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Best First-Time Cruises
Tuesday 04 July 2023
Best First-Time Cruises
If you’ve never experienced a cruise before, choosing one for the first time can be like standing in a sweet shop surrounded by sugary goodness but with no idea where to begin.
It’s easy to lump all cruises together in some generic category, but in reality, different cruise companies offer services aimed at different people with different priorities, dynamics and desires.
To find the perfect cruise for your first outing, you need to identify what kind of group you might fit into and go from there. Sounds complicated? Don’t worry, we’ll lead you carefully through the options so you can be sure you’ve made the right call.
What group do you fit into?
Nowadays, people don’t like being put into categories, but when it comes to choosing a holiday, it certainly makes sense. Let’s start with an obvious one, who are you travelling with - if anybody? Are you travelling as a family with young children, as a couple, with friends, or maybe even going solo for some much-needed R&R away from the chaos?
Next up, consider what you’re looking for in a first-time cruise. Are you a thrill seeker who wants to explore distant jungles while on land and zip line while you’re onboard, or a relaxed chiller who just wants some great weather, delicious cocktails and a great book?
Also, think about whether there’s a burning destination you’ve dreamed about visiting but never got around to. Do you fancy cruising sedately down the Norwegian fjords, island hopping in Greece, experiencing a Caribbean paradise or cruising through the Mediterranean and visiting some of its big-hitting historical cities?
Lastly, think about what kind of cruise you want to experience. Perhaps something dripping in luxury, or a more intimate river cruise - or maybe you want to go all the way and start with a bang by booking a cruise on Royal Caribbean International’s Wonder of the Seas - the largest cruise ship in the world.
Once you’ve given those points some careful consideration, you can move on to matching up your answers with the perfect cruise.
BEST FOR THE THRILL SEEKERS
Royal Caribbean International is the place to start if you’re looking for fun, sun, thrills and adventure - both on the high seas and on land. Not only do they have a vast itinerary that reaches all corners of the globe, but every Royal Caribbean ship is also packed to the rafters with activities, games, entertainment, dining options, and much more.
This is who to travel with for those who want their getaway to be action-packed, whether to keep the whole family happy and occupied or simply for a couple who like plenty of options.
BEST FOR FAMILIES
While Royal Caribbean is an excellent option for families, we think MSC Cruises have inched slightly ahead in this category. MSC provides both excellent value - something that becomes hugely important when you’re totalling up costs for a large family - and numerous services designed expressly with children in mind, such as kids clubs, excursions orientated towards families, childcare options, and of course more than enough to keep any child occupied for days at a time.
BEST FOR THE ROMANTICS
If you’re looking for the perfect romantic getaway, you might not want to be surrounded by screaming children for multiple days at a time, which is why making a careful choice here is important.
We recommend Celebrity Cruises for those looking for a romantic break with some peace and quiet but still want plenty to do. Whether celebrating an anniversary, a wedding or simply a well-deserved break from the kids, Celebrity Cruises specialises in romance, and with more than 160 overnight stays, you can pick those dream destinations that are guaranteed to make you fall in love.
BEST FOR LUXURY
Look no further than Silver Sea for those looking to experience the finer side of cruising. They offer dedicated butler service in all suites, regardless of the ship or destination. From the moment you step onboard, you’ll experience a level of luxury that you’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.
As Silver Sea likes to say, ‘relaxation at its most distilled’. Trust us; you won’t be disappointed.
BEST FOR SOLO TRAVELLERS
Travelling by yourself is often about marrying the best of both worlds. You want some quiet time to yourself, but you also want the option of being social and making friends with others who might be in the same situation. For solo travellers, our pick is Norwegian Cruise Line, a company that regularly scoops awards highlighting its superb service towards those travelling on their own.
Indeed, NCL was the first cruise company to create staterooms and common areas specifically for the single cruiser, and they have been modifying and polishing their services ever since. Studios are perfect for solo travellers, and their Studio Lounges are great places to meet others travelling in the same way.
BEST FOR INTIMATE CRUISING
If the idea of a mega-ship with thousands onboard is your personal idea of hell, then a River Cruise with Uniworld or AmaWaterways might be just the ticket. River Cruising fuses intimacy and luxury like no ocean cruise, offering river cruises throughout Europe, Egypt, and Asia, all with ships limited to below 150 guests.
This provides an entirely different experience than a Royal Caribbean ocean cruiser and allows you to get to know the staff and other guests in a way that’s not often possible.
Don’t expect a trans-pacific journies with river cruising, but if you want to explore the Ganges, the Mekong, the Nile, or one of the European history-rich stretches of water without the crowds, you know where to go.