How to Choose the Correct Cruise Line

Generally, cruisers start with one cruise line and tend to stick with that brand. This loyalty is good to a point, but don’t let it restrict your cruise experiences. Cruises can all be quite different  depending on your choice of cruise lines. Like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, cruising offers many choices. Here’s a quick, and absolutely non-inclusive, primer on cruise lines.

AMA waterways: River cruising at its best. Known for their wine cruises in the fall, after harvest time, for bargain prices. But luxury anytime.

Avalon: River cruising with the added benefit of cooperative tours in every port. Immersion in your destinations along the great waterways of Europe.

Azamara: The small-ship line of Royal Caribbean/Celebrity. Their forte is overnight stays, longer stops,and  night tours for the full experience of each port of call. Especially great for European sailings. Will not disappoint.

Carnival: The “fun” ships are geared towards just that. Inexpensive, lots of activity, sometimes criticized for being too loud, very popular with groups. Good for the partying crowd. Lots of bars, DJ’s, comedy clubs. “Fun for all. All for fun!” Here is a Carnival ship all decked out for fun.

The Port of New Orleans has a cruise line term...

Celebrity: Sophisticated, modern luxury ships, stand outs for their spa experiences and cuisine. More expensive, but good value for the price. Any age group looking for upscale experience. The premium line of the Royal Caribbean group.

Crystal: Luxury cruising all the way. No one doesn’t like Crystal. Pricey, but sometimes run nice specials.

Cunard: Old-world elegance, traditional cruising. Beautiful ships. Excellent for transatlantic crossings. A step above Holland America, but in the same family.

Disney: You’d think it was just for kids, but it’s not. Consistently top-ranked ships for food and service. Families love it, of course, but adults have their own areas. This Disney ship calls Port Canaveral, FL home.

English: Disney Cruise Lines' Disney Wonder in...

Holland America: Refined elegance and traditional cruising. Some complaints that the cruisers are too old, but a great line for peace, quiet, romance for the over 50 crowd. Larger cabins than most. Mid-priced, but considered a premium line of the Carnival parent company.

Caribbean cruising by Susan McDaniel Travel

The Holland America Noordam in St. Thomas

MSC: Family-owned line known for its cleanliness and top-notch entertainment.  Quiet ships. You may not have heard of  them, but you should know them.

Norwegian: Known for “Freestyle Cruising” because of its unconventional and innovative nature. Good for the individualist and individuals. The newest ship, the Epic, now has studio cabins for solo-travelers. Mid-price range. The Norwegian ship below sports beautiful murals.

Norwegian Cruise Lines Pearl and Star in Skagway

Oceania: Deluxe cruising on smaller ships with emphasis on cuisine. Price point higher than most.

Paul Gauguin: Tahiti, Fiji, Bora Bora. THE line for the South Pacific. Small-ship cruising to amazing ports. Usually offer free air from LA and sometimes 2 for 1 sailings. Gauguin will take you to Bora Bora in style (below).

English: Mount Otemanu in Bora Bora

Princess: Relaxed, comfortable elegance. Total pampering. Their motto is “escape completely” because they tend to every detail, unobtrusively. For the total getaway consumer. Mid-priced. Princess knows Alaska. It’s the only choice for this destination. Ask me about it. I am a certified Princess Alaska Expert.

Regent: Luxury cruising and a price to match.

Royal Caribbean:  Active travelers, but appeals to every age. You don’t have to participate in all the activity. You can just watch, too. Fitness buffs will love all the options. Well-priced, well-kept ships.  New emphasis on food: farm-to-table fresh menus. (The Allure sports 25 restaurants!) Everyone loves Royal!

Caribbean cruising by Susan McDaniel Travel

Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas at Labadee, Haiti

Seabourn: Luxury cruising. Pricey, but you’re worth it!

SeaDream Yacht  Club: “It’s Yachting, Not Cruising” on these small-ships. Luxury all the way! 5-star service. You can’t afford not to go on SeaDream. Below is a SeaDream Yacht.

SeaDream II

SilverSea: Small-ship (500 passenger) luxury romance. Goes to rarely-visited ports. Romantic restaurants on board. Spare no expense and go for it! All-suite, all-inclusive.

StarClippers: Real small-ship sailing vessels and a crew that knows how to sail. You can even help. Taking you to the lesser visited ports in the Caribbean, Costa Rica, Panama Canal, Europe.

Viking River Cruises: Luxury along the rivers of Europe. Viking are adding dozens of new “Longships” in 2013 and 2014. The Viking ship here is representative of smaller river cruise ships.

Viking Helvetia River cruise ship on Rhine Riv...

Windstar: Competes with StarClippers. Small-ship sailing vessels but these use the motors more than the sails. Unusually itineraries because the small ships can go where larger vessels can not reach.

Did you know there are so many cruises lines available to you? A cruise line exists for every occasion, destination, and fantasy.

NOT ALL CRUISES END THIS WAY

NOT ALL CRUISES END THIS WAY (Photo credit: roberthuffstutter)

And despite Robert’s caption above, cruises very often turn out that way! You should try one. Begin planning your own at www.susanmcdanieltravel.com or let me do it for you. Call 561-841-2224 or e-mail me at susan@susanmcdanieltravel.com. Cruising is a sweet confection you should enjoy!

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About susanmcdanielcruisenews

Travel consultant and author. Travel consultant specializing in Caribbean, Bahamas, Florida, and other tropical destinations, as well as exotic locales, such as Galapagos and Machu Picchu. Also provides customized accessible leisure travel for people with special needs. Loves to introduce people to cruising and arrange family travel. Author of the weight loss book, "Win When You Lose: A Guide to Successful Dieting." Former weight loss counselor/motivational speaker.

Posted on September 26, 2012, in Caribbean, cruise, travel and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I have never taken a cruise but if I did I think my first choice would be Disney. I’ve had so many great experiences with their resorts and parks.

    • They do know how to entertain, don’t they? And their ships are beautiful. I’m doing a ship inspection of the Disney Dream soon. Let me know when you are ready to plan that trip and I’ll take care of everything for you! Thanks for the comment

  2. “How to Choose the Correct Cruise Line | susanmcdanielcruisenews”
    genuinely got me addicted on ur site! I actuallywill be back much
    more normally. Thank you -Florene

    • Thank you for the comment, Florene! When I reread that post I realized I should have noted that the luxury cruise lines like Regent, Crystal, Silversea, etc. are all-inclusive. That is why they command a higher price point. Sometimes you can travel on them for less than being nickel and dimed by the mainstream cruise lines. I’d love to help you plan your next getaway! E-mail me at
      susan@susanmcdanieltravel.com. Happy to answer questions as well.
      Please keep reading and commenting!

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