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The Cruise Ship and Cruise Line Discussion Thread!

P. 131: Disney Wish "Grand Hall" details teased!

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Amazing photo op created by rescheduling due to some hurricanes...check out Freedom and Oasis docked next to each other.

 

For those of you who have been on a Freedom Class ship this will really make you realize how giant Oasis is!!!!

 

http://www.nationofwhynot.com/blog/?p=2441

 

Here's one picture, click for more!

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I just got interested in cruising lately. I've been looking at some western Caribbean cruises and just got my Royal Caribbean book in the mail. My main interest is going to new countries and experiencing what they have to offer. Summer 2011 is looking the most promising, mainly because I don't see a reason to pay 3 times as much to go on the same cruise over New Years.

 

Does anybody have any tips/ places that they highly recommend going to for someone that is new to this?

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I just got interested in cruising lately. I've been looking at some western Caribbean cruises and just got my Royal Caribbean book in the mail. My main interest is going to new countries and experiencing what they have to offer. Summer 2011 is looking the most promising, mainly because I don't see a reason to pay 3 times as much to go on the same cruise over New Years.

 

Does anybody have any tips/ places that they highly recommend going to for someone that is new to this?

 

 

I found some great deals at Southwest.com. Here is a direct link to the cruise search page

 

http://go.southwest.travelpn.com/ecruise/CruiseSearchForm.do

 

You can enter the destinations you want to visit, the date, the ship, etc., and it will come up with the best deal.

 

Also, if you are interested in combining it with a trip to Universal Orlando, check out this link

 

http://www.waymorethanacruise.com/index.html

 

They have truly amazing prices for a combination cruise/Universal vacation. We booked our next trip through that sight, (leaving in a few weeks!), and the prices are unbelievably low for what you actally get.

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^^If you're doing a cruise to see new places and new countries you'll want to avoid the Caribbean like the plague.

 

A Mediterranean or Baltic Sea cruise would be my choice for seeing amazing places! You can even do these on some of the newer bigger ships!

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My main interest is going to new countries and experiencing what they have to offer.

Does anybody have any tips/ places that they highly recommend going to for someone that is new to this?

 

If that's your main interest - and I speak as a confirmed cruiser preparing to go on his 7th cruise - I'd suggest you choose another means of transport, like flying to somewhere and staying for a while or buying a Eurailpass. If you're in port for 8 hours, how much, really, of another country are you going to experience? Or even a city? Cruising, really, is recreation, not exploration.

 

As to where to go...well, what are you interested in? Scuba diving? Museums? Scenery? Buying jewelry at Diamonds International? (Cruiser joke.)

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^I totally disagree with you.

 

I think a European cruise is a great way to see loads of amazing places in a short time, and then decide what you liked and what you didn't like to plan a land trip back to later.

 

Plus you can unpack once and not have to worry about anything and just be brought to all of these amazing places.

 

Have you done a Baltic or Med cruise?

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I have to agree with Elissa on this as well. A baltic or med cruise really is the way to go. One of the big reasons (besides the ability to see all these amazing places in a short amount of time) is the money. With the current exchange rate you would have challenges even getting hotel rooms in each of the cities you visit for what you pay for your cruise fare. Factor in food, transportation and the safety of always returning to the ship and you have a great deal. The downside is you only get a little bit of time each place but there are some itineraries which concentrate in one area (greece or italy) if you have a particular passion.

 

Please ask if you have any more questions! As far as booking I almost always price on all the major sites (travelocity, orbitz, etc) then the cruise lines then a few online travel agents. Rarely is one drastically cheaper than others and 90% of the time I will book directly with the cruise line.

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If that's your main interest - and I speak as a confirmed cruiser preparing to go on his 7th cruise - I'd suggest you choose another means of transport, like flying to somewhere and staying for a while or buying a Eurailpass. If you're in port for 8 hours, how much, really, of another country are you going to experience? Or even a city? Cruising, really, is recreation, not exploration.

 

As to where to go...well, what are you interested in? Scuba diving? Museums? Scenery? Buying jewelry at Diamonds International? (Cruiser joke.)

I also totally disagree as well. I don't consider "6 cruises" a very experienced cruiser either. That's like me giving someone advice on theme parks having only been to 6 of them.

 

You can see quite a lot of the world via cruising. I have seen countries I would have normally not traveled to otherwise - Haiti, Belize, Honduras, etc. Elissa's parents just came off of a 28 day cruise traveling around the whole of Australia. The photos they brought back you can certainly see that they saw a LOT of the country. We have been looking into one of the Dubai cruises as well as the Baltic cruises.

 

Anyone that says "how much of another country can you really experience" on a cruise, tell me they aren't doing very good cruises or have absolutely no idea what they are doing while they are on a cruise.

 

Listen to people like Elissa or Reed to do about as many cruises as they do theme parks.

 

--Robb "Cruising can be as much exploration as you want it to be." Alvey

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The atmosphere of some places in Europe totally changes during the day when the cruise ship and big bus sightseeing tour people flood in. In these cases, staying the night in the town and getting to enjoy the place late at night or early in the morning when it's not crowded with tourists is very nice.

 

But, then again, some places in Europe, like Scandinavia and the Greek Islands, seem tailor made for cruising.

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I totally agree with Elissa. Do a cruise first to get an idea of what places you like, and then go back to those places for a normal trip. This is kind of what we did on the TPR Europe trip. We know that we definitely want to go back to England, Germany, and the Neatherlandians Land of Dutch, and have no desire to go back to Paris.

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I totally agree with Elissa. Do a cruise first to get an idea of what places you like, and then go back to those places for a normal trip. This is kind of what we did on the TPR Europe trip. We know that we definitely want to go back to England, Germany, and the Neatherlandians Land of Dutch, and have no desire to go back to Paris.

 

I'd have to agree with you. We've been on many many cruises in various parts of the world. We have always thought of cruising as an affordable overview of many places at once. On most cruises we end up really liking a port and wish we had more time. We have gone back to many on land vacations.

The first time we did this was going to Catalina Island for a land vacation after cruising there on the old Viking Serenade in the early 90's. Since then we have followed up cruises with land trips to Costa Rica, Norway, Belize, Roatan, Portugal, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. As someone else said, when the cruise ships leave the places become very different. We have noticed that the people actually are nicer when they know you aren't on a cruise ship.

In Catalina the people were openly disdainful of the cruise crowd once they left. In other port cities the change is subtle but noticeable.

I don't think there is a "best" way to travel. If you like to submerse yourself in the culture and feel like you know the place, a cruise isn't going to do it. If you simply want an overview of the world at an affordable price, a cruise is probably the best way to go.

We like both for different reasons.

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  • 2 weeks later...
I don't consider "6 cruises" a very experienced cruiser either. That's like me giving someone advice on theme parks having only been to 6 of them.

 

You can see quite a lot of the world via cruising. I have seen countries I would have normally not traveled to otherwise - Haiti, Belize, Honduras, etc.

Anyone that says "how much of another country can you really experience" on a cruise, tell me they aren't doing very good cruises or have absolutely no idea what they are doing while they are on a cruise.

 

Listen to people like Elissa or Reed to do about as many cruises as they do theme parks.

 

--Robb "Cruising can be as much exploration as you want it to be." Alvey

 

Well, I never said I was a "very experienced" cruiser, having only spent a couple of months aboard cruise ships. (I'm not sure, though, how many sea days I need before I'm qualified to have an opinion. Will my two-weeker through the Canal put me over the top, or do I have to, like my pals D. and J., have to be on 60+ cruises before I get to join the conversation?)

 

What I said was that I was a "confirmed cruiser," meaning I was an enthusiast, and not at all a snob about traveling that way. The poster I responded to asked about getting to know what other countries have to offer, and I stand by my opinion that cruising is not the best way of doing that. (Bona fides are stupid, but I will say I'm a fairly experienced independent traveler: 8 months in Europe, 3 months in India, 1 mo. in Sri Lanka, 1 mo. in Burma, 2 mos. Middle East, 3 mos. Mexico, 2 mos. Central America, 1 mo. Peru, 1 mo. Ecuador, etc...so am I maybe qualified to speak about travel, please?)

 

Most of what port excursions offer is sightseeing, pure and simple. I don't think there's anything wrong with sightseeing: I do it all the time. I quite enjoy it. But - not to get all Lonely-Planeter-than-thou about it - it's highly mediated, usually superficial and cliched (Local example here: "Welcome to San Francisco! There's the Golden Gate Bridge, and here's Fisherman's Wharf!"), and involves a minimum of interchange with locals who aren't being paid to serve you. Time-wise and organizationally, it allows for a minimum of the happy accidents and uncertain moments that kinda separate "travel" from "tourism." Sure, a cruise is a great, economical way to set foot in the Coliseum or spend a hurried couple of hours at Machu Picchu. But face it, that's the EPCOT way of travel, the-world-as-theme-park (though since I haven't been to as many parks as you, maybe I shouldn't feel qualified to say that, either). Local again: a visit to Pier 39 may be fun (and a great way to buy fridge magnets), but is minimally connected to the soul of San Francisco.

 

And sure, the box-of-chocolates sampler that cruising provides can be helpful: a port day wandering around Old San Juan made me want to spend more time in Puerto Rico, while one visit to Cabo was really enough for me. I once spent nearly a week in Cozumel, staying at a diver's hotel, diving, hanging out, and watching the hordes of cruisers being disgorged and then sailing away. It really, really gave me a better feel for the island than my recent port day there, which mostly consisted of being picked up at the dock, doing a two-tank dive, and strolling through town on my way back to the dock. Cruising is, yes, wonderful, and a great way to do limited sightseeing. But anyone who, for example, thinks that spending an afternoon on Royal Carib's fenced-off private beach at Labadee, being served umbrella drinks and getting their hair braided, is in any real sense "seeing" Haiti is just being, um, silly.

 

Oh, and I actually would take advice from someone who's only been to half-dozen theme parks (assuming they've been to park I'm interested in) or spent just a couple of months cruising, or even one month. But that's just me. I obviously have no standards.

Edited by shepp
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^ As much as I want to respond to this, I won't. It was just written to be combative and different from what Elissa, myself, and other more seasoned members of this forum have to say. I know you have a difference of opinion, which is fine, but sometimes I wonder if you actually have that difference of opinion, or you just like to argue.

 

Shepp, we often appreciate sometimes the breaks you take from TPR so that way we don't have to put up with posts like this.

 

--Robb

Edited by robbalvey
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^ As much as I want to respond to this, I won't. It was just written to be combative and different from what Elissa, myself, and other more seasoned members of this forum have to say. I know you have a difference of opinion, which is fine, but sometimes I wonder if you actually have that difference of opinion, or you just like to argue.

 

Shepp, we often appreciate sometimes the breaks you take from TPR so that way we don't have to put up with posts like this.

 

--Robb

 

Robb...the reason I've taken breaks from TPR in the past is because I felt I was being personally attacked for no reason. But hey, I figured maybe I was being oversensitive.

 

But every time I come back... Well, since we're going there...I originally posted that, IMO, cruising is not the best way to explore what foreign cultures have to offer. I in no way made it personal. I in no way insulted other peoples' experiences or opinions. Not at all. You then, rather than simply debating the substance of my post, got all ad hominem and went after me personally. You said: 1) that I, having only spent 61 days cruising, was not "experienced" enough to give advice. (Which leads me to idly wonder how many days you've spent onboard.) 2) Either I wasn't "doing very good cruises" (I've sailed Holland America, Princess, and Celebrity, generally recognized as the best of the subluxury lines) or else was totally clueless about how to cruise. And 3) told people to listen to your wife, not to me.

 

And subsequently, while saying you wouldn't respond, made it clear that I was unwelcome around here.

 

But none of this is "combative," of course, because....um...well...

 

I have no idea what your problem with me is, really. While I respect your accomplishment in running TPR, I do find the cliquishness and the "respect my authori-tay" routine somewhat wearing. Maybe that's it?

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