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Planning a cruise!

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
So I am planning an all girls vacation for my family and friends. I was wondering if you all had any suggestions for me. Like cruise experiences type of room recommendations and stuff like that. I have never been on one so I have no idea what to expect!
post #2 of 5
I have been on one cruise but will give you my parents perspective. Get a room with a window near the middle or front of the ship-- We were in a room on one of the lower decks (still high off the water) with a huge window but we were right above the rudders/engines. Every time the boat would start to make a turn our room would shake. By the middle of the cruise we were used to it. Balcony rooms are nice too-- My parents get those each time they go.

As far as cruise lines-- Id go with Carnival. My parents prefer Carnival over Norwegians Free Style Cruising. With Carnival you are only out alcohol money (if you drink) and souvenirs on the boat, with Norwegians Free Style Cruising, my parents said that the restaurants had cover charges like $25.00 per person and most were only open a couple of hours a day! My Parents dont drink but still had to pay the cover charges. Carnival has a couple of restaurants that are open 24/7 good food. Momma and Daddy weren't impressed with Norwegians food either. Daddy (our family food connoisseur) said that it was really bland and tasteless. When they called me from the port when they got back they both said they would never cruise on Norwegian again!

They have been on 3 carnival cruises so far and are planning another one this fall. They love them. They are also planning an Alaskan cruise this summer on Princess Cruise Lines. We shall see how those go.

As far as my experience on Carnival, I would definatley cruise with them again. We ate in the formal dining room i think once and it wasn't even the captains dinner. ( I don't do dress up) The staff was wonderful and even though there were over 1000 people on the ship you rarely saw a person more than once or twice. And we were on one of their smaller ships too.

We are wanting to cruise again soon with the kids-- Just waiting on Auburn ( our 2 yr old daughter) to get a bit bigger. They have a kids program on board too that keeps the kiddos busy if the parents need a time away. Oh yeah there are tons of pools on board the carnival boats. Ill have to ask my parents about Norwegian boats.

I think there is more to say but I'm gonna be late getting the kiddos to school if i don't stop writing now. Ill try to get more from my parents today regarding the Norwegian cruise lines.
post #3 of 5
We went on a carnival cruise about 4 yrs ago-to barbados, martinique and st martain. It was 10 days with like 4 of those days on ocean (there and back) without stopping. If you like to keep busy well it gets kinda boring!!
I don't know when you plan on going but when we went the schools on the east coast were on late winter break so there were lots of kids.
Get a room with a window is a must. Pack lightly with mix and match things. On our ship we had to "save" deck chairs rather early in the am (like 7am) to get the better seats by the pool.
Lots of snack foods-you will eat more than you think!! (bring stretchy pants)
post #4 of 5
My husband and I went on Royal Caribbean for our honeymoon to the Eastern Caribbean. We got a room with a balcony on deck 6 right near the middle of the boat lengthwise. This is supposedly the best location on the boat to avoid seasickness. The balcony cost us a bundle more and it wasn't 100% private. There were only privacy screens which didn't go all the way from floor to ceiling and neighbors only seemed to go out there to smoke. Yuk! If we go again, we'll get a room with a small round window or an interior room.

Royal Caribbean is very good! Their food is excellent and you have to go to the formal dinners whether you like to "dress up" or not to get the meals of your life. The food is top notch and so is the wait staff. They really rip you off if you buy alcohol, so don't be all shocked when you get your bill at the end of the week or avoid it totally. There are free beverages to be found.

Get involved and do lots of activities. My husband and I got up at 7 am each morning to make each day feel like two (hey, we wanted our money's worth!) and you have to buy excursions for your port stops. Otherwise you won't see any part of the islands you're visiting.

Say your newlyweds to everyone and you'll get great surprises and an invite to the newlywed party. Also, we went out in the first week of May which was excellent for us: it was after "Spring Break" but before school got out, so we avoided all those rambuncious kids. We wanted a nice "adult" vacation.

Oh, and the best time to enjoy the pool or the hot tubs is when half the boat's at dinner. We got the later dinner and so we enjoyed ourselves in the hot tub during early dinner before we got dressed.

Find out how your cruise line works (like meal schedules and what costs extra as well as onboard and off board activities) and plan your week well. You'll end up remembering a lot more because you were actively involved in planning your activities instead of drifting along from one moment to the next.

Good luck! And buy early to save $$! We booked in January (I think) for a May 1 cruise and it cost us about $2k for: two round-trip airfares, 6 days, 7 night cruise, 3 excursion adventures, all food and drink (no alcohol or pop), and transportation from airport to the docks.
post #5 of 5
I went on a cruise last year February and it was fantastic! I love the service, the food, seeing different places. We went to Key West and Mexico. I also went to Key West and a different port in Mexico back in HS on a cruise. It's deffinately well worth the money. I booked through travelocity I think. Carnival's website had good helpful info. Someone on here recommended a website for cruise goers with chatboards and everything. I can try to find it if you'd like. My suggestions are to have the tip put in ahead of time so you don't have to pay it at the end with cash and stuff. Also don't skimp on souvineers! We got a room with a window which was great for just gazing out, but this last time I had more trouble with feeling sick, but then I get sick when we travel by car too. Also, if you have to fly to your port of departure, book a transfer with the cruise line ahead of time. Saves big headaches!

Ok that's all I'll share for now. I'm sure I'll think of more things so if you do decide to go on a cruise let me know!
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