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Old 06-26-2008, 01:20 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2008
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Howdy everyone,

Myself and a group of friends have recently decided to do a 7-day Caribbean cruise in June of 2009. None of us have ever taken a cruise, and I have taken the reigns for organizing the whole thing. I was hoping for some general tips organizing the cruise, and suggestions on the best cruiselines/ships/ports for our purposes.

Generally, we are a group of 10-20 (have to iron out the final number just yet), mid-20's college graduates and/or professionals who do not drink or gamble much (not your typical party crowd). We're also looking for the most economical route (some of us will do the four-to-a-room thing).

Right now, I'm debating between Royal Caribbean and Carnival, and we'll be taking a ship out of a Southern port (Galveston, TX or Florida).

Also, I was curious if the newer/bigger ships are worth the extra expense for a group such as ours.

We'll want good food, lots of stuff to do, and a classy, fairly relaxed, atmosphere.

I've spoken with a couple travel agents, but I hope you can offer some suggestions.
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Old 06-26-2008, 01:20 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4
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Howdy everyone,

Myself and a group of friends have recently decided to do a 7-day Caribbean cruise in June of 2009. None of us have ever taken a cruise, and I have taken the reigns for organizing the whole thing. I was hoping for some general tips organizing the cruise, and suggestions on the best cruiselines/ships/ports for our purposes.

Generally, we are a group of 10-20 (have to iron out the final number just yet), mid-20's college graduates and/or professionals who do not drink or gamble much (not your typical party crowd). We're also looking for the most economical route (some of us will do the four-to-a-room thing).

Right now, I'm debating between Royal Caribbean and Carnival, and we'll be taking a ship out of a Southern port (Galveston, TX or Florida).

Also, I was curious if the newer/bigger ships are worth the extra expense for a group such as ours.

We'll want good food, lots of stuff to do, and a classy, fairly relaxed, atmosphere.

I've spoken with a couple travel agents, but I hope you can offer some suggestions.
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 06-26-2008, 06:12 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
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Welcome to cruise chat. Since you have already talked with a TA you may already have some of these answers. Usually a group is considered 16 passengers (8 cabins at double occupancy) or more. If you have 3rd and 4th passengers in the same cabin they don't count toward the 16 passengers. Although it may save some money I don't recommend 4 adults in one cabin. Particularly on a 7day. Two adults may be in pull down bunks. Cabins are small about 185 sq ft. (if that). Think about closet space, storing luggage, privacy, walking around each other, waiting for bathroom time. Also one thing you should know is with Carnival if everyone in the cabin isn't 21 or over then you need someone in the cabin 25 or older. It sounds like your group meets that requirement, but just in case you were thinking of inviting others.

If you are looking at Galveston in June your choice is limited to Carnival Ecstasy, doing 4/5 nt, or the Carnival Conquest doing 7nt. Leaving from a Florida port will give you more options of cruise lines. Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and NCL are all good choices for your age group. I find the food on all to be fine. You will find plenty to do and great entertainment. The larger Royal Caribbean ships in the Voyager and Freedom Class do have more amenities such as Flow Rider, Rock Climbing, boxing ring, ice skating. They do demand a higher per diem. You have stated you are looking for a fairly relaxed atmosphere, so you would have to ask yourself if you would use those amenities.

The Western Caribbean is a popular choice for first timers. Usually visiting the islands Jamaica, Cozumel, and Grand Cayman. The popular excursion in Jamaica for first timers is the Dunn River Falls. Grand Cayman - Swim with the Stingrays. In Cozumel there are several nice beaches for snorkeling and diving.

A Travel Agent can help organize the group. Your group may or may not qualify for amenities which the TA will go over with you. As the group leader if your group meets the requirement you may get yours free. Talk to a cruise oriented Travel Agent.
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Old 06-26-2008, 10:43 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4
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No problems on the 21+ issue.

I think we would still be interested in the activities on the big ships that you mentioned. When I say more relaxed, I pretty much just mean we won't be hitting the bars and the slots. We'll be a fairly large group, so we'll have diverse interests. I guess I'm just wondering if the upgrade in price is worth the extras of the newer ships, especially for first-timers.

Several places I've read treat Carnival like the "Party line," but that seems to be a bit of a misnomer as far as I can tell. Are we likely to notice much difference between any of the Cruiselines?

Also, I was under the impression that NCL did not having any June/July departures in any of the Southern ports like Florida.

Thank you so much for the response!
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Old 06-26-2008, 01:14 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Las Vegas, NV
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Sicari,
I used to own a store and did two group cruises on Carnival (Victory and Triumph). I did all of the planning and booking. Both times, I had about 20 passengers.

Carnival was, by far, the easiest to work with. They accommodated all of my requirements for classroom space (I taught craft classes while we were at sea.) and gave us great group incentives (free wine, fruit, bags, ship credit, etc. . . You get to choose what you want, and you have points depending on itinerary, ship, dates, etc.)

The "Carnival is a party cruise line" rap is just that - a bad rap. My group cruises were both over Halloween, and while there were parties going on in some lounges and decks because of the holiday, we were never bothered by overt partying. Seriously, we were in St. Thomas at the same time as a Princess cruise, and a group of their passengers (more than slightly inebriated) mooned our ship as they cruised out of port.

And, I think that it's worth having stuff to do on the ship. While we like to read, we really do like to have the option to do other things at times. We like both Carnival and Royal Caribbean for their activities.
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