If you’re planning on taking a cruise, you’ll of course need to choose a cruise ship to sail on, but before you do this, you might have a cruise line in mind through which you want to book your cruise vacation. Eventually, this means you’ll have to select a cruise ship from a cruise line’s fleet of active vessels. The fleets of major cruise lines can be fairly large – the Royal Caribbean International cruise line, for example, has 22 ships – making this decision somewhat difficult. So, the question is: how do you go about selecting the right cruise ship?
Naturally, selecting the right cruise ship is an idiosyncratic process. The best cruise ship in a fleet for you depends on your wants and needs. Where do you want to travel to? What on-board amenities are you interested in? Are you picky about what you eat and drink, or is the cruise line’s cuisine not very important to you? To choose the right cruise ship, you will have to rely on these and similar criteria.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. First, you need to know the basic process of booking a cruise, which is extremely easy (perhaps even problematically easy for those who can’t afford it) thanks to the Internet. In this particular article, we’re operating on the assumption that you need to select a cruise ship from a specific cruise line, and as long as this is so, the most convenient way to find your ideal ship is through the cruise line’s website. Information about a cruise line’s ships can be found all over the place, but this information is often best presented by the cruise lines, most of which presumably have large budgets to spend on creating and maintaining high-quality websites. Plus, once you find your cruise ship, you can easily book it through the cruise line’s website. (Keep in mind that this may not be the cheapest way to book a cruise, however. For more on this, check out our article on how to find a cheap cruise.)
For the sake of illustration, we’ll run through the process of booking a cruise using Celebrity Cruises, which we selected at random. Before examining any cruise ship in detail, we first search for possible vacations by using the “plan a cruise” function on the Celebrity website. (Any cruise line that is even somewhat established will have a comparable tool.) There are a number of fields to fill in, but you can leave them blank if you don’t have a preference for whatever information the field is requesting. This allows you to put certain parameters on your search, restricting the results to suitable options.
For our hypothetical cruise, we said we wanted to take a voyage to the Caribbean in April that lasts six to nine days, and that we wanted to leave from the port in Fort Lauderdale, Florida (or a port nearby). Entering this information brings up several possible vacations that are associated with four different ships in the Celebrity fleet: Celebrity Eclipse, Celebrity Reflection, Celebrity Silhouette, and Celebrity Solstice. Assuming all the possible cruises are equally attractive in their different respects (duration, destinations, dining options, and so on, including words that don’t start with “d”), all that is left to do is check out the different cruise ships, which can easily be done by clicking on the “Ships” tab on the Celebrity website. This brings up an enormous amount of information about every ship in Celebrity’s fleet, and this information should of course be used to select the ship that is best for you.
In this particular example, the four ships listed above are all in Celebrity’s Solstice class, which means that all the ships are similar. However, this won’t always be the case, and you can follow the method we have outlined to find the right cruise ship for you no matter what vessels are available for your desired cruise. It’s a really easy and intuitive process.