When it comes to taking a cruise there really is a lot of choice. There’s so many different cruise lines and destinations it’s hard to know where to start, so I thought it might be quite handy to put together a little guide on some of the top cruise lines and what they have to offer.
You may be thinking of taking a cruise for the first time or indeed be an experienced cruiser that is thinking about trying another line, hopefully the below guide will give you a small insight as to what each cruise line has to offer and of course you can always call me for more advice.
P&O cruises currently have 7 ships in their fleet: the newest being their flagship Britannia which can hold over 4000 passengers. A new ship called Iona will be launching in 2020. They are known for offering passengers Strictly Come Dancing at sea and for their celebrity chef Food Heroes on-board ships. They offer most of their cruises out of Southampton You would like P&O if… •You like home comforts such as tea and coffee making facilities in your cabin and a “British” feel. •You wanted an adult only cruise, as you have the option to sail on one of the adult only ships which are called Arcadia and Oriana •You wanted to sail with children as you could enjoy one of the family friendly ships such as Aurora, Oceana, Ventura and Britannia
Royal Caribbean Cruises
Royal Caribbean have 25 Ships in their fleet and they range from small to super-size!! Their current largest ship Symphony of The Seas can take up to 5,400 passengers. Don’t let this put you off, their ships may be big but there is plenty of space on board and with things like Sky Diving, Bumper Cars, Surfing, Rock Climbing, Ice Skating and a full-size carousel on board some of their ships there is plenty to do. The Independence of The Seas has been voted the UK’s favourite cruise line and has just had a multimillion pound makeover including new bars/restaurants and cabins and the very first Trampoline Park at Sea!
You would like Royal Caribbean if… •You are a family (the kids and teens clubs are amazing) •You want a more relaxed atmosphere on board •You like West End Show Productions and great entertainment •You are a first-time cruiser as there are lots of different ships, you will find one that suits you
Cunard Cruises Cunard are very much a traditional cruise line, I would say more Liners than cruise ships, kind of along the lines of Titanic. There are 3 ships, one being the Queen Mary which was built specifically to do a Transatlantic Sailing (Southampton to New York) This particular ship is the only one I am aware of that also has its own deck for dogs, with kennels, a full time “doggy” butler and you can visit your pooches at certain times during the day.
You would like Cunard Cruises if •You like formality and tradition •You like exceptional service •You like to dress up of an evening •You can’t bear to be parted from your furry friend whilst on holiday
MSC Cruises are a predominately Mediterranean Cruise Line, including their newest ships there are currently 17 in the fleet, they sail mostly in the Med, The Caribbean, Dubai, Northern Europe and South America.
You may have just seen the MSC Meraviglia on Channel 5 recently on Cruising with Jane McDonald, like Royal Caribbean the majority of these ships are big ones but again with lots to do on board including water slides and a bowling alley. MSC are a little different, being Mediterranean you will find that the food, entertainment etc reflects that, however they do have a ship called Magnifica which is sailing from Southampton this year to Northern Europe and this ship will have a more British feel.
You would like MSC Cruises if … •You have a family with children (kid’s prices are normally very good with MSC) •You want to visit lots of ports •You are price conscious •You drink – MSC have one of the best priced drinks packages at sea!
Norwegian Cruise Line NCL have 15 ships in their fleet and sail almost world-wide. NCL have adopted a very free and easy style of cruising there are no set dinner times, no dress codes. Great entertainment on board including shows, comedy clubs, Ice bars, bowling alleys, water slides, kid’s clubs. They have recently gone All Inclusive the price now includes all your drinks and the gratuities; another great thing is that NCL were the first cruise line to build cabins specifically designed for solo travellers.
You would like NCL if •You are a solo cruiser •You prefer a relaxed informal style of cruise •You are a family (lots for everyone to do) •You like to budget all your costs prior to your holiday (tips/drinks already included)
Celebrity Cruise Line
Celebrity are what I would put as a 4* type of a Cruise ship, a little bit classier than say Royal Caribbean and Norwegian but not as formal or traditional as say Cunard, they have lots of speciality restaurants on board, Martini bars, Wine bars and even on some ships a lawn club with real grass where you can have a picnic. As well as Europe Celebrity cruise to lots of different places.
You may have seen in the news about their newest ship which will sail from 2018 called The Edge. The design is like nothing you have seen before.
You would like Celebrity if •You are a couple or travelling with a group of friends •You like to eat out in different restaurants •You want to cruise to different destinations
Fred Olsen Cruise Lines
Fred Olsen are a family run cruise line that have 4 ships, these ships are much smaller than other cruise lines and generally appeal to the older market. They are well known for their friendliness and levels of service. They sail from lots of ports in the UK sail all over the world including Europe, The Amazon, Indian Ocean, South Africa, Norwegian Fjords, The British Isles and many more.
Each evening on most cruises there are hosted dance events, so great if you are into Ballroom Dancing etc, there is entertainment and lots of guest speakers and lectures throughout the cruise, because the ships are smaller you do feel like you are getting a more personal service, however if you are looking for lots of activities or to party all night then this wouldn’t be the cruise line for you.
You would like Fred Olsen if •You are of an older generation •You like good service and a very friendly ship •You like to visit smaller ports of call (because the ships are smaller they can access more ports)