How to Pick a Cruise
You have decided to take a cruise, how exciting! Cruises are a good option for just about anyone. I am going to focus on ships that sail in oceans and seas, even though there are other options in the cruise realm. Basically, the ships I am talking about are the massive all-inclusive resorts on the water that sail you to amazing (most of them!) ports during the length of your voyage.
Now comes the fun part… picking which one is right for you. With so many options available, it becomes pretty overwhelming quickly. I suggest that you start by thinking about the who, what, when, and where. Once you get those few things ironed out you can move on to picking out a line and boat. Let’s break this down and make it a bit simpler, simple is how I roll!
Who is going to join you?
This makes a big difference for choosing which cruise to take. Are you traveling solo, couples, girls/guys only trip, family with kiddos? Different cruise lines focus more on adult travel vs family friendly, so it is important.
What activities are you and your group looking to have on the ship?
A majority of the ships have pools, casinos, live entertainment, different restaurant options, a health club and a spa. Some ships have some additional amenities that may of interest depending on your group. We have enjoyed rock climbing walls, rope courses, waterparks, mini golf, Ice Bar, even the new Norwegian Bliss has a go kart- race track, which we will experience in a few months! It all depends on the cruise line and ship. The cool thing about choosing to take a cruise is that you can do everything on the ship, or you can choose to do absolutely nothing!
When are you wanting to set sail?
This is important as there are many options for cruises not available in certain times of the year. For instance, finding a cruise to Alaska is nearly impossible in December over Christmas break. However, South America is a cool option for that time of year as it is their summer months. Of course, many people in the US choose the always available Caribbean options.
Where do you want to go?
Once you determine when you can go based on vacation time, school schedules or whatever other craziness we all have in our lives, start to think about what type of experience you would like to have. Do you like beach vacations where you chill? Do you like city vacations where you like to explore? It is important to think about what you like to do when you have time away from the hustle and bustle.
Here are my recommendations to at least point you in the right direction…
Disney Cruise Lines – I mean it’s Disney, everything Disney is over the top and is customer service oriented. Character interaction is also pretty cool for the kiddos.
Norwegian Cruise Line – My family and I really like NCL and have gone on more cruises with NCL than any other line. We like Free Cruising, which means eat when you want and where what you want. We are not big fans of timed eating when on vacation. The other reason, The Splash Academy – our kids love it and we appreciate the free time as well.
Princess Cruises – Princess is a really nice line and has a lot of amenities and tends to cater to an older crowd, so there aren’t many families. Which for me is good when I am looking for a break.
Norwegian Cruise Line – NCL has studio cabins with pricing targeted for solo travelers. Plus, with all the amenities we love about NCL, this is a good option.
Carnival and Royal Caribbean – Both are cost effective lines that have a lot more “party and fun”, so I think are good options.
Holland America Line – I don’t have any experience in this category, but I have asked a few of my colleagues what they would recommend, and it was Holland all the way.
We will dig into more detail about the importance of looking at the ship and itineraries to help you further make the best choice for you in a future blog.