Choosing the right ship is one of the most important decisions to make, because choosing the wrong one could be an expensive mistake. There is a huge choice available these days, with ships ranging in size and style, from luxurious yachts to floating cities. Take a look at the type of land-based holiday that you normally go on; do you tend to book big hotel resorts with lots to do? Or do you prefer smaller, boutique B&B's where you can explore at your own pace? This should give you a starting point as to the size and type of cruise ship you want to go on.
Mid-sized and Large Ships
Ships in the mainstream cruise lines, such as P&O Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruises, are usually a good starting point as they offer a range of Mid-sized and Large cruise ships that cater to all tastes. A Mid-sized ship will usually hold around 2,000 - 2,500 passengers, whilst Large ships can be upwards of 4,000 passengers. Passengers will range in age from young couples and families to groups of friends and single travellers. There will be a great selection of dining and entertainment options available including bars, lounges, theatres and casinos, and most tend to be family-friendly with children's clubs available.
Smaller ships, such as those owned by Azamara Club Cruises and Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, tend to have a more intimate atmosphere with fewer guest numbers. They will normally have fewer dining and entertainment options due to the smaller size, but this means you receive a more personalised service from the crew. Passengers onboard are generally quite well-travelled and will often be retired, so they have the time to spend on slightly longer itineraries. Adult-only ships aren't uncommon in smaller ships, and although some will still cater for families, the activities can be limited or may only be available during peak times such as summer and Christmas holidays.
Top TipsMake sure that you read all of the information about each cruise line and/or ship to gauge which will best suit your needs. There is a wealth of information available on the cruise lines' websites or within their brochures, and you'll find many review websites offer a great insight with first-hand information and pictures.