How to Choose a Cruise Line

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Vacation season is year-round for everyone because none of us vacation at the same time.  It’s all about finding the right vacation, the right brand, the right location and then choosing the details.  According to statistics the cruising industry generates over 39.6 billion dollars a year, which tells you where so many are heading for vacations.

My partiality to a cruise is due to the one stop, one unpack and multiple locations offerings.  Adventures never end on or off the ship and there is something for every genre, which is not always the case with other vacation destinations.

The hardest part of cruising is not the packing (which is one tough thing) rather, it is all about how to choose a cruise line.  What brand has what offerings, who has what activities and where are they sailing and when?  Once you beat this up, you are on your way to a blissful vacation.  Lavishly take a look at how to choose a cruise lineand then book those cruises to go globetrotting!

How To Choose A Cruise Line

So I chat a lot with my friends about who has been on what cruise ship, what cruise line and why they chose the line they did.  I have heard the good, the bad and the ugly, and we have our own stories as well. Choose wisely, pay attention to details and read up on each brand.

Remember some brands represent more than one name, so look behind the scenes for information and dig on the internet.  Ask your friends for referrals and WHY they liked their cruise ship and brand, and look at cruise ship chat rooms online to dig deeper.

Deciding to take a cruise is typically easy. Choosing your ship and destination is a bit more difficult. Currently, there are 24 major cruise lines, offering more than 7,500 global itineraries. But, there’s no reason to panic! Keep reading, to learn more about how to pick the cruise line that’s right for you. It’s probably easier than you think.

Decide Where to Go

Before anything else, you really need to decide where you want to go. Not all cruise lines travel to the same areas. Many of them specialize in specific destinations as well.  For example, Carnival Cruise Lines offers a lot of Caribbean cruises. So, you won’t find as much of a variety in regard to Alaskan and transatlantic itineraries.

Decide When to Go

Obviously, cruise ships are crowded year-round. Even so, every destination has a high and a low season. Take this into consideration when planning your cruise. Families with young children and students generally take cruises during summer break and around the holidays. If you prefer being on a ship with more adult company, it’s wise to avoid these time slots.

Do remember, that if you pull the kids out of school you might find some decent prices as well as less loaded ships, just saying……

Also note that during offseason, a lot of the ‘REPEAT CRUISERS’ go and they can total wreck your opportunities of taking certain excursions because if the excursion does not fill it does not go. Those that have repeatedly cruise (and wear their badges to show it) can create havoc for your off-shore excursions ( I know this first hand). Read my articles on planning off shore excursions you will never have to worry about this again.

Match the Cruise Line with Your Personality

Each cruise line has its own personality. If you end up booking with one that doesn’t match your own, you risk the possibility of running into issues. Let’s face it, cruises aren’t cheap. The last thing you want is to have a terrible time because you don’t really blend in.

This is about age, money, etc.  Because every ship has a different persona and so does the crowd. Source the ship by hitting up Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, look at the photos, look at the people. Look at how many or the lack of IG, etc, there are.  Are you looking for that younger crowd? The Under 60? If you can’t find it on Instagram you won’t find it on the ship! 

Princess and Carnival are known to be the most kid-friendly. Carnival is also a really good choice if you plan on hitting the clubs and dancing the night away. Holland America tends to attract more of the “baby boomer” type.

Also, make sure to see if the ship you are headed on offers an Adult side, Carnival does not (in reference to the Pool & Spa) so if you want time away from the bustling crowd you can have it. If you want to keep it casual, consider Norwegian. The more upscale choices include Regent and Crystal.

Take Your Budget into Consideration

Unfortunately, you can’t add up the advertised daily stateroom rate and assume that’s what you’re going to pay for the trip  It’s necessary to factor in costs such as government taxes, port charges, alcohol, soft drinks, shore excursions and airfare, if applicable.

The fees for the room attendants, tips for the servers, baggage handling and more all begin to add up.  Don’t forget to add in the fact that you simply can not cruise by flying in the same day unless you have a license for exhaustion.

You will need to fly or drive the day ahead and lodge somewhere so factor hotel costs in and transportation if you flew.  It’s not cheap.  What starts at $300 for a 7 days (a deal you find often) may end up almost close to $1k when all is said and done).

Want to know about drink packages? I have a pretty good overview of Carnival Bubbles and Libations that will give you a gauge.  In theory, if you are 2 adults in a room, you BOTH have to buy the Alcohol package which will set you into about $56 a day x 7 days for ONE person and you are at… $392 a person just on alcohol.. How quickly the bill tallies up.

It’s All About How to Choose a Cruise Line

Now that you know more about how to pick a cruise line, the process should be much simpler. The most important thing to remember is not to rush things. Careful planning helps to ensure that you’ll create everlasting memories and have the time of your life! Lavishly live life out loud and take into consideration all my tips for how to choose a cruise line.

Dana Vento is a travel writer who loves cruising. Based on her experiences she writes about cruising vacations to help others understand what to expect.