Is Casual Cruising For You?

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Poll: When it comes to casual cruising, what line most catches your fancy?
Poll Results
When it comes to casual cruising, what line most catches your fancy?

Thomson Cruises
9
5.26%

Norwegian Cruise Line
66
38.60%

Royal Caribbean
29
16.96%

P&O Cruises
2
1.17%

easyCruise
0
0%

Traditional cruising for me -- Saga, Cunard or Fred. Olsen
21
12.28%

Other (which I'll post below)
26
15.20%

Celebrity Cruises
18
10.53%

Voters: 171.  You may not vote on this poll.

#1
Boston, MA
1,075 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
For our casual-cruise loving British readers in particular, the dismantling of Ocean Village will force them to make some tough decisions. How will they replace their beloved "cruise holiday for those who don't do cruises." Move to Thomson, which offers the laid-back Island Princess? Freestyle it up with NCL? Sail on Ventura, the least traditional ship in the P&O fleet?

There are rumors that P&O may be pondering a casual fly-cruise option -- a la Ocean Village -- in the near future.


More generally, are you interested in so-called casual cruise lines, those brands that trade things like set-seating dining, formal nights and Las Vegas-style extravaganzas for open seating meals, no dress codes and edgier evening entertainment?

When it comes to casual cruising, which line most catches your fancy? Vote in our poll!
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Dan Askin
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#2
Moon Township, Pa
23,183 Posts
Joined Oct 2000
FYI, Celebrity is NOT a casual cruise line. As a matter of fact, they are probably the most dressy of the main stream cruise lines.
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Darcie
#3
Boston, MA
1,075 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
Thanks Darcie,

The Celebrity option is really just there due to Equinox -- which has a far more modern appeal than the line's older ships -- debuting in the U.K. (and Solstice as well). Entertainment has veered from the mainstream (hot glass show), dining has opened up significantly (10 restaurants, flexible dining is coming) and there's more children's programming (even a "tweens" breakdown). While the line has traditionally been, well, traditional, there's a lot more room for everyone on its newest ships.
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#4
Michigan
7,870 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Even though I have only ever sailed RCCL, I still prefer to get dressed up and cruise as luxurious as possible. I feel traditional cruising needs to make a comeback. I like having assigned seating. I wish ballroom dancing would come back, and I wish they would do away with things like the belly-flop contest. I am all for wearing ballgowns and seeing my husband in a Tux on formal night.

By the way, I am 24 and my husband is 27.
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#5
Wisconsin
6,138 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
I'd always sail on Princess, if I could...but my husband really likes NCL, so if I want to cruise, I guess it's NCL...although I see that Princes now has flexible dining options, so maybe I can lure him back!
#6
Guernsey
580 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
I am a Brit and went for NCL for my first cruise mainly because I wanted casual and a certain itinerary.

I do really want to give Royal Caribbean a go and would consider Thomson.

My concern with the British casual lines is that it would be full of drunk Brits. I have nothing to base this on (so am probably unfairly judging it) but I just prefer to go for lines who aim for a slightly older crowd than my age group. I am 25 and have been married 5 years. Party boats are of no interest to me.
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#8
Guernsey
580 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
Originally posted by LHT28
Oceania they have open dining & "Country Club Casual" dress code
no formal nights
I think thats more of an American term though so its hard to judge what kind of dress code that is.
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#9
GTA, Ontario, Canada
35,056 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Originally posted by LoisGriffin1
I think thats more of an American term though so its hard to judge what kind of dress code that is.
I guess it is
It means nicely dressed but not formal ...not shorts & T's and sweatsuits for dinner
#10
2,369 Posts
Joined May 2008
For me and my husband it has been NCL all the way for us. We love the way they do things on their ships. No set dining times, no set dining companions and within reason no set dress code. Definately not a party boat a good mix of ages on all sailings and excellent service from the staff on board. The ships are amazing and entertainment is good. Thomson worries me with it's all inclusive add on. They might encourage the party crowd with that but I have not heard any bad reports of behaviour so far.

As things stand at present I have little interest in other lines but may one day take a Princess Cruise as they look good to me also. No chance of me ever getting on P & O as it stands currently.
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Jean & Tony Morgan
#11
Jensen Beach, FL
11,899 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
I wish all lines had more causal alternative's and not just the buffet. I know lot of folks like the formal aspect but those that prefer causal or formal should not have to stay away from certain lines. For me dressing up is a pain, I do it but would prefer not to.
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#12
Wales
2,136 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
I definitely prefer casual but not Thomsons. I would prefer a mix of nationalities rather than just fellow Brits. I'd also prefer schedule flights rather than charter too.
#13
Guernsey
580 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
Originally posted by mypleasure
No chance of me ever getting on P & O as it stands currently.
Oh ditto.

My in-laws are going on P&O next year and I don't know how they will find it. Its pretty formal and they dress up but more smart casual to smart than really formal. It was the only line doing the cruise they wanted at the time they wanted.
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#14
Seascale,Cumbria,U.K.
5,746 Posts
Joined Dec 2008
Originally posted by mypleasure
For me and my husband it has been NCL all the way for us. We love the way they do things on their ships. No set dining times, no set dining companions and within reason no set dress code. Definately not a party boat a good mix of ages on all sailings and excellent service from the staff on board. The ships are amazing and entertainment is good. Thomson worries me with it's all inclusive add on. They might encourage the party crowd with that but I have not heard any bad reports of behaviour so far.

As things stand at present I have little interest in other lines but may one day take a Princess Cruise as they look good to me also. No chance of me ever getting on P & O as it stands currently.
Shame! I thought you might be joining us in the Red Sea, for a quiet drink in the smoker's corner! I'll let everyone know how our 1st all-inclusive with Thomsons goes-fully aware that it can't be quite like our NCL....I read that OV is pushing P&O's Ventura-obviously, seeing as they're both owned by Carnival, who won't want profits going to T or NCL. We've been with P&O-absolutely fine, but cannot cope with this "keeping the ambience of the ship" EVERYWHERE on formal evenings. I also haven't the patience to sit and talk thru' a 4 course meal with strangers any more-decided when I retired that I'd do my own thing, so informal it stays!-Jo.
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Jo.
20 cruises; 11 ships; 8 lines; 94 ports
#15
2,369 Posts
Joined May 2008
Originally posted by jocap
Shame! I thought you might be joining us in the Red Sea, for a quiet drink in the smoker's corner! I'll let everyone know how our 1st all-inclusive with Thomsons goes-fully aware that it can't be quite like our NCL....I read that OV is pushing P&O's Ventura-obviously, seeing as they're both owned by Carnival, who won't want profits going to T or NCL. We've been with P&O-absolutely fine, but cannot cope with this "keeping the ambience of the ship" EVERYWHERE on formal evenings. I also haven't the patience to sit and talk thru' a 4 course meal with strangers any more-decided when I retired that I'd do my own thing, so informal it stays!-Jo.
I looked at the Red Sea cruise you are going on specifically because you were going on it. I feel that we seem to have a lot in common and a similar outlook but it was the charter flights that killed it for me. I shall be very interested to hear how it goes for you for future reference as Thomson do some nice itineries. My neighbour is going with them in September but she is very vague about it as her sister is dealing with it all. I booked the Caribbean for my 50th celebration. Got free flights with airmiles and the cabin on the Pearl that I wanted.

It is the formal nights that kill P & O for me plus the enforced companions. I have endured a lot of mockery in my life from people who talk down to me because of my accent. Over the last 20 years I have developed quite an inferiority complex about it. Should I choose to tell people the level of my education and the degrees I have I often see stunned looks as if no one with my accent could possibly have any brains. Had an odd experience in the Mercedes dealer in Wolverhampton on Wednesday when I wanted to look at a car. The salesman really could not be bothered to talk with someone in a pair of jeans and a t shirt and was not really making any effort to show me the car. He was hmming and arring about allowing me a test drive when the service dept manager saw us and came rushing over. He knows we are good customers and he immediately answered my technical questions and then offered me his car for the next 5 hours to do as I pleased in as it was the same model. The salesman changed instantly and started fawning but too late! He probably sails P & O.

I will also admit that some of my P & O prejudice stems from the mother of a former work colleague. She was an utter snob and was only happy when she snagged herself a millionaire on one of her world cruises. I don't know what kind of a person he was only that every time he was mentioned his money was also mentioned.

It just doesn't sound like the sort of environment I would be comfortable in, I like to be comfortable and able to be myself. NCL suits me and him just great and we will stick with them until we run out of itineraries.
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Jean & Tony Morgan
#16
Vancouver BC
7,241 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Originally posted by Mokaheena
Even though I have only ever sailed RCCL, I still prefer to get dressed up and cruise as luxurious as possible. I feel traditional cruising needs to make a comeback. I like having assigned seating. I wish ballroom dancing would come back, and I wish they would do away with things like the belly-flop contest. I am all for wearing ballgowns and seeing my husband in a Tux on formal night.

By the way, I am 24 and my husband is 27.
Sounds like you need to take a cruise on Celebrity. I agree, I'd much rather have it more formal, and not see a baseball cap for a week.
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#17
Coastal North Carolina
5,499 Posts
Joined Dec 2005
I voted "other" only because to me some of the cruise lines listed aren't what I would call casual.

I don't really have an "other" as such. I just prefer casual with not a lot of formality. But I like the Royal Caribbean ships of the ones I've been on before.

Of course my first two cruises were the ultimate casual as they were on the now defunct Windjammer Barefoot Cruises. And I loved that the most of all! Also, I was 55 when I first sailed WBC, so this isn't about age. Now in my late 60s I still prefer laid back, wind in my hair, no make up, no dressy clothes casual.
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#18
Fox Point, WI, USA
3,681 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
Although I wouldn't call the evening entertainment "edgier", I love Oceania for the lack of formal nights and all open seating dining, among other things.
#19
Stafford, UK
441 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
Originally posted by LoisGriffin1
My concern with the British casual lines is that it would be full of drunk Brits. I have nothing to base this on (so am probably unfairly judging it) but I just prefer to go for lines who aim for a slightly older crowd than my age group. I am 25 and have been married 5 years. Party boats are of no interest to me.
You are mistaking casual cruising with Club 18-30 I think. The consensus of opinion is that outside of school holiday periods, the average age of Ocean Village clients is 50+.

The OV cruisers are as sober as any others, although I did witness one slightly tipsy person on the last trip - aged about 25 I would have said...
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#20
3,985 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
I am not overly fussed which type of cruise I go on. I like the casual way and the traditional way, so I go with itinerary, value for money etc first before the style in most cases.

The fact that casual is available has opened cruising up to so many more people is a great thing and should be encouraged, but by the same token those who love casual ought to try traditional at least once just to feel the experience, only then can an educated decision be made as to which a person favours the most.

First time cruisers should never feel put off by traditional, it really isn't as starched as it once was, and those of us who were brought up with traditional cruising should never be afraid to try casual cruising either...there is a niche for everyone and with the marketplace so huge nowadays, it really isn't hard to find the niche that you are comfortable in