Cruise ship vacations

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  #1  
Old 09-01-04, 11:58 AM
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Cruise ship vacations

I'm thinking of a cruise for a vacation. I have absoutely no idea how to
go about choosing packages and such. I guess you would call me a tenderfoot.
I have never been on a cruise ship before,so i don't know what to expect.

Sounds like a fun vacation. Would like to 'surprise' my wife. We both are just retired , and live in New England.
Any advice in choosing a cruise would be most helpful.

Thanks
 
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  #2  
Old 09-02-04, 04:28 AM
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We use a small local travel agent who's been around for a long time. The 1st time we used him we double checked what it would all cost for us to do it on our own and he actually was the less expensive route and it saved us alot of hassle. Just be sure you let them know what exactly you want. If in your head you picture being in your cabin looking out at the ocean and you don't request a ocean view guess what you probably wont get one. Have fun.
 
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Old 09-02-04, 02:40 PM
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Thanks for your reply. I think your right on the travel agent thing. Let the "pros" do it,especially in these times.
Will check out references of agents before i commit.
Thanks again.
 
  #4  
Old 11-04-04, 06:23 PM
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I haven't actually used these folks to book a vaction as yet since I only recently discovered them, but I would have little hesitation based on what I have seen so far in their newsletter subscription. Check out http://www.vacationstogo.com They have just about everything that you would want to know about cruising all over the world and a great place to compare prices. Enjoy your cruise. You will have a marvelous time!
 
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Old 11-04-04, 06:45 PM
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I went through the cruise lines. They all sent me brochures and when I decided where I wanted to go I called the one that left from a port closest to me. I registered early and in the end I got moved upward on the next deck at the same price. Chose all the things I wanted to do in each port while aboard ship. One thing to watch though, it is easy to spend aboard ship when you just sign for everything. Comes as a big shock at the end when you have to pay off your "tab". Watch the gratuities also. I don't consider myself cheap and I usually tip well but I don't think 15% gratuity for handing me a beer over the bar is quite right. Every barbill has that tip added on unless you deny it. Try to make you feel cheap. Had a great time though and you probably will too. Good luck.
 
  #6  
Old 11-05-04, 10:37 AM
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Thanks,

I'll keep a eye out for the "extras". One of the things iv'e heard about is the "tipping" for,what seems like everything. I don't consider myself cheap either,but tipping for just the heck of it is against my grain.
 
  #7  
Old 11-07-04, 06:00 AM
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What is your budget for the cruise and what type of things do you like to do?

I would certainly go Seabring or Windstar if your budget permits. Their list rates are $5'000 - $6'000 per week, but you can easily find rates around $3'000/week. The food is far superior to the food in the main dinning room on a large ship. That price includes alcohol and there is no tipping, so it is much more a "fixed price". The ships are smaller so there are no mobs of people. You tend to spend more time socializing with fellow passengers. And, because of the price the passengers tend to be older and from a higher level of society (wealthy).

If you want a big fancy ship with all the amenities that Americans love than you will probably like the big ships (the major cruise lines). They feature shopping malls, casinos, multiple restaurants and lots of people. The downside is that the cruise feels just like home (no adventure), there are crowds and you don't get to know your fellow passengers as well as you would on a small ship. The plus is that the cruise itself is quite cheap. You can find rates as low as $400/week, with $700-$800 getting you a nice mid-level room. Again, because of the price you get a different crowd. You will see many people of all ages including; college students partying on spring break, families with children, elderly, middle age... so it's easy to find the type of people you like. For a first cruise the food will certainly impress. It is provided in massive quantities with colorful presentations and is certainly very good for the most part (not five star, but very good).

Everyone has already warned you about the extras on the big ship cruise lines. Heed the warnings. The extras can very easily exceed the cost of the cruise. If you drink (alcohol), shop around. The drink prices vary considerably from one line to another. If you want to bring a bottle or two on board with you check the cruize lines policy. Some lines confiscate your alcohol and give it back to you at the end of your cruise, some charge you a fee to bring your own on board.

The shore excursions are rather expensive, but they can be a good way to get the general feel for a place. Walking the back streets of a Mexican town may not be your thing, but a buss tour is a good way to see a bit of the country. I preferr the less expensive "general" sightseeing tours over the more expensive; scuba diving, helecopter rides, golfing, custom adventure... Try doing things you can't see or do at home.

Years ago travel agents had good advice and great prices, but more recently I have had much better luck with the national cruise clearing houses and shopping online. Also check the travel section of the NY Times newspaper on Sundays. With the advent of the internet and massive competition the airlines and cruise companies are trying to push out the traditional travel agents.

For the average person going on their first cruise I would say shop for a good price on one of the big ship lines. All the big ships draw a varied crowd. There will be people of all types onboard. These are just some general "feels" I have gotten from the lines: Carnival used to be the low cost "party" line but they have gotten somewhat better though they really draw the budget traveler. Holland America & Celebrity are the higher end of the big ships with better food and a slightly more dignified passenger (middle class & upper middle class). NCL, Royal Caribbean... are a good place to start with a little bit of everything.
 
  #8  
Old 11-07-04, 06:55 AM
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Thanks for your reply,pilotdan

I feel much better now knowing what the seasoned traveler has expeienced.

When i'm ready,i'll think i'll go with a medium priced cruise. More than likely it will be a short cruise just to make sure crusieing my cup of tea.

I might take in one of the shore tours,but exploring on my own is more to my liking. Because of all the strife and dislike for,what appears,Americans,i
am somewhat reluctant to venture too far from the normal tourist siteseeing.

Thanks again
 
  #9  
Old 11-07-04, 02:14 PM
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When I started taking cruises I thought I would get bored at sea and that the days ashore would be the big fun. I soon learned that I really enjoyed the days at sea. I am normally very busy and feel guilty if I'm not doing something. On shore, I felt I had to see as much as possible before the ship left, where at sea I did not feel compelled to do anything other than order another drink and watch the waves go by.

Someday I want to take a Windstar or Seabourn repositioning cruise which are mostly all sea days as you cross the Atlantic. They have some really attractive prices. I'd love to talk the captain into stopping half way across to swimming in the middle of the ocean...
 
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Old 11-07-04, 06:01 PM
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I like your ideas. Yeah,stopping in the middle of the ocean sounds like
something different to do.
I could only take a couple hours a day "sightseeing" myself.
I'm also thinking of taking a Windjammer cruise to. A old Schooner seems
like something i'd enjoy.

Thanks again for your ideas
 
  #11  
Old 11-07-04, 06:36 PM
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Well, whatever you choose I'm sure you will have fun.

Just write back and let everyone know.
 
  #12  
Old 05-22-05, 11:11 PM
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check out repositioning cruises, they are usually super package deals, save a ton of money on them... also, paying down on a cruise way in advance will usually get you a terrific upgrade.. I Love Cruising... another thing to watch, I've found that the newer ships are much better than the older ones.. try to stay with under 4 or 5 years old and not much older if you can..
 
  #13  
Old 10-31-05, 07:58 AM
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Older post..but did you ever get to cruise, dazwede??
We've cruise a # of times.. great vacations.
 
  #14  
Old 10-31-05, 02:29 PM
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Not really. took a small jaunt on a short cruise. The wife was seasick the whole time. Oh well!
 
  #15  
Old 10-31-05, 06:03 PM
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Sorry to hear that.
Hope she is ok....
You do know that there is 'medication' for that!
Ive seen many a cruisers....with a 'patch' or the like, to help overcome such a situation.........
Better luck next time!!!
Dont dispare.............cruising is a great way to holiday!!!!
 
  #16  
Old 11-01-05, 05:17 AM
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Thanks. Its still is in our mind. Maybe another short one when we are better prepared.
 
  #17  
Old 01-11-06, 08:45 PM
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love to cruise, go every chance I get... I'm headed to Europe in fact, next month.. good cruises are the Panama Canal trip 11 days or more, the more the better.. Any Alaska cruise is always great... go to where you can bus into Anchorage, spend the night there, catch the train in the AM, go to Denali Park, take the tour to the mountain and see it all.. spend a couple days at the park, train back to Anchorage and fly home... great trip! Mexico cruises are great for shopping, take the longest ones you can find with the most ports.. the 4 port trips are just too short.. 11 days to 18 days is great, go to Puerto Vaarto, Matzalan, Cabo San Lucas, Zihuateneho, Acapulco, Ixtapa, maybe down to Punta Renas Costa Rica.. (not sure on all of these spellings.. ) shopping is also good in the Carribean islands.. just remember the prices because they vary from island to island.. and you think it'll be better, then your sorry you didn't buy from the last island.. St. Lucia's has the absolute best Banana you've ever eaten in your life, but you can't bring it on board or bring them back, so you have to eat and commit to memory... St. Maartens has a great place for dining room table cloths and such.. called Mr. Tablecloth... Jamaica, you can bypass that one and you haven't missed anything but a bunch of people saying "gimme gimme gimme mon"... didn't care for the hands out all the time!.. but cruising in general is an absolute ball.. take a tux and evening gown for the captains night and formal dinner.. otherwise, casual clothing is the norm... be ready to gain a pound or two, the food is great and LOTS of it... book early, the earlier the better, even a year in advance!.. the earlier you get in, the more free upgrades you get.. you can start out 2 or 3 from the bottom and wind up on the top if you book early.. we always get upgraded... the tours are usually more expensive than just going out to the road with someone you just met on the ship and getting a local tour guide... share a tour with someone and split the expense, after a couple of them you'll be savvy to the going rates.. as to shopping, take a taxi, walk, or whatever, don't let the tour guide take you shopping, he gets a piece of the action so he takes you to HIS friends.. your better off tracking off to the shopping areas on your own.. theres plenty of time and plenty to buy if your looking.. just make an offer, stand by it and walk if they don't meet your price.. they'll chase you down to get you to buy, stick to you guns and they'll come down.. believe me.. I do all my sisters dickering for her jewelry.. she finds it, I buy it.. otherwise, she pays his price which drives me nuts, because they are always high starting... so... where to start... here are some links for deals.. once you get on the ships, they will begin sending booklets out letting you know about deals, also watch and ask for ships that are being relocated.. they move them in the winter from Alaska to the Carribeans and back in the spring.. so you can catch those cheap... and they go to all the ports..
Grand Circle Tours Expedia Vacations to Go Shermans Travel Cruise.com Cruise Deals
Have fun...
 
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