Cruise guide for first-timers: The best line for each age group, budget and interest

Planning your first cruise can feel like an overwhelming undertaking. There are indeed so many choices, from “party boats” in the Caribbean and luxury yachts in the Mediterranean to river cruises in Asia and expedition ships in Antarctica.

You need to put some careful thought into just what kind of traveler you are (Foodie? Adventurer? Night owl?) and which type of cruise vacation you really want, while also factoring in such practicalities as budget, the departure port and the length of the trip.

So how do you figure out if a cruise line’s personality is compatible with your needs? You could ask a travel agent, scan online forums – or simply read through Cruise Critic’s handy shortlist of the very best cruise lines for first-timers. 

Click through the gallery below or read our TL;DR summary of the best lines for various needs.

12 best cruises for for first-timers

1. Best for bargain hunters: Carnival Cruise Line

2. Best for luxury seekers: Regent Seven Seas Cruises

3. Best for families with tweens or teens: Royal Caribbean International

4. Best for families with small children: Disney Cruise Line

5. Best for mature cruisers: Silversea Cruises

6. Best for singles: Holland America Line

7. Best for foodies: Oceania Cruises

8. Best for entertainment enthusiasts: Norwegian Cruise Line

9. Best for enrichment seekers: Cunard Line

10. Best for adventurers: Lindblad Expeditions

11. Best for romantics: Paul Gauguin Cruises

12. Best for river cruises: Viking River Cruises

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