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Open Roads Forum  >  RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions

 > Anyone gone on a Cruise?

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valhalla360

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Posted: 11/22/19 01:17am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We haven't done a caribean in several years...make sure to find out what the ship caters to and make sure to look at the cost of extras (drinks, upgraded eating option, excursions, etc...)...When you see a dirt cheap cruise, it's really easy to burn thru more than the cost of the cruise on extras because they will be hammering them hard.

Also, the stops are usually just enough to get the tiniest taste of the destination. Plus many of the ports are overrun with cruisers. It's not unusual for ships to dump 5,000-10,000 people off for the day at a single port and most Caribbean ports are fairly small cities.

Also, most Caribbean cruises won't have anything remotely "exotic" about the food. Quality can vary quite a bit...higher quality (and cost) the older the crowd and the fewer the kids but also the less the night life.

More recently had the opportunity to do a couple European river cruises (work related...life's good). Drastically different experience. Higher up front cost but a lot less pressure to buy extras. Meals are all sit down and very high quality. Wine is included with dinner. Each port there is an included excursion (decent quality). You can burn thru some extra cash if you spend a lot of time at the bar and sign up for the upgraded excursions but again, not the pressure. The really nice thing is, with only around 150 passengers per ship, even if there are a few ships in port, it doesn't overrun the place...plus you are typically dropped off right in the heart of the city so you can usually just get off and walk if you don't want to take an excursion. (while they do stop in the dead of winter, they continue usually thru Christmas and start up again by March)


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Posted: 11/22/19 03:18am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

i'm not a cruise person. the DW is currently on Caribbean cruise with family. i refused to go.
nothing about cruises interests me. stuck on a ship for days, only to be allowed to be on land for a few hours.
i love being on and in the ocean but not kept away from it. i also like being immersed in the local culture, which cruising doesn't allow enough time to do.
and the things i would want to do for fun, are not included, like scuba diving.


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Posted: 11/22/19 05:53am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks again everyone. That is all the information I was looking for, and some that I didn't know to think of. I will have my wife read all of this so she can take it in too. And yes I will be getting a balcony room. I like to have something to look at even if it is only water LOL

Keep all the suggestions and info coming!


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Posted: 11/22/19 05:56am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We have been on many,many cruises across most cruise lines. For the past several years, we go exclusively on Celebrity as the food,service and atmosphere is, in our eyes, superior to the others.


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Posted: 11/22/19 06:16am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We've done 8 or 9 cruises so far. Mostly on Royal one on Princess. Our next one is in May. We are the budget conscience types. We book the lowest price room, inside lower level. You will use the room for two purposes, sleeping and getting changed to go to dinner. Other than sleeping, we spend less than an hour a day in the room. Save the money for excursions!
Excursions .... there are basically two types. Fun and exciting like zip lining, horseback riding, 4 wheelers, Jeeps off road, snorkeling or sailing etc.
And then there are the tours. If you want to see more of the destination do a more cultural tour. These tend to have a tour guide giving an oral history of the area and pointing out landmarks along the way. Generally they will have a few stops along the way at interesting points like old Forts, Rum Distilleries, shopping areas, etc.
From your location it looks like you will have no choice but to fly to and from your cruise. If you are flexible with dates look for cruises that leave one port and finish in another port. They are generally cheaper because they lose the locals that want to drive to and from the port. Our May trip leaves from Ft. Lauderdale (Port Everglades) and ends in Bayonne NJ. The cost for a 12 night cruise for two was around $1500. One way flight cost us another $300. Still a very cheap vacation.


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Posted: 11/22/19 06:30am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

As you can see different cruise lines are like different hotel chains. Many of those lines are owned by one company, Carnival.

One thing that is important are the shore excursions. Do your research long before you get anywhere near a ship. The ships concierge will hard sell whatever they have an association with, mainly because typically a ship gets at least 35% commission on the excursion. Do your own research & you will find excursions not offered by the ship. Often you can find better excursions same money or ship offered trips for less money.


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Posted: 11/22/19 06:42am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We have been on at least 20 cruises over the years. Our best advice is to find a good travel agent to help you out. They have a wealth of information and can match you up with just the right cruise. Would never try to do it myself as I like having someone to go to with questions or problems. They know all the ins and outs of travel to help me out.


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Posted: 11/22/19 06:47am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Veebyes wrote:

As you can see different cruise lines are like different hotel chains. Many of those lines are owned by one company, Carnival.

One thing that is important are the shore excursions. Do your research long before you get anywhere near a ship. The ships concierge will hard sell whatever they have an association with, mainly because typically a ship gets at least 35% commission on the excursion. Do your own research & you will find excursions not offered by the ship. Often you can find better excursions same money or ship offered trips for less money.


Yes, you can find less expensive shore excursions without booking through the cruise line, BUT if you get back late, you may find an empty slip at the dock! RCI will work with the excursion to get you back to the ship before departing.

Something else that many don't include in planing, as I see your are in Illinois plan to arrive at the cruise port location at least one day before your departure. This will protect you from delayed flights. I can't tell you the number of times flying to South Florida, and have a flight delay, and people going crazy because they planed to arrive in the departure city 6 to 8 hours before denature, only to have a major flight delay. Keeping mind cruising outside hurricane season, is late fall winter and early spring, many land storms affect flights.


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Posted: 11/22/19 07:11am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Did my first cruise ever two months ago... Disney cruise to Alaska.

People told me that Disney is in the top ranking when it comes to cruising, and Wow! it was amazing. Service was amazing, dining was amazing for sit down meals - buffet was fine, the same as all buffet food, but with a large selection of different things. Service was, well, impeccable... if you ever needed anything or had a question, any Disney crewmember would immediately help you.

Wife and I were with family, which included a couple kids of my nephew, so we could "pretend" that we were with kids. But... as long as you like things Disney, you will enjoy it as an adult. YES, heavy on Disney - Princesses regularly in the main hall for pictures, you encounter Disney characters everywhere, Disney movies playing at all hours. But... 1 strictly adult lounge, 1 mostly adult "tavern", 1 mostly adult show theater. 1 top-tier restaurant, Palo, which is made clear that kids were allowed, but expected to behave. Plenty to do.

I guess we were just past the "season", but... the kids on board all seemed great. Everyone was well behaved from what I saw. Disney also has programs for different age groups that are supervised when the parents want to relax a little.

We did some shore trips... we went with Disney sponsored trips as this was our first cruise. Again, amazing. One of the guides mentioned about how strict Disney is, expecting everything to go smoothly and with top service.

Something to think about!

(expensive? Yes... as all things Disney, but as also with all things Disney a great experience)


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Posted: 11/22/19 07:20am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

rhagfo wrote:

....
Something else that many don't include in planing, as I see your are in Illinois plan to arrive at the cruise port location at least one day before your departure. This will protect you from delayed flights. I can't tell you the number of times flying to South Florida, and have a flight delay, and people going crazy because they planed to arrive in the departure city 6 to 8 hours before denature, only to have a major flight delay. Keeping mind cruising outside hurricane season, is late fall winter and early spring, many land storms affect flights.


We talked with people about this... and arrived a day early and stayed in a hotel room. Ask in advance about transportation to the dock... I can almost guarantee you they will have some sort of bus / taxi arrangements. On return, we also had a hotel room... not really sure that was needed, but it was nice to decompress a little before jumping on a flight.

And give yourself time for "boarding".... there will be a LOT of people at the dock. Don't Panic! There will be marked lines, people to help, people to answer questions, etc. The cruises do this all the time, so they can handle crowds. It might seem like a mess and you will never get on the ship, but the boarding will go surprisingly quickly.

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