Carnival Cruise Line Comes Out on Top for Best Service and Crew

Carnival Cruise Line comes out on top for the best service and crew in the annual Cruise Hive Awards for 2023.

Carnival Cruise Line was voted Best Cruise Line for Service and Crew in the 2023 Cruise Hive Awards. The fun ship line scored highest among nine competing cruise brands, edging out Royal Caribbean, which came in second place.

Crew Members a Cornerstone of Sailing’s Success

Cruisers know that the success of any vacation at sea is closely tied to the level of service guests receive from the ship’s crew, including cabin stewards, waitstaff, bartenders, and others, all of whom help set the tone of a sailing.

Carnival Cruise Line received 28.79% of the votes in the category, followed by Royal Caribbean, which received 21.98%. The remaining brands earned far lower percentages, including some in the single digits.

The Cruise Hive Awards opened on October 1 and closed on December 22, with all valid votes tabulated to select the winners in each of the eight award categories.

As a new awards category this year, the service-and-crew acknowledgment calls attention to the thousands of onboard workers who keep things running smoothly across virtually every area of the ship.

Best Service and Crew
Best Service and Crew

Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy points out on the brand’s website that 120 nationalities are represented in the line’s employee manifest, which includes 35,000 crew and shoreside staff. The line’s employee mantra is “Inclusion, Equity, Diversity.”

The line operates 26 ships of varying sizes and with crew members proportionate to the capacity of guests. Its largest ship, Carnival Jubilee, which entered service in late December 2023, carries 5,400 guests in double occupancy along with 1,735 crew.

Carnival Touted For Employee Policies

The brand’s parent company, Carnival Corporation, operates nine cruise lines and is routinely the recipient of industry awards that recognize its positive employee policies.

In 2023, Carnival for the third consecutive year, was named to the Forbes Global Employers List, which honors exceptional global employers. Inclusion on the list identifies Carnival as a stellar international employer that promotes a positive workplace and outstanding employment opportunities.

Carnival President Visits the Crew
Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line

Also, for the third year in a row, Carnival Cruise Line was named one of the top 25 companies for Latino employees by Latino Leaders Magazine in 2023. The criteria for receiving the honor is inclusivity-focused and is based on outreach and recruitment initiatives, career opportunities, leadership development efforts, and diversity representation in the boardroom, to name a few.

Most Competitors Fall Far Behind Carnival Cruise Line

Other cruise lines that earned scores in the best service and crew category of the Cruise Hive Awards included Celebrity Cruises, which received 11.62% of the votes, putting it in third place. 

Six more cruise lines garnered votes, but all were single-digit percentages: Norwegian Cruise Line, 8.96%; Princess Cruises, 6.88%; Holland America Line, 6.66%; Disney Cruise Line, 5.92%; Virgin Voyages, 5.11%; and MSC Cruises, 4.07%.

Best Cruise Line for Service and Crew
Best Cruise Line for Service and Crew

The lower percentages could be a result of smaller fleet sizes of the competitors. For example, Disney Cruise Line has just five ships, so far fewer people sail aboard Disney ships versus Carnival ships. Ditto for Virgin Voyages, which operates four ships. Also, some lines, such as MSC Cruises, are better known in Europe than in the US.

The service and crew award is one of two new categories added to the annual Cruise Hive Awards. The other was Best Booking Experience, which also was won by Carnival Cruise Line.

The category covers all aspects of making cruise vacation reservations, including how easy a cruise line’s website is to navigate and find ships, itineraries, and sailing dates. The awards have been an annual feature since 2014, and offer cruiser insights into different brands and experiences.

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