Which Cruise Is Right for You?
Health & fitness retreat
$ If you don't want to shell out for a fitness cruise, sail to the western Caribbean, where you can choose an adventure like snorkeling, scuba diving, horseback riding, or biking. Carnival offers the best options in this area. carnival.com.
$$ Royal Caribbean's Freedom, Liberty, and Independence of the Seas each have healthy menu options, a gym and spa, a surfing simulator, a jogging track, an ice-skating rink, a boxing ring, and a rock-climbing wall. royalcaribbean.com.
$$$ On Star Clippers' ships, you dock in small, exotic ports with recreational options that include hiking up volcanoes and cycling through vanilla plantations. Onboard fitness classes include yoga and aerobics. starclippers.com.
$ Cruises to Alaska and British Columbia offer sophistication (Vancouver and Victoria) and nature (all around you). During shoulder season, you can nab a bargain for around $100 per person per day. Princess and Holland America have the best options. princess.com, hollandamerica.com.
$$ Big-time celebrations call for big-time ships: The Queen Mary 2, which crosses the Atlantic, has a planetarium, a pub, and Canyon Ranch's only cruise spa. cunard.com.
$$$ French Country Waterways and European Waterways offer trips on barges that meander along canals in France. Days revolve around meals, bike rides, winery visits, and watching the countryside go by. fcwl.com, gobarging.com.
Single girls' get-together
$ Carnival Cruise Lines—known to many as the "party hearty" line—has a terrific selection of three- and four-night voyages to destinations like the Bahamas (from Florida ports) and Ensenada, Mexico (from Long Beach, Calif.). carnival.com.
$$ Book a shorter cruise on a line that might otherwise be a budget buster. Celebrity Century sails four- and five-night trips in the Caribbean and has fully equipped fitness facilities and an elegant ambience. celebritycruises.com.
$$$ Mediterranean itineraries are popular with European travelers, so the onboard experience provides cultural immersion—and, potentially, cute men aplenty. MSC and Costa, lines that channel Carnival's celebratory mood, have ships that sail the Mediterranean. msccruisesusa.com, costacruises.com.
$ No time? Norwegian Cruise Line offers one- and two-night voyages out of New York that don't have any port calls. They do have restaurants, spas, and entertainment (you can catch a Second City comedy show on Norwegian Gem). ncl.com.
$$ Get a grand experience for less by taking a repositioning cruise (see "Choosing Your Cruise"). Princess, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Carnival all offer these one-way trips. In October, for example, Carnival Splendor sails from Rome to Fort Lauderdale. carnival.com.
$$$ Norwegian Cruise Line's Pride of America sails round trip from Honolulu. The ship has spas, restaurants, and a Hawaiian cultural center, but the island stops—including Maui, the Big Island, and Kauai—are the real stars. ncl.com.