Choosing The Perfect Cruise
There are three categories of cruise lines to choose from: Luxury Cruise Lines, Premium Cruise Lines and Mainstream Cruise Lines. All of which have different types of ships to consider. Within the three categories of cruise lines are the following types of cruise ships: mega cruise ships, large cruise ships, small cruise ships, adventure cruise ships, sailing ships, river cruise boats and yachts.
So what is the difference of Luxury Cruise Lines, Premium Cruise Lines and Mainstream Cruise lines? All of them provide great adventures on water, all of them have much to their credit and most of them have a strong commitment for providing fantastic vacation experiences. Often times it's not the flavor of the cruise that counts but the tastes of the individual. Your travel agent can help you put together the perfect cruise vacation based on your unique lifestyle.
Aboard deluxe cruise lines such as Crystal Cruises, Radisson Seven Sea Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, Sea Dream Yahcht Club, Silverseas Cruises and Windstar Cruises are ocean liners that offer guests the ultimate cruise experience. The luxury lines offer itineraries in a variety of lengths and destinations. Many of these destinations are un-guided by Premium or Mainstream cruise lines. These are high quality products at a high quality price. The majority of these cruise ships carry less than 500 passengers.
A luxury cruise is perfect for those looking for:
- A formal, refined atmosphere, epicurean dining and personal service, all with a touch of elegance.
- Deluxe and spacious accommodations.
- A limited number of fellow passengers with one-on-one attention from the crew.
- An Average of two weeks or longer away.
- Onboard schools and lecturers providing in-depth information on certain topics.
These cruises typically cater to business oriented professionals who are well traveled.
Premium lines offer a high quality product at a more affordable price. The majority of these cruise ships carry less than 2000 passengers. Premium Cruise lines include such favorites as Celebrity Cruises, Cunard Line, Hapag-Lloyd Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Oceania Cruises and Peter Deilmann Cruises.
A premium Cruise is perfect for those looking for:
- A semi-formal yet relaxed atmosphere, great cuisine and personalized service
- Above standard and spacious accommodations.
- An average cruise of seven days or longer in length.
- An active lifestyle.
These cruises most often attract business oriented professionals, who are well traveled.
Mainstream Cruise Lines
These cruise lines provide a great product at a great price. Many are literally floating cities with parks, golfing, theaters, restaurants, salons and even rock climbing. Cruise Lines in this classification have something for everyone. They also carry the highest number of passengers per available space. Mainstream Cruise lines include, Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, Delta Queen Steamboat Company, Disney Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, P & O Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, International, Lewis Cruises and Star Cruises. Many of these cruise ships can carry 3000 passengers. A main cruise is perfect for those looking for:
- Casual and active atmosphere with good food, good service and a good price.
- Fast paced entertainment and activities.
- Standard accommodations.
These cruises attract many families as well as passengers of any age group.
Now that we have seen the different Ocean Liners remember that many fun and exotic ports are best accessed by river.
Voyages along inland waterways are as varied and unique as earth itself. Anywhere that there are large rivers and barges you will probably find a river cruise operator. River cruise crafts are smaller than ocean-going cruise ships, typically holding 90-240 passengers (although there are ships that take only 5 passengers and others can carry 1,000 passengers). Due to their smaller size and low draft, river cruise crafts can go where ocean cruise ships can not, and sometimes to where no other transport is practical: rivers are an excellent way to reach some other missed attractions. And are great ways to combine land tours with cruising. During river cruises the countryside is usually in view, so they are especially relaxing to those who prefer land nearby.
River cruises usually last from 7 to 15 days. Some river ships resemble five stars hotels, with sun decks, dining rooms, lounges, fitness facilities, swimming pools, casinos and other entertainment. Accommodation, meals onboard, entertainment and special events (holidays, festivals, contests, concerts, etc.) are usually included in the cruise price while bar expenses, sauna, massage, laundry and cleaning, and phone calls are not. Most cruises have a variety of onboard and off board activities. The litter include guided tours to historic and cultural sites, visiting local attractions, museums and galleries, and other points of interest. Guides give a running commentary while sailing. Popular river cruises include trips along the Nile, the Mississippi, the Yangtze, the Mekong, the Danube, the Rhine, the Seine, or the Volga.
There are several dozen river cruise companies each with 1 to 20 ships. River Cruise Tours are great for small group travelers and adventure seekers of all types. They are fantastic for small and midsized groups who want to get away from the crowd with a private charter.