Cruising is organized pretty much by demographics…
So, Carnival attracts a younger crowd… a lot of College Students and Young Couples. It can be a rowdy time.
Royal Caribbean & Norwegian… both compete for Young Marrieds and Families.
Celebrity… caters mostly to the 40 to 70 market… and those who a eye to a more pampered experience at a mid-range price (what the line calls “modern luxury”). There are fewer kids onboard, and a lot of attention is paid to Good Food, Wine, Cocktails, Spa, Workshops & Activities. This line is popular with many Cruisers UNDER 40 who are on their Honeymoons
Princess… caters most to the 50 to 80 market. They are somewhat similar to Celebrity.
Holland America… caters mostly to the 50 to 80+ market. They tend to be a lot more “reserved” than either Celebrity or Princess. And a lot less late night activity.
Mr TTR & I are semi retired (over 50) and our faves are Celebrity & Princess… altho I would also cruise on Royal Caribbean if they had an Itinerary I was interested in. RC would come in last solely because there tends to be more kids onboard… if I was to take an RC Cruise I’d time it so there wasn’t a school holiday / break.
Excursions on the majority of the Cruise Lines are virtually the same… they subcontract them out to “Brokers” in each port of call. They tend to be a bit pricier than DIY… but they are generally well organized and leave you worry free… AND THE SHIP WILL WAIT FOR YOU if there is a problem ashore on a Ship Sponsored Excursion… NOT SO on something you arrange yourself.
That isn’t to say not to go out on your own. Mr TTR & I have certainly done that on occasion. But we figure it out based on the Port of Call… and what we have in mind to do there. If we want to do something fairly active or complicated… then we book thru the ship generally.
ALASKA… An Alaskan Cruise generally tends higher in age, no matter what Cruise Line, Ship, or Sailing. A lot of people seem to put off getting to explore SEE Alaska until they are much older.
The downside to that theory is Alaska is rugged, and very much an outdoorsy YOUNG PERSONS Destination in the name of adventure… the younger & fitter you are the more you’ll be able to do / enjoy there.
So I wouldn’t let the age of your fellow Pax worry you too much. You probably won’t be spending oodles of time in the long run with them anyhow. (Besides more adventurous Daytime Activities… your Dining Arrangements can be suited to your Age Group / Interests as well)
I can answer many other Questions for you…
BUT I highly recommend that you start your research this way:
1- Check out the various Cruise Ship Websites. If you are not Cruising until July… order some Brochures / Catalogues. The Websites are good… but the books have even more info in them (especially in the small print sections in the back)
2- Check out Cruise Critic.com the # 1 resource on the Web for Cruisers… it is the sister Website to TripAdvisor which is for Trip Planning.
TONS of great info on CC… and lots of wonderful people too.
CC also has Reviews you can read… specific to each Ship, Itinerary, or Cabin.
You can find specific info out about each Cruise Line, Ship… even Sailing & Cabins.
Even go so far as to connect with fellow Passengers for a Sail Away Party – Officers Meet & Greet – or share a taxi or excursion expense that you wish to do on your own (check out / ask about the Roll Call for your Ship & Sailing)
And they have Forums / Boards where you can post Questions and get info from other avid Cruisers. Be it about your chosen Cruise Line – Ship – Itinerary – or just general Questions for First Time Cruisers.
As I say… a TON of great info to be found on CC
Hope this helps get you started… if you have any more Questions… just ask.