Friday, May 23, 2008

Who Can It Be Now? - Cruisin' Part 3

Welcome readers from the The 14th Money Hacks Carnival - Weird Golf Facts Edition over at Prime Time Money. Please make yourself at home and if you like what you see, sign up for my feed (in the right margin). Otherwise, just kick back and enjoy your stay. All comments welcome.

As my series on Cruisin' continues, we need to consider who is actually going on the cruise. We're all different and not only will our personalities decide what type of cruise we'll enjoy, but so will the combination of people in your party and your age. If you are a high-school graduate wanting to party the night away, you don't want to find yourself on a Disney family cruise or a cruise sponsored by AARP. In turn, if you are a retired couple, you don't want to spend your days at sea with drunken college students during a 7-day toga party. Make sure you know what you're getting into. After a bit of research, I am offering my recommendations:

Party Life: If you are in to all night dancing, wild times and super social activities, you need to make sure you're aboard a boat where you can meet people like yourself. Here's what you look for: make sure you go during the spring or summer when it is less likely that families will be aboard (kids are in school), shorter cruises (like 3-4 days) are more likely to be filled with a party-going crowd, and it seems to be the consensus across the internet that Carnival is the best bet.

Honeymooners: All cruise lines want to cater to the lovestruck stars-in-their-eyes couples. We used Princess for ours and were treated to a special time as they continue to deem themselves the Love Boat. Carnival offers a whole website dedicated to these guests and so many sites offer their "Top Ten" lists. When researching, I found this site helpful, as it lists all of the honeymoon "extras" aboard each of the major cruise lines (at the bottom)

Families with Young Children: What immediately comes to mind for most people is Disney Cruises. They have spent years developing their expertise on how to enchant small children and all of us have a bit more magic inside us thanks to them. With amenities catered to children, Disney is a safe bet with features like a total lack of casinos. However, don't be discouraged if mom and dad don't want to be surrounded by mouse-ears for an entire week (been there, done that, right?) have other options. Also notable cruises for this category are Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Lines, and Celebrity Cruises.

Families with Children of Various Ages: For a cruise that will entertain children of all ages, you can count on Princess Cruises (Emerald Princess, Crown Princess and Caribbean Princess), Crystal Cruises (Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity seem to be good bets), Royal Caribbean International, Carnival seems to rate highly, and Norwegian seems to offer some variety as well.

Empty Nesters/Senior Couples: So this is a hard demographic to pin down. Some people become couples-only again in their early 40s while others don't hit that mark until 60 or so. So I apologize to all for grouping these together, but I'll try to differentiate more below:

*American Canadian Caribbean Line Inc --smaller ships; typically 50+
*Celebrity Cruises--larger ships; typically 35+
*Crystal Cruises--refined and a bit more expensive than many; 35+
*Holland America Line--most ships cater to 50+ crowd
*Radisson Seven Seas Cruises--upscale, middle-age
*Regal Cruises--relaxing; typically 50+
*Royal Caribbean--35-50 on the larger ships and 50+ on smaller
*St. Lawrence Cruise Lines-- casual cruise; 50+

Maybe you'd rather cruise by personality rather than age. For you, there are also special interest cruises:

*Food & Wine Cruise (there are multiple hits here--Google it)
*Health, Fitness & Yoga Cruise Golf Cruise
*50's Sock Hop Cruise (Holland America)
*Country Western Cruise (Holland America)
*Spiritual/Gospel Cruise (Costa)

There's really something for everyone! I mean EVERYONE!

So really look around out might be surprised what you can spend your vacation doing!

Photo credit: marganz , jwask99, assiewin, LuisSolis

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