Cruise Line Review From a Childhood Cruiser

Our photo editor recalls what she loved—and did not love—from the many family cruises she took as a kid.

I became a cruise aficionado at an early age. From the ages of roughly 5 to 13, I went on an annual family cruise with my cousins, our parents and our grandmother, who funded the trips. (You can read more about that in my Cruise Memories article.) We went just about everywhere—and I traveled on many types of ships and cruise lines. Here’s how they ranked—at least from the perspective of a school-age kid!

Holland America Line

By far my favorite and everybody’s favorite in the family. The service, amenities and port destinations were always top notch on whichever Holland America ship we traveled. The rooms in general were larger than on other cruise lines, and came with more features, like a safe and lots of closet space. The food was always of higher quality than on other lines as well. During our third family cruise with Holland America, we were presented with certificates honoring us as “Able Mariners” for traveling on three voyages. After trying another cruise line, we usually always came back to Holland America.

Princess Cruises

Next favorite was our trip on Princess Cruises because it was our first non-Caribbean cruise. With Princess, we had the chance to travel the Panama Canal, stopping in many countries along the way that were unusual (for the time) and that I had never been to, including Guatemala, Nicaragua and Colombia.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Traveling with Norwegian Cruise Line was a delight. Because the ship was a different cruise line than what we had previously sailed on, we were able to enjoy different amenities aboard, like a wave pool. We did the usual Caribbean trip, but with interesting new stops, like St. Lucia and St. Barths.

Celebrity Cruises

Maybe they’ve improved over the past few years, but our one-and-only cruise on Celebrity was my least favorite. Afterwards, I distinctly remember my mom commenting on how she never felt like a celebrity when she was on it. We had a small room on one of the lower levels with an even smaller bathroom.  I remember activities on board were highly regimented and left little room for a personalized cruise experience. 

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Themes: Family Travel, Cruises