Cruise Ship Vacations

Selecting a Cruise Ship Vacation & Cruise Ship Lines

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Cruise Ship Vacation Ideas

Cruise ship vacations are like a home away from home.

These floating luxury hotels provide rest and relaxing, as well as entertainment of your choice.

The choice of activities is endless

You can relax on a deck lounge by sparkling pools, enjoy multi-course meals in casual patios, cafes or bistros, or get all fancied up for mouth-watering international food in stunning formal dining rooms.

For knowledge or entertainment, attend courses, lectures, art auctions, go shopping in the boutiques, indulge in dancing, enjoy lavish musicals or movies, treat yourself to a massage or spa, have a workout in the gym, or play games in the casinos.

Cruise Ship Vacations on Holland America Eurodam
Holland America Cruise Ships Outdoor Deck and Pool

On your cruise ship vacations, you can escape to your luxury stateroom and listen to the ocean waves on your balcony, or take a jog around the ship on its scenic decks, swim indoors or outdoors, take a break at a cafe, visit the solarium, or play miniature golf.

Planning Your Cruise Ship Vacations

Popular Cruise Ship Lines

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  • Carnival Cruise Line
  • Celebrity Cruise Line
  • Costa Cruise Line
  • Crystal Cruise Line
  • Cunard Cruise Line
  • Disney Cruise Line
  • Holland America Cruise Ships
  • MSC Cruise Line
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Oceania Cruise Line
  • Princess Cruise Line
  • Regent Seven Seas Cruise Line
  • Royal Caribbean Cruise Line
  • Windstar Cruise Line

Cruise Ship Lines in Sorrento Port
Cruise Ship Lines in the Port of Sorrento Italy

Cruise Ship Vacation Themes

Cruise ship vacations are categorized in groups of international or regional destinations. This help to narrow down the locations you dream of exploring.

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Each category is further broken down to include specific destinations and ports of call.

One stop shopping around!

Cruise prices can vary $100’s from agency to agency, but CruiseCompete makes it quick and easy to get the best price on your vacation.

Just select the cruise you want, and independent travel agents will compete to offer you the best deal.

Can’t Decide on a Cruise. Here is a list of major destination options:

  • Alaskan Cruise
  • Asia Cruise
  • Australia Cruise
  • Bahamas Cruise
  • Bermuda Cruise
  • Canada Cruise
  • Caribbean Cruise
  • Europe Cruise
  • Hawaii Cruise
  • Mediterranean Cruise
  • Mexico Cruise
  • Panama Canal Cruise
  • South America Cruise
  • South Pacific Cruise
  • World Cruises

Cruise Ship Vacations with Holland America in Jamaica
Port of Ocho Rios Jamaica

Top 10 Planning Tips for Your Cruise Ship Vacations

If this is your first time planning a cruise there are some basic vacation ideas to consider:

1. The Length of Your Holiday

Depending on the destination you choose, the duration of your trip can range from 3 – 5 nights for quick getaways, or 7 – 14 nights for longer holidays.

For more exotic trips, plan to travel even longer.

The longer the holiday, the more destinations will be included on the itinerary and this can be a savings since you get to see more for the same cost of your flights.

2. The Season of Your Trip

While the winter season may offer some great deals and may be great if you plan to enjoy warmer weather, keep in mind that from June to November it is hurricane season in the Caribbean.

There are some exceptions to that such as the island of Aruba, which is more protected of those storms by the trade winds in that region of the Atlantic.

Cruise Ship Vacations in Sorrento Italy
Cruise Ship Vacations en Route to Capri Italy

Summer is the peak season for holidays in Europe and may increase your costs, but if you decide to travel in the early spring or late fall, be aware that the northern European countries do experience cooler temperatures so come prepared.

3. Selecting Your Destination

You can choose the ports of call and select the cruises which provide the activities you enjoy.

With the great variety of cruise ship lines, destinations and ports of call, you can create a personalized holiday.

4. Things to Do on Your Cruise Ship Vacations

The beauty of cruise ship vacations is that you can enjoy the best of both worlds – you can spend your leisure time on both land and sea.

Cruise Ship Vacations Holland America Crowsnest Lounge
Crowsnest Lounge on Holland America Eurodam

Some travellers enjoy the sports, entertainment or planned activities offered on the cruise ship lines, while others look forward to visiting the ports of call and island retreats, and exploring the numerous cultural aspects and activities of the beautiful islands or seaside destinations.

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Whether on land or sea, you can enjoy peace and solitude, or celebrate and party as much you wish.

Cruise Ship Vacations Holland America Eurodam Bar
One of the Many Luxury Bars on Holland America Cruise Ships

For those who would like to enjoy more relaxation, cruise ship lines have libraries and quiet ocean view lounges (both indoors and outdoors) where you can relax and read a book while sipping on a cocktail.

Cruise Ship Vacations Holland America Cruise Ships Lounge
Relaxing in a Lounge on Holland America Cruise Ships

A Sample List of Excursion Activities:

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  • Snorkelling over reefs
  • Horseback riding on the beach
  • Catamaran cruises
  • Glass-bottom boats
  • Visiting caves jungles
  • Swimming with dolphins
  • Island tours
  • Culinary schools
  • Shopping
  • Golfing
  • History, art culture
  • Visiting ancient ruins
  • Eco tours and visiting tropical botanical gardens

5. Casual Wear or Formal Attire

Depending on the length of your cruise, there will be one to three evenings designated as “Formal” dining in the main or specialty dining rooms.

Cruise Ship Vacations Holland America Lounge
A Luxury Bar on the Eurodam- one of Latest Holland America Cruise Ships

However, on a daily basis, these dining rooms have a Smart Casual dress code at all times, which means that men are asked to wear long pants, a sweater or shirt with sleeves, and women are asked to wear a dress, skirt or long pants with a sweater or blouse.

You will not be permitted to dine in these classy dining rooms if you arrive dressed in T-shirts, swimsuits, robes, bare feet, tank tops, baseball caps or pool wear.

Shorts and flip-flops are also not permitted after 18:00 (6:00 pm).

If you were looking forward to a casual vacation, there are cruise ships which have a more relaxed atmosphere and that is something to consider while doing your research.

On the other hand, any cruise can be casual as there are many restaurants on cruise ship lines which are suited for casual wear.

Cruise Ship Vacations Holland America Cruise Ships Dinner
Dinner on Holland America Cruise Ships

Has it been a while since you had an opportunity to dress up and enjoy some glitz and glam?

Then the formal dining nights are perfect for you.

For the guys, bring a suit, tuxedo or simply a dinner jacket, a nice pair of dress pants and long-sleeved shirt, and the ladies may want to bring a few cocktail dresses or glittery evening gowns, if you really want to dress up.

6. Dining on Your Cruise Ship Vacations

When you first book your cruise, you will be asked to indicate which seating you prefer and even this choice varies depending on the ship and cruise ship line you select.

Cruise Ship Vacations Holland America Dining
Dining Room on Holland America Cruise Ships

Here are the approximate times of what the schedule may look like:

Breakfast Open Seating: 8:00am – 9:30am

Lunch Open Seating: Noon – 1:30pm


Main Seating: 6:00pm

Late Seating: 8:30pm

Open Seating: 6:00 pm to 9:30 pm, which gives you more flexibility.

Cruise Ship Vacations Holland America Fine Dining
Fine Dining on a Cruise Ship

Before you book your seating, consider what your main activities will be.

If you plan to do great Land Excursions, you may be rushed to get back to the ship in time for the main seating.

If you select the late seating and take too long to finish your meal, you may miss or be late for your evening entertainment.

When you arrive on the cruise ship, you will receive a calendar of events planned for that journey, and each morning you will receive updates in your stateroom mailbox.

Cruise Ship Vacations Holland America Dining Room
Luxury Dining on a Cruise Ship – View from the Deck

Be sure to read the details and plan your days and nights well in advance, so that you will be able to attend most if not all your activities regardless of what seating you choose.

7. Selecting a Stateroom on Your Cruise Ship Vacations

The options are numerous and the arrangement of furniture may differ, as the staterooms vary depending on the floor and the location of your selection.

The more amenities a stateroom has to offer, the higher the cost will be.

For example, interior staterooms are less costly than ocean view staterooms and the lower levels are usually less costly than the higher levels.

Cruise Ship Vacations Holland America Eurodam Stateroom
A View of a Stateroom with Balcony on a Cruise Ship

The Main Options are:

  • Inside staterooms
  • Ocean View staterooms
  • Balcony staterooms
  • Suites Veranda

Interior and ocean view staterooms are perfect for the busy travellers who do not stay in their rooms for long and are always on the go.

Balcony staterooms are fun and romantic. In the mornings, you can watch your ship dock in various ports of call.

At night, you can lounge on your balcony in privacy, enjoy a glass of wine and listen to the soothing sounds of the ocean.

Cruise Ship Vacations Holand America Cruis Ships
Relaxing in My Balcony Stateroom on One of the Holland America Cruise Ships

Suites and veranda staterooms are very spacious and great for entertaining or hosting a business meeting for a small group of people.

Be aware that basic cabin prices are based on double occupancy and independent travellers will have to pay a large premium for single occupancy.

Larger staterooms can accommodate more than two travellers, but keep in mind that these rooms are still relatively small and there is not much room for luggage.

Important advice for your cruise ship vacations is to travel light and don’t take too much luggage.

8. Transportation Accommodations Prior To and After Your Cruise Ship Vacations

If you live a long distance from the port of call where you are to meet your ship, arrive early and plan to relax a day before, as well as a day after your voyage.

My friends have told me many stories of how they almost missed their cruise, or they actually did miss their cruises because their flights were delayed en route to meeting their ship.

Cruise Ship Vacation Royal Caribbean
Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas

If you allow the cruise ship lines to book the flights, hotels and transfers for you, there is a chance that the ship may be delayed while waiting for late flights, if there happens to be a number of travellers on the same flight and situation.

Or the cruise line may make arrangements to fly you to the next port of destination to meet the ship there.

Whether I book my own flights, or make arrangements with the cruise ship lines, I always arrive at least a day early for peace of mind and take in the sights of the sensational city where the port is located.

Make sure to check in on-line for cruises. This will save you time at the cruise port terminal.

9. Travelling With Children

Cruise ship vacations provide fascinating destinations, onshore adventures and many onboard activities to entertain every member of the family.

Cruise Ship Vacations Holland America Basketball
A Basketball Course on a Cruise Ship

For kids, there are activities for every age group, such as playrooms, art tables, games, arcade games, video game consoles with interactive games, scavenger hunts to dances and deck parties.

Some ships provide teens-only areas with a lounge, Internet access, sun deck, and culinary arts programs for kids and teens.

Cruise Ship Vacations Holland America Cruise Ship Nassau
I’m in a Glass Elevator on a Cruise Ship with Nassau Bahamas in the Background

Be sure to research what children programs are being offered, as family services will vary on each ship and on some cruises family friendly options may not be available.

10. Things to Know About Large Small Cruise Ships

Larger ships have more space to offer a great variety of activities and entertainment.

Cruise Ship Vacations Holland America Art Bar
Art Gallery on a Cruise Ship

In addition to casinos, you can enjoy Las Vegas type entertainment featuring comedians, magicians, musical dancing shows, and after the shows, live music or disc jockey with an opportunity for dancing.

Cruise Ship Vacations Holland America Art
It’s Fun to Do Shopping on a Cruise Ship

Most ships also have a movie theatre, a library, board games or interactive computer games, a gym and health center with instructors for exercise programs.

Cruise Ship Vacations Holland America Lobby
Exquisite Decor of Cruise Ships

A specific deck may be designated as a walking or jogging track where you can make loops around the ship.

Spas are a main feature of cruise ship lines and you can pamper yourself to a massage, manicure or exotic health and beauty treatments.

Cruise Ship Vacations Holland America Spa
Pamper Yourself at a Cruise Ship Spa

Large ships have one or more swimming pools, and the larger the ship the better chance of having a good size pool where you can swim lengths and which is equipped with a retractable roof so that you can swim regardless of the weather conditions outside.

Cruise Ship Vacations Holland America Pool
An Outdoor – Indoor Pool on Holland America Cruise Ships – the Eurodam

Other sports venues may include an ice rink, outdoor mini-golf courses, rock-climbing walls, basketball or a tennis court.

And of course, there is great shopping for jewellery, bathing suits, souvenirs, and other essential items, which you may have forgotten to pack.

Small ships may not offer many of the amenities that large ships can, and depending on the size of the ship, it may not have a swimming pool.

The advantage of smaller ships is the ability to access ports that are too small for larger ships. Book a Unique Small Ship Cruise here with Viator.

With fewer travellers on board, the passengers receive personalized treatment and more exotic itineraries with closer views of dramatic scenery and sometimes expert guides.

List of Cruise Ship Lines

There are so many cruise lines to choose from and it can be quite overwhelming trying to decide on cruise ship vactions.

I have provided a list of cruise lines to acquaint you with the options available and hope that with I have helped you with the basics of how to get started with selecting the right cruise ship vacations for your holidays.

Carnival Cruise Lines

Cruise Ship Vacation Carnival

  • Conquest
  • Destiny
  • Ecstasy
  • Elation
  • Fantasy
  • Fascination
  • Freedom
  • Glory
  • Holiday
  • Imagination
  • Inspiration
  • Legend
  • Liberty
  • Miracle
  • Paradise
  • Pride
  • Sensation
  • Spirit
  • Triumph
  • Valor
  • Victory

Celebrity Cruise Lines

Cruise Ship Vacation Grand Cayman Island

  • Azamara Journey
  • Azamara Quest
  • Celebrity Xpedition
  • Century
  • Constellation
  • Galaxy
  • Infinity
  • Mercury
  • Millennium
  • Summit

Costa Cruise Lines

  • CostaAtlantica
  • CostaClassica
  • CostaConCordia (which for the record crashed in shallow waters off the coast of Italy due to negligence)
  • CostaEuropa
  • CostaFortuna
  • CostaMagica
  • CostaMediterranea
  • CostaRomantica
  • CostaVictoria

Cruise Ship Vacations South Beach
A View of a Cruise Ship on the Atlantic at South Beach Florida


  • Crystal Serenity
  • Crystal Symphony


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  • Queen Mary 2
  • Queen Victoria
  • Queen Elizabeth


  • Disney Dream
  • Disney Fantasy
  • Disney Magic
  • Disney Wonder

Holland America

Cruise Ship Vacation Holland America in Ocho Rios

  • ms Amsterdam
  • ms Eurodam
  • ms Maasdam
  • ms Nieuw Amsterdam
  • ms Noordam
  • ms Oosterdam
  • ms Prinsendam
  • ms Rotterdam
  • ms Ryndam
  • ms Statendam
  • ms Veendam
  • ms Volendam
  • ms Westerdam
  • ms Zaandam
  • ms Zuiderdam


Cruise Ship Lines Naples Italy

  • Norwegian Dawn
  • Norwegian Epic
  • Norwegian Gem
  • Norwegian Jade
  • Norwegian Jewel
  • Norwegian Pearl
  • Norwegian Sky
  • Norwegian Spirit
  • Norwegian Star
  • Norwegian Sun
  • Pride of America


  • Oceania Marina
  • Oceania Regatta
  • Oceania Insignia
  • Oceania Nautica


Cruise Ship Lines Naples Port

  • Caribbean Princess
  • Coral Princess
  • Crown Princess
  • Dawn Princess
  • Diamond Princess
  • Emerald Princess
  • Golden Princess
  • Grand Princess
  • Island Princess
  • Ruby Princess
  • Sapphire Princess
  • Sea Princess
  • Star Princess
  • Sun Princess
  • Pacific Princess
  • Royal Princess
  • Ocean Princess

Royal Caribbean

Cruise Ship Vacations Royal Caribbean Nassay Bahamas

Oasis Class:

  • Allure of The Seas
  • Oasis of The Seas

Freedom Class:

  • Freedom of The Seas
  • Independence of The Seas
  • Liberty of The Seas

Voyager Class:

    • Adventure of The Seas
    • Explorer of The Seas
    • Mariner of The Seas

Cruise Ship Lines Royal Caribbean

  • Navigator of The Seas
  • Voyager of The Seas


Radiance Class:

  • Brilliance of The Seas
  • Jewel of The Seas
  • Radiance of The Seas
  • Serenade of The Seas

Vision Class:

  • Enchantment of The Seas
  • Grandeur of The Seas
  • Legend of The Seas
  • Rhapsody of The Seas
  • Splendour of The Seas
  • Vision of The Seas

Sovereign Class:

  • Majesty of The Seas
  • Monarch of The Seas


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  • Seabourn Pride
  • Seabourn Spirit
  • Seabourn Legend
  • Seabourn Odyssey
  • Seabourn Sojourn
  • Seabourn Quest

Cruise Ship Vacation Royal Caribbean Rock Climbing
Enjoy Rock Climbing on the Royal Caribbean


  • Silver Cloud
  • Silver Wind
  • Silver Shadow
  • Silver Whisper
  • Prince Albert II
  • Silver Spirit

Cruise Ship Vacations Lounge on Holland America
Relax in a Cruise Ship Lounge


  • Wind Surf
  • Wind Spirit
  • Wind Star

Cruise Ship Vacations Overview

Cruise ship vacations are awe-inspiring experiences which take you to exotic destinations.

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Leave your stress behind and enter the blissful haven of a cruise ship vacation where you will find inviting places to explore throughout the ship, and enjoy the relaxing ambience of comfortable lounges, soothing spas, refreshing fruit drinks and exciting activities.

Cruise Ship Vacations Ocean View
The Ocean Views from a Cruise Ship are Spectacular

Cruise ship vacations deliver some of the most amazing sites and give you the opportunity to enjoy views of the rugged beauty of the world.

These floating hotels take you to stunning places and provide luxury spaces designed by world-famous architects. On cruise ship vacations, you can admire fine art as well as breathtaking sunrises and sunsets.

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