I'm now in another quandry regarding our anniversary cruise next fall. . . . I think we have decided on Princess (although there is one RCCL cruise we are still considering), but now I'm trying to decide on itinerary, and the ships vary.
We are used to larger ships (over 100,000 tons). The Emerald, Grand and Star Princesses all are larger, and I notice that the main difference is that two have the outdoor cinema, while one doesn't. The Sea Princess is 77,000 tons. . . .And, the new Royal is smaller than that, I believe.
I know that ship size really is a matter of personal preference. However, I would appreciate knowing what you consider pros/cons of the different sizes.
Also, can you tell me if you like the on deck movies if you have been on a ship with them.
We have sailed on two large class ships, the Costa Atlantica and the Grand Princess. Our last 3 cruises have been on the Dawn Princess and the Sun Princess (two years in a row). We like the smaller ships as the public areas do not seem as crowded. We also enjoy the 10 day cruises, and the Sun will be replaced by the Emerald this fall. We will probably sail on her in October. We are also booking the Caribbean Princess in October 2008 with a group. We enjoy Princess for two reasons. We enjoy the personal choice dining, since it is normally just the two of us sailing. We have the opportunity to meet different people. If we meet people that we enjoy spending more time with, then we just meet at the dining room and are seated together. Another reason we like Princess is for the fresh water pools. I believe the only other ship that offers this is RCL's Freedom of the Seas, although we have never sailed her. We have not had the pleasure of viewing Movies under the Stars, since it was not on the Grand Princess when we sailed on her. Also, with the 10 day cruises, there does not seem to be a lot of kids on board as well. Hope this helps, and enjoy your cruise!
choochella, as always, has given excellent advice.
I love all the Princess ships--big, small, new, old--so I usually pick my destination and then see which one(s) are going there.
The Grand Class ships have the advantage of more dining choices and entertainment venues; and also mini-suites. Yes, I know the Sun Class ships have mini-suites--but they are much larger and more expensive than the Grand Class ones.
The smaller ships are, well, smaller! Easier to get around, more intimate, and maybe even more "comfortable"; more of a "ship feel" to them; less like a floating resort.
As for "Movies Under the Stars", I have not experienced this yet, but it does not appeal to me AT ALL! I LOVE movies, and I can think of no worse place to watch one than the open deck of a cruise ship; but that's just me.
Anyway, hope this helps. Let us know what you decide.
Thanks to both of you for your thoughts. . .My concerns with the smaller ships are crowded areas and lack of entertainment venues, which f-mattox did address. Of course, fewer people does mean less of a chance of a crowd.
BTW, my husband also said he isn't too keen on watching a movie on the deck of a cruise ship. I think it would be okay, but the ship we;re leaning toward doesn't have it.
Right now, we are leaning toward a 15-day on the Star Princess (large ship). . .Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Brussels, LeHavre, Vigo, Lisbon, Seville, Casablanca, Gibraltar, Barcelona, Cannes, Livorno and Citavecchia. The RCCL that we were considering leaves Southampton and does a similar route, but it has more sea days (which we really don't like much).
We also like the idea of anytime dining, which RCCL doesn't offer.
So, I probably should start a new discussion on this, but my one big concern on this itinerary is Casablanca and security there. Anyone ever been there??
I'll throw in my two cents. The Movies Under the Stars are really fun. They give you popcorn and a blanket, it's better than a drive-in. During the day they give you headsets so if you wish you can watch the movie. We've only sailed on the sun class ships, and loved them all. The Sea is my favorite. We're booked on the Emerald for November and I'm so excited. Can't wait to check out a new ship and hope I love her as much as the sun class ships. They're wonderful ships, even if they're not the mega stars of the fleet. The amenities are great, you're never crowded, and the service is wonderful. One day I'd love to do the 21 day from Venice to Ft. Lauderdale via the Caribbean. Guess I'll have to get a 3rd job for that one. May you have a wonderful cruise, whichever ship you choose!
Hello again, mooneydiva;
what a wonderful itinerary! I'll believe you if you say you don't like sea days much, and it's a good thing; you've set quite a pace for yourselves-- 13 ports in 15 days.
I have been to most of the ports and my favorites are Gibraltar(most interesting), Cannes(most picturesque) and Florence/Livorno(most historical). One bit of advice: don't try to do Florence AND Pisa from Livorno; you won't see much of either. Take tha all-day excoursion to Florence and save Pisa for another trip.
As for your concern about Casablanca, we had a very interesting excoursion there, part walking tour, part motorcoach, and never were the slightest bit uncomfortable or apprehensive. Our policy is to stick with ship-sponsored shore excoursions our first time anyplace; we feel confident no cruise line is going to put its passengers in harm's way. You didn't say, but I am assuming it is your first trip there. Then, if we feel comfortable with a port, we may strike out on our own.
Barcelona is where you really have to keep your wits about you. We have never had a problem but we've heard of many incidents of pickpocketing and purse-snatching. You just have to follow some really basic safety rules: stay low-key, don't be a flashy dresser, don't flaunt expensive jewelry and watches, mind your belongings and your surroundings.
You should have an absolutely wonderful trip; the Star Princess is a magnificent ship and you've selected a dream itinerary.
Keep in touch.