When first time cruisers think of a cruise, many tend to think about tuxedo wearing seniors, rigid schedules and shuffleboard games on the high seas. Over the years, the various cruise lines have become very innovative when it comes to catering to today’s vacationer. Generally speaking, most people are aware of three major cruise lines, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise line. This article will enlighten a potential guest on the differences of these three cruising giants.
Even though Carnival has had a lot of bad publicity over the past 18 months, CCL is still the biggest cruise line on the seas. Carnival has the most ships and the most diversity when it comes to possible cruising itineraries. Over the years, many say that Carnival has rested on its laurels too much. New ships are few and far between, ship activities were worn out, the food quality wasn’t living up to the standards of many cruisers and a lot of the ships are past due for a refurbishment. That, on top of all the issues their ships have had in the past year, many people are reluctant to sail Carnival. Slowly, Carnival is recovering. You will pay less to sail with Carnival, however, your experience will be a lot different than a guest who paid a bit more to sail with RCL or NCL. Carnival’s new ship, the Dream, is a hit with guests and they have their biggest ship on order, scheduled to enter service in 2016, four years after the Dream entered service.
Royal Caribbean has been a very popular cruise line over the past 20 years. RCL has been consistent in the satisfaction of its guests, innovating their ships to fit today’s cruise passenger. The Oasis class ships, the biggest passenger vessels at sea (5400 passengers, 220,000GRT) have been a hit among all new and past guests. Royal Caribbean has become a power player in the cruise industry with many loyal sailors and interested prospects due to activities on board their ships, such as the Flow-rider, a surfing experience and sea, the aqua theater, an ice skating rink and a boxing ring. Royal Caribbean does tend to be on the higher end of the price scale.
Norwegian Cruise line is known around the industry for being the trendsetter of the cruising industry. Many cruising firsts have started on a Norwegian cruise ship. Freestyle cruising, which Norwegian introduced in May of 2000, has taken the cruise industry by storm. Most major brands have tried to copy this concept with limited success or a fee attached to it. Norwegian was the first cruise line with a private island, a bowling alley, an ice bar and the first to have rooms to accommodate a solo traveler. The Norwegian Epic has been named ship of the year for 2011 and 2012 by Traveler Weekly Magazine. When you sail Norwegian, you will experience informal luxury. There is something to do for everyone. With the youngest fleet at sea, a Norwegian cruise could be the best vacation you ever take.