Cruise Reviews From Avid Cruisers

Our goal is to provide unbiased cruise reviews & personalized recommendations for cruise ships, cruise lines, cruise ports and shore excursions worldwide. You should know, however, that while we provide cruise ship reviews and reviews for cruise lines, we specialize in small ships, mid-size ships, expedition cruises and river cruises on our sister site River Cruise Advisor. The easiest way to get started is to complete our form at the bottom. We charge no service fees to users of our site. We can also put you in touch with a booking agent should you wish, but only with your consent.

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Silversea ReviewsSeabourn ReviewsCrystal Cruises ReviewsRegent Seven Seas ReviewsCunard ReviewsHolland America Line Reviews
Seadream ReviewsHapag Lloyd ReviewsCelebrity Cruises ReviewsPaul Gauguin ReviewsOceania Cruises ReviewsViking Ocean Cruises Reviews
Disney Cruises ReviewsHurtigruten ReviewsLinblad ReviewsMSC Cruises ReviewsRoyal Caribbean Reviews Norwegian Cruises Reviews
Windstar ReviewsStar Clippers ReviewsAzamara Club Cruises Reviews Princess Cruises Reviews Carnival Cruises ReviewsUnCruise Adventures

3 Important Steps To Choosing Your Cruise

Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders
Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

So you want to go cruising but you’re confused by itineraries, stateroom categories, the differences in ships and in cruise lines? I know it can be daunting. When I first started in this industry more than two decades ago, I scratched my head for a few years before I began to understand what distinguishes one cruise line from the other and one destination from the other.

Our aim is to fast-track you to a point of understanding the vessel, the itinerary and even the stateroom that best fits your needs. With more than 500 ships sailing the oceans and rivers, that’s a tall order but one that we’re up for.

Ready? Let’s go.

1. Decide On A Cruise Category

The launch of Royal Caribbean International's Oasis of the Seas, the worlds largest cruise ship. Aerial views off Miami. - courtesy Royal Caribbean
Not all cruise ships are created equal – they come in all shapes and sizes. Photo courtesy Royal Caribbean

In the cruise industry, we’ve come up with a way to categorize ships. There is certainly a blurring between the categories, but it may help you to think of cruises in the following categories:

Got money to burn? Go Luxury All The Way

One of the luxurious Category AB balcony staterooms aboard Crystal Serenity. Photo courtesy of Crystal Cruises
One of the luxurious Category AB balcony staterooms aboard Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Serenity. Photo courtesy of Crystal Cruises

If you feel comfortable budgeting $300 to $1,000 per day per person, look to the luxury cruise players such as Crystal Cruises, Cunard Line (grill class), Hapag Lloyd, Paul Gauguin, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Silversea Cruises, SeaDream Yacht Club and Seabourn.

Actually, though these cruise lines command higher fares than the rest of the cruise lines on this page, luxury cruises can be a great value.

See

Also, because most luxury cruise ships are small ships, you may also want to read Five Reasons Why I Prefer Cruising On Smaller Ships

Looking To Save A Bit But Still Go In Style? Go Premium

The Hydrotherapy Pool aboard Holland America Line's Eurodamis a great example of a premium cruise offering. Photo courtesy of Holland America Line
The Hydrotherapy Pool aboard Holland America Line’s Eurodamis a great example of an upper-premium cruise offering. Photo courtesy of Holland America Line

For a bit less investment than luxury cruises, you can cruise on the upper-premium ships operated by Azamara Club Cruises and Oceania Cruises, as well as the mid-sized premium-class vessels that make up the fleets of Celebrity Cruises and Holland America Line (often erroneously called, Holland American).

Big Ships Can Offer Big Value

Big ships offer plenty of advantages, particularly for multi-generational cruisers. Photo © 2014 Ralph Grizzle
Big ships offer plenty of advantages, particularly for multi-generational cruisers. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

You’ll also find cruise reviews of such popular large-ship cruise lines as Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian, MSC Cruises, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean International. These cruise lines typically offer the best lead-in rates.

Families traveling together may want to look at Disney Cruise Line, although any of the big ship cruise lines mentioned in the preceding paragraph also do a great job with families.

Windstar Cruises' Wind Star off Portovenere, Italy. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders
Windstar Cruises’ Wind Star off Portovenere, Italy. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

If you love the sensation of sailing, take a look at Star Clippers and Windstar Cruises. These companies offer intimate experiences that connect you with the wind and waves while providing a closer view of marine life and ship operations. It can be an exhilarating experience, feeling the power of the wind as it fuels your voyage.

Trollfjord in Kirkenes, Norway.
Ice Cruise: Hurtigruten’s Trollfjord in Kirkenes, Norway. Niche expedition cruising never looked so good! © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

Niche Cruises offer some incredible vacation experiences, that are not only enriching but also potentially life-changing. Hurtigruten plies the Norwegian coast, and sails to Spitzbergen, Greenland and Antarctica. Lindblad Expeditions operates National Geographic expedition vessels in destinations that span the globe. Un-Cruise Adventures offers expeditions to Alaska, Baja California and Hawaii.

2. Decide Where You Want To Go

Seabourn Quest holds its position off Half Moon Island. © 2014 Yuriy Rzhemovskiy for Avid Travel Media Inc.
Decide where you want to go; even Antarctica isn’t out of the question! © 2014 Yuriy Rzhemovskiy for Avid Travel Media Inc.

After you’ve figured out your ship style, you’ll want to start scanning a world map to decide where you want to cruise. Cruising can take you just about anywhere from the vast oceans of the world, pole-to-pole, to rivers that cut through the heart of continents. Port Profiles is designed to help you explore the various regions where cruise ships operate.

3. Find A Good Travel Agent

You won’t pay more using a travel agent than you would going to the cruise line direct, so take advantage of this great, and free, resource.

Still Undecided? See My Favorite Cruises.

We know that any vacation is a big investment, both financially and emotionally, although financially, cruising offers some of the best value vacations. Our mission is to always help you in any way that we can. Together, we have sailed on most of the ships you’re here to learn about and we’ve spent time ashore in ports of all shapes and sizes around the world. We’re here to help.

The easiest way to get started is to complete our form at the bottom. We charge no service fees to users of our site. We can also put you in touch with a booking agent should you wish, but only with your consent.

Bon Voyage!