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Sailing the high seas: Top cruises for first-timers, families and excursions in 2017

The Disney Dream cemented its reputation as the gold standard in cruising, taking the title of best overall large ship for the third year in a row. ― AFP pixThe Disney Dream cemented its reputation as the gold standard in cruising, taking the title of best overall large ship for the third year in a row. ― AFP pixLOS ANGELES, Feb 16 ― Disney, Viking and Celebrity cruise ships have emerged the top-rated brands by cruisers around the world.

If you're thinking about sailing the high seas for your big vacation this year, consider checking out the results of the latest Cruisers' Choice Awards, which collected ratings and reviews from cruisers over the last 12 months.

In the seventh edition, a trio of cruise brands emerged the big winners along different categories, including large, mid-size, small-mid, and small ship class.

The Disney Dream cemented its reputation as the gold standard in cruising, taking the title of best overall large ship for the third year in a row.

The ship was also named best for cabins, service, public rooms and shore excursions.

The Disney Magic took the title of best overall ship in the mid-size category and was also named the best cruise ship for families.

Cruisers without small children and first-time cruisers, meanwhile, may want to check out the Viking Star, which was named the best ship for first-timers.

Unlike larger ships, the Viking Star is destination-focused, with port-intensive itineraries and longer than average calls that frequently drop anchor overnight, reads a staff review.

That also means fewer onboard amenities like casinos, organized activities and entertainment. The minimum age to sail is 16. A Nordic spa, however, is available and features a thalassotherapy pool, steam room, hot tub, sauna, and “snow grotto.”

The Viking Star is destination-focused, with port-intensive itineraries and longer than average calls that frequently drop anchor overnight.The Viking Star is destination-focused, with port-intensive itineraries and longer than average calls that frequently drop anchor overnight.The ship also won titles like best value, dining and cabins in the small-mid category.

The Celebrity Xpedition also won six awards in its class (small ship), including best overall, best value and shore excursions.

The awards are based on reviews submitted for cruises taken in 2016. Cruise Critic is the leading online cruise community with more than 160,000 reviews.

Here are some of the winners:

Best Cruise Overall

Disney Dream (Large) ― Disney Cruise Line

Disney Magic (Mid-Size) ― Disney Cruise Line

Viking Sea (Small-Mid) ― Viking Ocean Cruises

Celebrity Xpedition (Small) ― Celebrity Cruises

Best Cruise Ships for Dining

Celebrity Reflection (Large) ― Celebrity Cruises

Marina (Mid-Size) ― Oceania Cruises

Viking Star (Small-Mid) ― Viking Ocean Cruises

Wind Surf (Small) ― Windstar Cruises

Best Cruise Ships for Entertainment        

Allure of the Seas (Large) ― Royal Caribbean International    

Celestyal Crystal (Mid-Size) ― Celestyal Cruises          

Viking Sea (Small-Mid) ― Viking Ocean Cruises

Silver Shadow (Small) ― Silversea Cruises

Best Cruise Ships for Service

Disney Dream (Large) ― Disney Cruise Line

Marina (Mid-Size) ― Oceania Cruises

Viking Sea (Small-Mid) ― Viking Ocean Cruises

Paul Gauguin (Small) ― Paul Gauguin Cruises  

Best Cruise Ships for Shore Excursions

Disney Dream (Large) ― Disney Cruise Line

Celestyal Crystal (Mid-Size) ― Celestyal Cruises

Viking Sea (Small-Mid) ― Viking Ocean Cruises

Celebrity Xpedition (Small) ― Celebrity Cruises

Best Cruise Ships for Value           

Norwegian Sky (Large) ― Norwegian Cruise Line

Celestyal Crystal (Mid-Size) ― Celestyal Cruises

Viking Star (Small Mid) ― Viking Ocean Cruises

Celebrity Xpedition (Small) ― Celebrity Cruises

Best Cruises for Families

Disney Magic ― Disney Cruise Line  

Best for First Timers

Viking Star ― Viking Ocean Cruises ― AFP-Relaxnews

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