Best Cruise Lines For First Timers

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The best cruise lines for first timers as ranked by verified reviews submitted over the past 12 months. This list is continuously updated as we receive new reviews from our members, so be sure to check back often! Note, a minimum of 40 reviews are required to be part of this list.

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Carnival Cruise Lines

Category: Mainstream    Ship Size: L, XL
4.0
2082 reviews Ratings
Carnival Cruise Lines

These boisterous ships woo party animals, as well as fun-loving families and singles, with constant entertainment (think poolside hairy chest contests, after-hours comedians, buckets of beer, plenty of activities for kids) and increasingly impressive food, including burgers by Food Network star Guy Fieri. Carnival has begun to host onboard concerts by big-name performers —...

Cruises from $124

Celebrity Cruises

Category: Mainstream    Ship Size: S, M, L, XL
4.0
127 reviews Ratings
Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity, the first to grow real grass and build a serious art collection, has long been one of the most innovative lines. These cruises draw couples, families, and groups who want style and comfort without luxury-line fares. The wide scope of daytime activities ranges from the educational (think technology classes) to the playful, such as water volleyball matches with sh...

Cruises from $149

Disney Cruise Line

Category: Mainstream    Ship Size: M, L, XL
4.0
44 reviews Ratings
Disney Cruise Line

This is easily the most expensive of the family-friendly lines, but you get what you pay for: There is no better choice for those traveling with children. As you would expect, both daytime activities (game shows, character appearances, and contests) and nighttime entertainment (first-run movies and live productions) are outstanding and focus on Disney characters. Most stat...

Cruises from $648

Holland America Line

Category: Mainstream    Ship Size: M, L, XL
4.0
111 reviews Ratings
Holland America Line

Multigenerational families and (often older) well-seasoned travelers love these sophisticated, if staid, ships. The understated professionalism of the crew and staff stands out: If minimalism and competence help you relax at a time when travel comes with considerable anxiety, you’ll rest easy onboard. The well-stocked New York Times-branded libraries have a way of making l...

Cruises from $69

Norwegian Cruise Line

Category: Mainstream    Ship Size: M, L, XL
4.0
388 reviews Ratings
Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line pioneered the flexible dining trend more than a decade ago, and the line continues to offer numerous, creative dining choices. (Think lobster roll stands and Cuban grills.) The line’s studio cabins on newer ships are a boon for supplement-weary singles, and Haven suites — which share a private sundeck and restaurant — feel like the concierge floor of ...

Cruises from $99

Princess Cruises

Category: Mainstream    Ship Size: S, M, L, XL
4.0
233 reviews Ratings
Princess Cruises

Shorter sailings are filled with families and couples looking for a quality, midpriced experience; longer cruises draw an older — largely 50s and up — crowd of empty nesters and retirees. On sea days, you’ll find many complimentary classes — which range from computers to glass blowing and pottery painting — and supervised kids’ activities include educational options, such ...

Cruises from $89

Royal Caribbean

Category: Mainstream    Ship Size: L, XL
4.0
869 reviews Ratings
Royal Caribbean

This is a great choice for families — second only to Disney Cruise Line and significantly less expensive. It’s also ideal for sporty travelers: The line’s adrenaline rush-driven activities — the best at sea — include rock-climbing, surf simulations, ice skating, ziplining, inline skating, and boxing (in a real ring). Entertainment choices feature high-dive shows on Oasis o...

Cruises from $147

MSC Cruises

Category: Mainstream    Ship Size: M, L, XL
4.0
81 reviews Ratings
MSC Cruises

Budget-minded families and passengers looking for a more European experience at an affordable price gather on this Italy-based line. On European sailings, 85 percent of the passengers are European, giving the ships a local feel. (The numbers are almost exactly opposite on North American sailings.) Bringing the whole family won't break the bank: Kids ages 3-11 sail for free...

Cruises from $69

P&O Cruises

Category:    Ship Size: M, XL
4.0
56 reviews Ratings
P&O Cruises

P&O Cruises is the oldest cruise line in the world, and the largest cruise company catering to the British market. Their ships are immediately recognizable thanks to the Union Jack painted on the hull. It’s not an all-inclusive line, but gratuities are included in the fare. Passengers who sail with P&O are generally British, and the lowest average age is around 50 except d...