The Top Reasons why you might want to try a different cruise line other than your favorite
Let’s face it, those of us who cruise often, all have a favorite cruise line. The cruise lines want to keep us coming back and offer perks for repeat passengers. For those at the first level of returning passengers those perks might include a cocktail party. For others who are at the higher tiers of the loyalty program, they might get free laundry or other perks. Almost all cruise lines offer savings or onboard credit for guests who are willing to book their next cruise while onboard their current cruise. However, there are many occasions where it might make sense to try another cruise line and forgo those perks. Here are some of the reasons to try a different type of cruise line rather than your favorite.
Itinerary – There are many ports and places that some cruise lines simply don’t visit or offer at a time when the guests can travel. For those who are willing to try a different cruise line in order to visit a new destination, the possibilities are much broader. For example, Celebrity doesn’t offer any RT California to Hawaii cruises anymore. For folks who love this two-week experience visiting 4 different islands, then they would have to look at Princess or Holland America. Those two lines offer a similar class of service to Celebrity but have a slightly different on-board ambiance.
Length of cruise with-out repeat ports – This is probably the best reason to try a different cruise line. Some cruise lines, like Celebrity, our favorite cruise line, rarely offer a cruise longer than 14 days. Often their back-to-back cruises might repeat. So, for those wanting to do a longer cruise that doesn’t repeat ports, they might choose Holland America like we did for our upcoming 24 Night Canada, Greenland and Iceland cruise.
Different Entertainment – If you are a frequent cruiser, you may have seen all the production shows offered by your favorite line multiple times. Often these shows run for 5 or more years, and although the cast might be different, and a few songs changed in and out, the production shows might get old after a while. Trying a different line will offer completely different entrainment. For example, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean offer Broadway shows including Jersey Boys, Mama Mia, Footloose, Grease and more. Royal Caribbean even has ice skating shows. Celebrity offers Juke Box Musical shows that mostly feature hit songs from the past 5 to 10 years. Princess has themed shows including Magic to Do, a compellation show featuring the music of Stephen Schwartz. Seabourn offers An Evening with Tim Rice which features his best songs from movies and Broadway. Both Princess and Celebrity feature a variety of guest entertainers who are world class musicians and vocalists, but if you cruise with them often, some of the acts will be repeats year after year. Cruise lines often contract with different types of bands and musicians for night club entertainment. One of the best bands we have ever seen at sea was the guest funk band Free Label on Virgin that played at the sail away party in Miami, and in the night club one evening. That band was a completely different type of entertainment than we would typically see at sea.
You are traveling with a group – Whether it be a multi generation family group that might want a cruise line that appeals to all ages, or an affinity group where the on onboard experience is going to be specific to that group, you may want to concede your favorite cruise line and go with the flow for a different experience. This was the case when we did a larger Royal Caribbean ship for a family Christmas trip and I when I coordinated a Princess fundraising group for the DBE. For the Royal Caribbean cruise, we had teens, late 40 s and early 70’s all in one group and the pricing was most attractive for this family group to be on Royal Caribbean where my sister-in-law wanted the fun family friendly atmosphere offered by Royal Caribbean. In the case of the DBE cruise on Princess, it needed to depart in Seattle on the day after the conclusion of the national meeting. We also need the ship to offer balconies in the non-suite category and offer a variety of pricing and accommodations, so Emerald princess it was.
Price – Sometimes you really want to do a destination or sail at a particular time of year, and your favorite cruise line is just too pricy. It is perfectly OK to shop around and look for a different experience that might suit your budget better.
You are ready to try a smaller ship experience – If you have been sailing with a large ship cruise line, maybe in a larger suite, you are already at the price for the small ship cruise luxury experience. Though you might be giving up some square footage, you’ll gain a more personalized intimate full cruise experience.
Destination – You want to visit a destination that is not serviced at all by your favorite cruise line. Galapagos is one that immediately comes to mind. It is only served by a handful of major cruise lines including the three less than 100 passenger ships of Celebrity and the Silversea ship, as well as a few small boat providers that include NatGeo and a couple of others. Large ships are not permitted there. The same goes for cruises that land and explore Antarctica. While big ships do scenic sailings, you’ll need to switch to an expedition line to land and come ashore.
River Cruise – With the exception of Viking, which started on the rivers and expanded to Ocean, and the now bankrupt Crystal Cruises, there are currently no major cruise lines that offer both river and ocean. For those who want to explore Europe on a river cruise, they will want to work with their travel agent and discuss which of the rivers cruise lines might offer the most pleasing experience for someone one who is used to ocean cruising on their favorite brand.