dealchecker’s Guide to Cruise Lines

Our deal hunters are often returning triumphant with a great cruise deal for us to put in our Real Deals weekly newsletter, but it can sometimes seem that one cruise line is just the same as another, right? Sure, they name their restaurants differently, but apart from that they are carbon copies? WRONG! We’re here to shed some light on the situation with our handy guide to some of our favourite cruise lines.

Many of them are just different branches of the same family, so we’ve grouped them together to help you get a better feel of what cruise line you might want to take the plunge with first!

Image by kansasphoto

Royal Caribbean Cruises

Royal Caribbean International

Pioneering – Entertaining – Luxury

You’ll know these ships as they all end with “of the Seas”. The Oasis and Freedom classes are the largest in the fleet whilst if you’re something smaller look out for Vision and Sovereign class cruises. Allure of the Seas is currently the world’s largest cruise ship, whilst Voyager of the Seas was the first to ever boast an ice rink! Royal Caribbean sails in Europe as well as North America and the Caribbean.


Modern – Grand – Spacious – Stylish

Celebrity are all about the glitz and glamour with large pool areas, stylish bars and formal foyers. The solstice class, with its flagship Celebrity Solstice, are the largest in this small fleet, whilst the tiny Celebrity Xpedition will give you a much more intimate experience with this cruise line. Look out for Celebrity Reflection though, coming in November 2012.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Informal – Fun – Innovative – Flexible

A relaxed cruise line, NCL was the first to launch Freestyle Cruising, removing set meal times and seating plans as well as formal attire. We often see cruises on Norwegian Jade and Norwegian Epic, with the Epic being the cruise line’s largest ship, although this is still considerably smaller than some of the competitors!

Image by miamism

Carnival Corporation


Shorter Cruises – Value – Fun – Entertaining

Known for having top quality Las Vegas style entertainment, Carnival Cruises are also pushing to have the largest ships, with the huge Carnival Breeze making her debut in June 2012. With the tag line “The Fun Ships” expect plenty by way of onboard activities such as outdoor cinema, water parks, casinos and comedy clubs.


Traditional – Stylish – Comfort – Detail

Cunard have been in the transatlantic sailing business since 1840 and their modern ships are all about harking back to bygone eras of style, service and elegance. Transatlantic voyages are the mainstay with Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth their only current vessels. You can also sail the Caribbean during the winter if you’re a sunseeker!

Image by Caspermoller


Italian style – European – Culture

Known for renaissance and classical Italian and European stylings, you’ll find delicious Italian food on board all fifteen vessels. A new arrival is planned for spring 2012 with Costa Fascinosa to be a new addition to their largest Concordia class. Expect artwork galore with reproductions of famous works sitting alongside specially commissioned new works.


Historic – Intimate – Understated

The oldest cruise line in the world, pipping Cunard at the post by starting in 1837. There are only seven ships in the fleet but each one has an intimate feel. P&O’s reputation as a quiet and relaxing cruise line has only been furthered with Arcadia and Adonia becoming adults only. The Ventura and Azura are the line’s largest so expect them to be a little more boisterous!

Top image by Kabacchi