12 Best Cruises for First Time Cruisers
12 Best Cruises for First Timers
When you are finally get the chance to do something you have been waiting to do all your life, the euphoria you feel is matchless. That is exactly how I felt when I was outlining my first cruise. I was overwhelmed by the choices and options I had in front of me. I was tempted by all the possibilities but also scared to death of making a wrong decision. I went through every brochure, every pamphlet I could get my hands. I surfed through cruise websites to find the right one. Trouble was, I could myself on each one of them: the luxury yacht, the party boat, expedition ship to Antarctica. Wanting to be on all, I was afraid of making the wrong decision.
Tired and confused, I decided to call a ‘Cruise Specialist’, yes, they exist. The specialist asked me several questions to help in the matchmaking process. I am glad I asked for help because the specialist actually helped me decipher the puzzle the cruise planning is.
Select Your Ideal Cruise
Before finding out your options, find out what type of traveler you are first. What would be your ideal vacation? Do you like to travel on your own and do everything in impulse. Are you one of those who make a checklist for the trip and keep your fun organized? Maybe you and your significant other are the connoisseurs and have these cultured and cultivated tastes. Do you want your cruise filled with luxurious meals, pumping and energetic activities and parties, socializing events and of course, endless amount of sleep. What destinations would you want to stop at? Write down your budget and the duration of the trip.
Once you are done straightening that out, it is time to find a cruise of your match. Now this is actually the toughest part. To the first timers, all cruises will look exactly the same to you. You will get confused - but not to worry.
How exactly do you find out which cruise is perfect for you? There are options for that. You can seek help from a travel agent, or go through this list below featuring the top cruise lines of every type. We also have mentioned the runners-up. What else do you need?
#1 Best For Tight Budget
Carnival Cruise Line
Why: Carnival markets to everyone who has one similar interest - a giant, fun party (in budget), with 24 ships, Carnival focuses on famous tour destinations, including Bahamas, Caribbean and Mexico. From three to seven night programmes, the deals are very low-priced. It is about timing as well, if you are clever you can make your cruise cheaper than staying at home, approximately $30-$50 a head, per night.
Carnival does not go over the top with its cabins and extra facilities. It is simple, but absolutely fun. Try not to go during the holiday months, rates are at their peak then. Booking early can save you like 20% of the cost. Time it right, and a cruise could cost you less than if you'd stayed home -- say, $30 to $50 per person, per night.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise is nothing to scoff at. Boasting a fleet of 13 ships and space for 4100-passenger in Norwegian Epic and 4028-passenger in Norwegian Breakaway and Getaway, this is something you should consider. You can also book last minute with discounted deals, charging $50 - $75 per head, per night. The cruise offers endless free activities and events - live music and comedy shows and splendid Broadway shows.
#2 Best For All
Why: Princess Cruises offers something for everyone. Princess’ fleet carries 680 passengers to 3600 passengers. The agenda focuses over destinations across the globe. Heading Alaska Cruising, Princess Cruise also delivers popular trips to Mexico, Europe, Caribbean, Africa and Asia. The facilities provided by the cruises includes everything from spa to kids activities, multiple dining options, multiple entertainment options, poolside cinemas, spas on decks and (literally) a shopping mall.
Norwegian Cruise Line
If you are a first timer, I would suggest you to go for Norwegian. Traditional cruising is what Norwegian offers. Cruise would feel more like a land-based resort vacation to you and it is ideal for you if it is your first time. Dining places are many and live performances are endless. You can book a luxury suite with private decks and lounges or an affordable, modest cabin. If you are going solo, solo travelers usually opt for studio cabins. Families usually go for kids club with facilities for children as young as 6 months.
#3 Tweens and Teens
Royal Caribbean International
Why: For teens Royal Caribbean offers special care and attention. Royal provides rock-climbing valls, ice-skating, boxing rings, surf simulator, volleyball and basketball courts. Royal Caribbean has separate facilities for teens and tweens. Royal Caribbean does not treat children like children. Providing the spa treatments, backstage ship tours, casinos, DJ lessons and lounges where teens can spend time with each others. The schedules cruise provides for tweens and teens keep parents free from worrying and let them enjoy their time.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Perfect for teens, Norwegian Cruise Line offers exclusive spaces for young ones. With facilities including lounges and clubs specifically for teens, theme nights and sophisticated get togethers, retro-hip activities including Nintendo Wii U, bowling, shows similar to American Idol, the opportunities are endless. Teens are the hard to please, Norwegian knows how to take care of it.
#4 Catering to Small Children
Disney Cruise Line
Why: It is Disney, so of course it knows what it is doing. Disney knows how to entertain the crowd who gets bored in like 10 seconds. There are not many cruise catering specifically to young children (toddlers and babies). Disney provides nurseries for children of up to 3 years old. The signature Disney characters are also present Mickey, Cinderella, Goofy, other princesses who constantly engage children in fun activities. Providing high-tech, Disney and Pixar movies-themed play areas, games are often interactive and educational. Living areas and dining places are fit for families with tub/shower combos in split bathrooms and, of course fairytale decor.
Carnival joins forces with Dr. Seuss to provide exclusive cruises to children. Parades named Seuss-a-Palooza provide cameos by famous Dr. Seuss characters, themed breakfasts, and loads of time for stories. Facility named Camp Ocean provides cruise lines especially for children as young as 2-year-old. Attendants also take care of children’s needs for parents. Babies and toddlers younger than 2 years also receive special care with activities including parents. Line focuses on family fun-timeand that is what appeals to parents most.
#5 Elder Cruisers
Holland America Line
Why: Holland America is a sophisticated mid-size line which has attracted mature passengers with their traditional cruising experiences sans partying and music. Holland America provides peaceful pleasures with learning opportunities. Live cooking demos, shoreside market tours, onboard art tours, exploration cafes, libraries and lectures on history and art and related topics are some of the facilities the cruise offers. Golf, tennis, yoga are some of the activities travelers can do onboard. Holland America has also introduced ballroom dances like "Dancing with the Stars", B.B. King's Blues Club, dining experience with menus from chef Jonnie Boer with Michelin three stars and popular restaurant Le Cirque.
Oceania Cruise Line
50 plus is the market Oceania offers exclusive cruises too. The passengers are well-traveled and are not short of money. Ships carrying 684 to 1252-passenger, delivers a fine and luxurious form of cruising experience. Countless fine dining venues, serene pools on decks, appealing standard cabins and pricey luxurious suites. Activities include art classes with experts and cooking workshops. Europe, Panama Canal, Asia, South America, and Australia come under the list of destinations.
#6 Fit For Single Pringles
Why: Being on your own calls for river cruises, instead of regular ocean voyage. Whether you are in Europe, Asia or US, riverboats usually have 200 or less berths, open dining areas and group tours. Many ocean voyages do not cater to single persons, riverboats offer an experience which cannot be missed.
Norwegian introduced ‘Studio concept’ on its Norwegian Epic for solo travelers. The living accommodations have minimal and tasteful furnishings. Single cruisers are also given exclusive access to bars with group tables and gathering and places to socialize. Norwegian has extend this service to its other lines, including Getaway, Breakaway, and Pride of America.
#7 Foodies’ Heaven
Why: Ocean’s Executive Culinary Director is French chef Jacques Pepin and that is enough to tell you about Oceania’s devotion to provide its passengers the best food experience. Oceania’s main dining areas are designed with open-seating plan in mind. The poolside grills and buffets offer are nothing to scoff at all. There are also free specialty venues which range from Italian Toscana to Asian-style Red Ginger to and French bistro Jacques. If eating is not the only thing you are after, you can also learn to cook mouth-watering delicacies yourself.
Looking for innovative onboard cuisine embracing flavors from all around the world, Celebrity should be your #1 choice. The line provides high-class culinary experience whether it is buffet or main dining venues. Included in the given choices, you have Qsine, delivering to you world-fusion dishes, a getaway to pan-Asian flavors is offered by Silk Harvest. If you need French, Celebrity provides French, including Murano.
#8 Star Of Entertainment
Why: Every Norwegian lines supply musicals, comedy affairs and improvised shows, live music with guest performers. The line is inspired by land-based sell-outs. Norwegian’s lines include Broadway musicals, dance shows, blues bands and dueling pianist. Even the dining areas are equipped with entertainment centres. Nickelodeon-themed activities are also conducted for youngsters. Discos, bars, Wii and bowling are some of the additional activities in the entertainment-packed Norwegian lines.
After Norwegian, Royal Caribbean is the winner of entertainment-filled cruises. Broadway shows including ‘Mamma Mia!’ and ‘Cats’ are featured on the cruises. Ice-skating shows, acrobatic shows and aerial shows are also organized. Spectacular cinemas with floor-to-ceiling digital screens, live dancers, aerialists, singers and musicians, line of cover bands and characters from Dreamworks - all comes in Royal Caribbean’s entertainment lines.
#9 For Cultured and Cultivated
Why: Cunard is Oxford among cruise ships. Equipped with onboard dignitaries and luminaries like astronauts from NASA, polar explorer, British actor, comedian and writer John Cleese - Cunard is an experience unforgettable. Cunard also offers ballroom dancing, planetarium, West End-style theatre with box-seats, and string quartets. Audience is encouraged to participate. Acting is taught by members of Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). Cunard also features book clubs.
Second comes Azamara Club Cruises whose dedicated to involve passengers in all the destinations they reach. Its itineraries include long days and sometimes night on port destinations. Every cruise arranged by Azamara Club feature a free shore expeditions. The expeditions are for passengers to experience the "sights, sounds and tastes" of the terrain they just explored. Onboard activities include cooking demos, guest lecturers and wine tasting.
#10 Fit for Explorers
Why: Arctic, Antarctic, Amazon, Galapagos and other less-common destinationsare included in Lindblad itineraries. Lindblad’s passengers sail on ice class vessel in Arctic region which help them navigate through frozen areas. The fun doesn't end here. Their Cape Horn to Cape of Good Hope trips take the cruisers through the regions explored by bygone globetrotters before them. While navigating through Antarctica, Lindblad takes NatGeo naturalists, photographers and marine specialists onboard, enlightening them passengers with information and insights. To inspect closer, the line carries sea kayaks, Zodiacs and underwater cameras. Glacier hikes led by naturalists, deep water snorkeling are some of the activities conducted by the line. Apart from all that, Lindblad also organize drills and upholds several preservation project in the regions they tour.
Looking for both eco-exploration and luxury? Un-Cruise Adventures is the name you are looking for. Combining eco-tourism with lavish cruising through Sea of Cortez, Alaska, British Columbia and Coastal Washington, Columbia and the Snake Rivers and Hawaii - Un-Cruise ships are smaller in size, which helps them traverse through narrow water routes. Passengers are encouraged to enjoy the natural atmosphere with endless excursions on land and water, like stand-up paddleboarding, whale watching, kayaking, polar bear plunges and hiking.
#11 Luxurious Cruises
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Why: Look more closely, and you will find Regent Seven Seas name scrolled somewhere the word luxury. It is the definition of luxury. With all suites (with balconies) in the living accommodations, meals are served in speciality dining areas. Pre-cruise and post-cruise tours, gratuities, hotel stays, shore excursions, suites equipped with beverages of every kind - what more one need? The lines ship sizes are large enough to carry 490-700 cruisers each, and small enough to make socializing easy onboard. They are enough sizeable to provide spacious cabins and several dining and entertainment areas to keep the passengers amused. Butlers in each cabin and chefs from Le Cordon Bleu preparing meals personally for you, Seven Seas has the highest staff-to-passenger ratio in the industry. Wherever you travel, expect to be pampered.
Other fine cruising options bring Seabourn to you. Leaving its ancient ships, Seabourn has arrived with its new 450-cruiser carrier vessels with another carrying 604 cruisers. The line supplies huge spas, roomy cabins (with the smallest being of 295 square feet), beautiful suites, with overall cost including dining and drinks, entertainment and gifts. Baths named "Pure Pampering" are drawn by your cabin steward, inclusive of beautiful flower petals strewn and gorgeous smelling oils and salts.
#12 Romantic Cruisers
Why: Probably the best one to enjoy with your significant other, Windstar Cruises are intimate vessels holding 148 to 312 cruisers. The tour destinations include heavenly and dreamy places like Costa Rica, Greek Isles, Windward Islands, Far East and South Pacific, covering small docks and bays not usually visited by other lines. How about stargazing while on a cruise? Windstar has got you covered. Offering private verandahs, poolside padded loungers, Candles Grill brings unconfined and open-air dinner options, there are water sports for you to try as well, including kayaking, water-skiing, floating, sailing, diving, windsurfing and many more.
Paul Gauguin Cruises
Honeymooning, anniversary cruising or something special to celebrate with The One, Paul Gauguin Cruises understand your needs. With itineraries encompassing Tahiti, South Pacific, and French Polynesia, you will expect its namesake line to provide all of that to you - they don’t. PG Cruises presents ocean-view cabins (all cabins), most of them boasts queen-size beds and romantic, private balconies. With delicacies comprising of Polynesian-accented French meal served at the L'Etoile, a fine-dining restaurant, you can also opt for a sunset-view private dinner presented on the their stateroom balcony. The spas are made for couples in love, their 40-minute aroma baths for two, pampering you with massages on Coast of Taha'a private islet.
Going through this list, I am pretty sure you must have figured out by now what exactly you are looking for; we have options for everyone. Have you been on any of the above cruises, if yes then share your experience down below. If you have a cruising experience with some other line, do share, we are all ears!
12 Best Cruises for First Time Cruisers