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Don’t worry, we have you covered. Our goal is to provide unbiased cruise reviews and personalized recommendations for cruise ships 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.
3 Steps to Choosing Your Cruise
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.
STEP 1 - DECIDE ON A CRUISE CATEGORY
Not all cruise ships are created equal – they come in all shapes and sizes. 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:
- Mainstream | Big Ship Cruises (Carnival, Norwegian, Princess, Royal Caribbean, etc.)
- Family Cruises (Disney Cruise Line)
- Luxury Cruises (Crystal, Seabourn, Silversea, etc.)
- Niche Cruises (Hurtigruten, Un-Cruise Adventures, etc.)
- Premium Cruise Lines (Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line, etc.)
- Sailing Ships (Windstar Cruises, Star Clippers)
- Upper Premium Cruise Lines (Azamara Club Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Viking, etc.)
Got Money to Burn?
Go Luxury All The Way
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.
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?
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
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.
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.
Expedition & Niche Cruises
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.
STEP 2 - DECIDE WHERE YOU WANT TO GO
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.
STEP 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. Besides, sometimes they can find you a cheaper room or offer perks like prepaid gratuities.
Still not sure Where to begin? Please read about my personal favorite cruises and perhaps the information there will lead to inspiration.
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.
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