Rating the Best Cruise Line Websites Per Lifestyle
Image via Carnival Cruise Line
As an art major, I studied graphic design, photography and video in college, and much of my focus professionally thereafter was centered around web design specifically. So, I know a thing or two about what makes a good web site, and some cruise lines have better ones than others. Here are my favorites, one from each lifestyle category, based first and foremost on the KISS principle for good design – that is “Keep It Simple Stupid,” free of cluttered content.
Standard ~ Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Cruise Line’s homepage follows KISS to the letter with a singular central graphic featuring its current promotion, a nav bar with only three buttons and iconic sub-navigation, a clearly marked cruise search tool and lower hierarchy items positioned smaller in size above and below. Details are easily accessible by quickly dialing in the menus, and the cruise finder narrows in on sections with beautiful photographs and clever overlaid graphics that indicate roundtrip itineraries or one-way sailings. Plus, the site functions perfectly on mobile devices as well, eliminating functions only accessible on the desktop site.
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Premium ~ Holland America Line
At first glance, Holland America Line’s homepage is handsome thanks to a full-width photo slider that accurately scales with the browser window and a cleanly divided navigation bar at the header. The layout gets a bit more complicated from there, but the built-in power of the site’s newest tools are so robust that one doesn’t mind as much. New destination guides are populated in partnership with AFAR that is wonderfully photo-driven and specific to regional ports. Powering the new content and filtering cruise choices all the while is the integrated Utrip platform that assists in profiling personal preferences.
Upscale ~ Azamara Club Cruises
Azamara Club Cruises has gone through a number of iterations of its website but has settled on an expertly responsive design that scales naturally from mobile devices to desktop computers, dramatically laying out its image-based navigation regardless of screen size. The brand is instantly conveyed, by way of social media photos as well, while maintaining ease of internal information and page access. The result is both very clean and powerful. Even voyage listings are nicely legible with alluring thumbnail images, casual sans-serif typography and simple port, date and price details.
Luxury ~ Silversea Cruises
Silversea Cruises is another website that perfectly presents its luxury brand with an elegant black-and-white grid layout that scrolls through a series of color photos that effectively pop from the background while pertinent navigation buttons always frame the window. Search results aren’t quite as attractive as just a text listing but are at least easily filterable, especially helpful for a line that remarkably goes to a plethora of international destinations among its ocean and expedition fleets. Even the microsite dedicated to its forthcoming Silver Muse ship finely highlights its videos, renderings and future sailings.
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