’re touring the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Europe, or elsewhere, traveling on a cruise ship is one of the easiest ways to see what the world offers.

First, we broke down the top five best cruise ships for your next trip based on ratings from

Starting on page six, we broke down the top five worst cruise ships for your next trip based on the CDC’s 2017 sanitation reports and guest reviews. Plus, get tips on how to avoid getting sick on your next cruise.

5. Harmony of the Seas, Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean Harmony of the seas cruise ship

There is plenty of entertainment. | kees torn/Wikimedia Commons

  • Leaves from Florida; Sails to Caribbean
  • CruiseCritic rating: 4/5

There is little to fault with the Harmony of the Seas. It’s packed with adventure, including an ice skating rink, water slides, and a zipline. CruiseCritic editors praised its entertainment options and family-friendly environment. Guests loved the cabins but thought they should have gotten a little more for their money (the value rating was a 3.9).

4. Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity

Cruiser ship Celebrity Equinox leaves the Meyer Papenburg shipyard en-route to Eemshaven

There is real grass on the ship. | Krafft Angerer/Getty Images

  • Sails from Florida; Sails to Caribbean
  • CruiseCritic rating: 4.27/5

This ship is one of the few that features real grass. Yes, there is a real grass lawn on the top of the ship, so you can lounge outside and feel like you’re in a park in the middle of the ocean. CruiseCritic editors loved its public lounge areas and thought it had exceptional service. Guests weren’t wowed by its shore excursions, but they did love its public rooms, cabins, and service.

3. Celebrity Reflection, Celebrity

Celebrity Reflection cruise ship

It’s a massive ship. | Ingo Wagner/AFP/GettyImages

  • Leaves from Florida, Europe; Sails to Caribbean, Mediterranean, Europe
  • CruiseCritic rating: 4.45/5

The Celebrity Reflection is the biggest ship in Celebrity’s “Solstice” class. It fits more than 3,000 passengers, yet still manages to be one of the highest-rated ships in the world. CruiseCritic editors said it had excellent value and loved its cabins, dining, and fitness and recreation. Guests thought its shore excursions lacked, but overall, the ship is one of Celebrity’s best.

2. Celebrity Silhouette, Celebrity

Celebrity Silhouette cruise ship at night

The cabins and dining got high marks. | Fred Hsu/Wikimedia Commons

  • Leaves from Florida, Bermuda; Sails to Caribbean, Mediterranean, Europe
  • CruiseCritic rating: 4.5/5

Yes, another one of Celebrity’s cruise ships made it on the list. CruiseCritic editors gave it five stars in cabins, dining, service, and fitness, among others. Guests thought the ship’s shore excursions and entertainment fell a bit flat. They rated them 3.6 and 3.8, respectively. But guests praised both the public rooms and cabins.

1. Allure of the Seas, Royal Caribbean

MS Allure of the Seas, the largest passenger ship ever constructed

The giant ship got pretty great ratings. | Boris Horvat/Getty Images

  • Leaves from Florida; Sails to Caribbean
  • CruiseCritic rating: 4.63/5

The Allure of the Seas ship, owned by Royal Caribbean, got outstanding reviews on from both guests and CruiseCritic editors. The ship scored five stars overall in cabins, dining, entertainment, and service, among others. The one place the ship faltered was in guests’ reviews of its shore excursion — but it still got a 3.9 in that area, which is well above average.

Next: These are the five worst cruise ships around. 

5. Crown Princess, Princess

Crown Princess cruise liner

There were some serious sanitation issues. | Andrea Pattaro/AFP/Getty Images

  • Sails from: Florida, Europe; Sails to: Caribbean, Mediterranean, Europe
  • CDC rating: 84/100

In an April 2017 report, the Crown Princess received one of the lowest scores of any cruise ship for sanitation. The report mostly found dining violations, such as improper storage of perishable items like yogurt and meat. The inspection also found that the ship had been storing its vegetables and butter directly underneath a fly trap. Guest reviews ranked both the entertainment and dining options only slightly above average. Reviewers also didn’t score the ship’s value highly.

4. Norwegian Sky, Norwegian

Big cruise ship Norwegian Sky

There were several sanitary violations. | photosvit/iStock/Getty Images

  • Sails from Florida; Sails to Caribbean
  • CDC rating: 83/100

The Norwegian Sky was in violation of several sanitary practices. According to a June 2017 report, the ship had several soiled or corroded machines in the kitchen and dining areas. Plus, the grill areas were not properly cleaned after meals. The ship had poor time control systems in place, meaning they couldn’t tell if food had been sitting out long enough to be contaminated. Guest reviews didn’t rave about the dining, entertainment, or cabins.

3. Carnival Vista, Carnival

Carnival vista cruise ship

There were several illnesses reported. | antonio/Wikimedia Commons

  • Sails from Texas, Florida; Sails to Caribbean
  • CDC rating: 79/100

According to a December 2017 report, several cases of acute gastroenteritis (severe stomach problems) were reported on this ship during 2017. The crew also reported symptoms of intestinal problems but still continued to work. The CDC also found that crew members intentionally tried to hide several food carts to avoid them being inspected. Guest reviews found the dining and shore excursions were both unimpressive.

2. Carnival Triumph, Carnival

Cruise ship Carnival Triumph on the Caribbean Sea

They were not properly cleaning dinnerware. | sgoodwin4813/iStock/Getty Images

  • Sails from New York City, Virginia, Florida, Louisiana; Sails to Caribbean, New England, Canada
  • CDC rating: 78/100

November 2017 report found that Carnival Triumph was not properly cleaning all of the dinnerware used by guests. The report also said the ship’s dairy cooler was at a temperature higher than it should have been, along with several other kitchen violations. Guest reviews found the dining and entertainment to be good, but not great. They also found the fitness and recreation options to be just okay.

Next: This is the No. 1 worst cruise ship for your travels. 

1. Carnival Breeze, Carnival

New Carnival Breeze Cruise Ship

Several food workers were ill and kept working. | Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Lines via Getty Images

  • Sails from Texas, Florida; Sails to Caribbean
  • CDC rating: 77/100

The Carnival Breeze had a slew of sanitation problems according to a December 2017 report. Several food workers had stomach problems but continued to work anyway. The crew was not properly disposing of food waste, and many of the machines used for food were full of debris. Guest reviews didn’t have too many complaints, but guests found that the dining and entertainment were both good but not great.

Avoid communal serving utensils

Cuisine Culinary Buffet Dinner Catering Dining Food Celebration

You’re better off dining a la carte. | Jure/Getty Images

The salad bar might seem appealing, but the utensils you’ll be touching definitely aren’t. Avoid buffet-style dining at all costs; plenty of hands touch the plates and serving utensils. Instead, dine a la carte. If that’s not an option, take what you want from the buffet, and avoid touching any of the food on your plate until you’ve washed your hands thoroughly.

Always report any sign of a sick passenger

Norovirus cruise ship

Several ships have had viral outbreaks. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

If you see something, say something. Sometimes, sick passengers try to hide because they’d rather enjoy their vacation on a struggling stomach than spend it in the infirmary. But when sick passengers roam the ship, outbreaks like norovirus happen. If you see someone get sick in the bathroom or anywhere else, alert one of the crew members. It’s not worth ruining your own vacation.

Use your own bathroom

Empty Public Bathroom Stalls

Avoid the public bathrooms. | Joe_Potato/iStock/Getty Images

Public restrooms are always a breeding ground for bacteria. And if you’re on a cruise ship, you’re never too far from your own private bathroom. If you have to go, avoid the germs of strangers by going in the bathroom only used by you or your family.

Carry hand sanitizer at all times

Carry it with you everywhere. | Elenathewise/iStock/Getty Images

It’s easy to forego washing your hands if there’s no sink nearby. But if you carry hand sanitizer with you everywhere, you’ll never have an excuse to not disinfect. You can greatly decrease your chances of getting sick if you wash your hands before you eat or touch your face. Plus, if you have a beach bag, you might want to carry disinfecting wipes, too. This way, you can quickly wipe down the table before you chow down on your meal.

Get all necessary vaccinations for your destination

injecting injection vaccine vaccination medicine flu woman docto

Don’t risk the illnesses. | scyther5/iStock/Getty Images

When you’re traveling to an island or a foreign country, you could come in contact with illnesses you likely wouldn’t get in the United States. That’s why it’s important to get all necessary vaccinations before leaving for your trip. Even if you think the risk is minimal, consult a doctor before leaving to get a professional opinion on whether or not you should be vaccinated. When it comes to diseases like yellow fever or typhoid, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

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