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Old 10-21-2007, 10:42 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2007
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Hi,

My husband and I are planning our first cruise next spring, and we've been directed toward either Princess or NCL by our TA. Just the same, I'm interested in hearing what experienced cruisers think.

We're in our early 40s and have nearly grown children, but this is our time away and we'd prefer to minimize kid contact. We also don't drink, smoke or gamble -- not a moral statement, we just don't enjoy it. We plan to take a Western Carribbean cruise, primarily to visit the Mayan ruins. HUGE on our list. We're also thinking of going in April, since kids will still be in school.

So what do you think? NCL or Princess? I think we're leaning toward an interior stateroom to spend more money on the excursions, but how much does position on the ship matter?

I welcome any advice you can offer. Thanks!!

Kathi
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Old 10-21-2007, 10:42 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2
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Hi,

My husband and I are planning our first cruise next spring, and we've been directed toward either Princess or NCL by our TA. Just the same, I'm interested in hearing what experienced cruisers think.

We're in our early 40s and have nearly grown children, but this is our time away and we'd prefer to minimize kid contact. We also don't drink, smoke or gamble -- not a moral statement, we just don't enjoy it. We plan to take a Western Carribbean cruise, primarily to visit the Mayan ruins. HUGE on our list. We're also thinking of going in April, since kids will still be in school.

So what do you think? NCL or Princess? I think we're leaning toward an interior stateroom to spend more money on the excursions, but how much does position on the ship matter?

I welcome any advice you can offer. Thanks!!

Kathi
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 10-21-2007, 11:38 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Cape Coral, Fl.
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If you prefer less kids on a cruise I would avoid early April as some of the spring breakers are still cruising. If you go much later that April you'll be getting close to early vacationers with kids.
Princess usually has more of an older crowd than NCL & does have a better reputation overall for their food & service. As far as smoking, drinking or gambling goes no one pressures you into any of these activities. These days the smoking areas aboard cruise ships is more controlled & isn't as bothersome as it once was.

We visited Mayan ruins the last time we were at Costa Maya which were pretty good although most cruise ship stops don't really have sufficient time to allow decent tours since they're limited by time in port. The Mayan ruins in Cozumel are OK but not great. Years ago they offered tours to Chitza Nitza when visiting Cozumel but it took some many hours to get there & back to the ship they've discontinued them.

Since this is you first cruise I would suggest at least an outside cabin rather than inside unless the price is a real consideration. The difference in the cruise having a window is a big factor in enjoyment. Being inside without any sunlight is a definite downer.
At that time of the year the Caribbean is fairly calm & no matter where you are on the ship won't matter. It you traveled during hurricane season & hit heavy seas it might be better to have a lower cabin mid ship but in April you shouldn't be affected.
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Old 10-22-2007, 07:58 AM
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: birmingham, al
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Princess and NCL are better choices than Carnival and RCCL for what you guys are looking for in an on-board experience. Rule of thumb in choosing cruise vacations... The cheaper and shorter the cruise, the more tendency parents have to bring along the children. Smoking, drinking, and gambling aside, if you take a short Western Caribbean cruise in April, you can forget about getting any quality pool or hot tub time. Pools on deck.. (even the designated "adult pools") are havens for parents who want to drop off their kids and head for the casino or bars. Getting back on track, I would also look at Holland America cruise lines. They will take you to some less travelled Mayan ruin ports in Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. Earlier this year, I visited the Mayan ruins of Kohunlich and Chacchoben from the port of Costa Maya. They were wonderful but, after Hurricane Dean, the port was heavily damaged and it is not going to be on an itenerary until probably September of 2008.
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Old 10-22-2007, 11:28 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Alabama
Posts: 10,601
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Hi Kathi, welcome to Cruise-Chat. Let me preface this with, I don't work for Princess. We've sailed on NCL, Royal Caribbean, HAL, Costa, Carnival, and Princess. So far, Princess is my favorite. We normally do a 10 or 14 day itinerary and do not run into a lot of families with children. We've never had any problems with children in the adult pools or spas. Usually the Princess staff will ask the children to go to the family area. Their pools are fresh water, which we enjoy. Our normal time frame is between October-December. We have been on a few in April-May, but still have not had any trouble with children over running the areas. In early April there are more teens on board. For the most part, they have not been obnoxious. For my taste, I think Princess has better food. Their ships are immaculate, the staff has always been fabulous, and the service has been impeccable. I think you would be happy with Princess, but then again, this is my opinion. Best wishes and I know you'll have a great time no matter which ship you choose. Once again, welcome aboard!
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Old 10-22-2007, 06:12 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Houston TX
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Hi Kathi,

I'd also like to welcome you to Cruise-Chat first. I'm in agreement with the Dr. With your age, lifestyle and comments I think Holland America should be added to your list. You won't go wrong with Princess, Celebrity, Holland and NCL would provide a differnt but enjoyable experience. NCL is completely different from the other lines and has a loyal following. It's more casual, they call it freestyle. So if you like maximum flexibility strongly consider it.

If fine food and service are more important factors the other three would be a better fit. They're all more formal and pride themselves on catering to you in a way you may not get with NCL. The later in April you cruise the less chance of spring breakers and during SB and anytime kiddos are out of school avoid Carnival and RCCL if you don't want a ship full of kids and 20 somethings. Off season they provide great ships and good values as well.

Good luck with your decision. With all these choices everyone has provided now it comes down to your budget and the itineraries you like best.

Cheers, Neil
 
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