At work for one of our clients, we have an audience segment called a “pre-trip planner.” And when a coworker joked that that is me TO A TEE, I laughed. And then I thought for about a minute and realized it was totally true and accurate. If you’ve read my Paris posts, you already know I spent the better part of 6 months planning that 5 day vacation (and yes — I was kind enough to share my wisdom with you. You’re so welcome). But! There is something to be said for cruises. I’ve been on three (all on different lines), and they are a WONDERFUL way to relax and put your entire vacation on auto pilot.
Cruises are also not what they used to be, and there really is a cruise line out there for everyone.
Which Cruise Line is Right for You?
Royal Caribbean – This is a pretty safe bet for anyone, families, honeymooners or seniors, and their prices are reasonable for almost anyone as well. They have a really wide variety of activities that will suit any age or taste, and for most people, this is a great place to start.
Carnival – I’m sure you’ve heard, but these are the party boats. They cater to vacationers looking for budget options or shorter cruises (think weekends out of Long Beach). Their options for kid programs and activities can be limited, but it varies from ship to ship.
Norwegian – This line is popular among younger and wallet-conscious travelers who don’t like a lot of formality. They have a “Freestyle Dining” program and formal night is really only a suggestion. They also tons of European options year round and has the only 7-day Hawaii cruise out there.
Princess – Princess is made more for couples, families and die hard fans of “The Love Boat: (literally – there’s a Love Boat channel that just shows old episodes 24/7). The newer and bigger ships have things like Movies Under the Stars and other really family-friendly activities.
Celebrity – These cruises are tailor-made for couples and baby boomers, particularly because of their price and lack of kid’s programs. They also offer some of the longest cruises out there (including one that cruises around the Galapagos Islands YEAR ROUND).
Holland America – Never heard of this line? It’s probably because you’re a) not mega rich, b) not over the age of 60, or c) not a high-end world traveler. It’s an older line, and it’s clientele is much older too. But they do go to some very unique ports in the Southern hemisphere and have plenty of ships sailing the Alaskan waters every summer.
Disney – The Fairy Godmother of all cruise lines. Obviously tailored to families, younger travelers and Disney fanatics, but it does cost a pretty penny. What some consider to be an unreasonable price for a cruise line — especially when there are plenty of other family-friendly lines out there. Because there are lots more young travelers, the common areas can be really busy and loud. All that being said, it’s still a personal dream of mine and from what I hear they do cruising EXCEPTIONALLY well.