Cruise Critic, the worlds' most visited cruise review website, has announced the winners of its twelfth annual Editor's Picks Awards.

With twenty awards for excellence, the consumer review website has recognised ships that lead the fleet in entertainment, nightlife, cabins and value for money.

The top honours were shared by two expedition class ships, the Greg Mortimer and Scenic Eclipse.

Best New Ship went to the unusual-looking Greg Mortimer with its inverse prow and green features such as "virtual anchoring" which allows the ship to maintain position without damaging the ocean floor.

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The unusual-looking Greg Mortimer was voted Best New Ship. Photo / Supplied
The unusual-looking Greg Mortimer was voted Best New Ship. Photo / Supplied

Scenic Eclipse was awarded the Best New Luxury Ship for its uniquely adventurous features. These include helicopters and a submarine to provide guests with expedition options from both above and below the waterline.

While the Editors' Choice awards were chosen by a panel of writers and industry experts, this year the website also held a Cruisers' Choice awards.

"This is the first time in the nine-year history of the global Cruise Critic Cruisers' Choice Awards that we have released winners specifically for Australians and New Zealanders," said Louise Goldsbury, Cruise Critic's Managing Editor, Australia.

Explorer of the Seas was voted the favourite large ship by Australian and Kiwi cruisers, with Cunard's Queen Victoria winning mid-sized ship and Ponant's Le Boreal voted top small ship, earlier this year.

Scenic Eclipse was awarded the Best New Luxury Ship. Photo / Supplied
Scenic Eclipse was awarded the Best New Luxury Ship. Photo / Supplied

However the awards were not without controversy.

Princess Cruises was awarded Best Shore Excursions "for its diverse range of tours to World Heritage sites, local cultural gems, Discovery and Animal Planet tours, and multi-night land adventures" in its itineraries from New Zealand, Australia and beyond.

However this award came just two days after a Princess Cruises Ship, the Golden Princess was embroiled in a controversy over a "poor-taste Māori pōwhiri" which greeted a shore excursion in the port of Tauranga on December 2.

Ngāi Te Rangi chief executive Paora Stanley said the display was
Ngāi Te Rangi chief executive Paora Stanley said the display was "silly, frustrating and insulting, all at the same time". Photo / File

The cruise line came under fire for a traditional welcoming ceremony that was deemed "insensitive" and "pantomime" like, conducted by non-Māori men in crude makeshift costumes and poorly drawn "scribbles" on their faces.

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Princess Cruises issued an "unreserved apology" and told the Herald they hoped to work with them and tangata whenua to ensure this never happened again.

"We hope Princess Cruises can use the community's reaction as a cultural guideline for future engagement with tangata whenua in Aotearoa and abroad."

Cruise critic has been contacted for comment.

Cruise Critic's Editors' Picks

Best New Ship: Greg Mortimer

Best Ship Refurbishment: Explorer Dream

Best for Adventure: Coral Expeditions

Best for Entertainment: Holland America Line

Best for Families: Royal Caribbean International

Best Itineraries: Ponant

Best Shore Excursions: Princess Cruises

Best for Solo Sailors: Cruise & Maritime Voyages

Best Value for Money: Carnival Cruise Line

Best Port of call: South Pacific Conflict Islands with P&O