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NewCruiser2008 September 18th, 2008 11:11 AM

HELP !! I don't know what cruise line to pick!!
I will be going on my first cruise in November with a friend...and I do not know which cruise line to pick. Before researching I was only aware of Carnival and RCI. Now I am also interested in the Norwegian fleet..... When I "googled" first time crusing an article came up saying that Norwegian would be good for first timers because of their freestyle way cruising...I am interested in participating in shows, dancing, and maybe some excursions if they are not too I would LOVE to hear what everyone's oppinion is for what cruise line to pick for a couple of first timers. Thanks for any advice!!

katlady September 18th, 2008 11:42 PM

See I kind of disagree with the article for a first cruise I would want a set table so I could get to know my co diners on the cruise. If you have experienced cruisers at your table they can give you great tips and information. How many days (4 day, 7 day, 11 day) are you planning on cruising? Where do you want to cruise from? Do you have certain ports you want to see? These all make a difference in what cruise line. I'm a west coast cruiser. So I cruise from: Long Beach, San Diego, San Perdo, and San Franciscio. The cruise options are limited out of San Francisco it's Princess and Norwegian. Also all cruise lines have catogories of ships RCL's biggest ships right on the Freedom Class ship and Carnival's are the Conquest class. Once you figure out the port and stops go to Youtube and put the name of the ship into a search a lot of cruisers made youtube videos it's a great source of unbiased information. I hope that helps you.

janiellegray September 19th, 2008 10:39 AM

It really depends on what your most interested in doing(dinning, night life, pool side relaxing, shows & games..) Here is my take on the different cruise lines....

Carnival- most of the time the cheapest rate, very diverse group of cruisers, mostly middle aged couples or families with kids. Emphasis on fun, silly entertainment (hairy man contests, conga lines ect. ) Ships are designed in a classic vegas style.

Royal Caribbean- ships are a little nicer than carnival, clean-lined and natural colors. Emphasis on entertainment, particularly physical activities. Again diverse group, but mostly families.

Norwegian Cruise- There ships are brightly colored! Emphasis is on lounges and dinning. They normally have 8+ dinning options, some are at an additional cost, but surely something for everyone, plus your normal main dinning. I've heard they've got one of the better entertainment shows. Cruisers very on diversity depending on itinerary and time of year.

Holland America- very classy ships, decore is very elegant, you'll see a lot of wood finishings. This cruise line has stayed close to the old "traditions" of cruising (tea times, formal dinning, shuffleboard, spacious rooms) Emphasis is on service and quality. You'll see an older crowd on these ships. 40s+, however you'll still see some families and youth on board.

Celebrity- a bit pricier, however stays with the clean lines similar to Royal Caribbean. Again you'll see less families on this cruise line. Emphasis seems to be on service here. I always recommend this to couples, particularly honeymooners!

Princess- There emphasis is mostly in catering to senior passengers. They offer great cruise tour pkgs. (always recommend for Alaska!) They offer anytime dinning similar to several Holland America ships and Norwegian as well as traditional dinning. Decor is elegant, but not to the same degree as holland america.

MSC & Costa- Are Italian cruise lines. Very popular in europe. Often you'll see a kids sail free with them. Costa's Europes version of Carnival, however a little bit more upscale. MSC has an older crowd than Costa and often times you'll see more europeans on these cruise ships. Both emphasis on italian experience and majority of staff is Italian or European.

HOPE THIS HELPS SOME! IF you'd like to see picture comparisons of the ships go to...

scrapsoflife September 19th, 2008 12:39 PM

What you might want to do is, since you know the month you plan to sail, go to one of the big travel sites (like expedia or travelocity) and select your month and see what's available. To narrow down your results I'd suggest searching by either destination or departure port (personally, if I can drive to the port I'm happier, but I know that's not an option for everyone!).

Once you've got search results down to double-digit options you can sort by price and eliminate anything that's way over what you can comfortably afford to spend. From what's left, list the lines and ships that are available and then go to the individual cruiseline's website and start reading about the ships available. Even though destinations are important, you're going to be spending most of your vacation on the ship so it should be the one you think you'll be the most comfortable with or enjoy exploring!

For instance, after my first cruise I was reading through the ship descriptions of the rest of Carnival's fleet and found that the Miracle is themed all in fictional characters (including some comic book references). As an avid reader and webcomic artist, I knew that regardless of where it was going, that was the next ship I was going to be on! Thankfully the port is within driving distance, the schedule worked out with my work deadlines and I hadn't been to any of the same ports on the last cruise.

Good luck and have fun :)

Kamloops Cruiser September 19th, 2008 03:28 PM

Re: HELP !! I don't know what cruise line to pick!!

Originally Posted by NewCruiser2008
I will be going on my first cruise in November with a friend...and I do not know which cruise line to pick. Before researching I was only aware of Carnival and RCI. Now I am also interested in the Norwegian fleet..... When I "googled" first time crusing an article came up saying that Norwegian would be good for first timers because of their freestyle way cruising...I am interested in participating in shows, dancing, and maybe some excursions if they are not too I would LOVE to hear what everyone's oppinion is for what cruise line to pick for a couple of first timers. Thanks for any

Not knowing your age or other info it is hard to say what line you should go on.

My first choice would be Holland America (HAL for short) and then Royal Cariibbean (RCCL or RCI for short).
HAL has tendency to have quieter feel on their ships. The age group is usually older (50+) depends on cruise. Alaska cruises tend to older and Carbbean younger. HAL's activities on board tend to be quiet , not a lot loud music. They have a more classical music playing in different parts of the ship.

RCI has a tendency to be more active on board . They only have fixed seating in the Dining Room.

Kamloops Cruiser September 19th, 2008 03:33 PM

Forgot to say the best way to book your first cruise is thru a travel agent . The online booking can sometime be a difficult if you aren't very computer savvy. A good TA can ask you the right questions and then recommend a destination , date , cruiseline and ship.
If they just recommend with out asking any questions except for cost & date , suggest that you find another agent.Look for an agent that has cruised or specilizes in cruises. You could call one of the agency that advertise on the web pages or other sites.

exoticpetlover September 20th, 2008 12:30 AM

Why not choose because of the ports that are visited? Do you or your friend have any preferances of where to go? Choose the itinerary that you like and then narrow the list down from there. There are lots of things to consider when choosing....ports, # of days , price, maybe where it leaves from (airfare if needed), if you want a different port each day or if you want some sea days to relax, etc. I have only cruised Carnival and I love it. We are taking a Princess cruise next year because Carnival does not travel to Aruba. I am 51 and Carnival has everything for a younger crowd plus enough fo everyone else to do too. Their Camp Carnival is supposed to be the best if you are travelling with children. They are the only line that takes them at 2 yrs old.

I think finding the right one is the hardest part but it is fun to see all of your choices and then compare them! Have fun!

Glory - 2006
Liberty - 2007
Pride - 9/28/08 - 30th anniversary cruise
Miracle - 12/7/08

colorcrazie September 20th, 2008 12:53 PM

And don't get too hung up on choosing the absolute best one. Cruises are great fun and relaxing at the same time. Pick one that appeals to you and is within your budget and go. Every cruise is different, even if you are talking about the exact same ship and itinerary, so there are no guarantees, other than you will likely have a ball!

skymaster September 21st, 2008 07:17 PM

All the others have good ideas, and I'd recommend that you stick to one of the major lines for your first cruise. Carnival is going to be the most fun, for the money IMO. RCI is also great, but considerably more pricey for most any given cruise. NCL is good as well, but as another poster stated, I'd suggest that you stick to conventional dining instead of "free style" dining. You're going to enjoy the extra service you get when you have the same waiter, and bus boy each evening, as well as the others at your table (if you request a large table). Excursions can be a bit expensive, so do your home work on these, and make selections wisely. For first timers, I'd suggest that you stick to ship sponsored excursions, so you don't have to worry about missing the ship. :shock:
Whatever you select, I'm sure you'll have a GREAT time.


fireba11 September 28th, 2008 11:10 AM

Alot depends on your age and finance's.
Carnival is normally for the young and is a cheaper lines.
RCL is for the young but is pricier.
NCL falls right in the middle from what I have heard and read.
Princess also falls into the middle but is a little more refined.
HAL, from what I have read is for the older crowd.
Celebrity is pricey and has a somewhat older crowd.

I don't think there is such a thing as a bad cruise. Like some of the others have said, location, ports to visit, time of year, ect...all play into choosing a cruise.

I highly suggest the Carnival Valor for ones first cruise. Eastern Carribean to St. Thomas and St. Martin is a great place to start. Prices are normally very reasonable too.

brad813 September 28th, 2008 08:00 PM

something to consider
Both Royal Caribbean and Carnival require at least a nice black suit for formal evenings(linen, cotton, silk, or tropical weight worsted wool) in the main dining room, so if you don't have one you will need to get one. If you prefer a resort casual style you can either skip the dining room formal nights, which is usually the best food of the week in there, or you could go with NCL, which has resort casual all the time(though they do have one fancier specialty resteraunt(I know this isnt spelled correctly but I struggle with this word)). You can also have your cabin customized to your specifications(linens, mini-bar, fruit) on NCL. I have been researching these 3 lines myself and each has their stregnths. Carnival is about the nightlife, partying, and hanging by the pool. They aren't called funships for nothing. Royal Caribbean(especially the Freedom and Voyager class ships) are activities ships. NCL is all about cruising your way. I should also mention that the comedy shows on some of the NCL ships are by Second City, a premier comedy troupe out of New York City.

richstacy September 28th, 2008 08:55 PM

You got a million bucks worth of info from janiellegrey above. for my money, if it was my first cruise, I would definitely give Princess a try! they cruise everywhere, they have gorgeous ships, great service, good food and they cater to just about every demographic group there is.

Take late seating so you can spend a day ashore and have plenty of time to change and have a very pleasant drink before dinner.

Whatever you choose, I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time and become addicted , just like the rest of us :!:
Bon Voyage! :D

subtropic September 29th, 2008 02:28 AM

Putting my 2c in - I would opt for RCL and one of their mega ships. Because there is such a wealth of activities and public areas you will able to decide what you really like and concentrate on those favorites for your next cruise. For ex - if you want a kids free pool area it's there. Enough dining options to sample, physical activities-rock wall climbing, flow rider, miniature golf, etc. Huge casino if you are so inclined, movies, lavish shows, piano bar, dance clubs etc. It has it all and I think it will serve as a real cross section of the whole cruise experience.

green_rd September 29th, 2008 10:53 AM

Check your library for books like the "Unofficial Guide to Cruises". These give an overview of the major cruise lines and what a typical (whaterver that might be) cruise for that line might be like. Some provide incredibie detail on each ship in the fleet as of publication.

Whatever you choose - enjoy your cruise.

colorcrazie September 29th, 2008 01:48 PM

Forget the dark suit idea for Carnival. Not true at all. If anything, they are a little too casual for me, but I love everything else about Carnival, so I still go. On 7 day cruise, you will have 2 nights when you should dress nicely. But, shirt and tie is fine.

silver_cloud October 7th, 2008 02:13 PM

I love RCCL especially for the fun value. There's tons to do on the voyager or freedom class ships - voyager of the seas, adventure of the seas, or the freedom class - freedom of the seas, liberty of the seas.

The voyager class has tons to do and may be cheaper.

Carnival is usually a first-timer cruise company because it is one of the cheaper cruise lines.

Best of luck...and please get a travel agent with some experience.


brad813 October 7th, 2008 03:19 PM

About the travel agent with experience, try and find one who is with a CLIA agency and is at least ACC certified. This means they have been through rigorous training through CLIA(Cruise Line International Association) to specifically be knowledgable about cruises. Go to CLIA's site, , to find a CLIA member agency near you. Btw, so you know CLIA is the official trade organization for the cruise lines and cruise agencies, and all of the mainstream lines are members.

Kuki October 10th, 2008 02:09 AM

I am not a fan of CLIA at all. They do offer travel agents training, but all an agency really has to do to join CLIA is pay.

They are a marketing arm for the cruise industry (both ships and agents), but they have no regulatory powers within the cruise lines or the travel agents.

If you get into a situation where you have a problem with a CLIA agency, all they'll do is apologize.

Kuki October 10th, 2008 02:11 AM

As a first time cruiser you're likely to be delighted with any cruise line you choose. But I highly recommend getting a travel agent who will talk to you, and try and match you with a cruise that will work for you.

Everyone has opinions on which cruises they like best, but a good agent will help you figure out which one YOU might like best.

twincruisermom October 18th, 2008 11:36 AM

Princess cruises is great for all ages and they definitely do not cater to seniors only. There are many honeymooners and families onboard depending on the time of year. It is a more subdued line than Carnival, but we are a family of 5 and have never felt like the only youngsters onboard! My three teens just love Princess too.

In November, on most cruiselines, you will see an older clientele. During summers and school vacations you will see more families.

Princess does run some great specials so it would be worth it to check them out.

Bentnail October 25th, 2008 06:30 PM

Our first time crusing was freestyle (2002) we picked it for the location not the style. It turned out great, not knowing the ins and outs of cruising it was more relaxing no rush rush. Our next 2 crusies were freestyle knowing the ins and outs we then did the set time cruise be there at a set time and we had just as much fun. With port calls and getting back to the ship in time to relax before eating we are back to the freestyle. We will be doing the set time criuses again. Freestyle might be the way to go for first time cruisers. Either way--cruising is fun.

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