A cruise can be the perfect opportunity to relax, eat well, and enjoy time spent with family or friends. But when it comes to planning, choosing the right cruise isn’t like choosing a vacation. Once you get on the boat, you’re stuck there for the duration of your trip. Barring emergencies, you really can’t change your plans as easily as you would on land. That’s why it’s important to spend some time thinking about what you want to get out of your cruise.
When it comes to cruises, there’s something out there for everyone—from seniors traveling solo to lovers of gourmet foods and fine wines. If you’re thinking about taking a cruise, you should do some research to find out which of the world’s most popular cruise suits your lifestyle and interests. There are cruises which cater to singles, seniors, couples, and families, while other are geared towards specific interests, such as adventure sports, history and culture, or relaxation. Of course, you will also have to consider the port of departure, timeline, and whether the price fits your budget.
The following list can help you to familiarize yourself with some of the most popular cruises around the world.
1. Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival offers the best value for your money. If you don’t want to go bankrupt funding your next cruise, this company offers numerous cruises to preferred destinations, such as Central America and the Caribbean. Avoid high seasons and you might even get away with paying as little as $30 per night. Amenities are simple, and itineraries are fairly flexible in terms of the length of stay, with both three- and seven-day cruises offered.
2. Princess Cruises
Princess Cruises is one of the most established cruise companies; they also have an extensive fleet of ships, which range in occupancy from under one thousand to over three thousand. In addition to standard cruise destinations, Princess offers cruises to more exotic locations in Asia and Africa. Onboard a Princess Cruise, you’ll find a dazzling array of dining and entertainment venues, kids programming, spa and wellness centers, and shopping.
3. Royal Caribbean International
If you have pre-teens or teens, a Royal Caribbean cruise will keep them busy with an extensive range of activities, such as climbing walls, beach volleyball, zip lining, roller skating, surf simulators, and more. Older kids can drink non-alcoholic cocktails, take DJ lessons, and go to dance nights for teens. Onboard staff are attentive, which means that parents can enjoy precious moments of relaxation.
4. Disney Cruise Lines
If you have small children, a Disney Cruise is the smartest way to go. From entertainment to childcare, Disney is attentive and understands your need for a vacation from your vacation. The kind of service provided for young children—including babies and toddlers—is rare for a cruise line. Not to mention, your kids will get to meet the whole Disney gang. Themed play areas include education games and programming, while eating areas, washrooms, and pool areas are tailored especially for families.
5. Holland America Line
Holland America is a reputable, mid-size cruise line, which traditionally caters to adults and seniors. They offer a classic experience over partying or adrenaline-fuelled activities, and cater to cultivated interests, such as culinary arts, art history, or literature, even going so far as to offer lectures about history, art, or culture and self-guided tours of on-board collections. Athletic activities include golf, dancing, yoga, and tennis.
6. River Cruises
If you’re a solo traveler, consider going for a smaller-scale on a river in the United States, Asia, or Europe. River Cruises include boats with less than 200 occupants and the option to sit where you want during dining. Group tours offer the opportunity to meet like-minded people in a low-pressure setting.
If gourmet food is what you’re after on your next cruise, Oceania offers the best of the best. With a famous French chef as onboard culinary director, you know you’re in good hands. Oceania cruises don’t require guests to book a seating, and the quality of the fare is impeccable—even the buffet and poolside offerings are delicious. As an added benefit, you don’t have to pay a fee to eat at the specialty venues, and dishes represent a wide variety of world cuisine. Naturally, this line also features culinary lessons in the way of on-board activities.
When it comes to entertainment, Norwegian is the go-to cruise line. Not only do they offer live music and Broadway-style musicals, Norwegian cruises also offer comedy shows, dueling pianos, acrobatic shows, and guest performances. Most of the entertainment is inspired by dry-land offerings, with hits from well-known plays, theatre, bands, and troupes on the program. They also offer a whole program of shows especially for kids. With plenty of on-board bars, discos, and activities, you’re guaranteed to stay entertained.
Cunard is a small, luxury cruise line best suited to those interested in culture and history. The Insights enrichment program began in 2007, and featured guests such as a former astronaut for NASA, an acclaimed Arctic explorer, and well-known British actor John Cleese. On-board activities include highbrow pursuits, such as ballroom dancing, a planetarium, theatre offerings, book clubs, drama classes, and classical music performances.
10. Regent Seven Seas
Among lovers of luxury, the Regent Seven Seas is one of the most well-known and inclusive brands. High-end suite accommodations are available on all cruises, and most include balconies overlooking the water. Other amenities include meals in a variety of specialty restaurants, tours and hotel stays both before and after the cruise, and shore excursions. Compared to other luxury cruise lines, the Regent Seven Seas is larger with up to 700 passengers. Onboard, the social atmosphere is similar to that of a big ship, but without the crowds. Cabins are roomy and given the number of onboard dining and activities, there’s no chance you’ll run out of things to do.