I am writing this to you from the deck of the Disney Dream for a Thanksgiving Merrytime sailing. My family spent five nights on board this time, and spent a very slow holiday at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. It’s been a wonderful way for us to slow down before the holiday hustle and bussel begins. As you can see, I am now working because I have a hard time relaxing. So, I thought this was the perfect time to explain how not all cruises are created equal.
What do you mean there are lots of types of cruises?
Ocean cruising –
There are lots of different cruise lines to choose from in this space, so how do you know which cruise line, ship, or itinerary is right for you?!? My answer to this question in every category is going to be to contact me for help (of course), but I will also share a bit more Information on this.
Norwegian Cruise Line is actually my overall favorite to sail on. This is because I think they offer the best bang for your buck, and I like their itineraries (they focus a bit more on the destination than some of the other major players), plus, their free at sea promotions makes it seem like you’re not being charged at every corner.
Disney Cruise Line is an elevated experience and includes a lot of great dining, broadway shows, and lots of Disney IP. The normal experience is similar to the concierge experience on other cruise lines, but the price is reflective of that. When you sail Disney, the destination really is the ship itself. There are also amazing adult only spaces, so it’s great for multigenerational travel or even adult only vacations.
Royal Caribbean really varies by the ship you are on. If your ship has been “amplified”, it has great fun for families and for adults. Their private island, perfect day at Cococay is the perfect mix of fun, adrenaline, and relaxation. Similar to Disney, Royal Caribbean is focusing on making their newer ships a destination on their own. I mean, they actually have a Central Park on them.
Celebrity Cruise Line is an elevated Royal Caribbean, but in an inclusive and funky way! This is definitely more of an adult experience, but still has kids and teens clubs onboard for those families that can appreciate the eclectic a bit more!
Virgin Voyages is my favorite for adult vacations! Whether you are looking for a couples getaway or a girlfriend long weekend, look no further! But, there are some more risqué activities on board, so it’s not for everyone. Their itineraries are a bit “sexy” as well to keep on theme.
Princess Cruise Lines is a great option for those that like nice accommodations, but are also really curious about the destinations they visit. They tend to have longer itineraries for those guests that are retired and have more time for their adventures. Princess is also amazing for Alaska itineraries!
River Cruising –
If the thought of the open ocean and thousands of “friends” doesn’t appeal to you, but visiting multiple cities and unpacking once does, then river cruising may be more your speed!!! Please note that there are not kids clubs onboard, so this is really recommended for teens and above (or very curious and well traveled children). This type of travel is now available on multiple continents and I cannot recommend it enough! I am just going to highlight a couple below.
AmaWaterways is my overall favorite European river cruise line. Their service, accommodations, itineraries, and included excursions are top notch! This would be the best bang for your buck!
Avalon tops the charts on their active itineraries! They have great staterooms where the beds face the windows as well! When I went to the river cruise expo in Budapest this year, they were my biggest “aha” of the conference because I was really impressed.
Uniworld includes it all…including butlers for everyone. All of their ships also are like floating museums with over $1,000,000 of artwork on each ship. They are truly the most inclusive line from their drinks to their excursions, but you will surely pay for those enhanced inclusions.
There are even some great options for cruising the rivers in the US as well! The most popular itineraries are along the Mississippi and Snake Rivers.
Expedition Cruising –
There are lots of different lines and smaller ship operators in this space. If places like Antarctica, Galápagos Islands,Alaska, or even the Norwegian Fjords are on your list, an expedition ship just may be your best bet! While most of these ships are definitely more utilitarian, there are still some very luxurious options out there as well! Just because you are heading out in a zodiac during the day does not mean that amazing food and drinks, a butler, and luxurious bedding can’t be waiting for you when you return! Or, you can keep the costs down a bit, by foregoing some of the luxurious elements. This is where a travel advisor comes in!
Small ship/yachts –
If you would rather head out on a ship with a sail, or possibly even charter your own yacht, we have options for all of this! Croatia, the Mediterranean, Tahiti, Alaska, and even the US and British Virgin Islands are great places to adventure in a smaller ship or a yacht. We work with many suppliers in the various destinations, so again, it’s best to just contact us on this so we can find the best match for your needs.
The world is large, and most of it is covered with water, so there are lots of great options for exploring those waters. When you’re ready to see the world from a stateroom instead of a hotel room, we can help with that as well!
We truly are thankful for you!