I have been an experienced cruiser on carnival lines and once on royal Caribbean. I have liked the "party" atmosphere on carnival compared to royal Caribbean... I'm now looking into European cruises to book for next year 2012 and wondering in anyone has advice on a ship... We are kind of looking for something different than Carnival.. I am 24 and wondering if there is an itinerary that still has a little bit of the party atmosphere... but where I can still enjoy Europe... Also, my husband and I are not really interested in the history that Europe has to offer, but more of the beaches, wine and relaxation... Any advice on which boat, itinerary or activities?
I think Carnival's reputation is to have more of that "party" atmosphere that you like than other cruise lines. Royal Caribbean and Princess are pretty similar to each other, and you may want to check Norwegian Cruise Line as well.
The atmosphere in general on Europe cruises is a little different than Caribbean cruises. There are so many stops in different ports, that you'll probably be spending more time off the ship on a European cruise than an eastern or western Caribbean cruise.
As for beaches, if the ports are anywhere near a beach, there will be excursions to that beach or beaches offered by the cruise line. Just check the geography of the places in which you're interested, to see if they're near water or are landlocked.
European cruises are more about the cultural aspect than beaches but there are some that will beaches you just have to decide what ports work for you
Any of the ships will work
Most people are gone all day then retire early to get ready for the next day of tours
Let me get this straight... you do not care about the history of Europe... just the beaches and wine. I can live with that. Kinda odd but it's your money. You will have no problem finding an itinerary that will fit your needs. You can look for the wine regions in Italy and France and look forward to the tasty ouzo stops in Greece. There are beaches throughout the Mediterranean (Santorini especially<---my favorite) and ALL of them offer alcohol and relaxation.
I wouldn't dismiss Carnival as a choice. We took their Eastern Med cruise on the Freedom and like said before, the Europe cruises take on a more somber tone than the Caribbean cruises (same is true for Alaskan cruises)
So I would venture to say booking a Carnival cruise would actually end up giving you the atmosphere you are looking for. Pick the cruise line that goes where you want instead of worrying about what the atmosphere will be on the ship. Our cruise was 11 ports in 12 days. You are in port all day and are exhausted by the time you get back on the ship.
How about looking into booking a Thomson cruise. This is a British cruise line with about 4 ships & a casual atmosphere. You'll find that gratuities are included and I believe that you still have singing waiters when you eat in the main dining room. I believe the Destiny & Celebration are nice ships to cruise on (but suggest you research carefully if you are interested in booking the Thompson Dream...some former passengers seem to think having an enjoyable cruise may depend on where your stateroom is situated.)
The other thing you might like about cruising with Thomson compared with some European cruiselines like Costa & MSC is that English is the main language onboard.