If you’ve made the decision to book your first ever cruise holiday but aren’t quite sure which cruise line to book with then you’ve come to the right place.

It can be really hard to know what is the best cruise line for your needs if you’ve never been on a cruise before, so the best thing to do is figure out exactly what your needs are.

If you’re travelling with children you’ll probably want to look at modern cruise liners that have plenty of features and attractions for children and families. Cruise Lines such as Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruise and Norwegian Cruise Line all have exciting kids activity programmes to keep the little ones entertained and allow them to interact and make friends with other children on board. Some cruise lines also offer babysitting services that allow parents some much needed down time.
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Also, if you’re not travelling with children and prefer an adults only environment there are plenty of cruise lines that have ships that are just for adults. Or you could pick a cruise line such as Silversea or Regent which has prices that don’t necessarily appeal to the majority of families and you’ll find an older age group on board.

Make sure to pick a cruise line that is right for your age group as you don’t want to find yourself on a boat full of elderly people if you’re a young couple, young group of friends or young family. A little careful research will help ensure you make the right choice on what is the best cruise line for you.
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The next question to ask yourself is what sort of dress code do you want to have for your trip? Do you want a cruise line that requests that you dress formally for dinner every night? Would you prefer one that didn’t require you to dress up at all? Or would you like some middle ground with a cruise line that has formal, informal and smart casual dress codes such as Royal Caribbean? Deciding which level of formality you’d like with regards to dress codes is an important factor as you’ll immediately be able to dismiss the cruise lines that differ from what it is you want.

Another thing to consider is the features and facilities of any ship that you’re looking at. If you’re looking for an action packed holiday then pick a cruise ship that has a rock-climbing wall, tennis court, golf simulator etc etc. If you simply want to relax and enjoy some peace and quiet then these features won’t matter much to you but a state of the art spa and solarium might rank highly. Think carefully about the things you’d like to spend time doing while you’re at sea and pick a ship that suits those needs.
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Another thing you’ll want to think about is whether you want to opt for an all inclusive package or whether you want to pay as you go. The majority of cruise lines these days are offering all inclusive drinks packages and it’s definitely worthwhile to think about how much you’ll be consuming on board, what the prices are and do a little calculation of how much you’ll spend without a package and compare it with the package prices.

With some cruise lines you don’t have to be a big drinker in order to benefit from a package. Some offer soda packages or water packages that could appeal for the tee-total passenger.

I previously opted for a drinks package on my recent cruise with MSC Cruises and it worked out great value for money. The package included soft drinks, bottles of water, a large selection of cocktails and a selection of wines. It was perfect for my needs and I didn’t need to drink anywhere near to excess in order to get value for money.

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Sipping yummy cocktails by the pool on MSC Armonia

Cruise lines such as Silversea offer completely all inclusive cruises where you don’t have to pay for any meals, any drinks or any extras. Their drinks include premium drinks (hello champagne!) and you really don’t have to worry about running up a big bill whilst you’re enjoying your cruise holiday.