Cruise TipsWhat is the Best Cruise Line?

What is the Best Cruise Line?

A common question that is asked when someone is interested in a cruise is, “What is the best cruise line?”.  Unfortunately, this answer can not be answered with a simple Royal Caribbean or Holland America.  There are so many variables that come into play, what is best for one person is not necessarily best for another.

Which is the best cruise line for:

  • Families
  • Budget conscience cruisers
  • Food
  • Service
  • Entertainment
  • Itineraries
  • Luxury cruises

Just about all cruise ships have programs for children, teens, and adults. There are shows at night, activities during the day and enough food to feed an army. Is there really a difference between the different lines?  Here is a look at some various cruise lines so you can compare the difference between them.

Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean is known as a cruise line that offers excellent food, good service, and cruise ships that are in top condition.  They are known for their rock climbing wall on the back of each ship and they also have the two largest cruise ships in the world, the Allure and Oasis of the Seas.  Dining is the traditional early/late seating along with My Time Dining.  A few of the ships have ice skating rinks and the shows on board RCCL ships are usually among the best at sea.


Since Carnival has the most cruise ships out of all the cruise lines in the world, they are able to offer more itineraries and embark out of more ports.  This makes it easier for many to cruise as they do not have to purchase airline tickets, they can simply drive to the port.  On their very first cruise ship a passenger said, “This is a fun ship”.  Ever since then, their ships have been known as “The Fun Ships”.  The ships feature water slides on the pool deck and are a popular cruise line for families on a budget.  Dining on Carnival is the traditional early/late seating along with the Anytime Dining option.

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Norwegian redefined the cruise industry when they introduced Freestyle Cruising.  Freestyle Cruising is all about doing what you want to do when you want to do it.  There are no set dinner times and they will not seat you with strangers.  The dress code for dinner is also much more relaxed compared to other cruise lines.  The Norwegian Epic is also the only cruise ship that has cabins designed specifically for the solo traveler. Norwegian along with Carnival offer some of the best cruise rates.


While the cruise fares on Disney are higher than Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Norwegian, their ships give you the full Disney treatment while on board.  Disney’s 4 cruise ships are first class in entertainment and service while offering some of the largest staterooms at sea.  Every stateroom has a tub in the bathroom, unlike most other lines.  Dinner is the traditional main seating (5:45 p.m.) or second seating (8:15 p.m.).

Holland America/Princess

Both Holland American and Princess cater to the older crowd.  While there will still be families and children on board, there will be far less than other cruise lines.  Service and food are normally a notch above other lines as well.  Both cruise lines offer the traditional early/late dinner times along with Anytime Dining.


For those looking to be pampered in luxury while at sea, Silversea has the reputation for offering the highest space-per-guest ratio out of all the luxury cruise lines.  Cabins on Silversea ships come in one category, suites.  From the outstanding cuisine to the marbled bathrooms and fine bed linens, the attentive service offered by the European crew will exude an air of sophistication that is unmatched.

Determining the best cruise lines really depends on what you are looking for in a cruise.  The old saying “different strokes for different folks”  applies to picking out a cruise line as well.

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Ben Souza
Ben Souza
Ben is a world traveler who has visited 40+ countries, taken over 70 cruises. He is one of USA TODAY's experts for their 10Best Readers' Choice Awards. His writings have appeared and been cited in various media outlets such as Yahoo News, MSN, NPR, CNN, Fox, and ABC News. Ben currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio. Follow Ben on Instagram. Visit Ben Souza on Linkedin. You may email Ben at [email protected].
Cruise TipsWhat is the Best Cruise Line?

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