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Thinking about going on a cruise...

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
It's something I've wanted to do for a long time and I would like to go in January of next year. We're totally new to cruising, and will be travelling with our two teenagers who will be 15 and 17 at the time. Carnival seems to have the best rates, and I have been reading reviews and they're mixed, but that seems to be the norm with all cruise lines. Has anyone here ever travelled on Carnival? Is it worth it to travel on Royal Carribean or Celebrity instead? I like the itinerary of Carnival's western Carribbean cruise and some of the shore excursions look really interesting.

I'd be interested in hearing what you guys have to say about cruises...
OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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post #2 of 10
I have been on dozens, my opinion Carnival the Cheapest and WORST I 'll stick with NCL and Celebrity. NCL is the most casual and friendliest. Princess for the money, way overrated.
The prices you see are not the true prices. You must add $12.50 per person per day gratuity. Everything in the different dining rooms is a surcharge. Like chinese or italian rest is plus $15.00 pp .or steakhouse $25.00pp. Trip insurance is also optional, as is parking. Here in Florida $20.00per day. With 2 boys plus yourselves not exactly cheap. Start saving now.! Another point Shore ex. are not worth what they charge, you can do it on your own for a lot less. Keep in mind that the biggest $ maker to the cruise line besides liquor is excursions.:chef:
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post #3 of 10
Never been on one but I have talked to people when I was in Hawaii that cruised there. The best advice they had for me was make sure to buy the unlimited drinks ticket. otherwise they seemed to have mixed feelings about having formal dinner nights (black tie) assigned dining room seating and the ship schedule.
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #4 of 10
On NCL Leisure style means you can eat at any time you want either in DR or buffet(which I like best) No formal dress . Do whatever you want whenever you want.Thats why I like NCL
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post #5 of 10
We took a Celebrity cruise on the Solstice in November. It was wonderful- the best service EVER- and we had two very, very good cruises on the Coral Princess. The food was excellent, too, and the ship was very well-designed. There were 3,000 people on board but you never had the sense that you were in such a large group.

If this is a first cruise, a Caribbean one would probably be cheapest. As someone else said, Carnival wasn't a good experience for us- but neither was the very large RCCL ship we were one for a short cruise. I hear things are better now....

I advise seeing a travel agent who specializes in cruises or does a whole lot of business with cruises. Ask if about the median age of cruisers for a particular ship. Ask about how the ship handles unruly teens (not that your guys are!) but they do run free on the ship during the night causing havoc on some lines that don't "police" underage passengers very well. Look for a good activity program, too.

Good luck!
Mezz
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post #6 of 10
I've been on Holland America, Royal Caribbean, and NCL and they are all fantastic cruise liners. Some people enjoy Carnival but many others I know hate them with a passion. I've heard everything from great courtesy to astoundingly bad customer service so they're not consistent so I'd stay clear.

RC is very family oriented with great customer service. Their ships are beautiful to say the least but usually with minimal onboard activities when compared to say Carnival, again because they are family oriented.

Holland America is much the same as RC but with higher standards that cater to the retired and elderly. Their service is over the top and their cabins are slightly larger by comparison to any of the other cruise liners I've travelled with.

NCL also family oriented but very casual with their "freestyle" approach like with their dinning. You can show up to the dinning room at whatever time after their doors open with no dress code. Service I found is equal to Royal Caribbean since NCL is an independent company with a very small market share where Carnival is absolutely huge (roughly 50% of the cruise market belongs to Carnival). Note for single travellers, NCL's new Epic will offer single cabins, the only cruise liner I know of that is tapping into the singles market where everyone else charges a single supplement anywhere from and additional 50% to 100%.
post #7 of 10
I have never been on a cruise, but I would guess that the old motto, "you get what you pay for" would apply. Why can Carnival offer cruises much cheaper than other lines? Chances are they cut corners and find ways to charge you for things during your "all inclusive" cruise. Most peope I know, who are first time cruisers, or only cruise Carnival absolutely love it (with exceptions), but those that have experienced other lines, then try Carnival have seem disappointed.

Cruising on one of those big, "luxury" liners has ever really appealed to me. When I finally go on a cruise I want to do it a little more intimately, on one of the many windjammer cruise ships plying the Caribbean waters. Smaller boat, fewer guests, the ability to pull into smaller harbors sound much more exciting to me than spending my time in a floating hotel, but that is just me.
post #8 of 10

Pete

Most major cruise liners have smaller midsized ships considering all of them have invested in huge megasize cruisers. I found these midsized ships, usually around the 2000 guest mark, is that sweet spot for me. The ship isn't crowded to the point where you can do a 2 week cruise and still see new faces and intimate enough for me to meet new people and link up with them for a night cap or an excursion. My mother was onboard the Princess Caribbean and she didn't like it at all, it was an over 3000 guest size ship. The showers were so small, dropping anything means you would have to get out of the stall to get it.

I have little desire to cruise on these mega cruise ships. Maybe just to try and experience on like a 7 day cruise.
post #9 of 10
when I moved down here thirty years ago, area was starting to get cruise ships on a regular basis. now in the summer we often have four or five big ships a day. not as crazy as it might sound, some come in very early and leave early afternoon. Others come in as they leave and stay into the evening. so at any time there are probably two or three.
have had a few jobs around town where I had time to visit with the travelers.
this last summer, worked the dock for one of the small tour companies--they offer several tours up into the fjiords and to some of the historic and Native American village.
there are also kayak trips, zip lines, floatplane trips, several bus tours and more.

I would say pretty consistently that I hear more complaints about Celebrity and Carnival. NCL, RCC, and Holland seem to get the most raves. Not a lot of opinions about Princess, Shore Exs were great to work with and passengers seemed to be content?? Understand they are expensive.

As far as excurisions go, I understand the prices here are the same on the dock or the ship. and, since they are many times sold out on the ship, there is not an option. so I would say if it is a tour you really want to take, reserve when you reserve your trip? We always had a few very bummed people who thought they would save money by buying here.

before the heightened security, when the ships were passing through at the end of the season, locals could go aboard for lunch and tour. I found Holland and NCL very impressive. Princess, incredible, but just too darn big?

I know very little about the food service and pricing. had a couple of coworkers who worked the galleys on NCL and were very proud of their jobs. on the dock this summer, heard several complaints about sloppy service and presentation on Carnival and Celebirty.

with sons that age, am sure they will find plenty to do to keep entertained? Have a super time!!
Nan
post #10 of 10
will be interesting to see the fares this year?? there were some real bargains last summer. because of that ships were running pretty full.

several ships will not run in here this year, so guess fares will be up a bit??
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