Choosing A Cruise Line - Are They Really "That" Different?
Category : Travel | 1178 views | 2007-04-28 00:35:02
by Roy Witman
Casinos. Formal dining rooms. Day spas and fitness centers. All cruise lines offer the same things, right? That may have been true decades ago, but no longer! Today, there is a great deal of variety in the cruise lines with regard to onboard activities, amenities, destinations and more. Since "how do I choose a cruise line" is probably the most frequently asked question I get, allow me to give you a quick overview of the most popular cruise lines and what each offers. You'll want to bookmark this article so you can find it quickly in the future when you're ready to book your next cruise. Carnival Cruise Lines
Known as the Fun Ships, Carnival made a bold move years ago by breaking the stereotype of cruise vacations. Carnival opened the door to Ordinary Joe to experience vacations at sea just as the rich and famous did. Thanks to Carnival, everybody can take a cruise at an affordable rate. These are fun, basic cruises that offer comfortable accommodations and all the amenities you would expect. Casinos, Broadway-style shows, spa treatments and fitness centers are all onboard, as well as extensive kids activities. With destinations to the most popular locations including the Caribbean, Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico and the Bahamas, Carnival offers quickie three- and four-day cruises as well as lengthy 16-day tours.Norwegian Cruise Line
With several new ships launched over the last few years, Norwegian has a relatively new fleet. Known for "Freestyle Cruising," NCL gives you the freedom to do what you want to do, when you want to do it. Traveling to the four corners of the world, NCL offers an extensive lineup of destinations in addition to the typical ones listed above. Book passage to Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney, Madrid, Amsterdam, Athens, or Paris, as well as numerous cities in Egypt, Norway and Belgium. Exclusive Courtyard Villas with exceptional amenities make accommodating large groups or families a breeze. The large array of kids activities means the children will also have a great time!Royal Caribbean Cruises
The slogan "Get Out There!" should tell you something about Royal Caribbean. These fast-paced ships are new, innovative and large! With many firsts at sea, Royal Caribbean has the newest fleet at sea loaded with unusual things to do including a rock wall, FlowRider onboard surfing machine, ice skating rink, boxing ring and bowling alley. All this in addition to the expected casinos, spas, fitness centers and restaurants. Extremely kid-friendly, Royal delivers a diverse selection of baby, toddler, child, pre-teen and teen activities. Sailing to the four corners of the world, Royal can take you to six of the seven continents for some amazing adventures. Princess Cruises
The original "Love Boat," Princess Cruises has been a recognized leader in the industry since the early 70's when the television series put them in front of the public eye. Today, Princess continues to offer casual yet refined cruises to typical destinations as well as Asia, Australia, South America and Europe. With art auctions and ScholarShip programs there's plenty to do onboard, including taking lessons in painting and digital photography plus listening to guest lecturers and more. Multiple youth and teen activities mean every member of the family can have a great time while vacationing on these smaller, but well-appointed ships.Celebrity Cruises
More sophisticated and a little slower paced than the others, Celebrity's hallmark is exceptional service. With an eye toward anticipating the passenger's need and delivering before you even ask, Celebrity delivers award-winning service with every cruise. While they do offer a good selection of activities for children through teens, Celebrity offers more to adults. Enrichment programs and art auctions are included along with the typical casinos, shows and dining options. Offering signature destinations rarely found elsewhere, Celebrity can show you wonders of the world including the Galapagos Islands, Panama Canal and more around the globe.Holland America Line
Signature white-glove service and premium accommodations set Holland America apart. With high levels of staffing, Holland sails with about one crewmember for every two guests, ensuring you get everything you want. A Culinary Arts Center offers hands-on as well as demonstration cooking lessons in a theater setting equipped with plasma TVs. Extensive programs for children and youth make this luxurious line family-friendly as well. Sailing to six of the seven continents, Holland calls on ports in lesser know, but fascinating destinations. Iceland, Norway, Greenland and Denmark as well as the ever-popular Caribbean, Bahamas and Mexico can be visited when sailing with Holland. Windstar Cruise Line
Intimate. Peaceful. Personal. Not massive ocean liners: Windstar offers cruises onboard motor-sail yachts with sails furling! Small ships accommodating just over 300 passengers offer a truly unique way to see the most popular destinations in the world including the Caribbean, Europe and the Greek Isles. Take part in water sports right off the back of the ship! Relish in the gourmet meals and enjoy the pampering of well-appointed cabins. Geared specifically to adults, no children's activities are offered. Two of the three ships have casinos; all have a delightfully different way to enjoy a cruise. Cunard
The best of the best. Cunard says, "Excellence is to be expected" and they mean it! With three of the most recognized ships in the world, the Queen Mary 2, the Queen Elizabeth 2 and the Queen Victoria, Cunard offers five-star service and accommodations at every turn. Regal in every detail, these world-famous ships frequently play host to royalty, heads of state, the wealthy and celebrities. Reminiscent of grand ocean liners of past eras, Cunard is home to Canyon Ranch Spa, offers cultural enrichment programs and also an onboard planetarium. Partake in authentic English afternoon tea, stroll the deck, try your luck at the casino or drop the children off in The Zone while you relax on deck. Sailing to the four corners of the world, Cunard can take you anywhere you want to go.
Wherever you want to go, whatever you want to do, use the guide above to direct you to the right cruise line for you at the right price. You'll quickly be able to decide the best vacation for you and your family with just a glance.
Roy Witman is Vice-President of Cruise Vacation Center at http://www.cruisevacationcenter.com
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