Top Cruise Destinations -
Top 10 Cruise Ships: Most Popular - Cruise Critic
Customer Reviews -
Best by category - Howard Hillman

Line Ships Customer
Carnival 24 25% 71
Royal Caribbean 22 33% 79
Princess 17 ?? 80
Holland America 14 ?? 82
Norwegian 12 8% 64
Celebrity* 10   88
None of the above 34%
Loyalty source: Cruise Critic poll: (Results vary day to day.)
† CN Score - Condé Nast Reader choice score Nov. 2011
*Celebrity merged with Royal Caribbean in 1997, but still operates as separate subsidiary.

Cruise ship capacities range from 1,200 to 6,000 passengers.
They cruise from 22 - 25 knots (26-29 MPH).
Amenities on larger ships include, swimming pools, ice rinks, putting greens, mini-golf, climbing walls, paddle tennis, basket ball courts, golf simulators, casinos, bistros, entertainment.
How to Pick a Ship at Cruise Critic
See RoyalCaribbean video

Sailing cruises are also popular in the Caribbean, Mediterranean and other places.
They range from 40 ft ketchs (2 masts) with room for 4 to 6, to 100 ft multi-masted ships carrying 25 to the 439 ft Royal Clipper with a capacity of 227 passengers.

Star Clippers Sailing Tall Ship Cruises
Top 10 Sailing Cruises - Travel - National Geographic

Cruise prices range from $750 for an inside cabin on a 1 week cruise, to more than $3,000 on multi week cruises on luxury liners. Deluxe suites with a views and private balconies will cost more.

You will get the best discounts by reserving 6 months in advance.

The following extras are not included in the price.
Sodas, alcohol, snacks (ice cream), ... which typically cost the same as you'd pay at a restaurant.
Spas, A massage is typically about $110 to $150.
See Cruise Price Estimator

Although the lower deck inside cabins will give you a smoother ride in rough seas, they are also the furthest from the common areas such as the pool and lounges.
Two problems that you might experience with cabins on the lower decks are engine noise and anchor noise. If your cabin is near the front of the ship, it can sound like the ship has hit a coral reef when the anchor is dropped.
Newer ships tend to have less engine noise and their stabilizers suppress the ship's motion.

Cabins typically range from 175-350 sq ft, larger ships have luxury suites over 1,200 sq ft.

Deck plan for 5,400 passenger RoyalCaribbean "Oasis of the Seas", which has 15 decks for passenger use (11 with staterooms and 8 for passenger activities including dining).

Shore Excursions:

  1. Shore excursions may include:
  2. bus rides to sights of interest where you take local tours or explore on your own
  3. bus rides to shopping areas or cities where you can stroll around
  4. Active sports, hiking, snorkeling, ...
  5. Renting a bike and doing your own tour of the local country side.
  6. Some have tour guides who explain local history and color and visit a variety of sites.
Prices range from $25 per person to $200.

If you see an attractive tour it's a good idea to sign up right away before it fills up. Most ships allow you to cancel up the 36 hrs before and get a refund.

Ship tours are not always the way to go. The pleasurability and efficiency of tour operators varies from ship to ship, and some tour offerings are simply duds. All too often, shore excursions translate into time-consuming bus rides with drop-offs at shopping centers.

Hiring a private taxi is often less expensive than the ship's excursion, depending on the number of people you have in your group. When hiring a taxi, be sure to negotiate a flat rate -- based on your destination and the approximate amount of time you'll need -- before you depart. If you want narration in addition to transportation, choose a driver with a good command of English.

However, remember that, while the cruise ship will wait for any late-returning, ship-sponsored tours, you run the risk of getting stranded in port if your independent tour gets stuck in traffic and is late returning to the pier.

If the docks is close to downtown like it is in St. Thomas you can walk there on your own.

Could a modern ship have a problem like the Titanic? Extremely unlikely.

  1. Icebergs are monitored by several organizations:
  2. Modern ships have enough lifeboats for everyone.
  3. Modern ships have compartments which can be sealed off to avoid flooding the whole ship.
A Titanic mystery: Why were icebergs so far south? -
Icebergs in the North Atlantic Ocean - National Geographic Education
YouTube video of ship caught in Mediterranean Storm in 2010

In 2005 Consumer Reports did a survey on tipping. Most lines had an automatic gratuity program. Most were $10 per day. Where it was not automatic, guidelines were:
Waiter $3.50/day, busboy $2, maitred' 35¢, room steward $3.50.
See Tipping on a Cruise Ship at

My Cruises:
1976 - Harvey Gamage, BVI out of St. Thomas
Two attempts to go from Newport to Martha's Vineyard on 40+/- ft ketches aborted:
199? - Newport to Martha's Vineyard - caught in remnants of a Hurricane
1994 - Carnival Caribbean cruise
2001 - Newport to Martha's Vineyard - caught in noreaster
2012 - 16 Night Westbound Transatlantic Cruise

EGC - Enhanced Group Call - part of the Inmarsat C system - Broadcast messages to be made to selected groups of ship stations
Inmarsat C - Satellite communications for maritime safety.
NavAreas - geographic areas in which various governments are responsible for navigation and weather warnings - Map

Top 10 Cruise Destinations - by travel authority Howard Hillman
10 Hidden Costs of Cruising - Cruises - Cruise Critic
Understanding Cruise Prices -
First-Timers' Guide to Shore Excursions - Cruise Critic
Cruise Ship Reviews, Ratings, and Cruise Line Rankings -
How to Choose the Best Cabin on a Cruise Ship
All About Cruising - Royal Caribbean
Cruise Line List at
Cruise Ship Outbreak Summary (GI Infections) at

last updated 25 Apr 2012