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Some Web sites lists HAL, Princess and Celebrity as primium cruise lines. However, most comments on CC speak of them as mass market (probably the best of the lot). We have cruised Princess and Celebrity with our first cruise on HAL coming in Jan, 2018
We want to upscale to the next level to see if we get value for the extra money. We are not completely sold on the idea of all inclusive. We may have 2 drinks a day each, so all inclusive booze means nothing to us.
We don't want to go to the top, just the next level. Is Azamara or Oceania the next step?

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Yes, they would be good choices. As for "drinks", AZ includes some alcohol in the base price and O, for the past while, offers a wine/beer with meals package as one of the O-life promotion choices so you could choose something else such as OBC or excursions.

AZ and O have the very same <700 pax small ships (though decoration and soft goods, china, etc are different) and O also has two newer, larger ships at <1300 pax. The big ones do not feel big and the small ones do not feel crowded.

Both good food and service. I've not sailed on AZ (tried three times but could not close the deal with AZ air complexities on promo some time back - maybe more consistent now) and I do like O. A friend who has sailed both does like AZ (leaving soon on a fire sale price)

Both have interesting itineraries so find something that interests you and try them out - maybe both :D. I do suggest findnig a TA that is knowledgeable on the lines as they can help sort out the details and provide you with best value and experience for what works for you.

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Many on the boards have been happy with Azamara & O.

Soem of us haven't had good experiences on O but it would technically be the next step.

Alternatively if you want premium, there are often sales on Crystal, Seabourn, etc.

I have also found different experiences on the different HAL ships. It seems that some provide a better experience than others. That's just my experience though.

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There is no totally correct term. If you Google cruise line classifications, you'll see that difference sources use different titles. For example, this one:

[URL]https://********************/cruise-line-types-figuring-out-what-the-different-categories-mean/[/URL] (the site is All things Cruise)

says that HAL, Celebrity and Princess are Premium. O and Azamara are 1 step up as Ultra-Premium. What I don't agree with this site, is they put Viking Ocean into the Ultra-Contemporary with RCI and NCL. In fact, I'm inclined to think that was a typo.

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