Guide: Which Cruise Line Is Right For You?

As the popularity of Seattle’s Alaskan-focused cruises grows by leaps and bounds, the options you have in cruising continue to expand. Now you have the choice of 11 different ships from seven different cruise lines.

All those options can make it confusing on deciding which cruise line will fit what you’re looking for. To make things easier, we’ve broken down each line with a synopsis below to give you a better idea of what to expect with each. We’ve also created a handy reference guide at the end of this page to help you see at a glance the differences between the cruise lines.


Carnival is often considered the low-end cruise line, and we don’t mean that in a bad way. It offers a relaxed atmosphere that’s more fun than higher-end ships. It’s also the most affordable cruise line (fares for a 7-day Alaskan cruise start at $579 per person), making it a great option for families.


Celebrity Cruises is under the ownership of Royal Caribbean, and caters to a similar clientele. It’s affordable, but not as cheap as Carnival. On the ships, expect luxury and style, but still an approachable, relaxed feel. If Carnival is more akin to Disney World, then Celebrity feels more like Las Vegas.

Holland America

Holland America still attracts and older crowd, but is trying to turn younger. Still, we’d suggest that it’s not the best options for a family, but great for empty nesters. The cruise line is upscale and elegant, with those touches of the classic cruising and a focus on service. Still, it is affordable, running about $800 per person for an interior stateroom.

Norwegian Cruise Lines

Norwegian is known for it’s “Freestyle Cruising,” which aims to make cruising less schedule-oriented, and its brightly painted ships. The cruise line is marketed toward casual travelers looking for a fun cruise at an affordable price. It’s good for kids, offers plenty to do on board and offers the luxury experience of a cruise without the stuffiness. Prices tend to be on the lower-end of the spectrum.

Oceania Cruises

Oceania Cruises is a premium cruise line, catering to an older, more affluent clientele. Think of the traditional image of cruising — smaller ships with high-end service — and you’ll have a good idea of what to expect with Oceania. Prices are higher (expect to pay roughly $2,000 per person for the lowest-end room), but can include airfare. This cruise line isn’t ideal for families with kids.


Princess Cruises fits doesn’t occupy any distinct niche in cruising, and that’s not a bad thing. The ships are modern and luxurious, as you would expect. Prices are slightly more expensive than the lowest-end cruise lines, but still affordable. The ship is good for kids, but doesn’t necessarily cater to them. Enjoy Princess as a nice option to make everyone in the family happy.

Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean has been voted “Best Cruise Line Overall” for more than a decade. We think that’s because it can appeal to everyone, and do it well. It’s a nice mix between fun, luxury, and style. Cruises are more expensive than Carnival (which people often compare it to since they are the largest players in cruising), but still approachable. Expect a nice mix of people; with plenty for kids to do, it’s also great for families.

Cruise line comparison