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Old 10-02-2007, 07:56 AM
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Ok all you cruising cronies, help me out!
My wife and I are in our late 20s and we went on a 7 day honeymoon cruise 5 years ago on the Mariner of the Sea with Royal Caribbean & loved it! Despite some rough seas on one night the experience was excellent!

We're wanting to do another cruise in Feb. 2008 for our 5th anniversary and are having some questions. Namely, who do we go with now?
We are not partiers, not excursion crazy, and we enjoy shopping at little places on the islands in the caribbean. We like to eat and just relax! Plus, we really liked the large size of the Mariner of the Sea so we're hoping to find another one that same size if we go with Princess or Holland. This is kind of a "last-vacation-alone" sort of thing for us both before having kids.

So, for those of you that have been on Royal Caribbean, Princess, & Holland America, which would you suggest? My wife and I are totally ok with booking again on Mariner of the Sea. It was a blast the first time and we'd love to enjoy the same experience again. Just thought we'd get some opinions from others who are more experienced than we are!

Thanks!
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Old 10-02-2007, 08:33 AM
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Hello Hobbit1978, welcome to Cruise-Chat!

I was on the Mariner last month and found her to still be like new. If you like the size of the Mariner, you won't find anything bigger unless you book the Freedom or Liberty of the Seas. You won't find a Promenade or ice skating rink on any other ship either. Other than that, I'm sure Princess or Holland will have their outstanding features also.

Sonny
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Old 10-02-2007, 08:45 AM
 
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IMHO- We've been on mostly Princess & RCI - not HAL & although we seem to migrate back to Princess for most of our cruises (due to perks & discounts) my wife & I both feel that RCI does a great job also. The food might even be slightly better, the passengers are usually younger than Princess (depending on the length of cruise & time of year), the entertainment seemed to be slightly better on RCI. They bring aboard name entertainment where as Princess doesn't. RCI also seems to higher in price than Princess but I suppose you get what you pay for. The ships these days are getting larger with both cruise lines trying to out do each other so you can't go wrong with either line but if were you & choose RCI again I'd pick another ship. Not that there's anything wrong with Mariner of the Sea, but there are to many ships & so little time so why limit yourself to just one ship?
February is a great time to cruise the Caribbean. The temps are just right, the kids are in school, the weather is usually cold up north & the waters are calmer then.
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Old 10-02-2007, 08:46 AM
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Great to hear that the Mariner is still holding up after that amount of time. I'm going to wait and see if anyone else has any opinion on Princess or Holland before booking though.
I think one of the main factors we're looking at is the port areas that are available for the Marine at that time of year. We've done Cozumel and all the other ports I mentioned previously. Now, we're maybe thinking of the other half of the Caribbean.
I'd love to wait for until 2009 and do the transatlantic tour which include the England and France ports but alas parenthood beckons with it's siren song!
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Old 10-02-2007, 09:22 AM
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Hi Hobbit1978, welcome to Cruise-Chat. Although I am a total Princess fan, I see no reason for you to switch to anything else. We've sailed on Royal, Norweigan, HAL, Costa, Carnival, and Princess. To me, Princess does it best. However, you seem thoroughly please with Royal, so why mess with a good thing, jmho. We prefer Princess because they seem to be a bit more elegant, to us. The food matches our taste, the crews are fantastic, the ships are immaculate. Princess ships don't have the rock wall, the flo rider, the ice skating rinks, but they do offer much the same as all the other lines as far as a gym, spa, etc. On some of their ships they offer Movies Under the Stars, which is unique. What I find great about Princess y'all may not. HAL was not one of my favorites, but there are others who wouldn't cruise with anyone else. I had a wonderful cruise, but was not impressed with their food. I thoroughly enjoyed Royal, but to me, they just weren't as good as Princess. Best wishes and I'm sure no matter what cruise you select you'll have a wonderful time.
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Old 10-02-2007, 10:00 AM
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Hmmm, interesting. So from what you're saying Penny, does any of the Princess ships include amenities like a casino, indoor theatre, or neat little restaurants like Johnnie Rockets or similar? That was one of the things that my wife and I really liked on the Mariner were the other things to venture out and enjoy on the ship besides just the pool. My wife is also not a huge fan of people rubbing her in a spa so that's not an appealing aspect for us.
After more research today I'm also thinking that Holland isn't for us price-wise. I don't know it just seems like for that much of a price I can get better amenities on other cruise lines.
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Old 10-02-2007, 10:26 AM
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Another thing about food: I've been on six or more cruises on RCCL in the past year, and find the food a little different on each ship. I think the same would go for other cruise lines. Please let us know what cruise line you decide to book.

Sonny
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Old 10-02-2007, 10:42 AM
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Well, now I'm in a pickle...
My wife has been sitting at home looking at vacationstogo.com and now she's asking me about Norwegian! *sigh*
Any thoughts on this cruise line? I think it's totally the price that's grabbing her attention and she's also wanting to go to Belize since we've never been there.
Sorry for so many questions today but I've just got the time to sit here and surf the internet today so I figured I'd use my time wisely!
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Old 10-02-2007, 11:26 AM
 
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After being on RCI, I think you'll find NCL as a bit of a let down. Although they're not bad in all respects, they don't match the top 3 mass market cruise lines- Princess, RCI or HAL. Again- you get what you pay for.
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Old 10-02-2007, 12:55 PM
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Yes, Princess does have the specialty restaurants they're not chain restaurants and the food is better, to me, than Royal. They don't have the glitzy stuff like the rock wall and the flo rider. They have a casino, fresh water pools-adult as well as family and they stick to the rules. On some of their ships they even have sushi bars. They have wonderful coffee bars with specialty coffees again they're not a chain. And they offer Anytime dining in addition to traditional dining. Now that your wife has thrown in NCL, the ships are all freestyle dining, and not quite the atmosphere as Royal or Princess. For the price, Princess can't be beat, Royal is more expensive. NCL has a great dive-in program if you like to dive or snorkel. We love snorkeling, so that's the most enjoyable thing about NCL to me. Good luck making a selection, we'll be waiting to see what you pick!
 
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