I know some people either love cruising or don't. Before I jump into booking, I'd like to hear some opinions about the different cruiselines.
My husband and I went on 1 cruise about 10 years ago, and I HATED it. It was a Carnival cruise, and not my speed at all. To me it was like a greyhound bus on water. There were too many people, and the food was poor. Maybe my expectations are too high? After that trip I said I'd never go on a cruise again, but my parents have gone on several, more upscale cruiselines and love it. So, maybe I'm willing to try again.
For us, I'd prefer more peace and quiet, EXCELLENT food, and nice evening entertainment (not much into the bar scene or drinking till all hours). I want a room with at least a window and a bed big enough to roll around in WITH my husband (sorry, hope that did not offend anyone).
I'm looking into Norwegian and Royal Caribbean going to Bermuda (that's where we took our honeymoon 20 years ago). Norwegian departs from Philadelphia, and Royal Caribbean departs from Baltimore or Philadephia.
I have done three cruises on Carnival and have no complaints. From what I am told Carnival has made some improvements since you were on there ten years ago. The cabins I have had were quite roomy with big beds.
The last two cruises were cabins with a balcony which I highly recommend.
Based on the preferences you mentioned, have you considered Celebrity Zenith? You'd have to go further north -- Cape Liberty, NJ -- yet this is probably closest to what you're looking for in terms of amenities.
If you decide on Royal Caribbean, note that the cruise out of Baltimore is just 5 nights long and goes to King's Wharf only. IMO, that is not nearly enough time to get to see the best of Bermuda.
At this point, I'm afraid of trying Carnival again. My parents also have recommended Celebrity. I'll check them out a little more. The thought of driving all the way to NJ to catch the boat is not very appealing. I live in Southern Maryland and was focusing on what I could get out of Baltimore (RC) or Philadelphia (RC or Norwegian).
You are right, 5 nights probably is not long enough. If I go out of Philadelphia I can get 7 for about the same price. But, I want it to be nice too.
I know NCL has freestyle dining and RC has regular, but other than that how are they different?
The one big thing that I did not like about the Carnival cruise (it was a long time ago) was the quality of the food, so I'm sort of focusing on that to a degree.
Also, on RC, is all dining at group tables? Is it possible to get a table for 2? Not that we are antisocial, but we NEVER have time alone (with kids and all), and with it being our anniversary, I'm hoping for somewhat romantic mealtimes.
I have sailed on Carnival 27 times. You should not be judging them from 10 years ago. They have really changed alot over the last five years. About the time they came out with the Spirit class ship. I have never had a problem with their food. Carnival will serve lobster on a three night cruise, when I went on the Sovereign 4nt I never saw lobster. I just came off the Costa Mediterreanea. I enjoyed the cruise but I felt their food was no better then Carnival. Carnival probably has more choice and better selection. Carnival's entertainment is much better. However, we are talking about Bermuda, and I agree with Lisa and Nancy. I did the Zenith out of Bayonne last August. The Zenith spends enough time in port that you can get a 4day bus pass to ride all over the island.
You can request a table for two, however; they are limited so the sooner you book and request it, the better.
Thanks, everyone, for you input. My husband and I have gone round and round on the cruise topic for a few weeks. We decided NOT to judge all cruises by our experience 10 years ago and try again.
We booked our cruise on RCCL - Empress of the Sea leaving Philadelphia and going to Bermuda. We upgraded our room to oceanview with a large, non-obstructed window (I had no idea there were so many choices and room grades). I would have liked a balcony, but uptrading to a suite was a small fortune.
I'm so excited since we have not traveled much since our children were born.
Jeanne, congrats on your upcoming anniversary and on booking another cruise. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
Getting an ocean view room is a great idea. The Empress has rather small rooms, smaller than what you had on Carnival, and having the light come in makes a difference. Also, if you're interested in having a table for 2 in the dining room, make sure your travel agent requests that right away.