I am thinking about a cruise but am totally overwhelmed at the information on the ships, destinations etc. We are in our mid-40s so we don't want to be with a too old crowd, but then we don't want to be with a bunch of little kids either. How do you go about finding what fits?
Finding the right cruise is like planning any vacation, decide what exactly you like to do most, shop, swim, etc. Do you have any ideas as to what islands you want to visit. If you are looking into the Caribbean, the western is more geared towards water sports, while the southern has much better shopping. As for ship, these days there are plenty to choose from, here is a link to some good articles to help you get started:
My husband and I just returned from our first cruise. We felt just like you did when we were trying to decide. We had heard some good things about several cruise lines, but finally decided on NCL's Majesty which had a cruise when we were able to arrange time off and the price was reasonable. RE: ages of people on the ship, there were ALL ages, that is just something you have to put up with, I think. It was over Spring Break for most schools I believe, and we did notice an abundance of children on board, but we managed to have a good time in spite of that! Just try to fit the pieces of the pie together, ie. $$, dates of cruises, destination, and you will eventually fit it all together. Think of it this way, if you don't like the cruise destination or ship you are on, chalk it up to experience and don't go there again! When you've never been before, you don't have any thing to compare so just choose! Also, many people may tell you, "Oh don't go on this one or that one," or " Don't go this place or that place," Everyone has different experiences and it would be a shame to miss out on something that might be good for you, just because someone else might have had a bad time. Good luck!
We are in our mid 40s with a 13 year old daughter. We recently went on our first cruise and used Royal Caribbean sailing on Voyager. I can honestly say it was the best vacation we have had. My daughter had loads to do and the age group was just right for us. We made great friends at dinner (I had been worried about that) and had some good conversations. During the day, there were plenty of places to either be with a crowd or be by yourself.
I feel incredible loyalty to RCCL now and as we contemplate a second cruise I am finding it hard to think of another cruise line (although I think Princess would seem to be my next choice).
My wife and I are sailing on our first cruise in two weeks. We are taking an Alaska cruise on HAL's Volendam. We are early 40's and this is for our 10th anniversary.
We booked the cruise without checking into any other cruise lines. This was the only available ship that would be sailing the inside passage on our anniversay, May 11.
Once I got on line and read that HAL has the oldest average passenger age, I did get a little concerned we made a bad choice. But my wife and I did not want to be on a ship with a bunch of children running amok, or twenty and thirty year olds that want to get drunk and party, so being with older people started to sound better. Plus, being old doesn't mean everyone will have blue hair and be in walkers.
With all that I've read (and that's been lots) it seems to depend on when and were you cruise as well as the line. We will be on our cruise on Mother's Day, so we might have more kids than ususal on our cruise. I plan to post some messages with all the details when we get back - about three weks form now.
You made a good choice with the MS Volendam. I haven't sailed on her, but in March 2001 I sailed on the Veendam and loved it. The MS Veendam was my third cruise and, by far, the best. The age spread was across the board, some children, and adults of all ages. However, not too many in the 20's. This cruise line has been known for serving an older set, and that is true to some degree. This is not the cruise line to find "Rock-climbing walls and ice skating rinks on board". Those appeal to a younger set who are attracted to other cruise lines.
There is a great advantage to a mature cruising clientel. First of all, I had no problem finding a lounge chair to sun myself on. On my previous Norwegian Dream cruise the 20 and 30 somethings saved the available lounge chairs with their towels early in the morning. It was a race to get to the remaining lounge chairs in the afternoon. No such problem on the Veendam. A somewhat older crowd was not into sunning themselves as much as younger cruisers do and lounge chairs vere readily available.
The cruiser's on the Holland American Line (HAL), in my opinion, tend to be more mature. There is less bravado and noise making on HAL. I found the more reserved atmosphere very refreshing and very soothing. What children were on the cruise were well behaved and enjoyed themself. I am in my mid 50's and found the atmosphere to be the best I have experienced of my three cruises on three different lines.
The Volendam is a slightly larger ship than the Veendam. Both ships were docked side-by-side in Martinque harbor last month. She is a fine looking ship and and I'm sure the atmosphere and service will be as outstanding as it was on the MS Veendam.
Holland American Line ships "HAVE CLASS"! They tend to attract clients that appreciate refinement.Sometimes it takes half a lifetime to really appreciate the classier and more refined things in life; hence the older clientel. HAL ships exhibit such artwork and refinement in their decor and this attracts those individuals who have learned to appreciate such quality. The MS Volendam is definately the ship to provide the level of grace and elegance you expect as you celebrate your special Anniversary.