Just as hotels come in a range of price points with individual character so do cruise lines and their ships. Some cruise companies focus on live music while others on popular destinations and still others try and attract families. Prices range from premium fares to reasonably economical, so if your considering your first cruise start with deciding what your budget is and what your interested in. Below we offer a short guide to many major cruise lines and what they’re noted for.
Clicking on the cruise ship photographs below will also open the websites for each cruise company. You can do a lot of research online by checking out destinations and getting quotes.
Noted for elegance at sea, passengers can find the itinerary they’re looking for among the lines fleet of fifteen ships. Princess ships are considered a notch above many cruise lines, offering ungraded cuisine options in an environment reminiscent of the historic age of cruising. Expect a less casual dress code.
Luxury above the average on more than a dozen ships in its fleet, Celebrity Cruises appeals to a more refined and mature cruiser featuring plenty of options from speciality restaurants, great onboard entertainment, guest lecturers all in a modern upscale environment.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line was the innovator of Freestyle Cruising offering a wide range of options so you can cruise “your way”. NCL allows you to choose among different dining options, activities, shore excursions and more.
Carnival Cruise Line
The Fun Ships are the world’s largest cruise line featuring over 25 ships in its fleet. Carnival branded itself “The Fun Ships” and it has a reputation as favored by younger cruises. Actually it isn’t fair to characterize the entire fleet this way as the young party cruisers seem to prefer the two to seven day Caribbean cruises. Generally Carnival is a good all around cruise experience at the more economical end of the spectrum. The food and entertainment are note worthy, the cabins are roomier than average and you can find itineraries to select from that range from Alaska to Europe. While it has a well deserved reputation for attracting the young party crowd, recently Carnival has been trying to tamp down on the onboard excesses by issuing warnings about conduct that won’t be tolerated. A new campaign seems to have been rolled out recently in an effort to switch the image to “The Family Fun Ships” hoping to attract more family vacationers.
Viking Ocean Cruises
New to ocean cruising Viking brings their premium river cruising features to the larger ocean ships. Noted for great food, wine and bear at meals, refined entertainment and included shore excursions. Smaller but more elegant ships and itineraries that range beyond the usual.
Once a part of Royal Caribbean, Azamara was sold to an investment group during the pandemic and has benefitted from the arrangement. Azamara fleet of slightly smaller cruise ships offers a bit of elegance at sea along with itineraries that lean toward the more exotic.
Royal Caribbean International
Royal Caribbean is a good choice for families looking for programs for every member of the family. With some of the largest and most innovative ships in a growing fleet, Royal Caribbean is very good at programs and activities that appeal to everyone in the whole family.
Holland America Line
A mix of traditional and modern cruising with a reputation for exceptional food along with a major focus on great live music. Holland America Line provides a range of world wide itineraries, features traditional cruising and superior live music on every cruise.
Disney Cruise Line
A cruise line at the higher price point, Disney magic at sea provides a focus on family entertainment. Ships employ the Disney brand everywhere onboard from classic Disney stories to Marvel adventures. The ships of Disney Cruise Line offer great menus, provide no casinos, and specializes in immersive Disney fun for children of all ages.
Italian vibes with a true European feel. Cruisers expect upscale cuisine, respected traditions, and a feel for the culture of Italy. Costa’s dozen ships focus on Mediterranean itineraries but do offer some itineraries worldwide. Think understated elegance with Italian flair.
MSC Cruises is a cruise division of an old and large shipping business. The cruise division is based in Italy with headquarters in Switzerland. Consisting of more than 15 cruise ships their itineraries cover the world with a focus on a diversity of its options and a range of international passengers.
Want more information? Talk to a travel agent about cruise ships, destinations and pricing and if you have family or friends that have cruised for advice on what they would recommend.