How to Pick a Cruise Ship
Picking the perfect ship for your next cruise can be tricky, as there are tons of cruises to choose from and each cruise line tries to convince you that they can offer you exactly what you are looking for. But, cruise lines have also recently been trying to carve out distinctive lifestyle niches for themselves, and even if lines and ships seem similar at first, they all have their own quirks and perks.
It isn’t always immediately obvious which lifestyle vibe a cruise line offers, so we have put together a list of personality types that are common onboard cruise ships, and tried to match these to the cruise lines and ships that would suit them best.
Action and Adventure Seeker
Royal Caribbean’s Voyage class – Adventure of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas
Royal Caribbean’s Freedom class – Freedom of the Seas, Independence of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas
Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class – Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas
If you don’t find your match in these Royal Caribbean ships, then have a look at Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Epic.
Princess Cruises – Crown Princess, Emerald Princess, Ruby Princess
If Princess Cruises’ isn’t your style, have a look at any of Windstar Cruises’ three ships.
Another alternative is Paul Gauguin Cruises’, which bases itself in the South Pacific – easily one of the most romantic cruise regions to go to. This line is a favourite among older couples celebrating elegant honeymoons and anniversaries.
For relaxed cruising on an uber-elegant scale, look at SeaDream Yacht Club’s two 110-passenger yachts.
Oceania Cruises – Insignia, Nautica, Regatta
Crystal Cruises offers superb Continental Asian fusion and Italian cuisine in a formal setting. And Seabourn Cruise Line also gets high marks for its onboard restaurants.
Royal Caribbean’s Freedom-class ships – Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, Independence of the Seas
For fitness buffs who want a more upscale cruise, look at Crystal Cruises.
Windstar Cruises – Wind Surf, Wind Star, Wind Spirit
SeaDream Yacht Club, Star Clippers and Seabourn Cruise Lines are also near the top of the list for water lovers.
Norwegian Cruise Lines – Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Pearl, Norwegian Epic
Carnival Cruises’ nightclub district, with discos, piano bars, casinos, live music and karaoke, are also a winner for hardy Night Owls.
Celebrity Cruises’ Solstice class – Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Eclipse
If Celebrity Cruises’ isn’t for you, have a look at Crystal Cruises.
Oceania Cruises and Azamara Cruise Club both operate 700-passenger mid-sized ships, but sport a more casual vibe than Crystal Cruises while still having an elegant ambience and intimate dining.
Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Jewel-class ships – Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Pearl
Royal Caribbean Internationals’ Freedom- and Oasis-class ships have the largest casinos at sea, while the Celebrity Solstice-class ships have gone high-tech with wide-screen HD slot machines, dealer-less Texas Hold ‘Em tables and a completely coinless operation.
Carnival Cruises offers annual slot, blackjack and poker tournaments, in which winners of preliminary onboard tournaments get free balcony cabins on sailings hosting finals.
Families with Young Kids
Disney Magic and Disney Wonder
Royal Caribbean International has teamed up with Fisher Price to offer Aqua Babies and Aqua Tots programs for kids aged 6 – 36 months, designed for parents and kids to play together. From ages 3 – 17, the kids are broken up into five groups with age-appropriate kids’ lounges and activities.
Royal Caribbean’s Freedom-class – Freedom of the Seas, Independence of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas.
Oasis Class – Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas
Carnival Cruises’ Conquest-, Splendour-, and Dream-class ships. The Carnival Conquest, Carnival Glory, Carnival Valour, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Freedom, Carnival Splendour and Carnival Dream. These ships excel in teen programming, and cater for teens with the 02 Teen Club, which has an arcade, a dance club and lounge areas. They also offer teen-only shore excursions that allow 12-17 year olds to continue the fun offshore.
Voyages of Discovery’s MV Discovery
Holland America Lines’ beautiful ships offer relatively roomy cabins and activities that are typically of interest to older passengers, such as afternoon tea, big band music and classic movie showings.