With so many cruise lines out there, it can be a little daunting deciding on which ship will whisk you away to the far-flung destination you’ve had your heart set on. And that’s without mentioning what you like to get out of a holiday, and you’ll be doing it with; do you like to relax, or does the lure of luxury prove irresistible when you’re booking? Prefer to go solo or will the family be in tow?
Whether you’re budget conscious or looking to splash your cash, we’ve made things easier with a handy little quiz that does all the work for you. Have a read of our most popular cruise lines, answer the 5 easy questions and we’ll recommend the cruise line that’s right for you!
Who do you cruise with?
Do you prefer a formal or relaxed atmosphere?
What is the most important aspect of an enjoyable cruise holiday?
What ship size is your preference?
All-out expense or wallet-friendly?
Cruise Line Guide
List of Cruise Lines
- Royal Caribbean
- Carnival Cruise Line
- Celebrity Cruises
- Norwegian Cruise Line
- Holland America Line
- MSC Cruises
- P&O Cruises
- Regent Seven Seas
With almost 50 years of innovation and industry firsts under their belt, Royal Caribbean’s cruise legacy makes it one of the finest lines to sail with. Family-oriented with a huge focus on wowing its guests, Royal Caribbean’s ships range from the streamlined Empress Class to the 200-foot-wide majesty of their Oasis Class.
Onboard, you’ll find cutting-edge highlights including the first zipline at sea, the wave-simulator FlowRider and a theatre replete with some of the world’s best-loved productions. After you have worked up an appetite, tempt your taste buds with a range of cuisines from around the world, from Japanese to Italian, curated by celebrity chefs including Michael Schwartz and Jamie Oliver.
Founded: 1969, Norway
Fleet: 25 shipsSee Royal Caribbean best deals
Carnival Cruise Line
When it comes to letting your hair down, Carnival Cruise Line know a thing or two. Famous for their family-friendly, jovial atmosphere, guests are in for plenty of fun and sun aboard their ships. Whether you go for the 2,000-capacity Fantasy Class or its near-4,000 passenger-strong Vista ship, Carnival is perfect for budget-conscious cruisers serious about having a good time.
A day onboard is like a big floating party. The SkyRide offers unparalleled views of the sea and the ship, the WaterWorks offer endless splishing and splashing for all ages, while the SkyCourse lets you scale a new challenge high above the ship. Don’t forget about the Serenity Adult-Only Retreat either, an area of total peace that lets you get away from it all.
Specialising in a variety of American, Asian, and Italian dishes, Carnival’s cuisine is a feast for all the senses, with mouth-watering meals overseen by the mayor of Flavortown himself – Guy Fieri – just waiting for you to unleash your inner foodie!
Founded: 1972, Miami
Fleet: 25 ships
Newest ship: Carnival VistaSee Carnival Cruise Line best deals
If the red-carpet treatment is what you’re looking for, then an elegant, award-winning adventure with Celebrity Cruises could well be for you. If you’re really looking to splash out, their cruises offer premium luxury for the entire family, with shore excursions and activities that cater to a range of ages.
From their modest Galapagos fleet all the way to the revolutionary 1,000ft splendour of the Solstice Class, your time on board enriches both the mind and the body. Relaxing spa sessions, designer shopping, fitness centres, and lots for the kids mean there’s plenty to do, while some of the most opulent accommodation on the seas turn your cruise into a home away from home with ease.
Empty stomachs stay satisfied too, courtesy of a delightful menu of food overseen by chef Cornelius Gallagher. Sushi, Tuscan steaks, classic French and gourmet gastro fare sit alongside each other, served with the largest collection of wine at sea, paired by expert sommeliers who are on hand with a knowledge that’s second to none.
Founded: 1989, Florida
Fleet: 12 ships
Newest ship: Celebrity EdgeSee Celebrity Cruises best deals
With over 175 years of cruise experience to their name, Cunard has been around the world a few times. But as the oldest cruise line in the world, guests can bask in vintage, golden age-style extravagance and some of the most spacious guest suites in the world. Elegant and opulent, couples and friends love luxuriating in Cunard’s peerless ambience.
Equal parts roaring twenties glamour and West End theatre, entertainment onboard ranges from jazz ensembles, classic singers, themed balls and so much more. A shimmering casino lets you try your hand at a range of classic table games, while the spa lets you retreat from the lights, sound and action in total relaxation.
With an array of dining venues to eat at, Cunard’s eye-catching, enticing fare has long been a highlight of its cruises. A mix of hearty and haute cuisine, you’ll find sophisticated food from breakfast through to dinner, including French-inspired fare, exotic Asian cuisine and authentic Indian dishes that sate and stimulate with every bite.
Fleet: 3 ships
Newest ship: Queen ElizabethSee Cunard best deals
Norwegian Cruise Line
Known for catering towards families and the solo traveller alike, Norwegian Cruise Line’s exclusive commitment to providing its guests with utmost freedom sets it apart from other lines. Norwegian love to take it easy and that means no fixed dining times, relaxed attire and a near-endless array of lounges, bars and activities to while away the hours with.
Ranging from the smaller Sun Class to the breath-taking size of the Breakaway Plus Class, all of Norwegian’s ships are tailor-made to suit your style of holiday. So if thermal suites, saunas and rejuvenating spa sessions are your kind of thing, or you love to get involved with Broadway productions, magicians and themed parties, you’ll be in good company.
Looking to please the palate? Norwegian’s high standard of dining means hungry diners can treat themselves to everything from succulent Brazilian steaks, vibrant Mexican dishes and the pure spectacle of Japanese Hibachi-style cooking. With an extensive range and freedom to dine when you please, Norwegian’s adaptable style is perfect for easy-going holidaymakers.
Fleet: 16 ships
Newest ship: Norwegian BlissSee Norwegian Cruise Line best deals
With over 50 years of cruise experience, Princess Cruises’ reputation as a premier line is well founded. Immortalised in the TV show “The Love Boat”, Princess’ innovative, pioneering service wows guests both at sea and on the small screen. Traditionally catering towards older travellers, their exclusive, premium holidays are some of the finest sailing the world’s waters right now.
Laying the groundwork for several cruise standards such as 24-hour dining, and flexible onboard facilities and services, your time onboard a Princess cruise is world class. Destination-themed activities enrich your holiday, while a host of wine-tastings, outdoor movie screenings, live music and side-splitting comedians liven up every evening you’re here.
Princess Cruises’ cuisine is delicious hand-crafted fare that keeps you coming back for more. Upscale but unpretentious, food from the likes of Curtis Stone’s world-class charcuterie SHARE, Ernesto Uchimura’s gourmet gastropub The Salty Dog and Angelo Auriana’s rustic, authentic Italian eatery Sabatini’s create mouth-watering memories you’ll savour forever.
Fleet: 17 ships
Newest ship: Majestic PrincessSee Princess Cruises best deals
Holland America Line
Graceful, beautiful and exclusive, Holland America’s ships bring to mind the classic, mid-sized cruise experiences of the past. Stunningly proportioned, the intimate, immersive experience of a Holland America cruise is like nothing else.
From BB King’s Blues Club to the World Stage’s 270-degree wraparound LED Screen and theatre, the entertainment on board Holland America Line offers up myriad memories across a variety of options. Your suite sweetens the deal too, with each style featuring a verandah for sun-soaked lounging in private.
When it comes to food – supreme, sumptuous fare is in abundance here, with everything from Asian cuisine, French seafood, unbelievable grilled steaks and New York pizza set to stun while you’re onboard. Fancy something truly special? Enjoy a meal from the Culinary Council: five of the world’s most renowned chefs fuse their skills together to create a menu made for those passionate about their food.
Fleet: 15 ships
Newest ship: MS KoningsdamSee Holland America Line best deals
With a 300-year-old history that dates back to Italy’s Aponte family, MSC Cruises has quite the heritage. Indelibly linked to the Mediterranean, the Naples-based line embodies the spirit and passion of this iconic part of the world in everything it does.
With an affordability that belies its elegance, MSC’s fleet of ships have something for everyone, including the kids. By day, their ships are a mix of sports tournaments, dance classes, fitness sessions, arts & crafts and pool games. By night, things truly come alive with themed balls, live music and Cirque du Soleil performances, filling everyone with high spirits from start to finish.
And in between all of that, you have a veritable feast awaiting you with every meal. Whether it’s one of the chefs’ signature dishes inspired by their Mediterranean heritage, something from the healthy selection or a meal inspired by your own itinerary, there’s food to suit any palate, whatever your appetite.
Fleet: 16 ships
Newest ship: MSC MeravigliaSee MSC Cruises best deals
For a taste of the good life, look no further than a P&O Cruises voyage. Discovery, luxury and leisure come as standard, with a backdrop of the finest locations in the world. Made for couples, these superb experiences are sure to stay with you, whether you’re taking in a cabaret show or relaxing on your suite’s balcony.
From cookery classes to dance lessons, getting involved during sea days is easy. You can even wind down in the spa after a long day of exploration and enrichment. At night, your ship brims with life and energy, from live music and comedy shows to a glamorous casino to show off your skills in.
P&O turn all their meals into an event. In particular, their Gala Menus – created by Marco Pierre White – stand out as a prime example; with classics such as beef Wellington, New England lobster and scallop ceviche given Marco’s signature spin. Elsewhere, you’ll find British staples alongside Sindhu’s Michelin-starred Indian cuisine and much, much more to whet your appetite.
Fleet: 8 ships
Newest ship: BritanniaSee P&O Cruises best deals
Intimate and innovative, Seabourn Cruises do luxury cruising with a difference. Perhaps the most striking thing about Seabourn is the size of their ships; their Odyssey Class of ships takes just 458 guests to some world-famous destinations. The high ratio of space per guest means fewer queues and waits for dinner tables, along with a highly personalised, award-winning service from its staff that’s like having your own butler on board.
With spacious suites to relax in, all furnished with elegant amenities, and inclusive pricing to take the sting out of paying for your second cocktail, Seabourn are all about making guests as comfortable as possible. Drinks, dining and gratuities are all covered, along with laundry, in-suite movies and activities. Did we mention the room service caviar too?
Day or night, there’s plenty to do during sea days. Pamper yourself with some you-time at their spa, or get involved with Seabourn Conversations, a series of talks from a range of explorers, chefs, scholars and experts across the arts, sciences and humanities.
World-renowned chef Thomas Keller inspires the food onboard Seabourn, bringing his prestigious skills to a range of perfectly executed dishes without the price tag.
Fleet: 4 ships
Newest ship: OvationSee P&O Cruises best deals
Regent Seven Seas
Known across the world as a premier 6-star cruise line, every aspect of Regent Seven Seas ships’ takes luxury to the next level. Every room is a suite. Every suite has a balcony. And every minute of your time is spent in absolute bliss.
With a superb space-to-guest ratio, the spirit of adventure onboard RSSC is alive and well. Free and unlimited shore excursions make exploration and discovery easier than ever, while its all-inclusive promise takes care of the little things without worry. And with its library, enrichment speeches and plentiful pool activities through the day, along with evening cabarets shows, Broadway productions and a sophisticated casino, there’s never a dull moment aboard Regent.
Looking to savour the flavours of the world when the mood strikes? Regent’s flexible dining lets you sample everything from Italian antipasti and Pan-Asian specialities to chic fine dining and unbelievable grilled steaks whenever and wherever you want.
Fleet: 4 ships
Newest ship: Seven Seas ExplorerSee Regent Seven Seas best deals