Do you need a travel agent to book a cruise?

By Simon Duvall

There's no one-size-fits-all answer to whether you should use a travel agent or book your cruise directly with the cruise line. And even if you're sure you'd like the help of an agent, there are many different types to choose from. Let's look at the pros and cons of each option so you can make an informed decision.

Everything You Need to Know About Cruise Ship Casinos

By Laura Brothers

Whether you’re an avid poker player or just like to try your luck on the slot machines, cruise ship casinos offer a little something for everyone, without a flight to Las Vegas.

What is Included in Your Cruise Fare?

By Laura Brothers

So you’re ready to set sail, but do you know exactly what is included in your cruise fare? While most cruises are not all-inclusive, you expect certain things to be included: your cabin, dining in the Lido Deck buffet and main dining rooms, basic daily entertainment — such as stage shows and comedy acts — and access to the onboard fitness center.

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How Wheelchair-Accessible are Cruise Ships?

By Laura Brothers

Those with impaired mobility can still enjoy a cruise ship vacation. All of the cruise lines have accessible public areas, with large corridors, automatic doors, and special seating. They also offer accessible staterooms with wide doorways, ramped entrances, roll-in showers with a seat, grab bars in the bathroom, a hand-held shower head, and a lower sink and closet rods.

The Invaluable Lessons You Learn on Your First Cruise

By Thomas Faddegon

There’s nothing like a fresh set of eyes to give you a new perspective on something you take for granted. Cruiseline.com receives thousands of reviews from first-time cruisers every year, so we gathered some of their best tips for others getting ready to take their first voyages.

5 Cruises to Avoid

By Simon Duvall and Thomas Faddegon

Any experienced cruiser is sure to have a nightmare story about a cruise they wish they had never taken. Obnoxious passengers, terrible weather, crowded ports, shipboard malfunctions, terrible cabin locations — we’ve heard them all. While many issues are impossible to predict, there are certain sailings where your odds of dealing with one of these problems are exponentially higher. We recommend using extreme caution when booking one of the following cruises, especially if it’s your first time at sea.
 

Which cruise should I take: Caribbean or Bahamas?

By Heidi Sarna

Both the Caribbean and the Bahamas have stretches of sand that appeal to beach bums of all ages. Party animals can swig drinks from beach bars at sundown, while couch potatoes happily roast on the sand and sporty types windsurf. The big difference is location: The Bahamas are a lot closer to Florida and offer more weekend cruise options. And they’re cheaper. Why? It takes less fuel to get to the Bahamas, and the cruise lines usually position their older ships on the weekend runs. Read on for our full comparison:

Why You Have Probably Never Heard About Europe's Largest River Cruise Brand

By Jason Cochran

For a long time, river cruiser CroisiEurope didn't seem to care if U.S. vacationers sailed with them, but now this family-run company aims to raise its image.

Which cruise should I take: Disney or Norwegian?

By Heidi Sarna

Disney Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line are both great choices for families, with flexible dining options, shows, and activities for all ages, plus movie and TV characters doing meet and greets around the ships. One major difference is price: Disney will almost always cost more. Read on to vote for your favorite line and see our selections:

Which cruise should I take: Celebrity or Princess?

By Sherri Eisenberg

What’s not to like about Princess Cruises and Celebrity Cruises? They’re both people pleasers designed to offer an upgrade from the entry-level experience, though not at the level — or price, for that matter — of the luxury lines. They both offer an elegant and tasteful experience and serve primarily couples, but also families with kids, as well as larger groups. So which one is right for you, and which is our favorite? Read on to find out.

Which cruise should I take: Western or Eastern Caribbean?

By Heidi Sarna

Looking at cruise brochures, it can be hard to differentiate between the various Caribbean itineraries. But once you know what you’re looking at, distinct differences emerge. Here, we compare the most popular two routes — Eastern and Western — to see how they stack up:

Which cruise should I take: Carnival or Norwegian?

By Heidi Sarna

These two cruise lines have a lot in common: huge ships that attract families with kids, as well as couples and singles. Their appeal boils down to plenty of choices and features like water slides, climbing walls, and ropes courses. On both fleets, the vibe is casual, and the price is low. Similarities aside, Carnival Cruise Lines and Norwegian Cruise Line have their differences too. Read on to vote for your favorite, and see our selections:

How to Avoid Getting Seasick on a Cruise

By Thomas Faddegon

While a cruise ship in rough seas can be unpleasant, it will rarely result in a cancelled voyage. However, it may make nausea-prone passengers seasick and force the ship to skip ports. Rough waters can occur anywhere at any time, but because of ocean currents, high winds, and nearby landmasses — or the lack thereof — some itineraries can be expected to have particularly rough seas at certain times of year. So even though you can’t predict the weather months in advance of your cruise, you can increase your chances of smooth sailing by not booking during the stormiest seasons. Here are the roughest seas you are most likely to encounter on a cruise, and when to avoid them:

How to Tip on a Cruise Ship

By Laura Brothers

A standout cabin steward, attentive waiter, or superior bartender can make a big impact on your cruise. But how should you compensate them for their hard work? Tipping on a cruise ship depends on the line.

Can I Bring Alcohol on a Cruise Ship?

By Polina Myagkov

You’re cruising through the Mediterranean, and you stop in Nice. In a wine shop, you see a gorgeous bottle of French rosé, and immediately picture yourself sipping some on your veranda while the ship pulls out of port later that evening. As you reach for your credit card, you wonder — are you even allowed to bring alcohol on cruise ships? The answer: It depends. Alcohol policies vary widely from line to line. In addition, many lines charge so-called corkage fees if you want to drink your purchase in a public space, including dining rooms, specialty restaurants, or lounges. There is always the option of sneaking alcohol onboard to get around these policies, but if you want to play by the rules, here’s our handy line-by-line cheat sheet:

The Cost of Internet on Cruise Ships

By Polina Myagkov

The ability, and cost, of staying connected wirelessly varies by cruise line and ship. Most lines offer Internet access via Wi-Fi or computer stations located throughout the ships in their fleet, and break down pricing by minutes — the more minutes you purchase in bulk, the less you pay per minute.

Is it Worth it to Buy a Cruise Line Drink Package?

By Laura Brothers

You may have noticed that cruise lines offer drink packages and wondered whether they're a good deal. The answer is simple but requires some math on your part: It depends on how many drinks you typically consume in a day. Here is a breakdown of what each cruise line offers, from water to soda, beer, wine, and liquor. Check it out, and then divide the package price by the cost of individual drinks to see how many you have to order a day before the savings kick in:

When is the Best Time to Cruise?

By Simon Duvall

There is no one-size-fits-all answer for when to sail: It depends on your own personal priorities. Whether you’re looking to avoid the rough seas or score a bargain deal, there’s a time of year that’s best for you. If you’re looking for low prices, shoulder season — the time between peak and low season — is a great option, but it may come with trade-offs like rainy weather or fewer wildlife sightings. Check out our breakdown of the best time to cruise based on destination, weather, and price:

Cruise Ships of the Future

By Thomas Faddegon

Fifty years ago, no one thought cruise ships would evolve into 1,200-foot behemoths capable of carrying 5,000 passengers. And while we’re excited by the innovations on new ships like Quantum of the Seas, it’s hard not to wonder how dramatically different cruise ships will look 50 years from now.

12 Fun Things on Quantum of the Seas

By Sherri Eisenberg

Royal Caribbean's newest ship, Quantum of the Seas, has a bevy of never-before-seen twists that are pleasing devotées of mass cruising. 

How Does Hurricane Season Affect Cruises?

By Thomas Faddegon

For a full six months of the year, the Caribbean is hit by an average of six hurricanes. Cruising during hurricane season means great deals from the cruise lines, but there are some things to consider before you book:

9 Tips for Cruising With Small Children

By Heidi Sarna

Cruises are great family vacations because kids are catered to as well as adults. Most ships offer supervised activities, and the biggest vessels have several spacious playrooms geared to different age groups, each with their own age-appropriate toys, electronic gaming, and furniture — there are even bathrooms with miniature toilets and sinks. If you’re the parent of a young child and are eager to cruise because you’ll have lots of time to do your own thing, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with these pointers first: 

Mix and Match Cruise Vacations: That Include Both Land or River Cruise Add-Ons

By Pauline Frommer

One week hopping ports in the Caribbean? That's old hat. To lure more customers, the major cruise lines are offering a slew of new land and river cruise options to their itineraries.

The 5 Best Cruise Lines for Kids

By Lambeth Hochwald

No matter how old your kids are, few family vacations are easier than hopping aboard a cruise ship — you unpack once, and you don’t have to juggle plane and train schedules or maps to chart a course. We scoped out the most family-friendly cruise lines and found out what make these ships rock. If you think we’re just talking about kids’ menus, mini-golf, and high chairs, you’re in for a surprise; these lines work hard to make family travel easy. Read on for the five best cruise lines for kids, in no particular order:

Do I need a passport to cruise?

By Thomas Faddegon

In light of heightened border security and thorough Transportation Security Administration (TSA) searches, it seems like a given that you need a passport to go on a cruise. Surprisingly enough, the cruise industry has a loophole that lets American passengers soak in the beautiful beaches of the Caribbean and other destinations without a passport on “closed-loop” sailings out of U.S. ports.