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Video: How to Choose a Cruise Line

Summary: Learn some of the basic differences between the major cruise lines to help choose which line is right for your cruise vacation.

Video Run Time: 2:30

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Video Transcript:

Here are some basic tips to help you choose the cruise line that's right for your vacation.

If you're looking for bigger ships, low prices and lots to do for adults and kids alike, think Carnival and Royal Caribbean first. These lines truly have something for everyone, especially when it comes to entertainment options. The ships are large enough so you have a lot of choice of what type of cruise experience you want even after you get on board-lots of options for quiet relaxation as well as action and entertainment.

Note also that these lines aren't monolithic-shorter cruises tend to be on older ships and will have a livelier atmosphere; longer cruises will be on newer builds and somewhat more sedate. The average age of passengers on these lines overall is about 42-45, but this varies quite a bit by itinerary and time of the year (for example, you'll see more kids on board during school holidays). But with a couple of thousand people on a ship, you'll meet passengers of all ages.

Norwegian offers a similar experience and tends to have more-flexible dining options. Disney ships focus on family vacations with young children, but tends to be more expensive-you'll pay for the Disney brand name.

A half-step up here from is Princess Cruises. Food and service tend to be somewhat better on Princess, though there's less focus on entertainment, especially in the evenings. The average age is slightly higher, but not noticeably so, especially on the larger ships sailing the Caribbean. With British captains and officers, the line has a decidedly UK-feel.

Celebrity Cruises and Holland America (HAL) operate larger ships that cater to an older, more upscale crowd. Entertainment tends to be more focused on lectures and educational demonstrations than on discos and karaoke.

Moving further toward the higher end, Crystal, Silversea, Seabourn, Oceania, and Azamara sail smaller ships designed with an elegant experience in mind. Cunard's vessels are much larger, but also tend to cater to wealthier, older travelers. You'll also find longer sailings to more exotic ports on these premium and ultra-luxury lines.

I hope this brief overview has given your some idea of where to start in finding the cruise line experience that's right for you. offers a wealth of additional information online, or see our Live Help link to connect an agent who can work with you personally to help you decide.

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