Thursday, 26 September 2013

Berlitz Crowns New Top Ship

In the new 2014 edition of Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships, author Douglas Ward crowns Europa 2 the top-rated ship – the first new ship to claim the title in 14 years – knocking her older sister off the pedestal. Other ships that have held this honour in the 29-year lifetime of the Guide - the seafaring equivalent of the Oscars - include Royal Viking Sea (now Albatros), Royal Viking Sun and Sagafjord
The app version of this much-anticipated ‘bible of cruising’, Berlitz Cruise Ships 2014, is already out, ahead of the UK’s National Cruise Week, September 21-29, and the full paperback and ebook formats will be published in the UK on October 1.
Available for all Apple devices, the App (below) is the perfect cruise planning tool. Its 285
hard-hitting reviews help every cruise-goer, whether solo, senior, family or first time cruiser, to choose the right ship. The internationally accepted Berlitz rating system takes into account a remarkable 400 items based on personal experience. Highlights include:

  • A new No.1 ship for the first time in more than a decade.
  • 285 ocean-going ships are rated and reviewed by the world’s foremost cruise authority, Douglas Ward.
  • 5 completely new ships debuting in the 2014 edition.
  • Lots of full-colour photography, including interior shots of many ships.
  • Filter and search options help cruisegoers choose a vessel and voyage according to their needs, criteria include: cuisine, entertainment, accommodation, size of ship and many others.
  • A detailed FAQ section with knowledgeable and reliable answers.
  • A comparison of the cabin facilities, food and dining services.


Only two ships have achieved the score required to be in the most exclusive 5-star+ category, Europa and the recently introduced Europa 2, both from Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.
It’s the first time since 1989 that two ships belonging to the same company (Hapag-Lloyd Cruises) have achieved a 5-star+ rating – previously Royal Viking Sea and Royal Viking Sky (Royal Viking Line).
Small is beautiful according to the ratings in the 2014 App, with 11 out of 12 top-rated 5-star+/5-star cruise ships being Small or Boutique-sized vessels. Of the top 10 Large Resort Ships, five belong to Celebrity Cruises, while The three top-rated Large Resort Ships are all Cunard Line ‘Queens’, Queen Mary 2 (Grill Class), Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria.
Seabourn dominates success in the combined Small and Boutique Ships categories, with
six vessels out of the top 20, namely Seabourn Quest, Odyssey, Sojourn, Legend, Spirit and Pride.
In the highly regarded Small Ships category, five of the top 10 are Silversea vessels, while SeaDream have two of the top three in the Boutique category.
Quirky fact: The seven top-rated 4-star cruise ships (not including 4-star+) all begin with the letter A: Azamara Journey, Azamara Quest, Artania, Adonia, AIDAblu, Aurora and Amsterdam.

The complete rankings of the top five ships in the four size categories (with a maximum of 2,000 points) are:

Top 5 Large Resort Ships (with more than 1,750 passengers)

Queen Mary 2 (Grill Class) 1673pts
Queen Elizabeth 1585
Queen Victoria
Celebrity Reflection
Celebrity Silhouette

Top 5 Mid-size Ships (751 – 1750 passengers)

Crystal Serenity 1714pts
Crystal Symphony 
Asuka II

Top 5 Small Ships (251 – 750 passengers)

Europa 2 1860pts
Silver Spirit
Silver Whisper
Silver Shadow

Top 5 Boutique Ships (50 – 250 passengers)

Hanseatic 1765pts
SeaDream I
SeaDream II
Sea Cloud
Sea Cloud II

Commenting on the new champion, author Ward said: “Europa 2 is a stunningly spacious, top-notch informal ship for sophisticated cosmopolitan travellers and their families - the benchmark in contemporary cruising. The choice of dining venues and types of cuisine are excellent and the service is attentive and friendly but unobtrusive. It all adds up to the very best informal cruise ship available today – unless you own a private motor yacht.”


Douglas Ward is the world’s top authority on cruising and cruise ships, with more than 45
years of experience and over 5,900 days at sea. He continues to spend up to 200 days per year aboard cruise ships, inspecting and evaluating their facilities and service.

Fully updated and revised, the Berlitz Cruise Ships 2014 App (£6.99) is available for Apple devices at the iTunes store. In addition, 2014 Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships (752 pages) will be available in book and ebook formats from October 1, both priced £17.99. For further information, visit