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Old 02-01-2004, 10:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Location: Ohio
Carribian/Bahamian Cruise

My wife and I will be going on a week long cruise for our first anniversary this Sept. We've got the $$ for a 7 night cruise, based on what we've seen on orbitz, expedia, travelocity, priceline.

We are 24 and 25 years old, no kids. We've ruled out disney cruise lines because we figure there will be too many damn kids.
We've found the iteneraries we like, and it doesn't seem like it will be hard to pick what we want. I still do need some help though...

My questions to you learned peeps are as follows:

I've never been on a cruise; I have no idea which cruise lines are "better" than others.

We see plenty of online travel advice sites, but they seem to be run by travel companies. If any of you could offer experiance based advice that'd be great.

Has anyone used a travel agent, as opposed to clicking and pointing to purchase the cruise?

Thank you for any advice you can give. Thanks.
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Old 02-02-2004, 05:18 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Location: NJ
Cruises just aren't for me, but you may be different. I don't like them because you spend a lot of time on the ship and don't really get to experience the places you visit for very long.

Most itineraries have you spending anywhere from a few hours to almost a day at any one port. The ship generally gets into port in the am and then a whole mass of passengers engulf the island. Places close to the dock get swamped with people, so if you want to avoid the crowds (and get away from the worst of the touristy chintz that's sold) get as far from the dock as possible.

As far as good cruise lines, I've been on Norwegian and they seemed to be very good. My family is very cruise oriented and among my cousins, aunts, uncles, sisters, mother, etc they've hit all the lines. They say Carnival is ok but quality is a little worse than the others. Disney is supposed to be really good (but you've already nixed that). Princess is another they really like and Holland America they said was very nice.

One tip I can give is to try to plan your own excursions. The cruise's trips are overpriced and generally not with the best providers on the island. Making plans on your own will save you money and give you better experiences than the typical cruise alternatives. To do it, check out the island's websites or go to this site (sorry to the TFP for pointing to another site but this place is a great resource for those interested in cruises)

http://cruise-forums.com/forums/list.php?f=67

Daytime activities on the cruise I went on were limited. Hanging out by the pool was the biggest daytime past time and getting lounge chairs could be dicey (so get up early and snag a couple). Night time was great, comedy/dance/other shows to pick from, karaoke, clubs, the casino, etc.

Hope you have fun and good luck with the arrangements!
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Old 02-02-2004, 11:45 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I would use a travel agent. If you are going to spend the amount of money on a cruise. Do not use the Internet. A Flight is one thing, but a cruise is another.

Also, try and get a room in the center of the boat. The boat movement is a lot less in the middle. Also, try and spend the extra money and get a room with a balcony. It is definitely worth it.

Finally, when you talk to your travel agent, ask them when you can book the shore excursions. They fill up quick and you can book them before you get on the ship. These tips can make the difference in having a fun cruise or a decent cruise. The best part is enjoy it.
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Old 02-02-2004, 07:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Location: Ohio
Disney = kids.

Kids = baaaad, bad, loud, whiney, annoying, rude; and, that's just thier parents!

I thank you.



A room in the center of the boat, that has a balcony, would be on one of the upper levels. That's where the suites are. I don't have the "bling" for one of those. I suppose I'll take some drammamine.
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Old 02-02-2004, 08:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Location: Detroit, MI
Budget - Mid
Carnival: "biggest bang for the buck" - in the low/midprice range you get the largest cabins afloat, very good food, enormous casinos and a wide diversity in non-stop entertainment.

Norwegian: NCL attracts many first time cruisers seeking a low- to mid-price cruise vacation. A major change is the switch to open seating dining, allowing you to dine when and where you like.

Mid - Premium
Celebrity (Great Food): "Ships for people seeking the finer things in life" with the signature "Michael's Club" cigar lounge plus martini and champagne/caviar bars, the elegant Cova Cafe and, on board the millennium-class ships, a music library chess area and floral conservatory. Upbeat atmosphere with the traditional casino, floor shows, lounges for cabaret and piano bar.

Princess: First mid-price cruise line to offer a large number of cabins with private balconies (Royal Princess) and its mega-liners are the best in terms of upscale ambience, extensive facilities and ease of finding one's way around. Instead of crowding everyone into a huge dining room, there are two or three smaller restaurants with etched glass partitions, giving a more intimate dining experience. The larger ships offer two main show lounges so there's always a choice between Broadway-style revues or cabaret. More outside cabins and suites with private balcony than others in its price range.

Royal Caribbean: "Romantic ships", popular with honeymooners and anniversary celebrants. Some of the top entertainment -- including "name" performers - rooms are somewhat smaller compared to rest in class. Make the biggest cruise ships in the world.

Luxury
Crystal: Big cabins, great food, big ships, more days at sea to be pampered.

Radisson: highest levels of service you'll find in the luxury end of cruising. The upscale Spas on board are operated by Carita of Paris. Affluent, older passengers.

Ive gotten competitive quotes from local agents, as well as online. Make sure any quote you get covers all extra taxes.
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Old 02-03-2004, 02:03 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Not knowing where you are located I' can suggest that you look at this past Sunday's NewYork Times Travel section which had afew articles on cruises.

I agree a good travel agent is the way to go - Especially agent that has cruise experience.
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Old 02-05-2004, 05:41 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Keep in mind that with a Carribean cruise the ship is as much the destination as the islands you will visit. Powerclown did a good job of pointing out your options. My favorite is Celebrity.

Check out the current Conde Nast magazine with an article on the best ships in the world in 3 size categories: <500 passengers, 500-1500, and >1500. In the large category Celebrity wins hands down with the four ships of the Millinium class. They do attract a little older group than Carnival, but I am in my mid 30's and love them. I have met couples on board in their 20's and none were dissapointed. If you are looking for drinking contests at the pool and hooking up in the dance club stick with Carnival. If you want great food and nice cabins with a good spa and few children go for Celebrity. I would strongly recomend that you research several lines and their ships and ports of call before you talk to a travel agent. They are great but you will get more out of them if you are prepared and know what you want.
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Old 02-17-2004, 12:24 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Location: Chico, Ca.
My boyfriend and I just got back from a Western Caribbean cruise last month. (I am 23 and he is 26) It was my second cruise and it was his first. We took Carnival because we are two college students on a budget, although if I had money to burn, I definately would have taken a better ship. My first cruise was to Alaska with my family and we rode on Holland America. The food was excellent and the decor was classy. Carnival definately lacked in the quality. They had just about all that Holland had, but quality wise...nah. Food was good but tasted cheaper. Being that it was a 7 day cruise, we didn't have as many people our age to party with on the ship. We were told that the 20's crowd tends to go on the 3-4 day cruises because that's what they can afford. So we were left on a ship where the nightclub had only 5-6 people dancing (10 at the most) at a time and the casino closed up at 1am.

We heard that Royal Caribbean was a good ship, you can play golf and rock climb.

Alcohol is expensive, and you have to pay for soda too. My bf poured alcohol into plastic water bottles that fooled the x-ray machines. So if you want to pre-drink, sneak some vodka in and call room-service and ask for OJ and you can make screw-drivers. Room service is definately the way to go...it is 100% free so take advantage of your late night munchies.


Other than that, hope you have a great cruise!
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Old 04-03-2004, 03:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Location: Miami, FL
I just came back from a 3 day cruise to the Bahamas on Carnival. It was great. The staff was friendly, the weather cooperative and the waters beautiful. I wasn't to crazy about the food and the general interior of the ship was a little tacky. Overall, I had a great experience though. I would recommed looking into others ships though, like Royal Caribbean...
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Old 04-03-2004, 09:09 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Location: 4 privet drive
my husband and i are planning a cruise as well, we r in our mid 20's with no children. i chose, royal carribean. they have all kinds of activities on the boat, and they also have a private "cay", which is a tiny island...but they have everything you could want to do(for a price), i liked that you got to spend a day on an island, as opposed to a "day at sea" like you do on carnival. and it is relativly the same price.
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