What is the best cruise line?
Oasis of the Seas (above) offers the state-of-the-art in large ship cruising.
Crown Princess (above) offers a large ship experience that is both cultured and relaxed.
Cunard's Queen Mary 2 (above) is a large ship but with significantly fewer passengers than on many ships that are smaller than her. The cruise experience is sophisticated and traditional.
Each of the major cruise lines has its devoted fans as well as people who do not like that line. Which cruise line is best for you very much depends upon your tastes and preferences.
In general, the major cruise lines do a good job of providing the type of cruise experience that they set out to provide. However, each tries to provide a somewhat different type of cruise experience. Some emphasize physical activity and adventure while others place the emphasis on culture and intellectual pursuits. Some are geared towards young families while others attract a more mature crowd. Some seek to provide the experience of cruising to a mass market with value for money while others are luxury providers for people for whom money is no obstacle.
Thus, when considering a cruise vacation, one should investigate what type of cruise experience the cruise line seeks to provide. The objective is to see if that type of cruise is something that you would like to experience. So too, in reading a cruise review, consider whether the writer sounds like his or her tastes are similar to yours.
Although the major cruise lines very much try to provide a homogenous experience throughout their fleets, my experience has been that there are differences amongst the individual ships. Of course, a line’s older, smaller ships are going to provide a different experience than its new, larger ships just due to the difference in size and technology.
However, even amongst identical sister ships, there are differences. These differences sometimes can be attributed to the fact that there are different people commanding and operating the ships. But also, each ship evolves its own character. Over the course of its operating life, the crew changes many times with people coming and going. Yet, it is rare for everyone to leave and be replaced at the same time. Consequently, new people become absorbed into the ongoing operation and the ship’s character remains more or less the same despite the changes in personnel.
Some of the major lines score their ships each week based upon the comment cards that the guests fill out at the end of a cruise. These scores are not published but word sometimes gets out if one ship consistently scores better than her fleetmates. Also, ships develop reputations amongst the line’s repeat passengers. However, which ship you will like best again depends upon what is important to you.
The bottom line is that there is no absolute best cruise line and which line is best for you depends upon what is important to you. Along the same lines, the cruise experience within a cruise line can vary by ship so one should also consider whether the ship you are considering has what is important to you.
Cruise ship FAQs - - The best cruise line.