Over the past few years, the cruise industry has undergone a radical transformation in the way cruises are tailored to cruisers. With the debut of Norwegian Cruise Line’s “Freestyle Cruising” earlier in the 2000’s, cruisers suddenly realized that their cruise vacation should be tailored to them. This new style of cruising allowed cruisers to build and schedule an entire cruise around their preferences. The most prominent choice came in the form of dining. Cruisers suddenly could choose their dining time, their table mates, and even which restaurant to dine in. This new style of cruising quickly caught on and has even paved the way for today’s new ships, which are more focused on offering guests options not schedules.
Today, almost every cruise line has followed Norwegian in reconfiguring their ships to allow cruisers to tailor their own cruise vacation. From multiple restaurants, new entertainment experiences, and even new stateroom designs, cruise lines are building ships with cruiser’s choices in mind. Cruise lines such as Carnival and Royal Caribbean have taken notice of this increasingly popular trend, which in turn has brought us ships such as Oasis of the Seas, the Carnival Breeze, and soon Quantum of the Seas. These ships have suddenly become the destination, offering cruisers all the choices of dining and entertainment found ashore in many ports. For these lines, choices and options are the future.
Some cruise lines, however, have not yet completely strayed from the cruising experience of yesterday. Many historic lines, such as Cunard and Holland America Line, continue to offer guests a cruise experience of years ago. With traditional dining times in specific restaurants, classic cruise activities, such as shuffleboard, and fewer specialty restaurants than lines such as Norwegian or Royal Caribbean, these traditional lines continue to stick to the way cruising once was. These lines, while maybe not as attractive to a cruiser from Carnival, still retain a massive following of cruisers looking for the traditional cruise experience.
Cruising is an experience that offers something for everyone, and each line offers a unique experience that may only appeal to certain cruisers. Luckily, the cruise industry offers a wide array of lines for cruisers to choose from, to ensure each cruiser can find and enjoy a cruise experience tailored to them.
So, in an industry of choices, how do you cruise? Do you “freestyle” aboard Norwegian, attend the Indonesian tea ceremony aboard Holland America Line, or hit the water slides aboard Carnival? Let us know your cruise lifestyle in the comments below!