With many different cruise lines, ships, and destinations around the world, you may think that picking your next cruise holiday is going to be a nightmare – it’s not!
It’s actually very easy to narrow down your options based upon your own preferences and requirements, leaving you with a manageable and exciting list of ships and itineraries to choose from.
Whatever you choose, you can be sure you’ll be sailing in utter luxury.
Discover The Best Cruise Lines For You
Search all you want, you won’t find two cruise lines that are completely the same in terms of on board policies, atmosphere and environment, or guest services.
If one cruise line doesn’t quite suit your own personal preferences or requirements, you can be sure another will. In terms of policies, some lines tend to be more lenient and flexible, whereas others have more strict limitations in place.
P&O, for example, allow passengers to bring alcohol for personal consumption on board, whilst Royal Caribbean do not allow for any at all.
Similarly, Carnival restrict luggage to two ‘medium’ cases per passengers, whereas Cunard allow as much luggage as you can comfortably fit into your stateroom.
It’s important to choose a cruise line whose policies are in keeping with your own ideals.
Furthermore, it’s important to consider who various cruise lines are targeting as potential passengers.
If you’re travelling with a family, for example, it’s best to choose a cruise line that is well known for providing family-friendly entertainment.
If, however, you’re travelling as a solo passenger, opt for a cruise line that particularly welcomes single passengers.
Fred Olsen, for example, welcomes children on board its ships, but deters families by not offering child-friendly activities, the crew are excellent with children but Fred Olsen are not considered a fully pledged family orientated cruise line unlike P&O, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line.
Once again, finding a cruise line that matches your situation and values the aspects that you find important is a great way to narrow down your options.
Find Your Ship
While there is a little more unison between ships than between cruise lines, you’ll still find each ship to be different.
More so with cruise lines such as P&O Cruises, which offer both adult-only and family-friendly ships.
Finding the right ship for you can be a bit of trial and error, but in doing your research first, you’ve got a pretty good chance of falling in love with your chosen vessel.
The ‘right’ ships for you should be determined by your travelling circumstances, such as whether you’re travelling as a solo traveller, a couple, or a family, as well as by personal interests.
For couples wanting a quiet, romantic getaway, P&O’s adult-only ships are ideal. Adonia, Arcadia, and Oriana are designed exclusively for adults, with bars, upscale restaurants, and more varied evening entertainments taking the place of kids’ clubs, splash pools, and mini discos, for example. The larger ships, such as the newest additions to the Royal Caribbean fleet, are great for families.
Boasting a range of fun kids’ clubs and exhilarating activities for teenagers, consider one of RCI’s Freedom Class ships. Travelling alone? Consider NCL’s Norwegian Epic and P&O’s Azura, two fantastic ships with designated single cabins to keep the cost down.
In terms of your own personal interests, you should also aim to choose your ship based upon on board activities.
If, for example, you’re a real foodie, excited about the chance to sample some of the most spectacular food that will ever pass your lips, opt for a ship that boasts speciality dining restaurants, particularly those associated with celebrity chefs such as Marco Pierre White and Todd English (available on selected P&O ships and Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 respectively). Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line are renowned for a wide range of diverse dining options on board, with the new NCL Getaway boasting as much as 27 different dining venues to choose from.
Oceania Cruises are also a leading luxury line for passengers looking to indulge in stunning cuisine.
If you enjoy unwinding in luxurious environments, a fully-equipped spa should be near the top of your list, while if you prefer to live the fast life, check out the surfing, zip lining, and rock climbing opportunities available on the more contemporary Royal Caribbean ships.
Decide When You Want To Travel
If when you travel is dictated by work, family, or other commitments, then this may limit where you can go.
Some popular destinations, such as the Mediterranean and Caribbean, welcome cruise ships all year round, whereas other areas which are subject to adverse conditions over the winter months, such as Alaska and Northern Europe, have a much smaller cruise season – often between May and September when the weather is more predictable, and more amenable to cruising.
Similarly, if you travel to Scandinavia during the summer, it’s very unlikely that you will see the Northern Lights, which are frequently seen by those cruising in the early spring.
Deciding when you are available to travel can help you narrow down your destination choices.
Explore New Destinations or Old Favourites
Once you’ve decided on your preferred cruise line, potential ships, and narrowed down the months that you’re available to travel, it’s time to think about itineraries.
The beauty of cruising is that it doesn’t matter whether you venture to new ports or to places you’ve been a hundred times, the destinations are so fascinating that there is always something to see or do.
The Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Caribbean, and Alaska are all very popular cruising destinations, both from the UK and via fly-cruising. However, some regions, such as South America, Asia, Africa, and the Emirates are catching up fast, widely considered to be up-and-coming cruise destinations.
The introduction of more fly-cruising itineraries from major cruise lines is making it easier to explore these exotic regions in just 7 or 14 nights, so the destination is, perhaps, the most difficult part of picking your next cruise! However, it’s also one of the most fun, so enjoy it!
It may sound strange, but we think that researching your next cruise holiday is almost as fun as the holiday itself!
Checking out what’s on offer from various cruise lines is an exciting chance to really see what’s on board, let your imagination run wild with picturesque destinations, and get excited about the mouthwatering cuisine you’ll be tucking into!
Of course these headings are just suggestions, you may have a preferred way of doing things and as we have stated throughout this article, personal preference is everything.
For many, the itinerary is most important and the ship, dates and other factors slot into place around it. Others value accommodation and ship facilities as the main priority before considering destinations.
There really is no right or wrong answer with cruising, it’s far less black and white than land based holidays but that’s what makes it so fun. The options available to you are quite simply amazing, so relax, enjoy it and let’s find the perfect cruise for you.