Intro to Cruise Line Categories: Mass Market, Premium, and Luxury

All cruises are not alike. Most people have heard of the biggies… Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Disney, etc. But there are many more cruise lines that provide a wide variety of experiences at different price points. 

Cruise signs. Photo by Kevin Dern. 

Cruise lines are typically broken into three categories: Mass Market, Premium, and Luxury. So what's the difference? The mass market ships are huge and you can typically expect lots of kids on board. Luxury ships are usually smaller, with fewer kids, older guests, and better food. Some luxury cruises include perks like alcoholic beverages, excursions, wifi, and more, but on the less expensive ships, everything is extra.

Confused about which cruise is right for you? That's what I'm here for! Shoot me an email and I'd be happy to help with the research and make it an easy process. (I also have access to promotions and perks that are not available to the general public.)

Here's an overview of the three categories:

Cruise Lines

Mass Market
Premium
Luxury
Cruise Lines
Carnival
Norwegian
Royal Caribbean
Holland America
Celebrity
Princess
Cunard
Disney
Azamara
Oceania
Seabourn
Crystal
Regent Seven Seas
Silversea
Seadream
Overview
"Massive ships that offer something for just about everyone, from multiple pools to high-energy shows to bingo. Ideal for families, these cruise lines offer some of the most extensive programs for children and teens." (Fodor's)
"Ships tend to be newer midsize to large vessels that carry fewer passengers than mainstream ships and have a more spacious feel. Even the onboard decor may be a bit more glamorous and subtle than on a mainstream line." (Fodor's)
Luxury cruises offer smaller ships, more interesting ports, better service, higher quality food, more inclusions, and larger cabins.
Learn More
Fodor's
Frommer's
Fodor's
Fodor's
Frommer's

This diagram from Fodor's explains it all: 

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