Cruise ships classification
Cruise sailboat from Windstar Cruises represents the standard class for sail cruises

Cruise ships classification

When looking for cruises tourists often face with such terms as "luxury cruise" or "premium cruise". But it is not always clear what lies behind these names as in the world there is no any full-fledged unified cruise ship classification system. Nevertheless, more or less common standards of cruise ships quality do exist.

Classification of cruises: ship classes

After decades cruise companies have adapted to define cruise ship class "by sight" and even invented a special vocabulary. Today generally accepted classes of ships are divided into:

- standard

- premium

- deluxe

A number of experts sometimes add other classes such as budget, deluxe, etc. But all such estimates are quite subjective.

The classes of ships are also divided in accordance with the size (displacement):

- small-class ships

- middle-class ships

- large-class ships

- superliners

Berlitz: the most authoritative rating of cruise ships

Criteria for evaluating ship classes are based on ratings of several authoritative guidebooks, the most respectable is an annual publication Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships. Berlitz system of classes is recognized as the most perfect among all existing on the market. In the cruise world Berlitz Cruise means practically the same as famous Michelin guide in the world of the restaurant business. To date Berlitz experts evaluate about 280 cruise ships from more than 60 cruise operators.

Berlitz classification system

According to the Berlitz classification system, ship class is determined by awarding points in the six main groups:

- The ship (age, displacement, etc.)

- Accommodation/cabins

- Food

- Entertainment

- Service

- Cruise organization

In total about 400 options of the liner are taken into account.

The class of liners is determined according to the number of points gained by each ship. Classes of liners are similar to the hotel classes. The highest level is 5*, while the lowest is 1*. Additional "deluxe" classes are 2+, 3+, etc also available.

Classification of cruise companies: Lifestyle

Cruise comfortability is determined not only by the age of ship or the number of dishes for breakfast. General entourage, which is difficult to take into account in the above six groups, is also a crucial criterion. Therefore, Berlitz invented an additional criterion "lifestyle", which classifies mostly cruise companies and defines recreation quality for different groups of passengers. It is accepted to divide companies into four groups: standard, premium, luxury and exclusive. Standard class usually includes almost all major cruise lines such as Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, NCL and many others. Premium class is presented by Celebrity Cruises and Windstar Cruises sailboats. Luxury class includes Cunard Line and Crystal Cruises. Exclusive class is the height of perfection and luxury. Here, as a rule, are presented single ships, not companies.

Internal classification of cruise companies

Major cruise companies have the so-called "internal" classification, which includes ratings and class names. As a rule, classes depend on the vessel displacement. Class names are given according to the name of the first ship, which served as the prototype for subsequent analogues. For example, Royal Caribbean International has 6 such classes, Carnival has 7.

Photo: Markus Lenk



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