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 have 7 ships in their fleet: the newest being their flagship Britannia. They are known for offering guests Strictly Come Dancing at Sea and for their celebrity chef Food Heroes on-board ships.
They offer the most cruises out of Southampton, including lots of mini cruises and world cruises that depart in January
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 - 2 ships are for adults only - Arcadia and Oriana
• You want to take the family then try 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 largest ship Harmony of the Seas can take up to 5,400 passengers but don’t let this put you off, the 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. Independence of The Seas is about to have a multimillion pound makeover that will include the 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 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. As well as the Transatlantic Cunard also operate world cruises in January, mini cruises and sailings from Southampton throughout the year
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 have 16 ships in their fleet, they sail mostly in the Med, The Caribbean, Dubai, Northern Europe and South America. Like Royal Caribbean the majority of these ships are big ones but 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 next year to Northern Europe and this ship will have a more British feel, with Tea & Coffee making facilities in the cabins, British Comedians and more British inspired food.
You would like MSC Cruises if:
• You have a family with children (kid’s prices are normally very good with MSC)
• You want to mix with lots of different nationalities
• You want to visit lots of ports
• You are price conscious (MSC are very competitively priced)
• You drink – MSC have one of the best priced drinks packages at sea!
Norwegian Cruise Line
NCL have 11 ships in their fleet and sail almost world-wide, Australia, Hawaii, South America, Alaska, Canada, Caribbean, Asia and of course in Europe. On NCL there are no set dinner times, no dress codes you do as you wish when you wish. Great entertainment on board including shows, comedy clubs, Ice bars, bowling alleys, water slides, kid’s clubs. Prices include all drinks and Tips, NCL were also the first cruise line to build cabins specifically designed for solo travellers, cruise lines are notorious for charging high single supplements but on a few of the NCL ships they have Studio Cabins that are very affordable.
You would like NCL if:
• You are a solo cruiser
• You are a couple or travelling with a group
• 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 bit classier than Royal Caribbean but not as formal or traditional as Cunard, they have speciality restaurants on board, Martini bars, Wine bars, even on some ships a lawn club with real grass where you can have a picnic.
In my opinion although they do cater for families and have kids/teen clubs there are no so many things on board for kids to do but for couples or groups of friends they are brilliant and have some amazing itineraries.
As well as Europe Celebrity cruise to lots of different places including Antarctica, The Galapagos, India, South Pacific, Hawaii, Australia & New Zealand, Caribbean Asia, Alaska to name but a few.
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 and will be a real game changer for cruising.
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 including, Dover, Harwich, Tilbury, Liverpool, Newcastle, Southampton and Edinburgh and 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 places that the big ships can’t)