10 Worst Rated Cruise Lines on the Seas

Booking with one of these companies doesn’t mean you’re in for a nightmare at sea — but past customers have some complaints you should probably consider.

adventure and travel during sunset
Updated June 7, 2024
Fact checked

We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

As popular as cruise vacations are, there’s quite a bit that can go wrong on a cruise ship — from issues with food and/or restaurants to packed or oversold amenities to sub-par accommodations. 

And while cruises are often an excellent choice for the bargain vacationer, past customers have some warnings about popular cruise lines.

Ready to step up your travel game? We scoured online reviews to get a list of the 10 lowest-rated cruise lines — and what customers had to say about each.

If you’re over 50, take advantage of massive travel discounts and trip-planning resources

Over 50 and love traveling? Join AARP today — because if you’re not a member, you could be missing out on huge travel perks. When you start your membership today, you can get discounts on hotels and resorts, airfare, cruises, car rentals, and more.

How to become a member today:

  • Go here, select your free gift, and click “Join Today”
  • Create your account (important!) by answering a few simple questions
  • Start enjoying your discounts and perks!

An AARP membership not only unlocks discounts that could save you hundreds on your next trip, but you’ll also have access to deals on vacation packages, guided tours, and exclusive content to help plan your next getaway.

Important: Start your membership by creating an account here and filling in all of the information (do not skip this step!). Doing so will allow you to take up to 25% off your AARP membership, making it just $12 per year with auto-renewal.

Become an AARP member now

Costa Cruises

IB Photography/Adobe costa toscana cruise ship

Costa Cruises offers some incredible bargain vacations around the world — from Mediterranean voyages to treks to Dubai and United Arab Emirates — but customers have not always been pleased.

The cruise line has a 3.0 overall rating on Cruise Critic, a site where customers can leave reviews, making it the lowest-rated cruise line on this list. Former passengers had an array of complaints ranging from food to technology to things like bars onboard being closed.

MSC Cruises

Stefan Lambauer/Adobe msc orchestra sailing during sunset

MSC Cruises is a European company that offers many great bargains for trips to the Caribbean, the Bahamas, the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, and beyond.

While you’ll find plenty of happy customer reviews online, the line’s overall Cruise Critic rating is on the lower side — 3.3 — and previous customers tended to have issues with the food, restaurant service, cleanliness, and staff being generally disorganized.

P&O Cruises

Alexander/Adobe p and o cruise liner

Britain-based P&O; Cruises certainly has some perks — it sails to more than 70 destinations worldwide, and it’s one of the only cruise companies that has adults-only ships.

However, its Cruise Critic rating, 3.5, leaves a bit to be desired. While customers generally seemed to be pleased with the ships themselves, as well as onboard entertainment, several customers found their accommodations unsatisfactory and were unhappy with the food options.

Earn a $250 travel bonus with this incredible card

There's a credit card that's making waves with its amazing bonus and benefits. The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card has no annual fee and you can earn 25,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

You can earn additional points just by using this card for your everyday purchases — unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases. The 25,000 bonus points can be redeemed for a $250 statement credit toward travel or dining purchases.

If you want to travel and dine out more, the Travel Rewards card can help you get where you want to go.

The best part? There's no annual fee.

Click here to apply now.

Norwegian Cruise Line

9parusnikov/Adobe norwegian jade luxury cruise ship

Norwegian prides itself on giving its passengers the “freestyle” vacation experience on all its ships — offering plenty of dining options, entertainment, and amenities with no set schedule so guests can enjoy at their leisure.

While one of the perks is that Norwegian has a huge number of bargain cruise options, previous customers had some serious complaints. The company’s Cruise Critic rating is 3.6, with the food, service, and lack of nighttime entertainment being common complaints.

Regent Seven Seas

Fitz/Adobe regent seven seas cruise ship

Regent Seven Seas is a luxury cruise line that offers all-inclusive experiences around the world. While you’ll find many happy past customers online, others had some serious concerns and issues.

The company’s overall rating on Cruise Critic is 3.7, with many of the complaints focused on onboard issues — either with the ship's mechanics or with cabins — and trouble reaching and getting answers or refunds from management.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

Paul Cartwright/Adobe fred olsen cruise lines ship

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines offers cruisers opportunities to see some unique ports as it operates smaller ships. From cruising around Norway’s fjords to a trek through the Adriatic Sea, the British company has many adventures to choose from.

The cruise line’s overall rating on Cruise Critic is 3.7 as of spring 2024, and guests had some serious complaints about crowded ports, issues with itineraries, and whether the vacation packages were worth the price tags.

Carnival Cruise Lines

NAN/Adobe carnival conquest cruise ship

Carnival is one of the more well-known cruise companies in the U.S. While its Cruise Critic rating is not terrible — 3.8 out of 5 — many customers had serious complaints.

A perk of booking with Carnival is it offers serious bargains and cruises worldwide, from the Bahamas to Alaska to Australia. While guests generally reported enjoying perks like views from their cabin balconies, many complaints were lodged about food and the boarding process.

Princess Cruises

dbvirago/Adobe sky princess cruise ship

Like Carnival, Princess Cruises did not have a terrible rating on Cruise Critic — 3.8 — but the customers who did have complaints had serious ones. The price versus value was a common concern, with several customers questioning whether the excursions offered on board were worth the extra cash.

On the plus side, Princess runs the gamut with cruising options — with destinations ranging from the California Coast to the Caribbean to Tahiti and the South Pacific.


Nikolai Varbanov/Adobe black and white cruise ship

One of the great things about Cunard is the array of voyages it offers — from short trips across the Atlantic to grand and world voyages across and around Asia, Australia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas.

With that being said, the cruise line’s overall rating on Cruise Critic is 3.8, and many customers complained about food (mainly the wait to get both buffet and restaurant food).

Earn cash back on everyday purchases with this rare account

Want to earn cash back on your everyday purchases without using a credit card? With the Discover®️ Cashback Debit Checking account (member FDIC), you can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month!1

With no credit check to apply and no monthly fees to worry about, you can earn nearly passive income on purchases you’re making anyway — up to an extra $360 a year!

This rare checking account has other great perks too, like access to your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay, no minimum deposit or monthly balance requirements, over 60K fee-free ATMs, and the ability to add cash to your account at Walmart stores nationwide.

Don’t leave money on the table — it only takes minutes to apply and it won’t impact your credit score.

Apply for a Discover Cashback Checking account today


Brad Nixon/Adobe cruise ship silver muse

Silversea is another luxury liner that guests had some serious complaints about. A perk of booking with Silversea is the all-inclusive packages — guests can enjoy an array of premium wines and spirits, in-suite dining, butler service with every suite, and more.

The company’s overall rating on Cruise Critic was 3.8 as well, and even negative reviewers praised the onboard service. It was the food and excursions/onboard activities that seemed to attract the most scorn.

Bottom line

Olena Zn/Adobe cruise ship near town perast

Even though these cruise lines have received some online jeering, they may offer some packages that work for you and your needs — just keep the shortcomings fellow cruisers have reported in mind when deciding if their vacation packages are worth your vacation budget. And use a great travel credit card to maximize your savings.

Easy-to-Earn Unlimited Rewards


Card Details

  • Earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
  • Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases
  • Longer intro APR on qualifying purchases and balance transfers
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Apply Now
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire as long as your account remains open.
  • 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.
  • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want - you're not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions.
  • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for travel or dining purchases, such as flights, hotel stays, car and vacation rentals, baggage fees, and also at restaurants including takeout.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the Intro APR offer ends, a Variable APR that’s currently 19.24% - 29.24% will apply. A 3% Intro balance transfer fee will apply for the first 60 days your account is open. After the Intro balance transfer fee offer ends, the fee for future balance transfers is 4%.
  • If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards® member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means instead of earning an unlimited 1.5 points for every $1, you could earn 1.87-2.62 points for every $1 you spend on purchases.
  • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap.
  • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.
Bank of <span class='whitespace-nowrap'>America<sup>®</sup></span> Travel Rewards credit card
Apply Now

on Bank of America’s secure website

Read Card Review

Intro Offer

Earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases

Annual Fee



Why we like it

Author Details

Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore

Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore is a seasoned freelance writer who also teaches writing courses at Rutgers University. She's based in Jersey City and enjoys travel, live music and, of course, spending quality time with her pup.