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Old January 18th, 2006, 09:13 PM
trish1c trish1c is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 70
Default Re: Need some Help for first time cruiser

Originally Posted by adam61
I'm excited about trying a cruise but it's all a bit overwhelming. Here's a few questions I have come up with....
Welcome to the boards. If you felt your TA was trying to "sell" you, this may be a better place for you. There's lots of info available on line. I'm not going to dicourage any professional from trying to close a deal but this is just about people's opinions & here's mine. . .

1) What's a good destination? I'm really on a cruise more for the cruise itself than seeing many ports but I'd like to go a couple places, maybe Hawaii or something, what makes you choose a destination?
Some people do consider the ship the destination -- hence cruises to nowhere or with only 1 port stop. A good destination is anyplace you want to go.

2) How Long? I'm thinking 7 days cause 3-4 seems too short for a major vacation and 9+ is too long to get off and gets too expensive.
Again, it depends on you & your budget. I was leary of cruising at first & went on a 4 day to make sure I'd like it & not feel trapped. I learned there's plenty to do & they are lots of fun. I also learned I hate sea days. Other people love them & you may too.

3) How much should I expect to pay? Our budget is around $1200 a person (it will either be me and my fiance or me and my fiance plus another couple). I know a $699 cruise could easily be over $1200 by the time you get a flight, pay fees, do a shore excursion, shop, tip, buy alcohol, etc.
That's going to be tight, IMHO. Once you book a good rule of thumb, after airfare & getting to the port, you should budget $100 per person for each day you are on the cruise. This budget includes tips, middle of the road excursions & some alcohol. It's very easy to rack up a hefty bar bill & if you get a deal on the cruise your expenses at the end may be more than the cruise itself.

I've heard that if you can get an OV cabin for around $100 per night you've gotten a great deal on your cruise. I never knew if that was before or after taxes & port fees. I try to keep that budget in mind when I book. To save money you many want to consider an inside cabin. Others perfer to splurge & get a balcony.

4) Where should I leave from? The only port I could really drive to is Galveston (I Live in East Texas) so outside of that I guess I have to fly somewhere, Florida seems to have the most options?
Driving is cheaper. If you do fly, espeically during hurricane season which you're looking at, many people recomend flying in a day early. This adds the expense of a hotel but saves the worry of "will we miss the ship?" It's up to you.

5) Is my time of year bad? I know Sept/Oct is kinda hurricane time but that just works out as a good time to go?
Just understand that you may not go to your scheduled destination. To me, hurricane seasons are getting longer & more intense. I sailed in Sept. once but I'm not sure I'd do it again. At least read the horror stories before you commit so you are sure you know what you're getting into.

6) Is a cruise a good choice for me? Our little group is pretty quiet, not big party animals, like to enjoy good food, good entertainment, and drink in smaller groups and chat. That kinda thing. What cruise line is probably a good choice for that?

I can't answer that because I dont' know you. Most of the mainstream cruises are set up to address a variety of different interests: you can swim, sleep, eat, tour, play a game, eat, relax, party, etc. did I mention eat? There are quiet lounges, there are discos, there are pubs & sports bars.

I don't know what your definition of "good" is. Most food is tasty but none of it's gormet. You just can't mass produce that much stuff. The entertainment is entertaining but it's not Hollywood or Broadway quality. It's still fun. Plus I've always been amazed that some of the performers can "do their thing" on a moving ship. To me, that's worth the price of admission. 8)

Give it a shot. No matter what, vacation is still better than work.
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