I think Carnival would be the perfect 1st cruise. My second cruise was on Royal Caribbean and I was so disappointed with the whole thing. When I do RC again it will be on Oasis or Allure but not an older ship. Start with one than do another with a different cruise line to see what meets your needs the best. Paying more doesn’t mean a better cruise. Also Carnival's cabins are the biggest of the cruise lines. What ever ship you choose I'm sure you will have a great time.