In this post, 20 popular cruise bloggers reveal the real reasons they love to cruise with particular cruise lines.
Choosing the right cruise for you can be a tough decision. With so many cruise lines offering a vast array of itineraries, how do you know if you’re going to enjoy it? When you’re trying to book your cruise holiday, you want to make sure that it’s the best it can be.
Had it not been for the temporary suspension of worldwide cruises due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, CLIA predicted that 32 million people would cruise in 2020. Cruise holidays have seen a rapid growth in popularity over the last few years.
The beauty of cruising is that there are so many different cruise lines to choose from to suit different tastes and budgets, this is what makes the industry unique and sets it apart from other travel markets. The cruise lines have the opportunity to carve out their own niche to appeal to consumers. Many of today’s travellers are increasingly motivated to collect memories and experiences rather than material things and so cruise lines are competing to offer consumers the best experiences both onboard and ashore.
The attitude around cruising is changing, no matter the generation. More than 66% of Generation X and 71% of Millennials have a more positive attitude about cruising compared to two years ago.CLIA
To illustrate the point that there is a ‘cruise line out there for everyone‘ I decided to ask a group of cruise bloggers to tell me their favourite cruise line with their reasons. They all share a love of cruising but as you will see, they gave varied responses, even those who chose the same cruise line, did so for very different reasons.
Why Cruise Bloggers love P&O
One of Britain’s most popular cruise lines is P&O, with 175 years of experience and seven ships currently in service (the new Iona is due to debut in 2020). It prides itself on being British, something that some of the cruise bloggers valued above other cruise lines.
Lisa Jane, a family travel blogger from Cruising with Kids particularly loves P&O’s Great British Sailaways. The music and flag-waving really brings out the patriotism in the Brits and sets a party mood. Lisa also looks forward to P&O’s formal evenings and of course a good cup of tea onboard. You can see more of Lisa’s recent visit to P&O’s Britannia.
Cruise bloggers and vloggers, Gavin and Luke from Cruise Monkeys also share their love for P&O and its homely feel. They particularly favour the onboard currency of pounds sterling and the policy of no service charges automatically being added to drinks prices. P&O no longer automatically adds daily gratuities to sailings, something that has been widely welcomed by regular cruisers.
Rather than a good cuppa, Gavin and Luke enjoy heading to The Glass House, a food and wine venue, which can be found on board Aurora, Azura, Britannia and Ventura, where you can purchase wine by the glass.
Jenni, a cruise blogger at Cruise Mummy rates P&O very highly for young families wanting to enjoy cruising together. Discover the things that P&O does better than other cruise lines.
“As a parent with young children, I absolutely love P&O Cruises and I think this British cruise line offers the best value for money for families.
If your kids are under five and you can cruise during term time, you can often get great deals where kids sail for almost free. Then, when you’re on-board there’s a complimentary night-nursery with free babysitting for under-fives until 2 am. Our kids loved the afternoon children’s tea and the toddler splash zone on-board Britannia is great fun.
We can’t wait to try new ship Iona.”Jenni Fielding, Cruise Mummy
Caroline from Cruises for Families adores cruising with P&O. In particular, it’s the staff who make the holiday special for the entire family.
“The staff in the kids club called ‘The Reef’ onboard P&O are just wonderful: so happy, positive and hardworking, making sure our kids have the best time on holiday. The activities and groups are all age related including themed days. My children’s favourite day is Pirate day where they make hats, have their faces painted and look for the treasure around the ship, ending up celebrating their discovery in a disco.”Caroline Morgan, Cruises for Families
Why Cruise Bloggers love Royal Caribbean
Who better to ask about Royal Caribbean than Elizabeth Hill, the Godmother to Independence of the Seas! Elizabeth believes that Royal Caribbean truly encapsulates ‘Generation Cruise’ because they are designed to be inter-generational ships, aimed at families, holidaying together. “There is something to suit the youngest child to the oldest grandparent.” Elizabeth said.
The cruise godmother, who’s blog is aptly named, Cruise Like a Godmother, also praises RCL for the innovative activities on board and West End-style shows. Elizabeth also likes that the company has a social conscience and has many charitable projects that it organises and supports.
In terms of food onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise, Elizabeth said “The food is fabulous. You can either join in the formal nights or if you prefer casual you can eat nightly in the Windjammer.”
Royal Caribbean is known for its iconic promenades situated in the centre of its newer ships which give them a small high street feel with shops inter-spaced with cafes, and pubs. This makes their ships as much the destination as the ports themselves and is likely to attract new cruisers who may be worried about being bored on sea days.
You can read more about Elizabeth Hill, and how she became the Godmother to the Independence of the Seas.
Why Cruise Bloggers love Princess Cruises
There is definitely a lot of love for Princess Cruises from the cruise bloggers, myself included.
Victoria Hughes, a 24 year old cruise blogger who writes the blog Lost Ashore said “I’m such a Princess person!!” She has cruised on four Princess ships loves Movies under the Stars and 24-hour cake from the International Café (who wouldn’t). She also rates the hot chocolate as “… best hot chocolate EVER.” The complementary pizza from Alfredo’s Pizzeria has been celebrated by USA Today as the ‘Best Pizza at Sea’ and the pizza is certainly worthy of this accolade. One thing that Victoria enjoys at the end of every Princess cruise is the Baked Alaska night, a tradition not to be missed. You can read more in Victoria’s review of the Crown Princess.
Sandra and Chris from Brits on a Ship also share their love for Princess Cruises. They both believe the quality of the food in the main dining rooms is outstanding, as well as the specialty Crown Grill restaurant, which serves delicious steaks. Another aspect that Sandra and Chris are impressed by is that Princess is the only mainstream US line with self-service launderettes.
Sandra said “We also like the loyalty scheme – more attainable than some others with great benefits.” The loyalty programme on Princess is called the Captain’s Circle, which starts cruisers on the Blue level and rewards loyal cruisers up to Elite level. I first met Chris and Sandra on a ship tour of the Royal Princess in 2018, you can read more in their Detailed Guide to the Royal Princess.
Andrew Sassoli-Walker from Solent Photographer has been on a number of cruises with Princess and describes the cruise lines as an international and premium version of P&O Cruises. He feels the service is consistent and you always feel as though you are in safe hands.
“We have explored the Caribbean, Alaska and Europe, with every cruise leaving us with treasured memories. Both my son’s love being onboard, and spend most of the time in the pool!
If I have to pick one (Princess) cruise that really stands out, it was our cruise to Alaska. Every preconception was surpassed and seeing so much wildlife with the grandeur of the country was phenomenal!
I would wholeheartedly recommend a cruise with Princess, you really will “Come Back New”Andrew Sassoli-Walker, Solent Photographer
Andrew attended the christening ceremony of Royal Princess in Southampton.
Caroline from Cruises for Families, believes Princess is great for children. Caroline’s family enjoy the free ice cream, cookies and ‘Movies under the Stars’. “It was great for the whole family to huddle under blankets drinking hot chocolate and eating fresh yummy popcorn. Caroline’s children enjoyed the ‘Chef at Sea’ activity, which included a visit to the ship’s galley to make cakes under the supervision of the head Bakery Chef.
“Happy kids equal happy parents!”Caroline Morgan, Cruises for Families
From my personal experiences of Princess Cruises, I think the cruise line gets so much right. The staff are extremely friendly and helpful, which I believe makes for a fantastic atmosphere onboard. I enjoy consulting the daily Princess Patter newsletter to find out what’s happening each day and the complimentary Zumba classes have never failed to get me out of bed on sea days. Activities onboard are influenced by the ports that the cruise visits and so a particular highlight for me was learning Hula Dancing on my cruise to Hawaii, you can read more about my Hawaiian cruise on the Grand Princess.
“I can’t wait to cruise again with Princess, the OceanMedallion is an excellent introduction on all Princess ships.”Laura Pedlar, Cruise Lifestyle
Why Cruise Bloggers love Seabourn Cruises
Cruise bloggers and vloggers, Richard and Helen from visitwith.us are big fans of Seabourn, a luxury cruise line known for its ‘relaxed luxury’. Seabourn is true all-inclusive cruising with complimentary premium spirits and fine wines available to all passengers. Richard favours Seabourn for numerous reasons, including the all-inclusive offerings that mean there is no need to show your cruise card when ordering a drink as well as “…being able to order caviar all day every day with no extra charge (this is pretentious, unbelievably indulgent and ever so slightly wrong but SO GOOD).”
The personal service onboard a Seabourn cruise means that the staff know passengers by name, something that Richard thinks makes Seabourn extra special. Lear
Why bloggers love Cunard
Gavin and Luke from Cruise Monkeys love the history behind Cunard.
“We’ve always loved the image of traditional cruising, which is why we really love Cunard. The Three Queens are all beautiful ships, with Queen Mary 2 taking centre stage. There is a real sense of occasion when ‘voyaging’ on a Cunard ship. The service is top-notch, the food faultless and the drinks? They are beautifully presented and they taste good too!Gavin and Luke, Holidays at Sea
Cunard is best known for its transatlantic sailings. It currently has three ships in its fleet: Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth.
“Cunard is everything I had imagined it to be in my years of daydreaming. Refined and stylish British luxury, I love the inviting welcome you receive as you step aboard their beautifully detailed ships, and their signature white star service excels in making you feel extra special.
Each ship in Cunard’s fleet has been expertly designed for ocean travel and also has a higher space per passenger ratio, meaning it never feels crowded on board, which is especially so with Queen Mary 2 where there is lots of space to unwind and relax.Dr Daniel Bradley, The Cruising Baker
Daniel is particularly impressed with Cunard’s a first-class dining experience and he absolutely loves Afternoon Tea in The Queen’s Room – the best, and grandest, at sea!
Why Cruise Bloggers love MSC
MSC is the favourite cruise line of Flavia Gray from Ships and Champagne who believes that the cruise line is going from strength to strength.
“Now all ships have their announcements made in English first, but they still cater for other nationalities. The coffee, gelato and pizza is out of this world. Their kids clubs are second to none.”Flavia Gray, Ships and Champagne
“Family owned, Mediterranean passion and Italian glamour makes it tick all the boxes for me. To top it all off, they achieved the Best Cruise Line For Families, Cruise Critic UK Editors Pick Award in 2017 as well as Best New Ship for MSC Meraviglia. Then you have the amazing Seaside Class which has the highest ratio of outdoor space than any other cruise ship, they have the youngest fleet at sea and more cruise ships currently on order than any other cruise line. I think the drinks packages are fantastic value compared to other cruise lines, and last but not least, they do great reductions for children unlike many others.” said Flavia.
Keeping a young child occupied onboard an MSC Cruise is not a problem either. Flavia likes that MSC has introduced the Lego concept on their ships as this enables children to communicate through the use of building blocks, regardless of their nationality.
Read more about Flavia’s cruise on MSC Magnifica.
The cruise blogger boys from Cruise Monkeys also like MSC Cruises:
“Want to be wowed by stylish, modern ships that offer fabulous value for money? Take a look at MSC! From the Swarovski staircases found on a number of their ships to the Galleria found on the Meraviglia class or the aft beach pool area on Seaside, these ships are snazzy! Add in water slides, bowling alleys, rope courses, and zip lines – MSC ships are also fun ships!“Gavin and Luke, Cruise Monkeys
Why bloggers love Marella Cruises
Marella Cruises, formerly known as Thomson Cruises, is the UK’s third largest cruise line and a favourite of Paul and Carole from Paul and Carole Love to Travel. The cruise line currently has 7 ships in its fleet.
Paul and Carole like that there are no hidden costs on a Marella cruise, with gratuities and drinks included in the cruise price on most of the ships.
“We love that it caters really well for the Brits, simple things like proper bacon and afternoon tea. Very informal, anytime dining and great entertainment that caters for the warped British sense of humour!”Paul and Carole, Paul and Carol Love to Travel
Why bloggers love Celebrity Cruises
For advice on cruising with Celebrity Cruises, Marcus Adams is the cruise blogger to ask. “Celebrity is my go-to cruise line (although I like Royal and Viking for other reasons). Celebrity has comfortable, chic and well-designed ships, great entertainment and awesome food.” says Marcus.
Design is very important to Celebrity, with plans for all ships to be redesigned in-line with their newest Edge-class ships. Just recently, Celebrity Cruises announced that the sister ship to Celebrity Edge will be christened in Southampton and will do a number of cruises out of the port so that British cruisers will be the first to enjoy the new Celebrity Apex in 2020.
The cruise line has enlisted the expertise of interior designer, Kelly Hoppen MBE, to design the suite accommodation. Speaking about the re-design of the fleet, Kelly Hoppen said “I think we created something that will be unique in the cruise industry.”
There is no doubt that Celebrity Cruises’ vision of a Celebrity Revolution for its ships will bring with it style and sophistication.
To discover more about Celebrity Cruises, you can read Marcus’s post about why you should try a Celebrity cruise.
Why Cruise Bloggers love Fred.Olsen
With 170 years of experience in the industry, Fred.Olsen prides itself on offering passengers cruises with a personal touch. It’s small ship cruises provide opportunities to take guests closer to the destinations – something that larger vessels are unable to compete with.
Danielle Fear, better known as Cruise Miss, believes that Fred. Olsen offers passengers excellent value for money.
“Fred. Olsen’s all-inclusive is probably the best value at sea! £15pppd, you really can’t go wrong with that even if you don’t drink alcohol! I can easily go through my £15 per day on a few glasses of pineapple juice – and that’s before anything alcoholic is even mentioned.”Danielle Fear, Cruise Miss
Danielle is certainly an expert when it comes to Fred. Olsen, having recently completed a 108-night world cruise on Black Watch, one of Fred.Olsen’s four cruise ships. The friendly and attentive staff on Fred. Olsen ships are what makes a cruise with the Fred. Olsen extra special according to Danielle. To learn more about cruising with Fred. Olsen you can read about Danielle’s Fred.Olsen world cruise.
Why Cruise Bloggers love NCL
Norwegian Cruise Line is popular with Theresa Russell, a cruise blogger at Essential Cruising.
Theresa particularly loves NCL’s Freestyle Dining concept. “I like to eat when and where I want and with whom I want. For those who plan spontaneously, or find something interesting to extend their time on shore, there is no need to rush back to the ship to get ready for dining at a set time.” said Theresa. Norwegian was the pioneers of flexible dining on cruise ships and more cruise lines are now offering passengers this relaxed option in addition to traditional set dining times.
“I should also mention The Haven, their ship-within-a-ship concept. A special enclave with access for Haven guests only. Perfect for multi-generational families or any group that have different budgets and different preferences. The newer ships have dedicated restaurants for Haven guests. The newest have a fabulous private Observation Lounge.” said Theresa.
Excitement around the Norwegian Bliss’s race track at sea along with other new features such as the laser tag and aqua park, suggest that Norwegian Cruise Line is wanting to appeal to younger cruisers and those young at heart. The cruise ships are becoming as much the destination for cruisers as the ports that they visit. Read about Theresa’s experience on Norwegian Bliss’s race track.
Related post: Is the future of cruising all-inclusive?
Why bloggers love Carnival
The distinctive whale tail funnel of Carnival Cruises is not the only thing that sets its ships apart from others. Cruise blogger, Sanna Burns, aka Vegan Cruiser, took a 10-day Mediterranean cruise on Carnival Horizon, which she admitted “…was the most fun I have ever had on a cruise.” Sanna’s experience certainly supports Carnival’s campaign called Choose Fun. Sanna particularly noted Carnival’s outdoor activities, water park, rope course and Skyride as well as the onboard comedy club that includes adult comedy shows. “Just a relaxed fun cruise.” said Sanna.
Technological features were also praised by Sanna.
“The Hub app is the best I’ve used, I didn’t touch the paper copy of Fun Times at all. You see your photos and can buy them via the app. They also have great value WiFi out there ($6 per day) perfect for us social media fiends.”Sanna Burns, Vegan Cruiser
As you might expect from the Vegan Cruiser, it’s important that the cruise line is able to cater for people’s dining preferences. Carnival offers a vast choice of restaurant venues on its ships. “Great food choice. Fab MDR too, even for vegans.” said Sanna, who’s written blog posts about the vegan options available on Carnival Horizon. During her cruise there were two formal nights but there was no pressure for passengers to dress up; an aspect that is likely to appeal to cruisers wanting a relaxed holiday without the need to pack a tuxedo or evening gown. Speaking of relaxing, Sanna loved the beds onboard Carnival which “…rival the new Princess beds” for comfort and a good night’s sleep.
Why Cruise Bloggers love Costa Cruises
Whilst Mike from Wansbroughs Cruise Blog doesn’t consider himself to be particularly loyal to any cruise line, he has a soft spot for Costa Cruises. Having sailed with them 7 times on 7 different ships, Mike has found their prices and itineraries appealing.
“There are real bargains to be had with Costa and often just a week’s escape can cost you very little which is something we have found to our advantage over the years.
When we go away, we like to try and escape our fellow countrymen as much as possible and really enjoy mixing with multi nationalities on Costa, which are predominantly French, Spanish, German and of course Italians, so it’s always a great international feeling when we are onboard one of their shipsMike Trinder, Wansbroughs Cruise Blog
Costa Cruises cater for vegans particularly well in comparison to other cruise lines and offer a separate vegan menu in the dining room with choices for each course.
The dining room experience is very international and Mike really loves their restaurant ambience because it is less staid than some of the other lines, especially when they have their Italian evening.
“We have found the evenings onboard are much livelier than other lines too, their Grand Ballroom is a very busy venue in the evening and often a real family affair with several generations all there together and having a great time, it regularly provides for some great people-watching too.”
Costa’s drinks packages are very reasonably priced and it’s not too difficult to break even especially when you can use it for the great coffee.
The cleanliness of Costa Cruises ships is faultless. Mike recalls a time he witnessed the housekeeping staff on many occasions continually cleaning and wiping surfaces that are under constant use.
“We must have watched a lift call button being wiped at least 20 times in under an hour while sat at bar once, so given what happened in 2020, I would have no hesitation boarding a Costa ship, I know it would be one of the cleanest afloat.”
Costa Cruises ships are known for their loud, shiny and glittery public spaces, which might not be to everyone’s taste but you certainly can’t accuse them of being beige and dreary.
Why cruise bloggers love Virgin Voyages
Steph from cruise and travel blog Cruise With Amber is totally smitten with Virgin Voyages.
When Virgin Voyages launched into the world of cruising it certainly divided opinion, but Steph admires the way that Virgin Voyages has come to the cruise market from a completely different angle, unrestricted by what’s gone before.
“Virgin Voyages will not be for everyone, but you could say that about so many other cruise lines on the market. I like that fact that Virgin Voyages is fun, quirky and a little bit edgy with a good measure of luxe; a combination you don’t usually find on adult-only ships.”Steph, Cruise with Amber
Steph also loves that there’s so much already included as standard with Virgin Voyages, for example all the speciality dining, gratuities and basic beverages are included and there are no complicated drinks packages – it’s just pay as you go. The itineraries also include a lot more over-night stays and the opportunity to experience a port when most of the tourists have departed for the day.
So there you have it, 20 cruise bloggers have given their opinions on their favourite cruise lines. It’s certainly evident that people look for different elements, features and qualities when choosing a cruise; whether that be the onboard facilities, service, food, entertainment or atmosphere. If you’re new to cruising, or looking to cruise with a different cruise line, check out the cruise blogs featured in this post to help you decide the one that’s right for you.
I’d like to thank the following Cruise Collective bloggers for contributing to this post; without their comprehensive knowledge and experience of cruising, it would not have been possible:
Lisa Jane from Cruising with Kids
Gavin Phillips and Luke Kenniford from Cruise Monkeys
Elizabeth Hill from Cruise Like a Godmother
Victoria Hughes from Lost Ashore
Sandra Hall and Chris Rail from Brits on a Ship
Laura Pedlar from Cruise Lifestyle
Richard and Helen Chalu from Visit With Us
Flavia Gray from Ships and Champagne
Marcus Adams from Sparkx
Paul and Carole Morgan-Slater from Paul & Carole Love to Travel
Danielle Fear from Cruise Miss
Theresa Russell from Essential Cruising
Sanna Burns from Vegan Cruiser
Jenni Fielding from Cruise Mummy
Dr Daniel Bradley from The Cruising Baker
Andrew Sassoli-Walker from Solent Photographer
Caroline Morgan from Cruises for Families
Mike Trinder from Wansbroughs Cruise Blog
Steph from Cruise With Amber