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Top 5 Most Popular Cruise Lines This Summer Unveiled In New Report  

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Cruising has exploded in popularity, emerging as one of the top trending ways to explore the world this year.  

I love cruising because it allows you to explore several destinations in one trip without packing and unpacking your luggage over and over again.  

Overhead view of large cruise ship

And if you choose an all-inclusive cruise then you can pay for your meals and drinks, gratuities, and even shore excursions in advance so you have no financial surprises.  

But which cruise line should you choose?  

According to a new report from Cruise Compete, these are the 5 most popular cruise lines this summer. The report is based on consumer quote requests and transactions.  

5. Norwegian Cruise Line  

View of Norwegian cruise ships docked in Nassau, Bahamas

The 5th most popular cruise line is Norwegian Cruise Line, with options to explore over 450 destinations around the world.  

What makes Norwegian Cruise Line stand out from the crowd is that the entertainment onboard is often exceptional, and there are a huge number of bars per ship, meaning it never feels too crowded.  

Another small detail, but one that makes Norwegian so easy for guests, is that they have eliminated set dining times. This means you have the freedom to set your own schedule when you cruise with the Norwegian Cruise line.  

Norwegian is a great option for adults-only cruising. Although children are welcome on board, the Casino, many of the bars and lounges, and the Thermal Spa (sauna, steam room, hot tubs) are all accessible only to adults over the age of 18.  

4. Princess Cruises 

View from tropical beach on Cruise ship Royal Princess docked at port Willemstad.

Princess Cruises is one of the more upscale cruise lines on the list.  

Their ships tend to have a more luxurious look and feel and offer high-end amenities such as plush private poolside cabanas that appear to be floating on the water and gorgeous glass-bottomed walkways.

Princess appeals to an older demographic than the other cruise lines on this list, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t find high-octane entertainment here.  

Princess cruise line doesn’t have climbing walls and water parks at sea, but they do have excellent spa services, beautiful dining rooms with incredible service, and a warm and welcoming crew.  

3. Carnival Cruise Lines  

Carnival Valor cruise ship is docking in the central cruise terminal.

If you’re looking for a reasonably priced cruise line then the 3rd line on our list, Carnival Cruise, is a great option.  

Although prices vary, Carnival tends to be noticeably cheaper than both Princess Cruises and the Norwegian Cruise Line too. For 2 passengers sharing an inside cabin, it's possible to find rates as low as $100 per person per night.

Despite their budget prices, Carnival still offers many of the other fun activities you would expect to see on a family cruise line. Think sail away parties, live entertainment, many ships also have exciting water parks at sea too.  

Carnival has a reputation for the quality of its quick service food options, but if you’re looking for fine dining then this probably isn’t the right cruise line for you, in my food-obsessed opinion.  

What Carnival does well is appeal to the kind of crowd that wants to have fun. You’ll often find a younger, more party-focused crowd on Carnival cruise ships, with a casual, laid-back atmosphere.  

2. Celebrity Cruises  

Celebrity Summit ship in dock

If you’re looking for a fun and high-energy cruise experience, then Celebrity Cruises is a great choice.  

The first thing you’ll notice when you board a Celebrity ship is how sleek and modern they look and feel.

Celebrity also has a well-deserved reputation for the high quality of its evening entertainment. All of Celebrity Cruises' lounge bars and nightclubs are included when you book your trip, and there’s always a ton of nightly entertainment spread across the ship.  

The cocktail menu is extensive and delicious. So don’t book too many shore excursions; make sure you have the energy for a couple of late nights followed by lazy mornings on board!  

1. Royal Caribbean International 

Royal Caribbean Cruise

Officially the most popular cruise line this summer is Royal Caribbean International cruises. Royal Caribbean is a great cruise line for families.  

Royal Caribbean tends to specialize in large cruise ships: in fact, the world’s largest cruise liner set sail this year, and it is Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, the Icon of the Seas.  

The size of their ships works to Royal Caribbean’s advantage as it means that they can offer a dizzying array of onboard activities and experiences.  

If you’re traveling with a family like mine, then some of the biggest water parks at sea, as well as FlowRider Surf Simulators and zip lining across the deck, will keep kids entertained.  

However, Royal Caribbean cruises have plenty to offer adult travelers, too. You can enjoy holistic remedies, revitalizing massages at the spa, world-class standard evening entertainment options, and a huge number of fine dining restaurants too.  

The innovative Wonderland restaurant with its Alice in Wonderland-inspired dining experience is my particular favorite of the Royal Caribbean restaurants.  

Disclaimer: It's important to consider your own priorities when choosing a cruise line. These rankings may not reflect your personal preferences, but they’re a great place to start for planning your next cruise vacation.  

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.