Cruise Ship Classifications

While at the Cruise World 2011 last week, we talked about the general cruise line classifications for types of ships.  There are four basic classifications.  They are Contemporary, Premium, Luxury and River Cruising.  But how are the specific lines divided?

This is where there was great confusion.  In the past we would classify Contemporary lines as Disney Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International.  I have though Seen Princess Cruises also classified as Premium.  In the Premium lines there is Celebrity Cruises, Cunard Line, Azamara Cruises, Holland America Line and Oceania Cruises.  Though again, Azamara Cruises is sometimes seen as a more Luxury Line.  Luxury lines include Crystal Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Lines and Silverseas Cruises.  These all do fall in the luxury grouping without doubt.  This is also the case with River Cruising, including Uniworld River Cruises, Avalon Waterways, AMA Waterways and Viking River Cruises.  Please note this list is not inclusive as there are plenty of other cruise lines out there as well.

The lines between the divisions become blurred when cruises like Celebrity Cruises identify themselves as Modern Luxury or a more contemporary luxury line.  Then you look at the suites on some of the lines, like the Haven by Norwegian, and that is a premium or luxury product.

So with all of this confusion, how do you choose a classification that’s right for you?

Simple.  You don’t!  Instead it is more important to look at the experience you are hoping to gain by cruising on a particular sailing, ship or for a certain occasion.  You could select a suite on a sailing with Royal Caribbean International and then “downgrade” to a balcony stateroom on Celebrity.  While this wouldn’t typically be seen as a “downgrade”, the services you wouldn’t receive on Celebrity being in a non-suite would be less than what you would receive in a suite on Royal Caribbean.

Let your travel agent know what you liked about a recent vacation (even if it wasn’t a cruise) and what you didn’t like so they can see what cruise line and ship might be the best fit for you.

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