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 > Anyone gone on a Cruise?

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happy2rv

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

Tvov wrote:

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. ...


... 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. ...


Good advice. Also, consider travel insurance. It's available through the cruise line or third parties like Travel Guard. We don't always get it, but on "big" trips we do. If you book your flights and cruise separately, you will probably want a third party. Coverage is available and varies in price based on "covered" cancellation reasons. Only thing worse than getting sick and missing your trip is missing your trip and losing everything you paid for it. It can also cover some hopefully less likely situations like transportation to catch up to the ship or return home if you are left behind in a port.

There's also traveler's health insurance. Many health insurance providers, including Medicare, have reduced or no coverage outside the US. Most of these also provide some coverage if you have to be air lifted from the ship or a foreign port due to health reasons. I believe some insurers offer combined trip and health insurance. You're relatively young and hopefully healthy, but you just never know what can happen. Our son, around 7 or 8 at the time, had a relatively bad rapid onset upper respiratory problem on an Alaska cruise. It didn't require evacuation, but even at trip to the ship's doctor was expensive. The travel insurance for all 3 of us was less than what we paid for that trip to the ship's doctor even after our insurance paid "out of network". The travel insurance repaid us for those expenses.

With regards to the hotel transportation. We've done the hotel bus transportation before in Miami and looked into it in Port Canaveral. It's been our experience that almost none of them offer free shuttles. It's also been our experience with 3 of us it's usually cheaper or almost the same expense to take an Uber or taxi from the hotel to the port and FAR more convenient. Others may have different experiences, but ours has been the shuttles are usually chaos. Everyone sitting around with their luggage trying to coordinate which bus they are going to put you on waiting while the bus leaves without you, but you'll be on the next bus...


Ed Gee wrote:

Original Poster - suggest you find and spend some time reading posts on the forum, " Cruise Critic ". It is a wealth of inside information from those who cruise frequently.
https://www.cruisecritic.com/reviews/


Agree cruise critic is a great resource. Spend some time on their boards: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/. There's a wealth of information regarding every aspect of cruising.

schlep1967 wrote:

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!


This is not our experience. Many people share schlep's point of view, but we spend far more time in our room than this. Possibly because we never get the lowest rate inside room. We have had almost every other category of room except the "extreme" suites (owner's suite, family suite, etc). Room sizes vary by ship and category. Older ships tend to have smaller rooms compared to equivalent categories of rooms on newer ships. As one might expect, room sizes increase with category increases. I don't think I could take a week in an inside cabin, but some people do view their room as only a place to sleep/change and that might be fine for them. We probably spend a couple of hours a day in our room on Caribbean cruises. We're there to relax and get away from it all. We're not the pool party type and while the solarium can be nice, it's often difficult to find a free chair, especially on sea days. We often lounge in our room or balcony. There are amenities to suite categories that make it worthwhile to some. In addition to the larger/nicer room, they usually come with concierge service, many times reserved seating at shows, and a suite lounge.

What constitutes concierge service varies by cruise line, itinerary, and length of cruise. However, it almost always includes separate priority check in in at the port. It may provide priority access to tenders for any ports this applies to. For those that may not know, tenders are small boats that ferry passengers from the ship to the pier and back in ports that aren't deep enough for the cruise ship to dock at. Yes there are still tender ports even in the Caribbean. Amazingly enough, many of the cruise line's "private" islands are tender ports and as you might imagine, it can take a while to ferry passengers to shore when everyone wants off at the same time. The lounge usually provides pre-dinner hors d'ouvres and drinks at no extra charge whether you have an all inclusive drinks package or not. The lounge is usually always available for a quiet get away, but the
"free" food and drinks are usually only offered a few hours around dinner time(s). They also often have breakfast pastries and juice in the morning. I certainly don't consider myself a snob and I don't think most who know me would either. I had to go lookup how to spell hors d'ouvres [emoticon]. We rarely take full advantage of the concierge services, but sometimes the services are nice and sometimes I think they are worth the cost, especially on a special occasion. The buffet can be extremely crowded, especially for breakfast. Sometimes its nice to be able to go to the lounge and get away.


One thing to consider when choosing a cruise line is dinner service. A lot of cruise lines have moved to flex seating where you don't have an assigned table or dinner time, but a lot haven't or they have a mix. Many cruise lines still have an early and late seating with an assigned table. This used to be one of our favorite things about cruising but it rarely is anymore, especially in the Caribbean. When we started cruising, it was pretty much standard for all cruise lines to have assigned seating at large tables. We've met some really nice people over the years. Fifteen plus years later, we still communicate with some of our table mates from our first cruise, an Alaska cruise. We've never had that kind of a connection with table mates from a Caribbean cruise, but we have met some very interesting people and shared many enjoyable evenings with our table mates. Eating with the same group of people every night for a week gives you a chance to get to know the group. Sometimes that's a good thing and sometimes not... For cruise lines that do assigned seating, early seating is usually around 6:00pm and late is usually around 8:00. Early seating usually fills up relatively quickly. So, if you have a preference, make your reservations as soon as possible and request early seating when you make the reservation. If only late seating is available, you may be able to request a change on board if you seek out the maitre d (had to look that one up too) early in the day on your first day. This is another of those suite amenities. If you're staying in a suite, they will almost always accommodate your requested dinner seating working through the reservation system or your travel agent.


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TxGearhead

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Posted: 11/22/19 07:48pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I might could do an Alaska cruise. I have no interest in visiting 3rd world countries. I tried to get the wife interested in aEuropean River cruise. She wasn't too motivated.
I've done cruises in the Pacific. Had to salute a lot.


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dodge guy

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Posted: 11/23/19 06:27am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks again everyone. Lots to do. We are looking forward to a cruise. We've been to Jamaica and that was OK. We went in November but the weather was chilly and I didn't really enjoy it that much, my wife didn't care and loved it! So more research and we found out December-April is the time to go. I'm leaving this up to my wife. She is liking planning these kinds of trips and I love planning RV trips.


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Tvov

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Posted: 11/23/19 06:46am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We got a balcony room for our Disney / Alaska cruise, mostly because it was our first cruise and I figured we'd splurge.

It was great! We were out on the balcony every day for awhile.

Having said that... I can understand, after going on a few cruises, why people would want to save money by getting an inside cabin.


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rhagfo

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Posted: 11/23/19 07:24am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Tvov wrote:

We got a balcony room for our Disney / Alaska cruise, mostly because it was our first cruise and I figured we'd splurge.

It was great! We were out on the balcony every day for awhile.

Having said that... I can understand, after going on a few cruises, why people would want to save money by getting an inside cabin.


Some feel that they don't spend enough time in the room to get a balcony.
Personally rather than having to deal with getting a chair on deck, just much easier to just sit on the balcony.


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Posted: 11/23/19 10:04am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Tvov wrote:

We got a balcony room for our Disney / Alaska cruise, mostly because it was our first cruise and I figured we'd splurge.

It was great! We were out on the balcony every day for awhile.

Having said that... I can understand, after going on a few cruises, why people would want to save money by getting an inside cabin.

My wife probably isn't unique in the fact that she takes for-stinking-ever to get ready. Day or night, that balcony paid off in spades. I could sit out there and read a book while she got ready and I never got uptight.


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Acampingwewillgo

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Posted: 11/23/19 11:22am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

After being on a few cruises, you will find that at times the ports of call will make little difference. I've taken Mexico cruises so many time, there are ports I don't get off the ship...( Advantage of living in So. Calif).

I also agree about your room, yes you can spend a small fortune on outside cabins, balcony room and suites...but this is totally up to you and your comfort level.

As stated before go to vacations to go website just to get an idea of discounted cruises...they have some outrageous deals. Have fun!!!!


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dodge guy

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Posted: 11/23/19 05:09pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

OK. Well my wife booked the cruise today! When she gets the bug to do something she follows through with it. Went with Royal Caribbean on the Symphony of the Seas 7 night cruise in early Feb. Booked an outside balcony room. Leaving from Miami, then Cozumel, Routan Honduras, Puerto Costa Maya Mexico, Perfect Day at a Cococay Bahamas and then back to Miami, there are 2 days at sea.

Thanks everyone for all the help and info. It was very helpful and insightful.

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Posted: 11/23/19 08:47pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

dodge guy wrote:

OK. Well my wife booked the cruise today! When she gets the bug to do something she follows through with it. Went with Royal Caribbean on the Symphony of the Seas 7 night cruise in early Feb. Booked an outside balcony room. Leaving from Miami, then Cozumel, Routan Honduras, Puerto Costa Maya Mexico, Perfect Day at a Cococay Bahamas and then back to Miami, there are 2 days at sea.

Thanks everyone for all the help and info. It was very helpful and insightful.


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valhalla360

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Posted: 11/25/19 01:14am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

happy2rv wrote:


schlep1967 wrote:

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!


This is not our experience. Many people share schlep's point of view, but we spend far more time in our room than this.


Some of the room choice is based on the type of cruise.
- Alaska cruises...it's all about watching the scenery pass by. Moving up to a balcony can make a lot of sense.
- Caribbean...they usually travel at night, so not nearly as much to gain.
- River...They often raft the ships 2-4 deep...if you are on the side adjacent to another ship, doesn't matter if you have a balcony, you still are looking at a window literally 2ft away, so not much point in getting a balcony.


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