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prismality 05-23-2012 05:29 PM

Planning a Caribbean Cruise! Advice?
 
Hi everyone! Me and my boyfriend are thinking of going on a cruise together sometime next spring/March, provided all the finances are in order and we have the time (and if he's behaved himself, of course). We're both young adults, looking for a week of fun in the sun, with plenty of opportunities for both relaxing on the beach/on the deck as well as exciting activities and ways to get out and see new things. We have our hearts set on a Caribbean cruise, but since neither of us has ever been on a cruise before, we've got no idea which lines are the best, which locations in the Caribbean are must-sees and rank above others, and how we can get the best value without sacrificing the quality. So basically:

1. Any recommendations on cruise lines? I've heard good things about Royal Caribbean, some not-so-good things about Norwegian, and don't know much else on the other big-name lines.
2. Locations you would recommend? Western Caribbean leaving somewhere out of Florida might prove to be the most affordable; I've been told there's some wonderful sights and things to do in Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. Again, sort of in the dark about all of this.
3. I know the cruise crowd can be pretty varied, so I guess I should specify that we're both fairly active and ready to get out and do things (but we love to laze around and soak in the atmosphere too, of course), and we don't smoke and would prefer to stay away from it (but I don't expect many cruise lines to ban smoking, so this isn't a deal breaker).
4. Also, while we don't mind paying a bit extra for top-notch food and an unforgettable experience, we're not looking to spend a fortune, but then again - I don't know what a typical cruise price for 7 days in the Caribbean looks like, so feel free to throw some numbers at me.

Thanks so much in advance for the help - I realize this is a potential cruise that's 10 months away, but we're already getting excited thinking about it, so please let us know what you think! :)

alexandra cruiser 05-24-2012 05:36 AM

Since you re a NEWBIE,,,lots of things to consider
 
first being budget,,,do you want luxury line or regular? For instance,I ve tried the luxury ,,like Regent and LOVE it.All inclusive,,,tips,all restaurants,excursions,liquor,,etc.....and you DO get top notch food as you mentioned.Also, smoking only in very limited areas..Do check bottom of main page for list of smoking policies on various ships..
Second,figure WHERE you want to go,,,or at least first one,,ex..if Western ,check out each port site on google for tourism,,or look at you tube to get some idea if this is what you want.Same for Eastern,,etc.
Third,read lots of reviews of each line and visit their website to see all details of ship,room,food,etc.
Can make a spread sheet and add up ALL the charges,,tips,drinks package,shore trips,etc.to determine EXACTLY what it ll cost..
Then give it a try,,,have fun,,and can always change mind on NEXT ONE>..good luck.

Cruise Fanatic 05-24-2012 05:49 AM

Prismality, Welcome to Cruise Reviews. Given you say you are young adults I think you would enjoy any of the big three contemporary cruise lines. Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian. That being said; how old are you? Are both of you 21 years or older?

There are many similarities between the big three, but there are also differences. I think it would be beneficial for you to find a cruise oriented travel agent that you can talk about the differences and your expectations for your first cruise.

billybuzzy 05-25-2012 12:48 PM

Prismality.......In general the Caribbean Sea is divided by the cruiselines into 3 main categories: Eastern Caribbean(Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, St Maarten etc), Western Caribbean (Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel etc) and Southern Caribbean (Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire etc). Many cruises cover more than one area. Neither the Bahamas nor Bermuda are part of the Caribbean but some of the longer cruise itineraries include them from time to time.

You first need to decide what islands You wish to visit and how long You wish to cruise. You can find itineraries from 2 to 15 + days. You will find prices varying between $189pp to over $2000pp plus taxes and port fees. Type of cabin also affects the price! For a first cruise an outside cabin (having a window or a porthole) is a good way to get a feel for cruising!

The best way to begin is to have a nice long visit with a Travel Agent in Your area......I am sure You have Family or friends who have traveled and can recommend one to You.
Cruising is one of the most wonderful and relaxing ways to travel......You are beginning one of life's greatest adventures......the memories will last you a lifetime,,,once you have tried cruising...it is most likely you will return time and time again!!

Bon Voyage,

BillyBuzzy

prismality 06-21-2012 04:40 PM

Thank you all SO much for your tips! I've already begun scouring the internet for reviews and packages available for various cruises, and I think I'm armed with what I need to find a good one!

Btw, yes, we're both mid-twenties so definitely over 21, and while we don't NEED extreme luxury, we'll probably both be willing to spend the extra money to secure a nice room with a great view, and a cruiseline with excellent food.

Again, thanks for all the help! I'm sure this cruise is going to be fantastic! :)


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