Cruisin'

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from tibird. Show tibird's posts

    Cruisin'

    Hi all,
     My wonderful DH is looking into booking a cruise for our delayed honeymoon.  He asked about western carribean cruises & got a few back.  The departure ports are Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale or Miami, and the lines are Princess, Norwegian and Holland America (not in that order). 
    My mom lives near Tampa, so I am inclined to pick that one (on Holland America) so we can add in a visit, but really we would probably make a side trip no matter which one we pick.
    Any tips or advice?  Thanks~
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from summerbride09. Show summerbride09's posts

    Re: Cruisin'

    We cruised on Princess for our honeymoon and loved it. It was the first cruise for both of us. We went on the Caribbean Princess. The ship was beautiful, everything was clean, the staff was great. The food was amazing and we did some shore excursions that were fun too.

    We left from NYC and went to San Juan, St. Thomas, and Grand Turk. We can't wait to go on another cruise, hopefully with Princess again. We really had no complaints and had a great time.

    Make sure you pack dramamine if you are prone to motion sickness. Don't overpack (I did, which I always do for every vacation). Bring lots of sunscreen. Be prepared for large bill at the end of the trip (all your drinks, onboard expenses, shore excursions if you decide to do them, gratuity).
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from pingo. Show pingo's posts

    Re: Cruisin'

    Hi tibird,
    I have not cruised with any of the lines you are mentioning. But I am glad I didn' t see Carnival amongst them. We went to the Caribbean with Carnival from Miami. It was ok, but not that great as we have heard people raving about cruises. Including the food. I would not recommend Carnival.
    Drinks on cruises are usually very expensive, and they go around and sell all kind of fancy tropical drinks all day long - which is tempting when you are sunning on the deck. As summerbride said, be prepared for a large bill. On our first stop we went to a liquor store and bought a bottle of gin and a bottle of Vodka, then some cans of tonic and some mixes plus some nuts and other snacks (on our next cruise I will bring the snacks from home). We would then sit on our balcony watching the sunset and have one or two cocktails before dinner. It was lovely and it cut our bill down quite a bit. None of us are heavy drinkers, but we were on vacation after all.
    Wish you happy cruising. The Caribbean is wonderful.

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from allreadymarried. Show allreadymarried's posts

    Re: Cruisin'

    I have been on Princess and Holland America of the three you mentioned.  Holland America is more upscale and tends to be a much older crowd no matter the destination.  If you don't mind that they are a great option.  Princess caters to 30-50 age crowd.  You do see families and young kids but not too many of the drunk, obnoxious crowd you may see on Carnival and Royal Caribbean.  I have been Princess several times and not once have I been let down in anyway.  Well it did rain once but out of their control:) 
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from VanHassle. Show VanHassle's posts

    Re: Cruisin'

    We gone on several cruises on Royal Caribbean, and Holland America is in a high class of ships so you should have a great time.   We've done both Western Caribbean and South Carribbean.   If you haven't looked at any Southern Caribbean you might want to check them out too.  We did a seven day cruise from San Juan, and did two nights in San Juan before the cruise started. 

    One suggestion I have is to avoid a large bill at the end, is to prepay as much as possible before the cruise.  On our last cruise we prepaid gratuities (we paid for them when we booked the cruise most lines offer this now) and we bought our excursions before the cruise (which is also helpful to avoid standing in line when everyone gets on board, and some popular excursions sell out).   Obviously alcohol can add up depending on how much you drink- but prepaying made a huge difference on our second cruise.  
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from lucy7368. Show lucy7368's posts

    Re: Cruisin'

    I'm pretty sure you can cruise to the Carribbean out of Boston....

    I took a cruise a few years ago.  I don't remember which one it was, but I think it was Carnival.  It was awesome.  You can actually eat constantly for an entire week and not pay for any of the food.  ;)

    But, be sure to look carefully at the specific ship you're taking, because some of the cruise lines have special "dry" ships, which may not be immediately apparant if you're just looking at the schedule.

    If you are sailng out of a port near your mother's house, ask her if you can borrow a suitcase.  Fill it with bottled water, soda, etc. - anything you might want to drink that doesn't require refrigeration.  You'll save a ton of money, because, while all the food is included in the cost of the trip, drinks are not - not even water.
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from tibird. Show tibird's posts

    Re: Cruisin'

    Those are great tips Pingo & Lucy!  I am all for avoiding overpriced stuff :) 
    I am leaning toward the Tampa port, but DH has read some not so great reviews of Holland America in general (specifically the food), so we'll see. No matter which one, I am so looking forward to the warm weather & relaxing on a boat (and all the food - yay!)
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from trex509. Show trex509's posts

    Re: Cruisin'

    Hi Tibird!  Congrats on finally taking a well deserved honeymoon!  My FI and I went on a Carribean cruise on the Norwegian Dawn in March last year.  It was my first cruise, so I can't compare it, but we enjoyed it!  It left from Miami and I think we did Eastern Carribean (Dominian Republic, British Virgin Islands, US Virgin Islands were our stops).  My favorite part was the shore excursions.  We did a horseback ride to a waterfall in the DR that was the most amazing thing I've ever seen.  I *highly* recommend it!

    The reason we chose Norwegian was the freestyle cruising.  I liked that we could eat whenever we wanted (no scheduled dinner time/table) and they had a bunch of theme restaurants too (Mexican, Asian, etc) that you can make reservations for.  The food was decent, though FI says Royal Carribean is better.

    Have you been on a cruise before?  This was my first and probably my last.  Truthfully, I was very bored on the days we weren't in port.  And our 4th stop was canceled due to the weather, so that was a bummer.  We stayed an extra day in Miami and I did enjoy that at well!

    Have a great time!  Oh, also, if you get motion sick like me, I got an RX for a patch that you wear for 3 days at a time.  You put it on before you get on the ship.  It is a small round patch you wear behind your ear.  It worked *awesome* and doesn't make you drowsy.  About half the people on our cruise had them.

    ETA:  On our cruise, you didn't have to pay for ALL drinks.  There were some that were free, like water and fruit juice I think.  Soda and all alcohol you paid for.
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from tibird. Show tibird's posts

    Re: Cruisin'

    Godo point Trex! I hadn't thought about the scheduled, but I do remember hearing about them before. 
    I've never been on a cruise longer than a whale watch before and I am nervous about motion sickness, although I've never experienced it.  I'll check in with my doc about that patch though, I'd rather be prepared!

    When we pick the cruise I'm sure we'll have questions about the excursions at each port, but the horseback ride sounds awsome!  Did you find that the days felt rushed when you had trips planned?

     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from lucy7368. Show lucy7368's posts

    Re: Cruisin'

    If you're on a cruise with a set dinner time, you might feel rushed on trip days if you get the early dinner.  When I went, we requested the late dinner, anyway (I was working nights at the point and couldn't fathom dinner at 5:30), so we never had a problem.  But, if you returned to the ship at, say, 4:30-5 on port days, there were crazy long lines from people trying not to miss dinner.

    We did a beach horseback ride and swim (with the horses!) in Jamaica.  It was awesome.  We were also planning on horseback riding through Mayan ruins, but weather cancelled it.
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from trex509. Show trex509's posts

    Re: Cruisin'

    I'll ask FI what the patch was called (though your dr will probably know if you tell him you are doing a cruise).

    We had 4 stops and we scheduled excursions for 3 of them.  I *loved* the horseback ride (and DR is a little sketchy, so I was happy to be on a tour there). In the BVI's we did a trip to Virgin Gorda which was also awesome!  Gorgeous beaches.  In St Thomas (US VI) we did a bike ride that was really hard, so I kind of wish we hadn't scheduled that one.  They were a little busy, so I was looking forward to just chilling on the beach on our last stop, which was why I was pretty disappointed when it got canceled.  So I think 2 would have been fine, 3 was too many.  Also, there is a ton of stuff to do in St Thomas right off the ship, so I wished we had just spent the day exploring that port.  We booked our excursions online before the trip to make sure the ones we wanted didn't sell out.

    The tours did feel a little short, but that is mainly because our time in port wasn't long.  Make sure you look closely at the timing of the cruise you choose.  For instance, we did Eastern Caribbean because for the Western Caribbean stops, some were from 8 AM to 3 PM.  That meant you have to be back on the boat by 3!  Since we tend to sleep late, that meant we wouldn't have much time on the island.  On the Eastern route, they stayed in port until 5 PM or 6 PM, which gave us more time.  But either way, you don't get a ton of time.  That's why I didn't really like the cruise.  I'd rather be on my own schedule.

    I hope my advice helps!  I'm not a cruise person, but I know a lot of people who LOVE them.  They are very relaxing if you enjoy laying out in the sun by the pool reading a book (for the days at sea).  I need more action, so I got bored!  I did enjoy the spa though.  We did a couples massage (very expensive, but really fun!) and then for $10 you can spend the day in the spa using their private pool, hot tubs, etc.  That was nice!
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from Rapunzel41. Show Rapunzel41's posts

    Re: Cruisin'

    In Response to Re: Cruisin':
    [QUOTE]Those are great tips Pingo & Lucy!  I am all for avoiding overpriced stuff :)  I am leaning toward the Tampa port, but DH has read some not so great reviews of Holland America in general (specifically the food), so we'll see. No matter which one, I am so looking forward to the warm weather & relaxing on a boat (and all the food - yay!)
    Posted by tibird[/QUOTE]

    If you haven't checked it out yet, go to www.cruisecritic.com.  This website is a HUGE help and I've picked up a ton of tips and tricks for our upcoming cruise...


    Their message forums are insanely busy, so it can be hard to keep up at times, but it's been a lifesaver for me.  :-)

     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from cicirose. Show cicirose's posts

    Re: Cruisin'

    I have never been on Princess or Holland America, so I can't say anything for them. A couple years ago, I took the Norwegian cruise from Boston to Bermuda and we had a great time! The cruise itself was just ok. Food was not good but it was free and the other people on the ship were really annoying but you can ignore them. Overall, it was worth it to have the 3 full days in Bermuda for the price. The time on the ship itself was relaxing. I would highly recommend this trip, especially since they have a new boat. My friends took another cruise with Norwegian in the Caribbean and said everything was much better than the Bermuda cruise.
    I will say that whatever you do, DO NOT go anywhere on Royal Caribbean. We had a terrible experience with them earlier this year. I cannot commend anything about our cruise, except for the fact that we arrived everywhere safely. Awful customer service, ridiculously bad policies, and complete incompetence in their staff. Bad, bad, bad all around!

     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from trex509. Show trex509's posts

    Re: Cruisin'

    Hi Cici:  really, you didn't like Royal Caribbean?  FI's parents cruise a lot and I think they like RC.  At least they say the food is very good.  What happened on your cruise?

    Here's the patch:

    Transderm Scop

    http://www.transdermscop.com/about-transderm-scop.htm

    I had no side effects and it worked great!  I took another short cruise to Nova Scotia once and I was sick the entire time, so I was really worried before our cruise.  This saved me!

     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from allreadymarried. Show allreadymarried's posts

    Re: Cruisin'

    I don't like RC either.
    Bad service and the food is not very good. 
    I have been on twice and would not search them out.
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from cosmogirl. Show cosmogirl's posts

    Re: Cruisin'

    My first (and last) cruise was on Royal Carrib, too.  Yuck. 

    If someone put a gun to my head and said I had to take another cruise, I would choose Norweigan because of the flexibility.  I absolutely HATED having to eat at a pre-set time every night...and because everyone was seated at the same time, it took about 2.5 hours to get through dinner.

    Holland America definitely caters to the elderly.

    That's all I know....

     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from cicirose. Show cicirose's posts

    Re: Cruisin'

    In Response to Re: Cruisin':
    [QUOTE]Hi Cici:  really, you didn't like Royal Caribbean?  FI's parents cruise a lot and I think they like RC.  At least they say the food is very good.  What happened on your cruise? Here's the patch: Transderm Scop http://www.transdermscop.com/about-transderm-scop.htm I had no side effects and it worked great!  I took another short cruise to Nova Scotia once and I was sick the entire time, so I was really worried before our cruise.  This saved me!
    Posted by trex509[/QUOTE]

    Well I only had one experience with them and we were surprised because we heard great things about them too... It would take me at least an hour to list everything that went wrong and it was only a 4 day cruise. Seriously, from before we boarded until after we disembarked, we had issues. Everything from my card, the waitstaff, the captain's meet and greet, their tipping, horribly rude customer service, dropping us off at the "wrong" port and making us wait an hour to go through a non-existent customs... grr makes me so mad just thinking about!

    Oh and I just want to mention that we did the same thing as one of the excursions for about half the cost and we were on our time frame, rather than the cruiseline's so it was a lot more pleasant for us. Something to keep in mind!

     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from dkb6248. Show dkb6248's posts

    Re: Cruisin'

    We went on a Princess Cruise a few years ago.  The ship was beautiful, very clean and the food was good.  We upgraded to a junior suite with a balcony for only a few hundred dollars more and it was totally worth it.  The pools get pretty crowded during the days at sea, so it was nice to have a private balcony.  I was 27 when I went and I liked the crowd.  There were mostly couples, some families and some old people.  I thought it was a good mix.

    I got seasick on the trip...they sell Dramamine on board.  If you are prone to seasickness, the best thing you can do it get a room either in the middle or back of the boat.  We were at the very front where you feel the most motion.

    I recommend going up to the top deck and laying on a chair with your DH and look at the stars.  There was never anyone up there after 9pm, so its very quiet and romantic.

    My DH loved the free room service.  He ordered it everyday.
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from allreadymarried. Show allreadymarried's posts

    Re: Cruisin'

    oh yeah love the free room service.  forgot about that.
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from SilverFestiva. Show SilverFestiva's posts

    Re: Cruisin'

    The funny thing is all these cruiselines (or most) are owned by the same company. I don't remember what its called - and I could be lying, DH told me that. He likes to make things up.

    Anyway...cruised Princess (same as Summerbride) and loved it. The anytime dining takes care of the "pressure" to make it to dinner, and overall the ship was beautiful, though I have nothing to compare it to. There are pools a plenty while yo'ure at sea, Movies under the stars was really  nice, and the food was fabulous.
    It was so easy going out of NYC, but I think a flight to florida would be the same as our Amtrak tickets.

    You can bring one bottle of wine per person I think, and I believe you can bring all the bottled water you want. That will save you $.
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from allreadymarried. Show allreadymarried's posts

    Re: Cruisin'

    No he is correct.
    Carnival Corporation now owns Princess, Holland America, Carnival and a few others.  Royal Caribbean International owns RC and Celebrity.
    Usually if you have cruised one of the lines each owns you can get a past passenger discount if they are offering one.
    I would not go on the Carnival ships but most certainly Princess and Holland.  I have not been on Celebrity and would stay away from RC.
    Although there is a parent company the lines themselves are very different.
     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from framerican51008. Show framerican51008's posts

    Re: Cruisin'

    We went on a cruise once on Carnival.  No complaints from me, but we are pretty easy to please.  We aren't big drinkers... I think our bill was less than $100 at the end of the week, not including tips.  They had 24 hour pizza and ice cream so we never went hungry ;o)

    I have a very random tip for cruising...
    If you are experiencing motion sickness and you go to the infirmery, be absolutely clear in telling them that it is only motion sickness!  My SIL had Dramamine, but she went to ask for one of those patch things or anything that could improve her motion sickness.  They asked if she felt sick before boarding and she said yes, from flying to Miami.  They subsequently quarantined her in her room for 24 hours, wouldn't let her get off at our first destination, and brought all her meals to her room.  I understand that they have to be careful about viruses spreading, but it was awful!!
     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from VanHassle. Show VanHassle's posts

    Re: Cruisin'

    Another tip if you get motion sick,which I am prone to, but had no problems on any cruise,  is to use ginger pills.   Sailors have been using ginger for centuries.  It gets rid of the motion sickness, without the drowsey side affects.   I used them on excursions that were on smaller boats.   The show Myth Busters even did a show comparing the affects of dramamine, ginger and the patches.
     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from cosmogirl. Show cosmogirl's posts

    Re: Cruisin'

    Cici,  my experience with Royal Carribean was terrible, too.  The food was pretty bad, and I am NOT a foodie.  The only thing that I really liked about the whole experience was the "towel animals" that our steward left on our beds at night.

    No one should ever get an inside room with no windows, either, FWIW....
     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from lucy7368. Show lucy7368's posts

    Re: Cruisin'

    In Response to Re: Cruisin':
    [QUOTE]Cici,  my experience with Royal Carribean was terrible, too.  The food was pretty bad, and I am NOT a foodie.  The only thing that I really liked about the whole experience was the "towel animals" that our steward left on our beds at night. No one should ever get an inside room with no windows, either, FWIW....
    Posted by cosmogirl[/QUOTE]

    I LOVED the towel animals!  I still have pictures of most of them.  My favorite was the sting ray wearing my sunglasses and smoking a cigarette while drinking wine.
     

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