The cruise industry continues to grow rapidly and more and more of them are becoming specialised. This affects the design, the ship’s aesthetics, the materials from which they are constructed, the size as well as the functionality, equipment that is on board, and its amenities.

All of this is done because numbers of passengers are growing all the time and they are paying more attention to quality and the variety of services they receive onboard.

The Different Types

Below is a description of the different styles of cruise ship employed by cruise companies, the style of cruise they typically run, which cruise lines use the style ship, typical itineraries, and what type of passengers they attract.

Contemporary Ships – Ships that fall into this category run low-to-medium priced cruises. The ships tend to be huge and sometimes gaudy. These ships are considered to be mega-liners, are quite modern, and can carry more than 3,000 passengers.

These ships usually are packed full of amenities and facilities like multiple bars and restaurants, huge gym facilities and health spas, and enormous children’s centres to accommodate the many family-oriented cruises they support. They generally have different styles of entertainment focused at each age group.

The bigger cruise lines tend to be the ones who run these style cruise ship like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Star, Costa Cruises, Disney, Norwegian, and some other.

Cruises on these huge ships are the most popular with families and singles. Folks like these are not easily deterred by huge expanses of corridors or the long queues to maneuver to disembark at the ports or to get food.

Premium Ships – The Premium ships are usually medium-to-large in size but also include some of the mega-ships. The difference is they take fewer passengers making them less crowded that the Contemporary ships that are the same size. The quality of the food is higher and these ships generally offer a better variety of cruise types since this style of ship includes sailing vessels and ships that can provide more unusual destinations.

Princess Cruises, Holland America, Cunard, and Celebrity all have premium ships as part of their fleet. Windstar cruise and Star Clippers have sailing ships. Fred Olson Cruises has some longer cruises than many of the other Premium ships.

The itineraries start with 7-day cruises but there are much longer cruises available, including world cruises.

Cruising without Crowds

These ships appeal to people who want a smattering of class on their holiday. The people who enjoy these cruises the most or those that don’t like to feel overwhelmed by huge crowds. Travelers who want something a little more unusual choose cruises on the Premier ships.

Budget Ships – These ships are usually older and smaller and cruises on them are considered to be “cheap and cheerful”. The food and entertainment both tend to be somewhat more old-fashioned than on the Contemporary or Premium ships. The gyms and spas are pretty basic and the facilities for children are limited.

These older budget ships, however, are cosier and more intimate than the giant Contemporary ships and they often have a lot more of the bigger cabins.

Classic Cruises, Louis Cruise Lines, and Island Cruises operate some of these older vessels.

They definitely appeal more to the older traveler who like the idea of a more traditional cruise ship rather than a resort on the water teeming with families or singles. Many UK ports are the departure point for many of the cruises on these vessels.

Luxury Ships – The ships that fall into this category offer a much more elegant cruise experience with gourmet food served in stylish restaurants and exceptional service. Gratuities and shore excursions are often included in the price.

Several cruise lines operate these luxury cruise ships, including Silversea Cruises, Seabourn, and Regent Seven Seas. Theirs are small-to-medium luxury ships. The larger luxury ships are run by Crystal Cruises.

The itineraries of a world cruise ship can cover the globe and range in length from 7 nights to three months. Expect to pay and handsome fare for these cruises.

This type of cruise ship is preferred by well-to-do cruisers who love to travel in style.

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