Cruising with MJ – The Series

Cruising with MJ – Setting Sail on Your Own the MJ Way

Cruising with MJ – A Word on Picking the Right Cruise Line for You

Cruising with MJ – You’ve Booked Your Cruise So Now What?

Cruising with MJ – Let’s Get Packed

Cruising with MJ – It’s Almost Time to Cruise! What Do I Do Now?

Cruising with MJ – Three Days Until Sail Away

Cruising with MJ – Embarkation Day (It’s Time to Play)

I get a lot of questions on cruising, none more so than “will I be happy if I purchase a cruise with XXX cruise lines?” My first answer is usually that it’s important to remember that most any cruise beats a day at work. Then I get into a few details about the individual I’m talking to, and usually give them a few options. What I am about to write is my opinion, and my opinion only. But that opinion is based in either actual experience, or real conversations with people I trust. As always, you should do some research and reach your own conclusions about what is right for you. Finally, There are no hard and fast rules, but I expect the following is pretty close to workable for most people.

The mass market lines like Carnival, NCL, and Royal Caribbean have a little something for everyone. From surfing simulators to rock climbing walls, you’ll find entertainment. Well-equipped gyms, nightlife, and good (not necessarily 5 star) food all add to the vacation experience, and these cruise lines offer all of it. The majority of cruisers on these lines are going to be 20-something to 40-something, many with families, depending on the itinerary. As I said, there are no rigid rules about this, and I’ve met plenty of very retired older people on Royal Caribbean cruises who frequented Royal as much as I do. I’ve talked to retirees who cruise Carnival more than anyone else as well. No matter the cruise line, a short 3 or 4-night itinerary will typically feature a younger crowd than a longer itinerary.

Celebrity and Princess might be a better fit for ages 30 (some might say 40) and up, but again, that’s generalizing and you will find younger folks enjoying their cruises with these lines as well. I am 43, and I quite like Celebrity, especially their Solstice Class ships. I love the ambiance of these elegant ships, the welcome champagne, and the vibe. Again, you’re likely to find a younger crowd on 7 night cruises with these lines than you would on a 14-night cruise. You’ll find less late-night partying on these lines than you would on say, a Carnival cruise to the Bahamas, but there will still be plenty of activities to keep you occupied.

At the upper end of the cruising spectrum you’ll find lines like Regent Seven Seas, Silversea, or Seabourn. These cruise lines usually offer smaller, more intimate ships, lengthier itineraries, top end dining, and cater to a well-heeled, likely retired crowd. For example, I just found a 72-night “circle South America” itinerary on Regent. While that sounds awesome to me, let’s face it, you’re not likely to find many people below the age of 60 with the ability to be away from home for that long. I know I’m repeating myself, but again, these aren’t rules, just an opinion on what you are more likely to find. These lines offer among the most expensive cruises, but they’re also “all inclusive” meaning you don’t have to worry about counting your number of drinks for budget reasons.

A couple of random thoughts. While I have a friend not that much older than me who likes Holland America, my subjective personal survey of the typical Holland America ship from across the dock indicates that they tend to attract those 55ish and up. I’d love to hear from any readers with actual experience on that. I didn’t mention Disney in this blog because I hear they are in a class by themselves. I’ll have more on that over the next year with my DINKS Cruise Disney series. Yes, the MJ on Travel team is booking a Disney Cruise, joining some friends of ours. I’ll keep you posted, but our travel agent promises me that we won’t be the first kidless couple to cruise Disney. 🙂

 I’d love to hear other opinions on this topic. Feel free to comment to the post.