How To Choose The Best Cruise Ship Size
Knowing how to choose the best cruise ship size can make or break your vacation. The size of the ship, not particularly the cruise line itself, is one of the most important factors people have to take into consideration when choosing which cruise to book. There is no such thing as the perfect size. The size of the ship is really contingent upon your lifestyle and vacationing preferences.
How To Choose The Best Cruise Line For You
There are tons of options when it comes to planning a cruise vacation. You may find yourself perusing cruise reviews and cruise deals aplenty, wondering how in the world youre going to narrow down a specific cruise line and itinerary that best fits your travel preferences and budget. And while cruise deals are easy to find, booking your best cruise vacation is more about finding one that makes sense for you, and less about grabbing last minute or all-inclusive cruise deals that you may not fully enjoy.
Deciding on a cruise vacation is a lot like planning any other vacation, only youre choosing your transportation, accommodations and oftentimes your activitiesall in one. Keep in mind that each cruise line has its own unique vibe, and what works for a large family may not appeal to a couple wanting a romantic getaway. Youll have to do a little bit of homework, but once you know what to look out foryoull alleviate some of the guesswork and perhaps feel more confident in choosing a cruise line that aligns with how you prefer to travel and spend your time while on vacation.
So, before you snag that all-inclusive cruise youve been eyeing, consider these helpful tips:
Cunard For Bucket Listjourneys And Old World Cruising
If youve been idealizing the luxurious world of sea travel since you first saw Kate & Leo on Titanic back in 1997, the closest youll come to that old world cruise experience is on Cunard. Oozing tradition at every turn, Cunards iconic black, white and red ships will take you back in time as you listen to classical music, enjoy Shakespeare performances and leaf through literature at the largest library at sea.
With iconic itineraries like the Transatlantic crossing on Queen Mary 2, Cunard offers bucket list experiences that can only be found on a cruise vacation. The crossing involves at least a week at sea, but there is truly no better way to experience this once-in-a-lifetime journey than in the comfort and luxury of a Cunard ship.
We hope you found this guide helpful in determining which are the best cruise lines for first time cruisers! Taking the time to think about what kind of traveler you are and which cruise line aligns most closely with your preferences can make a huge impact on your cruise experience! Not all cruises are the same so choose wisely. For further reading in this series, take a look at Cruising 101: First Time Cruise Tips.
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What Makes A Which Recommended Provider Cruise Line
Which? Recommended Providers are the cream of the crop and, as a minimum, we only consider giving the accolade to cruise lines that achieve a customer score of 70% or above.
Thats not all. We know that pricing transparency is important, so we only give the award to the companies that provide clear information about gratuities, excursions and drinks at the booking stage. After all, it’s hard for customers to compare prices if they can’t find these details before parting with their cash. If the companies fall down in more than one area, theyre not eligible to be Which? Recommended Providers, whatever score they receive in the survey.
Similarly, a cruise company can only be a WRP if it is committed to refunding customers promptly for any cancelled cruises. Neither Azamara or Seabourn could make this commitment for bookings cancelled due to COVID-19, so both have had their WRP status removed for 2021.
Which? is independent, you can be sure that our recommendations are influenced only by our survey results. We’re not influenced by third parties and we don’t accept freebies from product manufacturers, retailers. or providers.
Do Want To Fly Or Drive To The Closest Port
Today, more than 40 percent of the U.S. population lives within driving distance of a port. The most popular cities to board a cruise ship in the continental U.S. include Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Port Canaveral, Galveston, New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Seattle, Tampa, Baltimore, San Pedro, Boston, Charleston, San Francisco, and San Diego. If you can easily drive to any one of these destinations, you can save some money on airfare and your budget will stretch a little further during the cruise.
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Discover The Best Cruise Ships
There are so many reasons to get excited about a Royal Caribbean® cruise. Choose from itineraries that take you to top-rated destinations, from sun-soaked Caribbean isles to ancient temples in Asia and everywhere in between. And make the most out of every moment at sea onboard the worlds best cruise ships, loaded from bow to stern with game-changing thrills, dazzling entertainment, next-level dining and activities for all kinds of adventure-seekers. No matter which ship you choose to sail on, this is a fleet filled with incredible feats.
Consider The Cruise Lines Policies
Its also good to look into the individual policies that each cruise line has to determine if they match your situation or not. One aspect to look into are drinking ages, which might vary from one company to the next and will depend on factors such as the embarkation port and whether or not youre in international waters.
Some companies also have different policies about taking alcohol on board. Seeing what a cruise line offers as part of their fare is also a good idea as you will be able to see how much you are going to be getting for your money.
Taking other factors into account is important too depending on your lifestyle and health. Its always vital to check cruise line policies if you are a smoker. Cruise lines also have different rules on the likes of pregnancy too which is always important to check beforehand.
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Cruises Have Something For Everyone
My love affair with cruises began when I was a kid going on them with my family, from a young age, my parents realized that this was the way to travel with their kids. Everyone had constant entertainment on the ship, with kids clubs for me and my brother, comedy shows and poolside entertainment for my parents, great unlimited food, a friendly crew, and a beautiful view of the ocean horizon. It allowed us all to have our own activities and me time while on vacation, but always ended the night with family time at dinner. The thing about cruises is they really have something for everyone, whether youre a young family with priorities of keeping your kids occupied while you rest by the pool, or youre a young honeymooning couple with priorities of romance and relaxation, or a group of friends looking to see a lot of places while having a home base on board, or youre a retired couple looking for comfort and great service while seeing the world.
Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief of CruiseCritic.com has said What weve seen in the last 15 years has been that cruising has really evolved and revolutionized and become much more young and spirited and recreationally oriented. While cruises used to be geared toward a post-retirement set , they are increasingly appealing to a younger, more active set of travelers.
An Overview Of Cruise Lines
As noted above, there are dozens of cruise lines out there. At last count, I had sailed with 40 different cruise companies, and I still hadnt hit every major brand despite it being my full-time job for years to test cruise ships.
One thing to understand right off the bat is that the lists of cruise lines that youll find here at TPG and at other travel sites include companies offering an incredible range of experiences.
When you think of a cruise ship, you may think of the giant floating megaresorts operated by the likes of Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line that you see in television advertisements the kind of ships that carry thousands of passengers and have all sorts of gee-whiz amusements on their top decks. But the world of cruising also includes companies that operate far smaller, more intimate vessels that carry just a few dozen to a few hundred people and have a completely different vibe. Theyre more like small boutique hotels that happen to float from place to place.
In addition, youll find adventure-focused expedition cruise companies that offer yet another completely different kind of cruising one that involves heading to off-the-beaten-path places like Antarctica on small, hardy vessels designed for exploring. There also are cruise companies that specialize in ships that travel on rivers and even lines that just operate sailing ships.
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Large Ship Line #: Princess Cruises
Part of the Carnival family, Princess Cruises has a fun claim to famethe TV show The Love Boat was set on its Pacific Princess ship. If youve never seen an episode, youre in luck, as one of the onboard TV channels airs reruns around the clock. But you wont want to stay cooped up in your stateroom when you discover all the activities on board its 14 ships. Its special Seawitch craft beer program sees the cruise line partner with breweries around the world, while Discovery at SEA offers a series of activities based on TV shows from the Discovery, Inc. family of networks, including Animal Planet, the Discovery Channel, and the Science Channel. In 2020, Princess Cruises newest ship, the Enchanted Princess, set sail, and its next ship, Discovery Princess, is scheduled to launch in the spring of 2022.
Small Ship Line #: Quasar Expeditions
The first luxury line to sail the Galápagos, Quasar Expeditions is best known for its in-depth trips aboard its two intimate ships that carry fewer than 32 passengers each. Yet note the street cred of said ships: One of the two, the Grace, is the former yacht of Princess Grace of Monaco. The other, the Evolution, will allow you to retrace Darwin’s footsteps in the Galápagos. Book the Baltra Island itinerary, where you’ll work your way from San Cristóbal Island to Baltra, and explore all the central and southern islands of the archipelago in between.
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How To Choose The Cruise Line And Type Of Cruise
So now how to choose a cruise? How do I understand the major differences between the individual cruise lines? What itinerary? And then how to choose the cabin? Which offer best suits my needs?
These are the most common questions among those who have never taken a cruise and who usually seek answers in a travel agency or online. On these pages, we hope to be able to help clarify and provide answers.
Which cruise line to choose?
Currently, the cruise world sees 4 major players on the world scene plus several smaller independent cruise companies. In order of importance and size they are:
Carnival Corporation which includes: Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, Holland America Cruise, Aida Cruises, P& O Cruises , P& O Cruises , Cunard, Princess, Seabourn
Royal Caribbean International which includes: Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Pullmantur, Azamara, Celebrity Cruises, CDF, Island Cruises, Tui Travel Plc.
Star Cruise which includes: Star Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line.
MSC without acquired brands
In addition to these brands, other smaller brands are added to the wider range of shipowners on the market, representing small specific market niches such as luxury and destination cruises and river cruises.
So, with this small introduction, the question remains: which company do I choose?
Let’s start with the fact that on this page we will talk about maritime ones.
In terms of prices, Msc and Costa are equivalent, Royal Caribbean and NCL are positioned in a higher price range.
Large Ship #1: Costa Cruises
Italian cruise line Costa Cruises, which operates under parent company Carnival, has quite a history: it was founded in 1854 as a cargo shipping company, transporting olive oil and textiles around the world. Transferring to the leisure cruise side of the business in 1959, Costa currently operates 11 shipsthe majority of which accommodate between 2,800 and 5,300 passengersthat sail all over the world. Its next ship, Costa Toscana, will debut in December 2021.
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Are There Certain Times Of Year That Are Better For Certain Cruise Itineraries
Absolutely. In fact, there are certain itineraries you can only sail at specific times of year. Alaska is a great example, as the vast majority of Alaska cruises take place from May to September, with a few stretching to late April and early October
The most popular cruise destinations — the Caribbean and Mediterranean — can be sailed year-round, though Caribbean itineraries can be impacted by hurricanes from June through October. Find out more about the best time to cruise.
Small Ship Line #1: Sea Cloud Cruises
Germany’s Sea Cloud Cruises has three elegant windjammers: Sea Cloud,Sea Cloud II, and Sea Cloud Spirit, which accommodate 64, 94, and 136 passengers, respectively. These sailing yachts primarily split their time between the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, though they’ll occasionally explore the Panama Canal and Northern Europe, too. The oldest ship in the fleet is Sea Cloud, built in 1931 for an American heiressat the time, it was the largest private yacht in the world. It later served the United States in World War II before ultimately returning to pleasure sailings.
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Norwegian For Entertainment Buffs & The Indecisive
If your ideal land vacation is a trip to New York or Vegas to experience the best of the dining and theater worlds, look no further than Norwegian for your first cruise. The line was voted Best Entertainment by Cruise Critic and for good reason! With musicals like Rock of Ages, Footloose and Kinky Boots performed onboard, youll forget youre at sea and not on Broadway. Cirque Dreams, Norwegians unforgettable theatrical dining experience, showcases acrobatic feats you never dreamed possible, while Burn the Floor will have you swaying in your seat along with the dance theater companys Latin beats.
In line with their Freestyle Cruising philosophy, Norwegian offers something for everyone, from solo staterooms to the largest suites at sea from delectable fine dining restaurants to pool-side burger joints from relaxing retreat areas to a thrilling, multi-level race track. If you cant decide what kind of traveler you are, Norwegian could be a good option for your first cruise.
Medium Ship Line #1: Celebrity Cruises
Celebritys Millennium-class shipsCelebrity Millennium, Infinity, Summit, and Constellationare the smallest in the fleet, each with a capacity between 2,100 and 2,200 passengers. The ships just got a bevy of both new and upgraded staterooms as part of Celebrity’s fleet-wide modernization, and when they launched in the early aughts, they were some of the first ships to use more eco-friendly engines that combined gas and steam power. The four ships sail from home ports around the world, from Europe to North America to Asia.
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Choosing The Right Cruise Line
Its important to choose the right cruise line for a perfect cruise vacation, but with the vast number of options it can be quite difficult. Choosing the right cruise line may also depend on the time of year that you plan on cruising and the type of destinations you want to visit among other factors. The cruise line that you choose is a hugely important choice to make. There are many different types of cruise liners out there that cater to a whole different range of clientele. Choosing the right one for you can be the difference between having a good cruise experience or a great one.
Whilst a cruise line will have different types of ships, the company themselves can often be different from one another in a number of different ways. In this guide we will go through all the information that you need in order to choose the perfect cruise line for your perfect cruise vacation.
Whats Included On A Disney Cruise
Youll love all the amenities included on a Disney Cruise! In addition to the attention to detail and amazing customer service, Disney offers a lot to guests at no extra cost.
Broadway-Caliber Entertainment Did you know that each of the four ships in the Disney Cruise Line offer amazing entertainment options? Depending on your itinerary, you can experience Broadway-caliber Disney shows such as Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Frozen, Tangled and more.
Character Encounters Whether or not youre sailing on an itinerary that includes Marvel Day at Sea, Star Wars Day at Sea or Pirate Night, youll have opportunities to interact with Disney Characters at no extra cost. Onboard the ship, guests can find some of their favorites on deck during scheduled parties, or just taking a stroll. For even more one-on-one time with Characters, you can schedule Character meals at an additional cost.
Kids Clubs There are four different kids clubs onboard Disney ships. Theyre divided into age groups so your kids can get the most out of their visit. These complimentary onboard clubs are for ages 3 17.
Themed Pools Each ship features fun, themed pools and water play for all ages. Depending on your ship, you can enjoy the AquaDuck slide, Nemos Reef, the AquaDunk, Goofys Pool, Mickeys Pool and adult-only quiet leisure areas.
For more details on whats included on a Disney Cruise, talk to the experts at Get Away Today!
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