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more home ports than any other line.
Some lines are stronger than others in particular areas. In Alaska, for instance, two lines Princess and Holland America dominate with seven ships apiece. Here, the 2,670 passenger Sapphire Princess accesses intimate areas that larger ships could not.(Photo: Peter Knego)
hundreds of dollars more for an outward facing cabin with a balcony.
Also, be warned: The upfront cost of a cruise is only part of the expense, particularly for the less expensive, mass market lines. While companies such as Royal Caribbean and Princess include most on board entertainment, activities and meals in main restaurants in the base cost, passengers pay extra for alternative specialty restaurants ($10 to $30 per person is typical) and drinks. Most mass market lines also add a gratuity for the staff that can be as much as $12 per person, per day, and there are additional charges for everything from on board Internet use to shore excursions. The exception is at the high end, where much more is included in the base fare and extra charges are relatively rare. Luxury lines such as Regent Seven Seas include the cost of specialty restaurants, drinks (including fine wines), gratuities and even some shore excursions in their upfront costs.
MORE: The luxury of a Regent Seven Seas vessel
What's my budget?
It wasn't long ago that most cruises took place in the Caribbean. But these days, even the most mainstream lines offer sailings around the globe. Still, not every line goes to every destination. And some lines are stronger than others in particular areas. In Alaska, for instance, two lines Princess and Holland America dominate with seven ships apiece. (Industry giant Carnival, by contrast, has just one ship in the state.) The result: Princess and Holland America can package trips to Alaska in a way most other lines can't. Carnival, on the other hand, always has been a leader in the Caribbean, with more voyages there from Atlanta Braves Hats
ship and vice versa.
Like hotels, cruises come in a wide variety of price points with features to match.
PHOTO TOUR: Look inside Carnival's newest ship
There almost always a crowd on the Disney Dream pool deck, which is home to the family focused Donald Pool and Mickey Pool.(Photo: Gene Jordan Hats Snapback Sloan, USA TODAY)
Every line has its own personality and appeals to a different type of person. Carnival, for instance, is known for a gregarious, fun loving crowd. Celebrity, by contrast, draws a quieter, more style conscious customer. The two lines operate ships of similar sizes, and often on similar routes and at similar prices, but a regular Carnival customer would likely be miserable on a Celebrity Adidas Hat With Gold Plate
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How long do I want to be away?
This can have a huge influence on which line and ship you choose. Some lines, such as Carnival, specialize in shorter cruises of three to seven nights. Others, such as Oceania, rarely offer a voyage of fewer than 10 nights.
PHOTO TOUR: Look inside Oceania Cruises' new Riviera
Mass market lines such as Carnival offer voyages for as little as $399 per person, per week. Luxury lines such as Seabourn and Regent Seven Seas can charge as much as $1,000 per person, per day. Rates also can swing significantly depending on the season (the same cabin on the same ship will cost a lot more during the peak summer travel months than in the fall). And the lead in price you see in advertisements often is for a small, "inside" cabin without windows onto the sea. You might pay Nike Hats Mens
What's my cruise personality?
On the far end of the spectrum, a few lines such as Cunard and Holland America operate annual around the world cruises of 100 nights or more.
10 tips to help you pick the perfect cruise
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