Recommended Cruise Lines, Full List

In this guide we explore 20 of the largest cruise lines by passenger numbers. The cruise lines featured in this guide are based in the USA, UK and Europe and it is possible to cruise with all speaking only English. This list includes only budget and mainstream cruise lines.

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USA

Carnival Cruise Line

Visit Carnivals website here to learn more: Carnival

26 Ships

Carnival cruise line is the largest cruise line in terms of passenger numbers. Their ships are widely known for being full of energy, informal, relaxed and fun. Carnival typically attract a younger audience and are popular with families and couples. The cruise line has 26 cruise ships at present and most Carnival cruises take place in or around the USA. Carnival cruises are often cheaper than other similar cruise lines and are generally regarded as being good value for money.

  • Price (***)
  • Daily Schedule (Busy)
  • Life Onboard (Lively)
  • Formal Nights (Yes)
  • Dress Codes (Relaxed)
  • Dining (Flexible & Fixed)
  • Based (USA)

Carnival Cruise Embarkation

Royal Caribbean

27 Ships

Visit Royal Caribbean’s website here to learn more: Royal Caribbean*

Royal Caribbean are well known for their innovations in ship design. They currently have 27 ships in the fleet including Symphony of the Seas which is currently the biggest cruise ship in the world. Many of Royal Caribbeans ships feature internal neighbourhoods, parks and attractions such as zip lines, waterslides and surf simulators. Royal Caribbean typically attract a family/younger cruise passenger but cruisers of all ages will be found onboard. The quality of food is generally regarded as being high and the entertainment offered is often of broadway quality. Royal Caribbean cruise worldwide and have two private islands in the Caribbean.

  • Price (****)
  • Daily Schedule (Busy)
  • Life Onboard (Lively)
  • Formal Nights (Yes)
  • Dress Codes (Relaxed)
  • Dining (Flexible & Fixed)
  • Based (USA)

Royal Caribbean Harmony Of The Seas Children

Norwegian Cruise Line

17 Ships

Visit Norwegian Cruise Line’s website here to learn more: Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line are famous for their freestyle approach to cruising. Cruises with Norwegian do not have any formal nights and dress codes are extremely relaxed. Norwegian have 17 ships which range in size, the largest ships feature attractions like go karts, laser tag courses and VR games. The cruise line tends to attract families and younger cruisers, they are also popular with solo cruisers thanks to their designated solo cabins and solo lounges available on most ships. Norwegian cruise worldwide and have two private islands, one in the Bahamas and one in Belize.

  • Price (***)
  • Daily Schedule (Busy)
  • Life Onboard (Lively)
  • Formal Nights (No)
  • Dress Codes (Relaxed)
  • Dining (Flexible)
  • Based (USA)

Norwegian Encore Speedway Go Kart Track

Princess Cruises

18 Ships

Visit Princess’s website here to learn more: Princess Cruises*

In the 1970s Princess Cruises starred in an American TV show called The Love Boat. Princess Cruises to this day provide a romantic, relaxing atmosphere onboard their cruises giving guests the chance to explore new destinations in comfort. When it comes to technology Princess Cruises offer some of the greatest innovations in the industry, the implementation of Ocean Medallion has changed the way that passengers cruise. Princess cruise worldwide and their ships are spacious, luxurious and all have multiple swimming pools. The food available onboard is varied, of high quality and generally regarded as being some of the best in the industry.

  • Price (***)
  • Daily Schedule (Mid Range)
  • Life Onboard (Relaxed)
  • Formal Nights (Yes)
  • Dress Codes (Elegant)
  • Dining (Flexible & Fixed)
  • Based (USA)

Princess Cruises Santuary

Celebrity Cruises

15 Ships

Visit Celebrity’s website here to learn more: Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises are owned by Royal Caribbean and provide cruises which focus on modern luxury. The cruise line are well known for their restaurants and are widely regarded as providing some of the best food within the cruise industry. Day to day life is relaxing with an emphasis on cultural and destination immersion. Celebrity cruises do have formal nights and many guests enjoy the elegant elements of cruising with Celebrity.

  • Price (****)
  • Daily Schedule (Mid Range)
  • Life Onboard (Relaxed)
  • Formal Nights (Yes)
  • Dress Codes (Elegant)
  • Dining (Flexible & Fixed)
  • Based (USA)

Celebrity Silhouette

Holland America

14 Ships

Visit Holland America’s website here to learn more: Holland America

Cruises with Holland America provide a traditional cruise experience. The cruise line cruises worldwide and Holland America are widely regarded as having a high quality of service and food. The experience onboard is relaxing and Holland America typically appeal to older cruisers.

  • Price (***)
  • Daily Schedule (Relaxing)
  • Life Onboard (Relaxed)
  • Formal Nights (Yes)
  • Dress Codes (Elegant)
  • Dining (Flexible & Fixed)
  • Based (USA)

Holland America

Disney Cruise Line

4 Ships

Visit Disney Cruise Line’s website here to learn more: Disney Cruise Line

Cruises with Disney Cruise Line are FULL of Disney magic. Onboard you’ll find musical productions, deck parties and Disney characters frequently visiting the restaurants and public areas of the ship. The food and service offered by the line is generally regarded as being some of the best within the industry. Disney mostly sails around the USA but they occasionally offer cruises in Europe. The main passenger demographic targeted by Disney is the family market but the cruise line is also popular with adult couples or groups travelling without children, there are a number of adult only areas available on all Disney ships.

  • Price (****)
  • Daily Schedule (Busy)
  • Life Onboard (Lively)
  • Formal Nights (Yes)
  • Dress Codes (Elegant)
  • Dining (Mostly Fixed)
  • Based (USA)

Disney Sail Away Party

Virgin Voyages

1 Ship

Visit Virgin Voyages’s website here to learn more: Virgin Voyages*

Virgin Voyages recently launched their first cruise ship which provides a modern adult only experience. The onboard experience is relaxed, fun and luxurious and mostly marketed at younger cruisers. The Virgin Voyages cruise fare includes WiFi, basic beverages and gym classes. Virgin aim to attract people who have not cruised before as well as experienced cruisers. Virgin have done away with traditional cruise elements like buffets,  instead choosing to offer many dining options all of which are included in the cruise fare.

  • Price (****)
  • Daily Schedule (Busy)
  • Life Onboard (Lively)
  • Formal Nights (No)
  • Dress Codes (Relaxed)
  • Dining (Mostly Flexible)
  • Based (USA)

Virgin Voyages Cabin

UK

P&O Cruises (UK)

6 Ships

Visit P&O Cruises website here to learn more: P&O Cruises

P&O Cruises (UK) are a British cruise line which focus on traditional cruising. All ships feature a Union Jack on the bow, kettles in the cabins and afternoon tea available each day. P&O Cruises do cruise worldwide but a large proportion of the fleet cruise from the UK year round. The cruise line are popular with families, often offering free or discounted places for children. Formal nights are common on all P&O ships and many guests embrace the chance to dress formally. The entertainment and food are generally regarded as being of a high quality and the ‘Great British sail away party’ is enjoyed by many.

  • Price (***)
  • Daily Schedule (Mid Range)
  • Life Onboard (Traditional)
  • Formal Nights (Yes)
  • Dress Codes (Formal)
  • Dining (Flexible & Fixed)
  • Based (UK)

** Note, Cruises on P&O Australia are very different from cruises with the UK portion of P&O. Cruises with P&O Australia are much more relaxed and tend to attract a younger market. P&O Australia have 3 ships, all of which were built before 2000  **

P&O Cruises

Cunard

– 3 Ships

Visit Cunard’s website here to learn more: Cunard

Cunard is a British cruise line who focus heavily on the traditional cruise experience. Each cruise has multiple formal nights and dress codes are strictly enforced ship wide. Cunard have three cruise ships, one of which is the only remaining ocean liner the Queen Mary 2. Queen Mary 2 cruises the Atlantic while Cunard’s other two ships cruise worldwide. Cunard are well known for their traditional afternoon teas and lectures provided onboard. The onboard experience is relaxing and elegant, string quartets and ballroom dancing activities are common.

  • Price (****)
  • Daily Schedule (Quiet)
  • Life Onboard (Traditional)
  • Formal Nights (Yes)
  • Dress Codes (Very Formal)
  • Dining (Mostly Fixed)
  • Based (UK)

Cunard christmas tree ship

Cruise and Maritime Voyages

– 6 Ships

Visit Cruise and Maritimes’s website here to learn more: Cruise and Maritime

Cruise and Maritime Voyages are an independent British cruise line that provides traditional relaxed cruises. Cruises with Cruise and Maritime are widely regarded as being good value for money. All ships are relatively small in size and for most itineraries the cruises offered by Cruise and Maritime are adult only. Cruise and Maritime regularly cruise from a number of ports in the UK and provide cruises in varying lengths.  All ships in the Cruise and Maritime fleet are at least 25 years old with the oldest being Astoria built in 1948.

  • Price (**)
  • Daily Schedule (Quiet)
  • Life Onboard (Relaxing)
  • Formal Nights (Yes)
  • Dress Codes (Formal)
  • Dining (Fixed)
  • Based (UK)

CMV

Marella

– 5 Ships

Visit Marella’s website here to learn more: Marella*

Marella are a British cruise line, formerly known as Thomson. The cruise line provides cruises worldwide on small and mid sized ships. Cruises with Marella include drinks and gratuities as standard and are widely regarded as being good value for money. The onboard experience is relaxed and the dining options offered onboard are flexible. Marella cruises attract families, young cruisers and older cruisers alike. The entertainment, food and service onboard are all targeted

towards British passengers.

  • Price (***)
  • Daily Schedule (Busy)
  • Life Onboard (Relaxed)
  • Formal Nights (Yes)
  • Dress Codes (Relaxed)
  • Dining (Flexible)
  • Based (UK)

Marella Discovery Cruise Families

Fred Olsen

– 4 Ships

Visit Fred Olsen’s website here to learn more: Fred Olsen

Cruises with Fred Olsen provide a traditional cruise experience on small and medium sized ships. Fred Olsen cruises are generally regarded as being good value for money and the experience onboard is relaxing. Due to having smaller ships Fred Olsen cruises are often able to visit lesser known cruise ports and they offer mystery cruises where guests do not know in advance where they will be cruising to. Fred Olsen currently have 4 ships, all built pre 2000.

  • Price (***)
  • Daily Schedule (Quiet)
  • Life Onboard (Traditional)
  • Formal Nights (Yes)
  • Dress Codes (Elegant)
  • Dining (Mostly Fixed)
  • Based (UK)

Fred Olsen

Saga

– 2 Ships

Visit Saga’s website here to learn more: Saga*

Saga currently have 2 ocean ships which focus on providing a traditional British cruise experience. To cruise with Saga guests must be 50+. Saga cruises include travel insurance, WiFi and drinks in the cruise fare as standard. The onboard experience is relaxing and Saga are widely regarded as having some of the best food at sea.

  • Price (*****)
  • Daily Schedule (Quiet)
  • Life Onboard (Relaxed)
  • Formal Nights (Yes)
  • Dress Codes (Elegant)
  • Dining (Flexible)
  • Based (UK )

Spirit of Discovery

Europe

Hurtigruten

  – 11 Ships

Visit Hurtigruten’s website here to learn more: Hurtigruten

Hurtigruten are a leading provider of expedition cruises. Cruises with Hurtigruten are destination focused and they are the only cruise line that cruise to Norway year round. Hurtigruten have a number of small ships which are functional rather than luxurious. Entertainment is not provided onboard as Hurtigruten aim to immerse their guests in the local destination.

  • Price (***)
  • Daily Schedule (Quiet)
  • Life Onboard (Relaxed)
  • Formal Nights (No)
  • Dress Codes (Relaxed)
  • Dining (Mostly Fixed)
  • Based (Norway)

Hurtigruten

Aida Cruises

– 13 Ships

Visit Aida’s website here to learn more: Aida

Aida Cruises are a German cruise line who cruise primarily around Europe. The onboard experience is geared towards German speakers although it is possible to cruise with Aida without speaking German. The onboard experience is relaxed, informal and flexible. Aida ships are instantly recognisable by the lips and eyes painted onto the hull of each ship in the fleet. When booking an Aida cruise it is generally advised to book through a travel agent as Aida do not have an English website.

  • Price (***)
  • Daily Schedule (Mid Range)
  • Life Onboard (Lively)
  • Formal Nights (No)
  • Dress Codes (Relaxed)
  • Dining (Flexible)
  • Based (Germany)

Aida Smoking on Balcony

TUI Cruises

– 15 Ships

Visit Tui’s website here to learn more: Tui

TUI are a German cruise line who focus mainly on the German speaking cruise market. Cruises with TUI are relaxed and the cruise fare includes gratuities and drinks. It is possible to cruise with TUI without speaking German as most staff members onboard will speak English. Tui’s ships are all named ‘Mein Schiff *number*’ which translates to my ship in English.  Passengers on cruises with Tui are able to smoke on their balconies and the ships have multiple smoking areas.

  • Price (***)
  • Daily Schedule (Mid Range)
  • Life Onboard (Relaxed)
  • Formal Nights (No)
  • Dress Codes (Relaxed)
  • Dining (Fixed)
  • Based (Germany)

Mein Schiff

Costa Cruises

– 16 Ships

Visit Costa’s website here to learn more: Costa Cruises

Costa Cruises are an Italian cruise line and multicultural influences are felt throughout the cruise experience. The food, entertainment and onboard experience is primarily designed for an Italian audience although guests who only speak English will have no problems onboard. Each cruise features an English representative and all staff members onboard will speak some English. Costa Cruises provide some of the best value cruises within the industry and the onboard experience is colourful, lively and fun. Families, young cruisers and groups are often found on Costa cruises.

  • Price (**)
  • Daily Schedule (Mid Range)
  • Life Onboard (Lively)
  • Formal Nights (Yes)
  • Dress Codes (Elegant)
  • Dining (Mostly Fixed)
  • Based (Italy)

Costa Cruise Luminosa Review

MSC Cruises

– 18 Ships

Visit MSC’s UK website here to learn more: MSC UK*

Visit MSC’s USA website here to learn more: MSC USA*

MSC offer multicultural cruises which provide great value for money. MSC’s Italian heritage is reflected in the food, entertainment and onboard experience. On most MSC Cruises you’ll find guests who speak a variety of languages and day to day life onboard reflects this. MSC provide some of the most flexible itineraries in the industry with guests able to embark cruises at various different ports. The cruise line are popular with families, young cruisers and groups who are attracted to MSC’s modern, elegant ships. Many of MSC’s ships have activities like ropes courses, waterslides and sports courts all included in the cruise fare. Unlike other cruise lines, MSC offer a ‘status match’ program, meaning that loyalty status’s built with other cruise lines will be matched by MSC. MSC cruise worldwide and have recently opened their first private island in the Bahamas.

  • Price (**)
  • Daily Schedule (Mid Range)
  • Life Onboard (Relaxed)
  • Formal Nights (Yes)
  • Dress Codes (Relaxed)
  • Dining (Most Fixed)
  • Based (Switzerland)

MSC Magnifica

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