If you’re a first time cruiser you may think that all cruise lines are alike. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth! Prospective cruisers need to find a cruise line that matches their personality. That’s where an experienced cruise consultant (like those at Direct Line Cruises) can really help. If the cruiser / cruise line match is a good one, it will turn into a life-long relationship. Pick the wrong cruise line and you may never cruise again!
There are different “tiers” of cruise lines. Luxury cruise lines can be quite expensive, but generally offer an all-inclusive experience, including alcoholic beverages and maybe even shore excursions. You can expect personalized service, upscale cabins and suites and stimulating enrichment programs. The well- to- do clientele is often a bit older. Although some of the luxury lines welcome families, I’d have to say that children would have more fun elsewhere. Crystal Cruises, Silversea Cruises, Seabourn, Regent and Cunard come to mind.
There is a blurred line between some luxury and some premium cruise lines. Oceania and Azamara Club Cruises offer a country club, easy elegance. They’re itinerary driven, offering longer and overnight stays in ports. For those looking for longer cruises, the many back-to-back cruise options let you decide how long you want to be away. You can equate these cruise lines as well as the more purely defined premium cruise lines such as Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Cruises, and Princess Cruises with sumptuous cuisine and extraordinary service. They are all definitely family friendly and offer many of the activities of a mainstream line but without the same over-the-top bells and whistles.
Then there’s what the industry calls “mass market"" cruise lines, meaning those that appeal to the mainstream cruising population. I like to think of the ships from these cruise lines as floating family resorts! The differences between these cruise lines should also be considered. For example, while all are great for families, some of them include baby nurseries which can be a big plus for parents that are accompanied by those wee cruisers. At the other end of the child spectrum are those hard to entertain tweens and teens. Water slides, rope courses and sports courts may be something to consider. Here’s some additional generalities…
Disney's cruise rates may be slightly higher than other mainstream cruise lines, but you get what you pay for. These ships cater to multi-generational families! Parents can still enjoy exceptional cuisine, soothing spa treatments, and great nightlife, while kids pal around with Mickey and friends. Need I say more? Royal Caribbean offers so many “extreme” activities…surf simulators, bumper cars, sky diving simulator to name just a few. Boredom is never an option! Norwegian Cruise Line has excellent dining and entertainment choices. Steak houses, French, Italian, Brazilian, and Latino cuisine (all at an additional cost). Piano bars, comedy shows, Broadway caliber musicals…it’s like spending the evening in a New York City or Miami neighborhood with many options to choose from. Count on Carnival Cruise Line for a real “fun ship” experience. The line caters to a younger crowd with numerous entertainment options and cruise fares suited for a smaller budget. But don’t think that the smaller price tag means Carnival skimps on the experience because that’s anything but true!
There are many wonderful cruise lines to choose from. The key is to find the perfect cruise line experience for you! Select the right one and like me, you’ll be hooked for life!