When people ask me about my favorite cruise line or favorite ship, I usually give them a short answer: “It depends.”
It depends upon several factors including the itinerary, my fellow travelers, my cruise objective and the accommodations I personally desire. In other words, several ships and cruise lines may fit the criteria for my next cruise experience. Yet, I usually base my decision on previous personal experiences on various cruise ships and brands, as well as the desires of the people traveling with me.
For example, if I am cruising with an inter-generational family group, Royal Caribbean International is the hands-down winner for 5 to 10-night cruises. The RCI fleet of ships offers guests a wide range of choices good for young and old alike.
Cruise ships come in all shapes and sizes – well maybe not different shapes
On longer itineraries with a more homogenous group, I would recommend the premium cruise experience provided by Celebrity Cruises. I personally prefer Celebrity’s mid-size Millennium class ships but find their newer and larger sister ships outstanding as well.
For a deluxe cruise, my preference is the Marina or Riviera ships of Oceania Cruises. It’s a country club casual experience for 1,250 guests and the cuisine is outstanding. Many of their itineraries are port intensive, so I look for Oceania itineraries with a few sea days providing time to relax between port calls.
Regent Seven Seas is my first choice for an all-inclusive luxury cruise, especially on the Explorer, Seven Seas newest and most luxurious vessel. And, when I say all-inclusive, I mean all-inclusive: business class air to the departure city, a pre-cruise hotel night, all land excursions, exquisite cuisine and beverages and much more. Furthermore, all cabins are suites with spacious balconies.
I also like the small ships of Silversea and Windstar, with fewer than 300 guests aboard, that provide more intimate cruise experiences to places larger ships can’t navigate.
My personal preference for European river cruising is the Uniworld Boutique River Cruises super ships — the S.S. Catherine on the Rhône River, the S.S. Antoinette on the Rhine River, the S.S. Joie de Vivre on the Seine River and the S.S. Maria Theresa on the Danube River. Each offers a luxury cruise experience, the décor of a boutique hotel, superb cuisine, unmatched service and larger staterooms than several other river cruise lines.
Now because I have told you my favorite cruise brands and ships doesn’t necessarily mean they will be your favorites, too. After all, your personal style and preferences may differ significantly from mine.
Furthermore, you should try something different for your next cruise. Some people choose the same cruise brand time after time simply to get the “perks” offered past guests. Yet, after taking nearly 50 ocean and river cruises, I have learned that I like several brands and ships. You will too!