The Novice’s Guide to the Best Cruise Lines

Guest Post by Erica Kritt, The Cruise Web Team

Choosing a cruise line is not at all like booking a flight, or even a hotel. The ship you cruise on is just as much a part of your vacation as the destination you visit. To ensure a successful cruise, whether you’re sailing to the Mediterranean for a sightseeing experience or island hoping in the Caribbean, you’ll want to make sure your cruise ship matches your personality.

To help you understand the differences between the many cruise lines here’s a short primer, but remember this article just scratches the surface; there are many more cruise lines not listed below.

Most well-known cruise lines:

Carnival Cruises – Carnival is known for having a carefree fun atmosphere. It is definitely the most casual of any cruise line.

Royal Caribbean International – This cruise line is known for having lots of active features for the entire family to try, like the FlowRider (a simulated surf experience) and rock climbing walls. Their next ship, Quantum of the Seas, will have bumper cars and an apparatus that simulates skydiving.

Sammie's Breakaway 018
Water slides onboard the Norwegian Breakaway

Norwegian Cruise Line – Freestyle Cruising is this line’s adage. They pioneered the idea of having lots of specialty dining onboard, giving cruisers the chance to make their own schedules and eat when and where they want.

Celebrity Cruises – This ship is great for young couples, as it uses chic and sophisticated design to create intriguing spaces on the ship like the Lawn Club, where you can picnic or play bocce ball on a real grass lawn, or visit their AquaSpa, which offers a variety of relaxing services.

Princess Cruises – Best known from it’s starring role on the sitcom The Love Boat, Princess offers a myriad of itineraries all over the world. They have a wide variety of enrichment classes on board and feature innovative programming like Movies Under the Stars.

Viking Cruises – Viking is the best known river cruise company, giving passengers an educational and cultural experience as they visit small cities and towns along the rivers of Europe, Asia and Egypt. Viking will also be sailing the oceans starting in 2015.

bocce ball
Bocce ball on the Celebrity Reflection lawn

Deluxe and Luxury cruise lines:

Oceania Cruises – The focus on Oceania is food. Jacques Pepin serves as Executive Culinary Director. Two of their ships feature state-of-the-art culinary kitchens where you can take cooking classes. They have also cultivated daylong culinary discovery excursions in various ports.

Cunard Line – This cruise line represents a throw back to the heyday of cruising. With ballrooms and tea times, Cunard is a very British cruise line, known for its regular transatlantic crossings.

Regent Seven Seas – Regent offers luxury cruisers a completely all-inclusive experience. Their ships are more intimate and cruisers don’t have to lift a finger for anything; the service is impeccable.

Silversea Cruises – A luxury line that caters to those with a sense of adventure. Silversea offers several itineraries that they call Silversea Expeditions. These are cruises to Antarctica, the Galápagos Islands and other places where you are guided by a team of experts to uncover the natural beauty of the world.

Cruise ships in Nassau, Bahamas
Cruise ships in Nassau, Bahamas

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection – This luxury river cruise line offers ships with such exquisite decoration, you’ll feel like you’re sailing in a painting. From marble countertops to Egyptian cotton sheets, a Uniworld cruise is a rich experience.

To really find an itinerary and a cruise line to fit your personality you should consider consulting with a qualified cruise travel agent. As you can see the choices are seemingly endless, so may want to work with someone who has experience and can guide you to the ships which will fit your style — not to mention the best cruise deals.

Which cruise line seems perfect for you? Tell us in the comments section.

Erica Kritt works at The Cruise Web, a travel agency that specializes in cruising. The expert cruise consultants there focus on providing travelers with the best value for their time and money in finding and booking a cruise vacation.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Steve says:

    We’d like to see what Viking Cruises is offering as Sea excursions for 2015. Thanks for the note!

  2. I recently went on a Princess Cruise from Seattle to Alaska and was supremely impressed! The ship is huge and very clean and well kept and the staff were warm and friendly. A very awesome experience I highly recommend. Thank you for your insight and summary of the other cruise lines out there!

    1. Libby Vertz says:

      Thanks for the comment! It’s always great to hear a fellow traveler’s recommendations. I’ll have to keep Princess in mind when I do eventually go on a cruise.

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