I too, am curious why someone would tell you not to go out of Port Canaveral. It is actually a very pleasant port to begin your voyage. As for the itinerary, beaches are a main part of both eastern and western Caribbean cruises, but there are many other things to do at the ports you are considering. Check out the suggestions and reviews at our sister site: www.caribbeanportreviews.com
Also, as for deals from online agencies. Royal Caribbean has taken a firm stand on making the pricing standard for all agencies large, small, local or internet based. You will most likely find that the price you get from AAA, your local agent and RC directly (as well as online agencies) will all be the same. Since this is your first cruise I cannot stress how valuable a resource your local travel agent can be. It isn't going to cost you anything for the support and guidance they can provide.
Thanks for all of the great comments and advice. OK, so between the various Voyager ships is there much of a difference? Also, I keep reading that the food is not as good on RCI as it is on other lines. Should that be a factor in deciding on RCI?
Just got home from the Voyager. It was just my wife and myself, but we did see kids and they were always having fun doing activities. The Voyager was an amazing ship. I am convinced if you eat at the buffett, it probably isn't as good as other cruise lines, but eating in the fine dining area was always a treat with GREAT food. I think if you read reviews of others the Voyager is rated as one of the best ships for kids activities. WEstern Caribbean itinerary was great also. Only thing I would recommend was for offshore explorations, look on the internet and book your own tours. You'll save lots of money..
Again, thanks for all of the help. I think I am going to go with Mariner for an eastern caribbean cruise. My rationale...being our first cruise with so much to do on the ship, this trip is the only one in the Voyager class that has 3 days at sea. Also, my wife mentioned wanting to give the kids a chance to walk around The Atlantis. Sound like a plan? 0r is there anything I'm missing in my thought process? I would like a little more feedback about the food, though, please. While we enjoy a really nice meal, for the kids it's mostly about variety. I'm assuming that, although it's been mentioned that the food is better on other lines, the quality and variety will not be disappointing. Correct?
We have been on the Mariner two times and thought the food in the dining room was very good to excellent. We did not go to the specialty restaurants but have heard they are extremely good and well worth the extra $20/person. We also enjoyed the "snacks" available 24/7 at the Promenade - especially the pizza and desserts. Hope you have a great trip and enjoy the food. Do not miss the food on formal nights!
I've also been on the Mariner twice... both times the Eastern Caribbean. There is nothing wrong with Port Canaveral. If you're driving, it will cost you $70 to park in a covered parking deck for the week.
Maybe my tastes aren't as refined as other cruisers, but I agree with Kandl; the foodand service in the dining room was great. Our waiter and assistant waitress were fantastic. Wrote our names down the 1st dinner and knew exactly what we wanted as far as beverages before and after each meal.
You won't have a lot of time in Nassau. I think the ship leaves around 1:00pm. We went to Atlantis one of the times we were there. They have a nice aquarium in the hotel that's free. I believe they now charge boat people to use the hotel beach. Hope this helps.
RCCL Mariner of the Seas - Mar 05
NCL Norwegian Dawn - Jun 04
RCCL Mariner of the Seas - Feb 04
Golden Princess - Sep 03
RCCL Vision of the Seas - May 03
RCCL Brilliance of the Seas - Sep 02
NCL Norwegian Star - May 02
I wouldn't worry much about the food. I agree that the food in the Windjammer is not the best (but the buffets on any ship are usually about the same), but food in the main restaurant is quite good (at least to my taste). Don't worry about the kids - there are plenty of options. There is a children's menu offered in the main dining room (but they can order from the adult menu if they prefer). The Cafe Promenade is open 24 hours and has good sandwiches, great pizza (according to my daughter - a finicky teenager) and desserts. The daily pasta dishes are varied and usually pretty good. There is always Johny Rockets for a great burger, fries and milkshake. I am sure once you are onboard you will not be disappointed.