The wife & I want to take a CRUISE; the 411 please. - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 22 Old Oct 16th, 2008, 10:16 am Thread Starter
 
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Arrow The wife & I want to take a CRUISE; the 411 please.

We know NOTHING about this, and we don't want to waste our time and money obviously. Our best friends are also considering coming with us. (We've vacationed before, no problem.) A few questions...
  • What's the best value?
  • How many days/nights?
  • What ship? From where, to where?
  • All inclusive?
  • Got a website?
Thanks for any information...
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post #2 of 22 Old Oct 16th, 2008, 11:52 am
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Re: The wife & I want to take a CRUISE; the 411 please.

[QUOTE=messenger13]We know NOTHING about this, and we don't want to waste our time and money obviously. Our best friends are also considering coming with us. (We've vacationed before, no problem.) A few questions...
  • What's the best value?

    Check vacationstogo.com Very good deals if you can go at a short notice.
  • How many days/nights?

    We did a 10 day trip to Tahiti, For me any longer and I would have been in a straight jacket.
  • What ship? From where, to where?

    Norwegian has the best rating. We were happy with Princess.
  • All inclusive?

    More expensive, might be wort it if you drink a lot.
  • Got a website?

    http://www.vacationstogo.com/
Thanks for any information...
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post #3 of 22 Old Oct 16th, 2008, 11:56 am
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Re: The wife & I want to take a CRUISE; the 411 please.

Joe I have done MANY cruises so I can probably give some decent information that will be helpful including places to see, cruise lines to pick based on activities and food you like, and some great agents for booking based on the type of cruise you want to do (some do specialize in types of cruises). All cruises are for the most part all inclusive so don't worry about that.
The best forums for cruise info is www.cruisecritic.com
If you can gave give me some ideas of where you are thinking of going (Caribbean, Australia, Europe or ?).
Are you going to have kids with you?
Value is relative to levels of service and amenity levels so let me know if your a 2 star or 5 star traveler.

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post #4 of 22 Old Oct 16th, 2008, 12:25 pm
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Re: The wife & I want to take a CRUISE; the 411 please.

I've been on a cheapy out of LA down to Baja and it SUCKED. People smoking EVERYWHERE, a converted ferry without decent stabilizers, and a horrible port of call (Ensenada)

I've also been on Celebrity in Hawaii, which was freakin' awesome. The difference in price? $20K... you get what you pay for.
Make SURE YOU BOOK A TOTALLY NO SMOKING CRUISE.

I would stay out of the Caribbean - highly overrated no matter what line you are on. Thieves EVERYWHERE.

My favorite "cruises" have been bare boating a 38 foot Moorings sailboat in the Bay of California and leasing a barge (houseboat) in France. Nothing like being at the helm cruising through the locks of Southern France at 3 knots - sipping a delightful Puligny-Montrachet.
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post #5 of 22 Old Oct 16th, 2008, 12:35 pm
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Re: The wife & I want to take a CRUISE; the 411 please.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RonKMiller
I would stay out of the Caribbean - highly overrated no matter what line you are on. Thieves EVERYWHERE.
Ron considering I lived in the Cayman Islands and have done extensive travel to many islands there (and Central America) without ever being ripped off, I am wondering why you feel that way?

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post #6 of 22 Old Oct 16th, 2008, 12:46 pm
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Re: The wife & I want to take a CRUISE; the 411 please.

Only cruise I did was Alaska and I can't wait to go again. Going next year and I'm taking the family (daughter, 2 sons and the SOs). Went on Princess and they were great. 13 Days with the land tours.

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post #7 of 22 Old Oct 16th, 2008, 1:43 pm
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Re: The wife & I want to take a CRUISE; the 411 please.

We took a 7 day Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean in 1990. We were told that RC was above Carnival and below Norwegian in price and quality. The ship was not a new ship so it didn't blow us away with opulence but it was clean and the service was good. We had a good time especially for money spent. Not the same as an all-inclusive resort so plan on shelling out for tips at least. Total cost can be expensive depending on whether/how much you drink, gamble, shop and take off-ship activities. We were pretty frugal but I was astonished at the end of the week when I was standing in line to pay my "tab" to hear how much some folks dropped.

Since then the "quality" and value of the different lines may have changed so don't rely on my comments on brand.
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post #8 of 22 Old Oct 16th, 2008, 2:00 pm
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Re: The wife & I want to take a CRUISE; the 411 please.

My wife wanted to do a dream vacation with our girls before they turned into monsters (the teenage years). We did an inside strait, Alaskan cruise. The ship was a floating city, opulent, they waited on you hand and foot and we had a room with a balcony. Shows at night, Ben Vereen, the lead singer from Journey, etc. A casino, a mall, a gym, massages, you name it.

Sandy and the girls had a blast. I was one, totally miserable SOB. I don't like crowds, the Orientals on ship behaved the way that was natural for them, and I don't like crowds. I also don't like crowds. I don't like being told what to do, when to do it and for how long. I felt like a domestic farm animal.

Alaska is beautiful, smells good and I would go there again in a second. Not in a floating city, though. Maybe I ought to learn to ride a motorcycle?????



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post #9 of 22 Old Oct 16th, 2008, 2:18 pm
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Re: The wife & I want to take a CRUISE; the 411 please.

Joe, I can only speak from the Cruise we took earlier this year on Carnival.

We left Tampa on a 5 night 6 day cruise that had two ports of call, one at Cayman Island (great port of call) and one at Calica, Mexico which you have to take a 6 mile cab ride to Playa del Carmen (voted one of the top 10 beaches in the world by the Travel Channel).

We had 9 of our family members and there was plenty for all. If you are doing an adult-only cruise I would recommend another ship besides the Carnival Inspiration as it seemed a little more geared for the family. We took a cruise in early Feb and was over-run by blue-hairs!

It really depends on what ALL of you all are looking for in a cruise and where you want to go.

Good luck cause there are a lot of options.

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post #10 of 22 Old Oct 16th, 2008, 2:25 pm
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Re: The wife & I want to take a CRUISE; the 411 please.

Well, its like buying your first bike. Popular advice is to start small, see if you like it, then if you decide this is how you would like to spend your free time and money, go hog wild on a long trip with all the associated expense. You may find you will enjoy it more as the kids get older.

Trying out the smaller trip will tell you how much all the options mean to you. Like the cabin and what kind of time you want to spend at the stopovers. You may fine you want that upper level room with a view and never leave the boat. Or you could decide you can sleep in a cracker box in the bowels of the ship and spend all your days on deck or enjoying the side trips. I don't think you will know till you try.

As far as arrangements, I have a travel agent (and friend) I trust with that stuff and they specialize in cruises. If you don't know anyone like that and would like the info I can PM you with a name.
Good luck,

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post #11 of 22 Old Oct 16th, 2008, 4:03 pm
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Re: The wife & I want to take a CRUISE; the 411 please.

We've done one cruise out of Miami on Norwegian to the Western Caribbean in 2002. Ports of call were Grand Cayman, Roatan, Honduras, Belize City, Belize and Cozumel, Mexico. First and last days were at sea and we enjoyed sitting on deck reading and watching people. We've also done a 4 day 3 night on Carnival to the Bahamas out of Port Canaveral. What we liked best about Norwegian was that it was open dining and you could eat anytime during the posted open hours for the dining rooms and you ended up sitting with different folks everytime you went to eat. There were two other restaurants on the ship, that you could make reservations for just like on shore. The Carnival ship had two sittings for dinner, one at 6:30 and the other at 8:30 and it was always with the same people.

We enjoyed it enough that we wanted to do another but it is expensive and we just haven't done it. We'll be celebrating our 30th anniversary next year, so we doing an inside passage to Alaska on Royal Caribbean in May a couple of weeks before out actual anniversary. The only problem is going to dinner seatings, we're locked into 6:30 with the same 8 people for 7 nights.

A travel agent is going to be your best bet, but I don't have one I'd recommend. But I always check out the cruise line sites while we're deciding what we want to do.

Norwegian Cruise Line
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post #12 of 22 Old Oct 16th, 2008, 4:34 pm
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Re: The wife & I want to take a CRUISE; the 411 please.

Best advice I can give you is start your diet now, so your pants will fit for the flight back home (don't question it, just do it, you will thank me later )...oh and speaking of pants, remember on the last night of the cruise make darn sure you have the next day's clothes laid out, because they pick up your luggage during the night and what ever you have is what you wear out of your room. Ask my wife about it some time...she saw tan slacks hanging from the closet and thought they were hers.

Take pleanty of cash for tips at the end of the cruise for your waiter, wine steward and cabin steward. Always have a camera ready when you walk into your cabin at night. You'll understand when you get there.

Don't tell your wife but jewelry is a LOT cheaper on the islands and if you need a good watch (Rolex, Omega, Tag, etc) go to St. Thomas to the Swiss Watch Shop.

Carnival has our vote for fun, but you will need a couple of days after you get back to rest. A cruise is non-stop activity, eating, drinking and try to avoid the midnight feeding especially during desert night and pasta night.

Don't over pack. We always have about three times more clothes than we need.

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post #13 of 22 Old Oct 16th, 2008, 5:11 pm
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Re: The wife & I want to take a CRUISE; the 411 please.

Jerry, maybe the rules are different from cruise line to cruise line, but Carnival charges $ 10.00/day PP for ALL gratuities except the Metre De. Everything is charged to the FunnPass card that Carnival issues before boarding the big boat. No cash is used on the ship. All food and beverages (excludes soda and booze) are included in your fair.

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post #14 of 22 Old Oct 16th, 2008, 6:08 pm
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Re: The wife & I want to take a CRUISE; the 411 please.

Hey Brett,

You are probably right. Wife handled it the last couple, but I remember the envelope left on the bed and at our dinner table in the past. Ahhh the good ol days when you could tip what you thought it was worth...not that I have EVER had bad service on any cruise.

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post #15 of 22 Old Oct 16th, 2008, 6:40 pm
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Re: The wife & I want to take a CRUISE; the 411 please.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottydawg
Ron considering I lived in the Cayman Islands and have done extensive travel to many islands there (and Central America) without ever being ripped off, I am wondering why you feel that way?
I had a bad experience while sailing in St. Thomas - a "dock boy" offered to carry our groceries on board and I obliged him with a couple of bucks. He said he needed to use the head. I caught him with our watches - chased him down the dock and tackled him with the loot.

Notes to self:

1. Why would a dock boy being wearing a BRAND NEW PAIR OF SHINY LEATHER BASS LOAFERS that were two sizes too big?

2. Leave ALL jewelry at home in the safe. ALWAYS.

Also almost got nailed in a sting on the beach with a friendly ganja dealer in Jamaica. I was young and stupid, what can I say. Damn good thing I used to be able to run fast.

Last time I visited the Caymans there was only ONE hotel -The Holiday Inn - and LOTS of turtles:

Interestingly enough I had no problems during a recent visit to Nicaragua. I think the issue with the eastern Caribbean (and especially the Bahamas) is that so many Americans on vacation there tend to check their brains at home. Like shooting fish in a barrel.


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post #16 of 22 Old Oct 16th, 2008, 8:15 pm
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Re: The wife & I want to take a CRUISE; the 411 please.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RonKMiller
I had a bad experience while sailing in St. Thomas - a "dock boy" offered to carry our groceries on board and I obliged him with a couple of bucks. He said he needed to use the head. I caught him with our watches - chased him down the dock and tackled him with the loot.

Notes to self:

1. Why would a dock boy being wearing a BRAND NEW PAIR OF SHINY LEATHER BASS LOAFERS that were two sizes too big?

2. Leave ALL jewelry at home in the safe. ALWAYS.

Also almost got nailed in a sting on the beach with a friendly ganja dealer in Jamaica. I was young and stupid, what can I say. Damn good thing I used to be able to run fast.

Last time I visited the Caymans there was only ONE hotel -The Holiday Inn - and LOTS of turtles:

Interestingly enough I had no problems during a recent visit to Nicaragua. I think the issue with the eastern Caribbean (and especially the Bahamas) is that so many Americans on vacation there tend to check their brains at home. Like shooting fish in a barrel.
I will agree with you that Jamaica can be an issue for crime and it is the one place I skip booking (however it is beautiful there).
The Holiday Inn in Cayman is now a Ritz Carlton, amazing property! http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Proper...an/Default.htm

I spent two weeks in St. Thomas and St. Croix doing some sight seeing, scuba diving and cocktailing with nothing more then a backpack... I do agree there can be some stories there (just like here and everywhere) and I have one for ya, the US Department of Tourism sent a group to St. Croix to see what could be done to improve tourism there... they were mugged in Christianstead after dinner LOL. That being said I have been back to those islands 10 times and never had a problem.

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post #17 of 22 Old Oct 17th, 2008, 8:23 am
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Re: The wife & I want to take a CRUISE; the 411 please.

Quote:
Originally Posted by messenger13
We know NOTHING about this, and we don't want to waste our time and money obviously. Our best friends are also considering coming with us. (We've vacationed before, no problem.) A few questions...
  • What's the best value?
  • How many days/nights?
  • What ship? From where, to where?
  • All inclusive?
  • Got a website?
Thanks for any information...

If this is your first cruise we recommend Carnival Cruises.
Why?

1. Cheap prices.
2. Catch the boat out of Galveston (temporarily out of Barbours up the channel).
3. Very casual atmosphere, i.e. you don't have to figure out how to dress or act.
4. Very friendly and accomodating staff on-board, but they expect tips.
5. A lot of activities on-board, casino, clubs, passenger activities, live shows. Important to get the ships newsletter and carefully plan your activities for the day. So much going on you can't do it all. MAKE SURE you catch a couple of the broadway-like shows in the main amphitheatre.
6. Great excursions at port-of-calls.
7. Decent size state rooms.
8. Casual buffet style dining on the Lido Deck always open as an alternative to formal dining if you wish.
9. Formal dining dress is Sunday best, not black tie. The food is awesome. and the wait staff is entertaining. They make you have a good time.
10. People party all night and sleep all day which leaves plenty of space up top for romantic moments alone.
11. Carnival Cruise Line travel planners are most helpful and the same person stays with you from the first call to day of departure.
12. Go for an inside cabin on the Empress deck. A window or balcony is nice but you won't be in your room except to sleep and.... Besides, the inside rooms are so dark with the lights out that you will sleep like a baby. The empress deck will provide easy access to the whole ship at a better price than the top deck.
13. Do not pre-pay tips, you could get double billed. Everyone that helps you wants a tip. Your cabin steward gets at least a $50/person tip and that goes on the closing invoice.
14. And if this is your first cruise we recommend a short one, say 4 day/ 3 night. Just the right amount of time to get an idea of what you like and how to get around the giant boat. Makes you want to come back for more and you will know what you're doing the next time.
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post #18 of 22 Old Oct 17th, 2008, 10:45 pm
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Re: The wife & I want to take a CRUISE; the 411 please.

Hi, Joe. We've not been on a cruise, but will probably do one sooner or later. A man in my office is leaving Sat. morning for FL to go on a Disney Cruise with his family. He told me he's been on four cruises. The first was a 3 day/2 night on Carnival. He said it was nothing but a drunk-fest, people hooking up, slobbering all over, staggering down the passageways...sounds like your kind of trip, huh?

I believe Celebrity has been running ads for what they call freestyle cruising. Do what you want, when you want. Don't eat at a huge table full of people you're just thrown in with. Not a cruise for sheeple, maybe. Good luck with your choice.

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post #19 of 22 Old Oct 17th, 2008, 11:04 pm
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Re: The wife & I want to take a CRUISE; the 411 please.

Personally, I say find a destination you want to go to and go... not on a cruise. Once there, you can charter fishing boats, sailboats, whatever. A cruise to me is like paying someone to lock you up and take you where they want, drop you off in tourist trap towns for unreasonable amounts of time so you feel like you're rushing to get all the sights in. Each tourist area is basically the same no matter how exotic the destination, overpriced, bs goods. And while you're locked up, if you drink, it'll cost you dearly. Oh yeah, I guess they feed you for free, on there set schedule, and have shows of people and things you never would have paid good money to see otherwise. But the facade inside and around most cruise ships is spectacular and over the top, kinda like the strip in Vegas.

Sorry, but you said you didn't want to waste your money and I think they're a huge waste of money. And you asked for opinions.
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post #20 of 22 Old Oct 17th, 2008, 11:27 pm
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Re: The wife & I want to take a CRUISE; the 411 please.

http://www.starclippers.com/index_en.html
If you're going to go sailing, tall ships are the way.

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post #21 of 22 Old Oct 17th, 2008, 11:51 pm
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Re: The wife & I want to take a CRUISE; the 411 please.

Now that looks awesome!
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post #22 of 22 Old Oct 18th, 2008, 12:46 am
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Re: The wife & I want to take a CRUISE; the 411 please.

I've been on many cruises and my take on cruises is they are all good, some are just better than good.

Disney is one of the best, if not the best but you will dearly to be on a Disney boat. Another thing about Disney is no smoking, no gambling, and believe or not, really no kids as they are busy with activities since they will watch them from 8am to 12 midnight daily, also, they have adult only pools, beaches, restaurants, you name it.

My best advice is to start off with a short 3 to 4 day cruise and assess from there. I've been to the Caribbean 3 times and have never had any issues. We always get rooms with a veranda, this way I always have a place to kick back and look at the water, also make the tiny room, not so tiny feeling.

When ever you travel you should always keep your head up, eyes open and don't walk around like a drunken sailor and you should be fine.

Best of luck.

Michael
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