Which Cruise Line is Right for You?
Thinking of going on a cruise, but uncertain which cruise line is the right fit? This post is for you! Let's take a closer look at our favorite cruise lines and discover which one might be just right for your future cruise vacation.
Best Cruise line for families- Disney
Cost- Moderate to Expensive
Destinations- Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexico, South America, Pacific, Alaska, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, Europe
Pros- This is a no brainer. Disney Cruise Line is hands down the best for families with kids of all ages. The line features kid clubs for every age range plus exclusive adult only areas onboard. On a Disney ship you will find constant scheduled entertainment (you can choose to participate or not) from game shows to obstacle courses to character meet and greets. On many Caribbean and Bahamian itineraries your ship will stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. Another perk unique to Disney is the rotational dining, which means your waitstaff will follow you to each included restaurant for dinner.
Cons- Should go without saying, but we do not recommend for those that do not enjoy Disney. The entertainment, activities, and theming are Disney centric. We DO however recommend for all age groups regardless of whether or not you are traveling with kids if you are Disney fans.
If you are looking for late night partying, nightclubs, or casinos then Disney is not the cruise line for you. Most everything closes up around midnight.
Best for most anyone- Royal Caribbean
Pros- Royal is another great choice for families. Many ships provide kid clubs and activities for all age groups. The ships are huge with entertainment ranging from rock climbing walls to bumper cars to ice skating rinks. There are also itineraries and ports of call located all over the world. If you like a wide range of activities and the large resort feel then you will like Royal Caribbean. Like Disney, Royal also offers a private island experience on many itineraries: Cococay in the Bahamas and Labadee on Haiti’s north coast.
Cons- Royal’s ships vary greatly across the board. Be sure to look at the specific ships and their offerings when considering cruising with Royal as they are not all equivalent. While the newer ships offer amazing onboard activities you will not find on any other cruise line, the size and ship capacity may be a turn off if you prefer a smaller setting over a mega ship.
Best for more luxury at sea- Celebrity
Cost- moderate to expensive
Destinations- Asia, Australia, Pacific, Caribbean, Europe, North America, South America
Pros- Celebrity offers more luxury at sea while still providing the amenities of a large cruise ship (still half the size of the new Royal mega ships) and without the price tag of other 'lux lines'. On a Celebrity cruise you will find modern, sophisticated style reflected in staterooms, common spaces, and restaurants. Celebrity also offers select ship classes and various suite options that come with access to dedicated spaces and extra amenities. Kid clubs are also available.
Cons- Celebrity caters to a more elevated experience, which also means you will find less kids. This may be a plus for you! But if you are hoping to find a cruise geared to the younger generation then we recommend Royal or Disney.
Best for river cruising- Viking
Cost- moderate to expensive
Destinations- Europe, Asia, Egypt, Mississippi, Caribbean, Antarctica, Canada, Mediterranean, Australia, South America, Alaska
Pros- Viking cruises has expanded to the ocean and additionally has expedition style itineraries, but the cruise line is primarily known for river cruises. Viking provides a smaller ship vibe with ships typically holding a fraction of the number of passengers as the big cruise lines (under 1,000 onboard). Itineraries are also more port driven with one excursion included at every stop with the intention of providing a true all-inclusive experience. If you are not interested in the mega ships and are more interested in truly experiencing each port destination then we recommend considering sailing with Viking. Another perk to a river cruise- no need to worry about sea sickness or fear of being far away from land.
Cons- Depending on the cruise experience you are hoping for this may be seen as a pro, but Viking Cruises are not a choice for families with kids. Passengers must be 18 years to sail. Also, if hoping for the large cruise ship environment with tons of onboard entertainment then Viking is not the cruise line for you.
Best for small ship cruising- Windstar
Cost- moderate to expensive
Destinations- North America, Caribbean, Central America, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Arabia, Alaska, Europe, South Pacific, Tahiti
Pros- Windstar offers the intimate environment you will not find on a large cruise ship. Windstar has 6 ships that vary in capacity and style, the range being 148-342 passengers. Half the fleet is comprised of masted yachts while the other half is comprised of motorized yachts. The smaller size of ship allows Windstar to take you to ports larger ships are unable to visit. Similar to Viking, itineraries are more port driven with excursions and time on land encouraged. Foodies will also love Windstar as it is the official cruise line of the James Beard Foundation- culinary excursions and market tours with the chef are examples of special offerings when onboard a Windstar Cruise.
Cons- Guests must be 8 years old to sail, so Windstar is not an option for families with young children. If wanting the kid club experience for your older kids then we recommend you choose one of the larger cruise lines. Also, if onboard entertainment and activities are important to you then Windstar is not your cruise line.
Navigating the different cruise lines can be challenging and confusing, but we are here to help you. If you are ready to begin planning your cruise vacation or simply wish to learn more, reach out to a Castle Coach today!