Best Cruise Lines for First-Time Cruisers: Our Maritime Attorney Weighs In

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

onboard a cruise shipGiven the manifold choices available to travelers, first-time cruisers might feel overwhelmed about which cruise line to choose. Choosing a cruise line that matches your personality and vacation desires can sometimes be challenging. With all the options out there, it can be difficult to know where to start. Fortunately each maritime attorney at our firm has taken some time to take into account several cruise lines in terms of their options and safety records to determine which cruise lines offer the best value and safety for first-time cruisers.

First off, understanding what you want in a cruise is very important, especially when the time comes to actually book your cruise. Are you a partier? Do you want to relax by the pool sipping a daiquiri? Do you want to experience the best that every port and destination has to offer? Are you on a budget? Do you want a unique dining experience? These are all questions you should ask yourself. Think about the kind of vacation you want before settling on any cruise package. Cruise companies are willing to discuss your options and find a good cruise match for you.

One cruise line to consider is Carnival Cruise Line. Carnival offers a range of cruises to some of the most well-traveled destinations in Mexico, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean. Carnival offers a more laid-back environment and is geared for those who want a casual vacation filled with excitement. As far as safety goes, Carnival’s ships are inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard every three to six months. According to a U.S. Coast Guard report, between July 1st and September 30th 2014, Carnival Cruise Line experienced no deaths or missing persons during the period. However, there were two serious assaults onboard during this period. So, while it seems that the Line has a pretty good record in preventing onboard deaths and homicides, it could do better to prevent serious assault.

Norwegian Cruise Line is highly rated for single travelers. Activities encourage romance and mingling onboard the ship. There are a range of bars and entertainment options available to passengers as well, including Second City Improv shows and even performances by the Blue Man Group. The ships also host pub crawls, allowing singles the opportunity to have fun, even alone. Norwegian Cruise Line had an excellent safety record according to the most recent U.S. Coast Guard reports. There were no homicides, deaths, assaults, or thefts. However, there was one sexual assault reported. Given that the ship caters to singles, travelers should remain alert to the risks of dating or meeting new people.

Royal Caribbean offers travel options for the whole family. The ship offers amenities for teens, including teens-only lounges (complete with mocktails), unique tours of the ship, and a spa geared for teens only. Parents can party on their own while their kids also doing their own thing. Royal Caribbean’s safety ratings are also fairly good according to the U.S. Coast Guard’s most recent report. However, one death was reported and two sexual assaults were noted between the months of July and September.

Given the sheer volume of travelers these ships transport from destination to destination, it is important for vacationers to understand that traveling has inherent risks. Visiting other countries and being in locations where people are drinking carries with it a range of dangers. Remaining alert, avoiding going to stranger’s rooms, making sure that others know your plans and where you will be located, and ensuring that your room is locked behind you are all some of the basic ways that travelers can improve their odds of keeping themselves safe while cruising.