HELP!!! Overwhelmed differentiating between cruislines for first time cruiser!!!

Hi Everyone, I'm a 62 year old single female, recently retired 40 year Flight Attendant and new to cruising. I'm trying to determine which cruise lines would best fit my personality and needs.  I'm a food and wine lover so lots of dining options with higher end cuisine is appreciated, enrichment classes appeal to me, nice spa facilities, and good entertainment.  I'm not sure I would be comfortable with larger size ships (seems like that would be crazy with so many people and kids). Meeting new people is important to me and love the idea of the solo groups onboard. I admit, I tend to have sophisticated tastes but still need to watch the dollars, especially if there is a solo supplement involved. I see myself in the upper mid range, maybe Celebrity, Viking, Oceania but haven't ruled NCL and open to all suggestions. My girlfriend went on three HA cruises back to back in 2015, Alaska, New Zealand/Australia and the Panama Canal and she said the ships were worn, dated and food was just OK. Thanks for everyone's input!!

20 Answers

Hi DesertDiva. I haven't cruised any of the lines you've mentioned (yet Big Smile), so I can't provide any feedback. However, there are a lot of experienced cruises here, so I'm sure you'll have get some great responses & recommendations. In the interim, check out some of the reviews and welcome to the forum!! 

Welcome to the forum. Like crucruizin said, there are a lot of members here who have cruises on a variety of ships. We are about the same age, have only cruised for 5 yrs, and we love it. I hope you find the right cruise you are looking for and enjoy it as much as we all do.

DesertDiva, welcome to the forum. Based on your preferences i would rule  out NCL. We have only taken one Celebrity cruise and it was years ago. We did enjoy it. I have heard good things about Viking. I am sure those who have sailed on the other lines will add their two cents.

You always rule out NCL, but in this case I agree.

 

Celebrity or HAL would be my choices for you.  HAL is more traditional.   Viking is great for European rivers.  You might even consider a Mississippi riverboat cruise.

I've never cruised on them, but Cunard seems like a good fit.

I would suggest Celebrity or HAL.    NCL has the solo cabins and lounge on some ships but not on the older smaller ships.   Also if a foodie, stay away from NCL MDR IMHO.   I have cruised Celebrity, HAL, Princess, RCCL Carnival and NCL.   For your age and request,  Celebrity and HAL are the best fit keeping budget in mind.  Viking would be great but is at a different price point.  

 

Welcome to cruising and to the forum.

 

BAK,  I am the one that always rules out NCL.   

Thanks everyone for your thoughts. Let me elaborate a bit more. My daughter works in Paris and I'm planning a trip to visit her after the first of the year. My thought was to add a Mediterranean cruise while I'm there so selecting the right line, ship and itinerary is important, (sure a lot of choices!). What are people's thoughts for length of cruise for a first timer? 

I think 7 days is good for a first time. It is long enough to get used to the ship (allow the "Wow Factor" to subside) but not so long that you are "stuck" on it in case it is far less than you expected.

As far as which line, I have to admit my ignorance of the lines operating in Europe.

I've wondered the same thing, good point about being "stuck" if I get on a ship I don't like or the whole concept of cruising doesn't fit me!

I tried four different cruise lines before deciding that Princess is my favorite.  Age range is 40ish to 70ish and on the conservative, relaxed side.  I'm 50 and love to just relax on cruises and Princess is perfect for me.  Nice lounges, restaurants, and a sedate atmosphere. 

 

My suggestion is try 3-4 day cruises on different lines before committing to a whole week or more.  My first cruises were 3-4 day ones on NCL, HAL, Princess, and Carnival.  HAL and Princess are a bit more sedate and conservative.  But IMO HAL is more for 70yo+ people.  Princess is perfect for me.  NCL I love because of all the specialty food options they have.  Carnival I don't ever plan on sailing again for reasons I'll only tell privately.  

 

So that's my own opinion based on my limited experience.  Just another tidbit as you do research.   

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