We like Royal Caribbean the best but Celebrity is a close second.
Our favorite route is southern Caribbean but air fare to Puerto Rico is usually high. Our second favorite and the one we usually go with is the eastern Caribbean. We like the western Caribbean but it's not our favorite because much of the cruise has a Mexican flavor instead of Caribbean.
As far as ships go, I'd just pick one that was recently built. They're always beautiful. Some of the older ones are as well, but you have to be more careful in selecting them.
I've found the reviews on this site to be very helpful.
I would like to thank everyone for all the nice posts regarding my request for some help in finding a cruise. Right now I am leaning towards Royal Carribean and just need to figure out the dates that I want to go. One more quick question though... I know that I likely won't spend a whole lot of time in the cabin but I was still wondering if getting an outside cabin with a window or small balcnony is really worth the extra cost compared with an inside one...any opinions. Thanks again!!!
different people prefer different kinds of cabins - that's a very subjective matter.
I'm perfectly fine with an inside cabin vs. an outside, which I often don't consider worth the extra cost. However, a balcony cabin to me is a totally different thing and IMHO worth the money. But then this also depends on whether one would actually make adequate use of the balcony which - again - is a very personal matter.
By the way, many ships offer aft-facing balcony cabins which often have much larger balconies but are sometimes sold at the same rate as cabins on the port or starboard sides. These sell out quickly, but for me they are a top choice. However, I don't like balcony cabins facing forward as the balconies are often subject to fierce winds.
Dominica, Antigua, Barbados, Tortola, St. Thomas are great ports for snorkeling. My favorite cruise lines are Princess and Norweigan Caribbean. Lately we have been doing all Princess. Just got back from a 14 day on the Sea Princess, booked next October on the Sun Princess. The Sea, Sun and Dawn are approximately 2000 passenger ships, they are older than the Grand Class ships, but are easy to get around. Norweigan Caribbean also offers the Dive-In program, which is great. You will have a great time no matter what ship you're on.
I have had great cruises staying in both inside and outside cabins. My personal rule of thum is that if the cost of an outside is less $100 more per person over the cost of an inside than I will take the outside. The same $100 rule applies between outside and balcony.
I have found that it is more important for me to be on the right ship.
I second Raoul and Farmerjohn's opinions. We've been perfectly happy with interior cabins, but if the price difference between an interior and a balcony is near $200, then I'd get a balcony. They are worth the money to me.
A word of warning though, just as cruises get addictive, balconies do too. Since my first balcony, that's all I want. I think my husband could take it or leave it, but I absolutely love sitting out there watching the sky and ocean go by.
Well. I've got a bit of a "gulp!" going on right now. Brought on by the total absence, in this discussion, of the line I am booked on in January - 10 days to Southern Carib out of Ft Lauderdale on HAL.....is there something I should know here??
BTW, we did get a balcony. Just barely. Ship sold out pretty quickly.
September '05 Veendam to Alaska
January '06 Volendam to S. Caribbean
May '06 Volendam to Alaska
July '06 Tahitian Princess Honolulu to Papeete
I've only been on one HAL cruise (Zuiderdam) and I was really pleased with it. I'd done the legwork for a family cruise and right after we bought our tickets I started seeing bad reviews. My Florida family said all their friends loved HAL but I was kind of worried.
It turned out to be a terrific cruise and all of us enjoyed it and would do it again. It was a quieter bunch of people than on some cruises and they seemed to go to bed around midnight, but all in all, we thought they were the nicest bunch of people we'd ever traveled with. We thought our room was the best we'd ever had.