The new year is right around the corner, so it’s the perfect time to think about your vacation plans for next year! If you’re new to cruising or it’s been a while, there are many reasons to book a cruise for 2023 and 2024! Cruising is making a comeback, and the world’s best cruise lines are creating new, exciting, and innovative experiences. From designing the world’s largest cruise ship to developing new ways to interact with your favorite characters, there is something for everyone. With so many cruise lines, it can be overwhelming to figure out which is right for your next vacation. I’ve created this cruise line comparison of my top cruise brands to help!
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Disney Cruise Line
Disney Cruise Line brings together its renowned service and entertainment offerings all in one place. Disney cruises are the place to interact with beloved Disney stories and characters on a personal level. With several days at sea and a much less crowded space than a theme park, you can spend more time immersing yourself in storylines, character encounters, and entertainment themed around Disney princesses, pirates, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and more.
Fleet and Destinations
The Disney Cruise Line fleet includes five ships: Magic, Wonder, Dream, Fantasy, and Wish (which first set sail in the summer of 2022). There are two more ships slated to embark by 2025, including the Adventure, which promises to incorporate daring thrills in a whole new way.
Disney Cruise Line travels to destinations around the world, including Alaska, Europe, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Mexico, Canada, Hawaii, Australia, and the South Pacific (new). One of Disney Cruise Line’s most popular destinations is Castaway Cay, its private island in the Bahamas. Having a private island comes with many perks, including spending time with Disney characters on the beach, an island-exclusive 5K, and the ability to charge purchases to your stateroom while on shore. Disney also recently announced the construction of a second private island called Lighthouse Point. The destination plans to be innovative both for guest offerings and sustainability.
Stand Out Features
Disney Cruise Line stands out in any cruise line comparison because of its dedication to encapsulating “the Disney experience” on a cruise ship. Every sailing includes fireworks at sea (the first cruise line to offer this) and plenty of chances to meet and interact with your favorite Disney characters. There are specialty-themed days like the new Pixar Day At Sea (beginning in 2023) and the fan-favorite Marvel Day at Sea. Halloween and holiday-themed cruises are also available during select sailings in October, November, and December. One of Disney’s other stand-out features is “rotational dining,” which operates differently than dining on most other cruise lines. Instead of having dinner at a specific time in the same dining room every night, guests spend each night rotating through the ships’ three immersively themed dining experiences. Servers follow you to every location each night, so they get to know you and your family’s preferences.
There is no doubt that Disney Cruise Line is for Disney lovers, through and through. You are fully immersed in various Disney storylines from embarkation to departure, with Disney-themed entertainment, dining, and attractions. Even the architecture and staterooms have Disney touches throughout, so you always know you are on a Disney cruise.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line is one of the world’s leaders in cruising, offering a blend of classic cruising experiences with modern innovations and attractions that are great for all cruisers. Royal Caribbean provides solid guest service and a wide variety of onboard offerings, making it an excellent choice for people of all ages.
Fleet and Destinations
Royal Caribbean has the largest fleet of any other cruise lines I’m comparing, with 25 total ships (and a few more currently in production). One of the ways to know you’re on a Royal Caribbean ship is that the ship’s name always ends with “of the seas.” Royal Caribbean’s recently announced ship, Icon of the Seas, will be the world’s largest cruise liner and will begin sailing in early 2024. With such a large amount of ships to choose from, you have the flexibility to design a custom vacation with a wide variety of itineraries.
Royal Caribbean travels to over 240 destinations around the world, with a large bulk in the Caribbean—as their name would suggest. Royal Caribbean probably has a cruise that takes you anywhere you could imagine going. Royal Caribbean also has a private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay, an available destination on select voyages.
Stand Out Features
Royal Caribbean cruises offer a wide range of thrills and chills onboard. Scattered throughout the ships’ “neighborhoods,” you’ll find a variety of dining, shopping, entertainment, and attractions. From ziplining and indoor skydiving to surf simulators and onboard water parks, there is never a dull moment during a day at sea. The line of entertainment is outstanding as well. Some ships feature full-length, Tony Award-winning Broadway musicals, like Hairspray and Grease. Others feature immersive theatrical experiences that combine acrobatics, water stunts, and even ice skating performances.
Royal Caribbean also stands out for its stateroom offerings. The suites will make you forget you’re on a cruise ship, with a wide range of spacious options like wraparound balconies, floor-to-ceiling windows, and lofts. Suite guests can also take advantage of additional perks, like priority boarding and exclusive restaurants and lounges.
Royal Caribbean is an excellent option for families and groups with diverse interests and ages. Attractions are balanced between kid-friendly and adult offerings, with separate spaces for each. Families can enjoy many attractions together, from boardwalk-style arcade games to arts and crafts. They also offer standard cruise elements familiar to experienced cruisers, like enjoying leisurely, multi-course meals in the main dining room and formal nights on every sailing.
Virgin Voyages is the newest contender in our cruise line comparison, which had its inaugural sailing aboard the line’s first ship, the Scarlet Lady, in August 2021. Virgin Voyages shakes up the cruise industry as an adult-only cruise line. Virgin suggests guests get away, decompress, and enjoy a lively, vibrant, party-like atmosphere free from young kids and teens.
Fleet and Destinations
Two ships are currently in the Virgin Voyages fleet: Scarlet Lady and Valiant Lady. Two more ships are in production and are scheduled to begin sailing in 2023. Virgin Voyages offers cruises to over 100 destinations throughout the Caribbean, Europe, and the South Pacific.
Stand Out Features
As stated above, this cruise line’s primary feature is that it’s specifically catered to adults. Children under 18 are not allowed to cruise. Although there may not be kids aboard, the atmosphere is anything but stuffy. Entertainment and dining options allow guests to kick back and have fun with multi-story nightclubs, group fitness classes, innovative entertainment, and much more. Virgin Voyages also stands out by including all dining locations in your cruise fare, unlike many other cruise lines that offer select restaurants at a premium price. Soft drinks and onboard WiFi are also included with your fare. Another stand-out feature is that Cruise Critic voted Scarlet Lady the Best New Cruise Ship of 2021.
Virgin Voyages can be enjoyed by adults of any age. However, the cruise line’s fun vibe and adventurous spirit is best for those with the most open of minds.
Cruise Line Comparison: Cruise in 2023 with Just Add Magic Travel
There are so many offerings from these cruise lines that will provide even more opportunities for sailing in the next few years. Whether you’re a first-time cruiser or haven’t been in a few years, now’s your time to take advantage of everything cruising offers. Get started by getting a free quote for your trip!