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The Cruise Ship and Cruise Line Discussion Thread!

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

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A moment of real talk: If you are paying $400 for a cruise in the summer, you are taking an older mass market line ship to the Bahamas. Period. And if you are doing that, the differences between the RCCL ships and Carnival's ships are minor. They are older, smaller ships that are equally maintained, almost equally staffed, feature food that is effectively the same, and have roughly the same number of activities and public space. The differences are largely cosmetic. Probably the most obvious one is that Carnival has more balconies on their Fantasy class vessels because they tacked them on a couple years ago in a strange jerryrigged sort of way.

 

If you're looking to be told a specific boat or line for that trip, honestly, I wouldn't bother. What you should do is this:

 

A) Who offers you the most room for your money? Sovereign class (which is what you would be on with RCCL) has some of the smallest cabins at sea, particularly with the inside cabins. Carnival does have plenty of small ones in this category as well. Note that the difference is not likely to be hundreds of dollars, but perhaps probably 30/40/50 at most. But then, if your budget is $400, that's a chunk.

 

B) Look at the itinerary, and then check http://cruisett.com/ports.php?PortID=455&date=40 to see who else is there with you. If you can find a boat that happens to be at Nassau or Freeport by itself, that may be worth paying a premium. On the other hand, getting an 116 square foot inside on a 20 year old liner that ends up sharing its ports with 2-3-4 other ships could be a recipe for misery.

 

With those boats, you are not going to see or feel a difference. Seriously.

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Source I really like this idea. My wife and I have always wanted to try a cruise mainly to relax and for the food. Feels almost like a starter pack for people who aren't too sure about the cost o

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^ I would actually disagree with you. I think the differences are much more pronounced on the older ships. Sure - the ships are similar and the itineraries are similar so the differences in the clientele, entertainment and atmosphere are much more obvious. I've been on both the oldest ship in the Carnival fleet (the Fantasy at the time) and the oldest n the RCCL fleet (the Sovereign at the time) in a very short span of time. The differences were SHOCKING and VERY noticeable on the older ships. The newer Carnival ship seemed to try a bit harder and the differences were not quite as pronounced.

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Look, when we talk about comparing, say, the Monarch and the Sensation, what are the major differences?

 

-The decor

-Who flagged the boat

 

Here's what I'd ask you - is there enough of a difference in dinner service (which can greatly vary from server to server, as is beyond the realm of argument) to state that one should unequivocally put boat above itinerary in the Bahamas on a budget cruise geared to locals? Or the quality of the 9 hole golf course? The quality of shows? This isn't a question of whether or not someone should take a Freedom class vessel versus, I dunno, the MV Caribbean Princess. The products offered are far more alike than different and are priced accordingly.

 

(On a personal level, I also think the argument that any particular line is comparable to Wal-Mart or a big box retailer compared to another is hilarious. Mass market lines are mass market lines and they seek to please entire families by the thousands. Its like getting into fist fights about whether Target sells better merchandise than Old Navy. Its all made by women making 70 cents an hour in Vietnam. You want a serious, massive difference? You'll pay for it.)

 

For the person asking the question, I'd say this: look at each ship, compare decor, read Cruise Critic reviews, check the port schedules, and go from there. If you're a first timer going on a cruise, the RCCL, Norwegian, and Carnival offerings to the Bahamas are perfectly adequate and, realistically, are made for people like you.

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I have been to many of the places on your itinerary. Be sure to take many tours. Great choice.

 

So now that we are booked, I have been checking out some of the tours offered. Can you recommend anything specific? There are so many to choose from and it all sounds so interesting.

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For first time cruisers, which cruise line would you suggest for a Mexico cruise from SoCal?

 

My daughter is raising a pig for her Agriculture class and will have it through the end of the Ventura County Fair (seriously). It looks like we will have about a week between the end of the pig until the beginning of school. We had been looking into doing FL, but I don't think we'll have enough time.

 

I was thinking a 3-5 day cruise although I've heard the weekend cruises are more "party cruises".

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^Are you looking to book through the ship or independently?

 

I guess it doesn't matter to me and, (until you said that), I had never even thought about the possibility of doing excursions with a promoter outside of the cruise line. Tell me more!

 

Since we live in and travel all over "Europe", I guess I am more interested in seeing the important cultural stuff in Turkey and Israel than a "Tastes of Italy" tour, or something like that. If the weather is nice enough, I think a beach day is in order on Rhodos and Souda. I'll post the pic of our itinerary again for anyone to look at and share their experiences in any of the ports of call we will be visiting.

1272954796_Screenshot2011-02-21at8_31_47PM.png.60b888a4f8e92b9a490f298fcca89f82.png

 

Another question: If we don't stop in the ports in Israel, is it more likely that we will stop someplace else, or just have more days at sea?

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For first time cruisers, which cruise line would you suggest for a Mexico cruise from SoCal?

 

My daughter is raising a pig for her Agriculture class and will have it through the end of the Ventura County Fair (seriously). It looks like we will have about a week between the end of the pig until the beginning of school. We had been looking into doing FL, but I don't think we'll have enough time.

 

I was thinking a 3-5 day cruise although I've heard the weekend cruises are more "party cruises".

 

Shorter cruises do tend to get that designation, some cruise lines are worse than others for it, however, Carnival namely. Your options from SoCal are pretty limited and will continue to get worse as more and more lines are pulling their ships from the west coast. Your only option for a short cruise that time of year appears to be the short cruises offered aboard Carnival Paradise from LA. Given that time of year, there should be an abundance of families aboard though, so that may lessen the 'booze cruise' effect.

 

The only other lines are Princess and Holland America (which I hear is livelier on the Mexican Riviera route), unfortunately they only offer 7 night cruises. Basically, Carnival Corporation now owns the west coast of the United States... RCI and NCL have pulled out.

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Gregg, DO SOMETHING ELSE.

 

You'll have a miserable first time experience if you do one of the Carnival ships out of LA on one of the party cruises, and yes, that's the ONLY option. Everyone else has pretty much pulled out since the SoCal cruise market was terrible. Even the awesome Mariner couldn't save it.

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Yeah, August only shows the Paradise as others have said. If you're willing to fly to Seattle, Norwegian has a couple Alaska cruises that have not insane pricing for oceanviews (or insides if you're being really cheap). Celebrity also has a few reasonably priced ventures for that market. The only issue you might have is since Alaska is generally set up for fogies, they leave on more inconvenient days like Friday and Saturday. Not like 80 year olds need to get vacation time approved by their supervisor. That and, yes, its comparatively expensive to a 7 night to your general Cozumel/Grand Cayman port of call cruises in the Caribbean. But airfare should definitely be far cheaper from LA/Burbank/Santa Barbara wherever you choose to go from.

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Morgan, in that area you will either get an extra day at a port already on the itinerary or an extra sea day if a port is cancelled. Very rarely is there a new port put in.

 

Have you checked out the Cruise Critic roll call boards? That's a great way to meet up with people on your ship and work on independent shore excursions with a smaller group (4 - 8). We've done it before and you always end up with a cheaper better tour than what the cruise line provides. Note, I would not recommend it at all ports or with all excursions (anything far away from the ship, stick with the cruise line) but for a ton of stuff it really works well.

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Gregg, DO SOMETHING ELSE.

 

You'll have a miserable first time experience if you do one of the Carnival ships out of LA on one of the party cruises, and yes, that's the ONLY option. Everyone else has pretty much pulled out since the SoCal cruise market was terrible. Even the awesome Mariner couldn't save it.

 

Thanks Elissa ... done.

 

We are still hoping to maybe do FL ... still trying to get exact dates for the Fair and the start of school. It'd be kind of nice if they would release those dates.

 

Got dates for the Fair, ends on the 14th. If the school starts the same as last year (sept 1st) we should be able to do FL easily.

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Morgan, in that area you will either get an extra day at a port already on the itinerary or an extra sea day if a port is cancelled. Very rarely is there a new port put in.

 

Have you checked out the Cruise Critic roll call boards? That's a great way to meet up with people on your ship and work on independent shore excursions with a smaller group (4 - 8). We've done it before and you always end up with a cheaper better tour than what the cruise line provides. Note, I would not recommend it at all ports or with all excursions (anything far away from the ship, stick with the cruise line) but for a ton of stuff it really works well.

 

 

Thanks for the advice. I am signed up at MeetOnCruise.com, (a relatively new site that I think has a great idea), and I will have to check out the boards at Cruise Critic. Has anyone ever been to the waterpark in Kusadasi?

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Morgan, I have also found a lot of information from Cruise Critic regarding shore excursions and it saved us tons of money and we ended up with much better and more intimate experiences.

 

I saw the newer Royal Caribbean with Shrek commercial last night and I don't know why, but I thought it was adorable! Those little Shrek-babies are so cute!

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Morgan, I have also found a lot of information from Cruise Critic regarding shore excursions and it saved us tons of money and we ended up with much better and more intimate experiences.

 

I saw the newer Royal Caribbean with Shrek commercial last night and I don't know why, but I thought it was adorable! Those little Shrek-babies are so cute!

 

Thanks my flume-riding buddy!

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I agree! With some research and flexibility, we have saved a ton of cash by never doing ship shore excursions. The cruise critic boards are INCREDIBLY helpful resources and will either let you know how to do it on your own or provide you with some names of trusted tour operators.

 

Good luck!

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I'm leaving for my cruise on Allure of the Seas in a couple of hours

 

I am very jealous! I have wanted to go on this ship since I heard about it in it's planning stages! Robb & Elissa's trip review really sparked my desire to go on the ship! I always say Allure of the Seas every day to my mom to make her finally give in!!

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^^Have fun! Hope it's not too annoying with that Jenny McCarthy movie premiere thing.

 

I just watched that movie and thought it was really cute! Is that the cast of some sit-com in the States? Of course, there was a lot of "subliminal" and "blatant" advertising for the ship and RCCL, but I found it overall very entertaining.

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Hey cruisers,

 

I was just looking through our documents and I noticed that we automatically got "My Time" dining. I understand how it works but I have a question: Is there any reason NOT to do My Time dining?

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It just depends on what you want, honestly. You can still try to get the same waiter and table each day with My Time dining should you like whoever you get first. If you don't, you can go have a different waiter the next day and so on. Plus you'll get your own table. Some people like traditional dining, being seated with new people, etc. The food is going to be the same no matter what. Like I said: Your call.

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Thanks for the My Time info, everyone. I think I will stick with it... that is if our cruise even HAPPENS now! With all those war ships and missiles flying around the Mediterranean, I'm trying to stay positive, but I am assuming we will have some drastic itinerary changes, (at the least), in order to avoid interfering with the military action.

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Royal Caribbean is now offering all you can drink packages.

Cruises have always been notorious for excess. I think they must be the only place in the world that’s figured out how to offer you eight meals a day. Well, Royal Caribbean just made over-indulging a little bit easier: Earlier this week they introduced special “All You Can Drink” packages to supplement your nonstop gorging.

 

Yes, “All You Can Drink” as in… unlimited alcohol… on a ship. I don’t see how anything could go wrong…

 

The packages are available in three tiers. The Beer and Wine Package costs $29 per person per day and includes all beers, glasses of house wine, and a 25% discount on all other wines and liquor.

 

The Classic Package costs $39 per person per day and includes all beers, house wine by the glass, all liquor except for premium and specialty brands, cocktails and a 25% discount on all other wines and premium liquors.

 

And the Premium Package will set you back $49 a day and includes everything in the Classic Package plus glasses of wine that normally run up to $10, premium liquor brands, and a 25% discount on all glasses of wine over $10 and bottles of wine.

 

For now, the packages will only be available on three of Royal Caribbean’s ships, none of which are based in the U.S.: Independence of the Seas, Legend of the Seas, and Grandeur of the Seas. And there are currently no plans for the program to expand to any of Royal Caribbean’s 19 other ships, but the company would consider it if the program is successful.

 

But fear not, American boozers, Royal Caribbean-owned Celebrity Cruises launched a similar program earlier this month. They’re offering four different unlimited beverage packages, two that include alcohol and two that don’t. And for those of us who get REALLY wild, they even offer a bottled water package.

 

What’s your take on this? Would you sign up for Royal Caribbean’s All You Can Drink package? My question: Are they offering me a convenience by doing this? Or proposing a challenge?

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/18/idUS93766381820110318

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