With fleets boasting tens of ships, there can be an overwhelming amount of choice when it comes to selecting your first cruise line. Do you want pure relaxation and state-of-the-art spa facilities? Or rock-climbing walls and a 3D IMAX cinema? What about the dining options and stateroom choices?

If these are some of the questions you find yourself asking, then look no further! Read on to see our top picks for first-time cruisers.

Royal Caribbean – Allure of the Seas

Allure of the Seas

The second member of Royal Caribbean’s ground-breaking Oasis Class, Allure of the Seas is a fantastic choice for your first time Royal Caribbean cruise. With a host of incredible features and sensational entertainment on-board, the ship is great for those looking to keep busy and be wowed.

Allure of the Seas will also undergo a 165 million refurbishment in 2020 to enhance her on-board facilities. This includes the addition of the Ultimate Abyss – the tallest slide at sea – the first Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar and revitalised kids’ and teens’ clubs. After she has returned from this update, she will sail around the Western Mediterranean before heading to the Caribbean for her winter season.

Norwegian Cruise Line – Norwegian Getaway

Norwegian Getaway - great cruise ship for first-time cruisers

Launching the effortless style of cruising, Norwegian Cruise Line is a prime choice for first-timers, meaning that meal-times and ship facilities are much more flexible. With no fixed dining times or pre-assigned seating, guests have the freedom to enjoy more dining options while cruising, making it a great option when choosing the best cruise line for families.

A particular favourite is Norwegian Getaway, boasting magnificent amenities you can sample as you sail to unforgettable destinations. The Waterfront, an NCL ship staple, is featured on Norwegian Getaway – an innovative, industry-first open-air promenade designed to immerse guests in the ocean and help you enjoy your time on-board even more.

P&O Cruises – Britannia

P&O Brittania - perfect for cruising from the UK

If you want to feel at home as you sail the seas, P&O has combined a quintessentially British atmosphere with the excitement of cruising. The ships even use sterling as their pricing currency, with all payments accepted on your cruise card – operating a cash-free environment. This helps makes P&O Cruises one of the best cruise lines for first time cruisers.

Britannia in particular, also promotes Freedom Dining, allowing you to eat at whichever time you please – easier for those looking to relax a little more. For days at sea, there are plenty of activities to keep you occupied, from cooking demonstrations to on-board spa treatments.

Carnival – Carnival Vista

Carnival Vista - Winner of 2016's Best New Ship

The ‘Best New Ship’ as voted in the 4th Annual Cruise Fever Fan Awards, Carnival Vista is a real mix of fun and fascination. For a unique experience at sea, the ship comes complete with the IMAX theatre, SkyRide, Serenity Adult-Only Retreat and the Cloud 9 spa – each of which offers plenty to keep you busy and create unforgettable memories on-board.

The ship has recently expanded its itinerary portfolio, meaning the on-board experience can now stretch to the shores of the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. Complete your voyage with firm fan favourites including the Food Network’s Guy Fieri, Blue Iguana and the on-board microbrewery, the RedFrog Brewery – all of which make it one of the best cruise lines for first time cruisers.

MSC – MSC Meraviglia

MSC Meraviglis - a ship with plenty features for first-timers

Step your entertainment up a notch with MSC Meraviglia, where innovative venues, multi-purpose bars and exciting parks all shape this ship into a whole new level of cruising. World-class performances are shown twice every night, six nights per week at the Carousel Lounge, which showcases two original shows by Cirque du Soleil – a world-leader in live artistic entertainment.

Combined with one of the most intricate water parks at sea – comprising three slides and a Himalayan bridge as well as multiple pools – MSC Meraviglia is a ship packed full of features. And when you feel you need some time to rest, take it all in as you enjoy the panoramic views from the innovative ocean-view aft lounge, it truly is a top contender for the best cruise for couples to relax and have fun!

Princess Cruises – Royal Princess

Royal Princess - perfect cruise ship for first-timers

One of the best cruises for first-time couples, Princess Cruises’ Royal Princess is just right for two, offering features such as a quiet, adults-only pool, a Champagne bar and Movies Under the Stars. Depicted as having one of the most deluxe accommodations at sea, even balcony staterooms come equipped with floor-to-ceiling sliding doors, a refrigerator, 24-hour room service and sumptuous bed linens.

Visit the exclusive restaurants on-board, including Crafted by Curtis Stone where you can sample delicious meats and seafood with vibrant and bold flavours. Indulge your inner chocolate-fiend and taste hand-crafted treats which master chocolatier Norman Love has designed for Princess’ Chocolate JourneysSM program.

Have you booked your very first cruise? Or do you remember the first time you stepped on-board a cruise ship? Tell us all about it in the comment box below!

If you have any questions about these ships or booking your first cruise, call our award-winning Cruise Concierge team on 0808 1234 118 for expert advice and assistance booking the first of many exciting cruise holidays.

Post updated: 29/11/2019

Emma Smith
Emma has more than seven years' experience as a writer and has been in the travel industry for nearly five years. She loves learning about new places and cruise ships coming to market, as well as discovering fun and exciting activities to do while you sail. She has cruised with Princess Cruises, Cunard, Celebrity Cruises, Virgin Voyages, Avalon Waterways and Royal Caribbean and is looking to get something in her diary for 2024! Her favourite things to see on a ship include excellent entertainment, a delicious cocktail menu and extraordinary dining venues.

26 Responses to “Six of the best ships for first-time cruisers”

  1. Marsha Wallace

    Never went on a cruise and I need to .I am 60 year’s old and never been on a big ocean cruise ship . Been trying to and the cov19 is here and have to meet requirements. So exactly out of New Orleans la . Port and travel few days at cruising the ocean waters .

  2. keith shenton

    I would like to go on my first time cruise it got be one with a walk in shower with hand rails having got a learning disability and need to take medicate through the day may require a chair to sit.

    • Emma Smith

      Hello Keith, happy to hear you’re looking to go on your first cruise! Most showers are walk-in on a cruise ship and some offer handrails or fixtures as standard. If you would like to find out more about the particular cruise ship you would like to sail on, please call our Cruise Concierge team on 0808 1234 118, who will be happy to help. Thanks, Emma.

  3. Reuben Brown

    I want to go on a cruise for my 44th birthday in June. Its my first time and I have no idea where to begin. Help Help Help please thank u!!!!

    • Emma Smith

      Hello Reuben, there are plenty of cruise lines to suit for your first-time cruise. You can take a look at our New to cruising guide, found here: New to cruising: A guide for first-timers. Alternatively, you can give our expert Cruise Concierge team a call who can help you select the right cruise for you. You can reach them on 0808 1234 118. Many thanks, Emma.

  4. Paula

    Hi my husband and I would like to go on a cruise for the 1st time but it’s like a minefield out there, any advice ?


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