Royal Caribbean Cruiseline: Transatlantic vs. Mediterranean vs. Caribbean
For those of you new to my blog, first welcome! Get ready to learn all about my love for cruising! I started cruising when I was six years old and throughout the years, I’ve come to find out that no other vacation really beats cruising along the sea while you eat lots of food and meet new friends!
Like mentioned above, I’ve been cruising since I was really young and now at twenty-one I’ve been on many different cruises, cruise lines and different types of cruise trips. The one constant in my cruising career as always been Royal Caribbean (RCL). RCL, I have found, seems to have a good blend of everything from areas for babies to elderly single mingles. I love Royal Caribbean so much, I have a Diamond Plus status (which means I’ve been on over 170 nights onboard their ships) and I’ve realize that no matter the trip, it’s always the best time!
Now while I’ve been on other cruise lines such as Celebrity, Disney and Cunard, I haven’t been on that many on each of them that I can form a proper opinion about the different trips they offer. (Although I do have a blog post about traveling on Cunard for the first time coming soon.)
I was planning on writing this post a while back to tell you guys about my first Mediterranean trip and how it compared to the rest of the trips I’ve had onboard RCL but I actually just came back from an eight night Caribbean cruise which may have just changed my mind about cruising on shorter trips on the Caribbean.
So here is my comparisons of my time spent onboard Royal Caribbean’s different trips. Please remember that this is all my opinion and going on any cruise brings me joy no matter the duration or destination.
CRUISE SHIPS (In order of size from small to big)
Brilliance of the Seas,
Navigator of the Seas,
Liberty of the Seas,
Independence of the Seas(3x), (Most recent Transatlantic ship I’ve been on)
Allure of the Seas,
Mediterranean: Independence of the Seas, (Most recent Mediterranean ship I’ve been on)
Enchantment of the Seas,
Grandeur of the Seas,
Freedom of the Seas, (Most recent Caribbean ship I’ve been on)
Oasis of the Seas,
Allure of the Seas,
Transatlantic: Typically 12-15 days
Mediterranean: The only one I took was 14 days. But can typically be as short or long as 3 – 16 days.
Caribbean: These can be as short as 2 days to 12 days depending on where it leaves from and has to come back to.
Winner: Transatlantic because I love being on the ship for days upon days at sea and the longer the better.
DEPARTURES AND NATIONS ONBOARD
Where a ship leaves out of can have A LOT to say about the type of people that will be onboard and how the trip schedule onboard will be sorted.
Depending on the time of the year it is, if it’s springtime, it will typically leave out of somewhere in Florida such as Fort Laureldale, Miami or even Port Canaveral. If it is autumn, the ships will usually leave out of somewhere in Europe like Rome, Barcelona or Southampton.
Like I said before, because there are many different places it can leave out of and finish in, the people you can have on a transatlantic cruise can vary. I’ve only ever taken spring cruises which means that it will typically leave out of an American port which can sometimes mean there will be a good amount of Americans onboard (about 65-70%).
I’ve also arrived to many different places on a Transatlantic cruise which also alters the type of people that may be onboard for example this year I took a cruise that finished in Southampton meaning there was roughly around 35-45% of British people while the rest where mainly Americans and other European nations.
This meant that there’s always a good mix of the type of food and entertainment they had onboard in order to please everyone.
Leaves out of different areas in Europe including Southampton, Rome, Barcelona and more. However the one I took left out of Southampton and came back to Southampton which meant that the ship carried about 70% English people while another 15% was from other parts of the U.K and the rest of us were from all over the world.
This meant the schedules, meals and activities were all geared to what people from Great Britain would most enjoy, so they definitely had more British entertainment and food (like baked beans in the morning which I loved!).
Typically leaves out of Florida, but I’ve taken one that’s left out of Baltimore and my aunt has been on one that’s left out of New York. This usually means that the cruise will be about 70-80% American with the other 15-20% will be Canadian and the rest from other places around the world.
This means these cruises will be geared more towards Americans with the entertainment, food and activities they have onboard.
Winner (My personal favorite): Tie between Transatlantic and Caribbean cruises because I love the mix and getting a chance to meet people from other parts of the world but I also love spending time with fellow Americans as well.
TYPE OF PEOPLE ONBOARD
Like I said before these cruises tend to be a good mix between American and European/British people. However the type of people you’ll find on these trips are usually very frequent cruises mostly because only real cruisers enjoy being at sea with no port in sight for days (me being one of them).
This means that the very frequent cruisers are mostly adorable older couples with sprinkles of families with older children. So don’t be surprised to not find too many new cruisers or young families on these trips. However with being 21 myself, I have always loved these trips and I’ve always managed to find a good group of about 10-20 young people who range from 18-30 years old who I spent a lot of time with.
The people I’ve met on these cruises have become lifelong friends, for example I met someone on a Caribbean cruise who came with his mom and he decided to come with her on a Transatlantic that I was also booked on and I definitely got to know him better and now I know we’ll be besties forever.
The benefit of these cruises is the amount of time you have with the people around you and the new friends you make because theres no rush to go to ports and time limit is much larger. Like I said before I am still very good friends with so many people I’ve met onboard Transatlantic cruises. (I was even invited to be a bridesmaid of a girl I met nine years ago that I’m still very close to now.)
Like mentioned before, I’ve only taken one and it was nearly 90% British and it was so much fun getting to know so many Brits that I even started talking like them (any one have a flat I could rent?).
The type of people onboard were mostly older British people that were older than my parents and younger than my grandparents ages with a good amount of frequent cruisers which, I think, is because of how long the trip was (14 days).
I found that the British were less inclined to go out and party on the nights before a port day. Although there were some good nights full of dancing and laughs, do not expect a great turn out to the club but be ready to make friends and have fun with the group you have. I also found a good group of about 15 young people who ranged from 18-35.
I met some really great and wonderful group of people, young and old who I could talk to all the time and party with and since we had so much time together it was nice to kick back and really get to know them with no rush.
With the exception of one I took back in 2010 that was 12 days and had barely any young people, Caribbean cruises will almost always be filled with Americans and always have a really great amount of young people, young families and all around people just wanting to party all the time no matter if there are port days or not.
Usually I don’t enjoy Caribbean cruises because it can become a booze cruise with lots of young people, so it can be hard to find new friends to hang out with and get close to.
However I just came back from an INCREDIBLE eight night cruise and honestly it might have been one of my favorites this year. Even though I only had a short amount of time compared to other trips this year, I loved spending time with my American/Canadian crew till the early hours of the morning and I loved that these people were always up to dance no matter what. I honestly, now would love to take more of those trips in the future.
Winner: This was so tough to decide that I went with a three way tie because cruise friends are the best friends.
Transatlantic: Typically not that bad of a price depending on when you get the tickets, what cruise ships it is (older ships tend to be cheaper), and how out of season these trips are (which is almost 80% of the time).
Mediterranean: More expensive because these trips tend to only be available from May to October. (And if you leave out of the area like myself, then you have to take flight tickets into consideration.)
Caribbean: Usually the most expensive depending on the week you decide to go and if you book it last minute (which sometimes tends to be cheaper).
These cruise ports can be as different as having no ports to only having some in the Caribbean to only have some in the Mediterranean before it its its final port.
This can be fun and exciting because you can kinda get the best of both worlds here but it all depends on what you want.
Mediterranean: Can differ between different ports but the one I took went to:
Caribbean: The ones I’ve been on have gone to:
Puerto Rico, (look out for a new blog post about the first cruise coming back to puerto rico because I was on it)
Labadee (RCL private island area)
Winner: This truly just depends on what type of trip you want and crave, so I really couldn’t pick one because I have enjoyed them all.
Overall I have to say, cruising is an amazing experience and the friendships you make onboard are different and sometimes can be more special than other relationships with people on land because people on cruises see you at your happiest and lightest self and along with spending so much time with them it’s almost like you’ve been friends for years.
So I want to dedicate this post to all the amazing and wonderful people I’ve met on cruises, you guys have truly brought so much happiness and spectacular moments that I will never forget.
I hope you enjoyed my comparisons of my experiences onboard Royal Caribbean’s different trips. Thank you for reading and I hope this post helps you choose the best cruise for you and be sure to comment below what cruises you’ve been on or if you plan to take one soon!