"" Writer's Wanderings: Choosing a Cruise Line

Friday, April 01, 2011

Choosing a Cruise Line

When I tell people we are nearing our 50th cruise, the question always comes up, "Which cruise line do you like the best?" We haven't been on all of them but we do have our favorites. That's not to say one line is better than another--it's just better for us. Let me explain. . .

Years ago when we first started this mad travel addiction, our cruise travel agent, The Cruise Company, sat us down and asked us what expectations we had and what we liked to do on vacations. Once she had an idea of our picture of the perfect cruise, she suggested several cruise lines that we might try and one in particular, Celebrity.

She matched us perfectly for the time. Over the years, we have discovered that cruise lines change and restructure and try new things--some successfully and others not so much. We have never been on a Carnival ship because we don't care for the type of entertainment and activities they offer. Just recently, on a Princess cruise, we found their entertainment and activities to resemble what we perceive Carnival to be. In all fairness, it was spring break and they may have catered to the younger crowd a bit more. And they may just be trying out something new. We've cruised with them in the past and enjoyed it more.

Our next cruise puts us on Cunard's Queen Mary 2. Once in a while we enjoy the more elegant evenings that require a bit more formal dress expected on the Cunard line. Our kids who cruise prefer Norwegian because they don't have to get dressed formally on any night. Other cruise lines are middle-of-the-road, requiring formal nights usually for two evenings on a 7 day cruise and the rest are smart casual.

Some cruise lines are noted for their lecture series. We took one Crystal cruise that had an excellent line up of speakers. Some offer themed cruises where you can immerse yourself in jazz, theater, or the culinary arts.

There is literally something out there for anyone willing to chance getting some sea legs and shoving off on a sea adventure. I suggest strongly however if you have never cruised before that you find a travel agent that specializes in cruising and sit down to find a good match for that first cruise. TAs usually have been on almost every new ship that comes in and have experienced and/or gotten feedback from their other clients to know how to fit you with an appropriate ship for your needs, wants, and even some of those desires and still not break the bank.

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