Large Ship Cruising

There are so many cruise lines and so many itineraries and ships, the options can make you dizzy. A good travel agent can guide you to the perfect cruise for you. To become familiar with the different cruise lines, here's a partial listing by pricing and quality category. And remember, the itinerary makes a difference in your cruise experience. Alaska, Europe, and the Caribbean are very different from each other!!

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  • Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines - the leader of the general megaliner market, RCCL delivers an enjoyable product. Food is good (but not gourmet), and service is pleasant. A multitude of onboard activities, exciting itineraries, and a good reputation means RCCL satisfies most of the cruisers out there. The larger, newer ships offer rock climbing, ice skating, and more. RCCL is great for pretty much every middle America lifestyle, especially for those active, independent individuals who thought cruises were just for "boring stuffy people."
  • Norwegian Cruise Lines - The cruise ship of choice if you want to cruise the Hawaiian Islands.
  • Holland America -- Holland America is a true premium cruise with class and special touches. The service is extra-friendly (maybe the best in the premium category), and dining excellent. Holland America is suitable for all ages, and kids are treated well. The ambiance is cheerful and relaxing. You'll find special touches onboard, especially for suite passengers.
  • Celebrity Cruise Lines -- Celebrity is sophisticated without being pretentious. Service, food, the aesthetics of the ship -- all excellent. Celebrity offers some great price values too. Celebrity is one of the few ships that offer a refreshing array of on-ship activities, going well beyond the usual art auction-bingo game-skin care demonstration offering of other megaliners.
  • Princess Cruises -- Princess Cruises bridges the gap between general and premium categories. She probably rivals RCCL in quality levels, and competes with Holland America for client base (that's just my observation). Food and service are consistently good, with some recent efforts to improve the food. Some of her ships are high "wow" factor, and are simply stunning. Princess does a great job of offering a wide range of shore excursions as well.
  • Costa Cruises -- looking for something different? Costa Cruises is "Cruising Italian Style."Sailing the Caribbean and Europe. These ships are fanciful interpretations of Italy's classics -- Fellini movie-inspirations on one, Italian city-inspirations on the other. You'll find Italian cooking classes, language lessons, toga parties, and an overall Italian ambiance. Many onboard are European, since Costa's exposure to the American market is rather minimal.
  • Disney Cruise Lines -- Disney always does everything top-notch, and their cruise line is no exception. DCL operates three ships (with a 4th ships launching in March 2012. Itineraries include Bahamas, Caribbean, Alaska, and Mexican Riviera. New in the 2011/2012 season are departures from Galveston, a 15 night Hawaiian cruise, and Pacific Coast cruises. Even if you aren't a Disney fanatic, you will have the time of your life. Everything is classy, fanciful, and relaxing. Dining takes place in a series of dining rooms, and you rotate every night along with a waitstaff that rotates with you. DCL also has their own private Bahamas island, which is heaven. Service is outstanding, and entertainment is the best at sea. For a honeymoon, combine a Bahamas cruise with a land stay at Disneyworld, and you're all set!

 

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