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  #31 (permalink)  
Old April 22nd, 2006, 05:07 PM
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Gosh there has been so many good comments before me and many express the same comments as I will present.

We have cruised 67 times with 4 on the books.

We love Exotic destinations. We choose those whenever we can find them. We have visited many ports of call around the world and loved each and every one. Some may be better than others but in short they were all very nice. We love to mingle with the local peoples in all these foreign lands. The longer cruise the better. We had one which lasted for 72 days. So we choose destinations as our first thought.

Next we love to go where the climates are warm. Ofcourse the time of year is a factor. If below the equator then we pick our winter and their summer, etc.

Next we match up the cruises we wish with the cost. As a rule of thumb we try to buy a cruise that will be close to the $100 per day per person.
We have had inside cabins and outside cabins. Some with Balconies and many without.

Next factor is our health. We are getting into the age where we have to hurry up before we can't go.

Hope these factors help the Author in writing his/her books.

Oh yes we are retired. Flying coming into factoring because all the choices we have made requires Air.
RayBCruising on Canival Paradise July 13, 2017 4 days to Cubal--Cruising on Carnival Vista, 8 days, Jan 27, 2018 From Miami, FL.Cruising on Carnival Liberty 5 days from Port Canaveral Feb 22,2018
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  #32 (permalink)  
Old April 22nd, 2006, 06:13 PM
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Forgot to mention I like cruises with 2 or more sea days. I don't really like the port intensive cruises where every day your somewhere else. I like a sea day or two, then a port day, then another sea day and so on. I like when the ports are not all grouped together day after day but spaced between sea days. Sea days allow me a chance to rest and relax. Port days are tireing trying to fit in as much activity as possible, or having to wake up early for excursions.
Carnival Mardi Gras 1987 (Bahamas)
Carnival Legend 2005 (Exotic Western Caribbean)
Costa Mediterrenia 2005 (Eastern Caribbean)
Carnival Pride October 2006 (Mexican Rivera)
Carnival Legend 2007 (Western Caribbean)
Carnival Glory 2009 Western Caribbean
Carnival Liberty 2011 Eastern Caribbean
Norwegian Spirit 2011 Western Caribbean
Carnival Miracle 2012 Southern Caribbean
Carnival Breeze 2013 Exotic Eastern Caribbean
Carnival Valor 2014 Southern Caribbean
Carnival Dream 2016 Halloween
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  #33 (permalink)  
Old April 22nd, 2006, 09:45 PM
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i personal like to sail in october when the kids are back in school when we
cruise we always stayon the riviera deck inside cabin we always fine it to be very quiet on that deck
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  #34 (permalink)  
Old April 23rd, 2006, 08:13 PM
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Default unethical

Is that not a bit unethical ;-) of yourself?
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  #35 (permalink)  
Old April 23rd, 2006, 11:58 PM
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As a newbie to cruising there were several factors in determining my very first cruise which is in 3 weeks to Alaska on HAL out of Seattle. I chose this for the following reasons in exact order:

-I live in Seattle and not having to fly anywhere and deal with airport security and airport customs officers was extremely appealing. I know you still have this with cruises but not to the extent it would be at an airport.
-A regional itinerary-the caribbean holds little appeal when you live this far away from it. Its tiring that everytime I log into a cruising website an image of some far away island pops up on the screen. HAL has a heavy presence in Alaska and it was nice to see some emphasis on someplace other than the Bahamas, etc.
-Money isn't really an issue when I travel, but being ripped off is. HAL's single supp was much more reasonable over other lines. However, I will pay a higher single supp if I can find a good deal-as I have on a Celebrity 4 day pnw cruise in October. I agree with an earlier poster, if I have to pay for an extra person in order to travel alone, why am I not getting twice the rewards?

The most important factor in why I chose a cruise over any other kind of vacation was to experience the unique feeling of being on a ship at sea. Its all about the ships and what they have to offer. Anyone that saw Titanic probably daydreamed about being on it; despite the encounter with the iceberg. The bottom line is that the ship IS the destination. Which is why I appreciate the variety of the various cruiselines and will probably experiment with them all at some time or another....assuming I don't run off the ship screaming 4 weeks from now.

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  #36 (permalink)  
Old April 24th, 2006, 05:57 PM
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Actually we have never cruised before. So this comming June will be our very first cruise. However, as to decideing which itinerary, and cruise line to go with, that seemed easy enough to me, I guess.

My DH has allways wanted to see Alaska, so that is the destination.

We decided to take a cruise as a special present to ourselves from ourselves. While in Alaska we will be celebrateing our 10th Wedding anniversary. So that is the reason for the cruise to start with.

As for picking out the particular cruise line, we decided on Royal Caribbean. To us, from pictures and advertisements etc, it seemed to have a LOT of elegance onboard.

We did not choose it for the sports that are available. (rock wall, golf, etc)

While visiting these cruise boards and researching the line, the biggest over all complaint with RCL was the quality of the food. However, it also seems that a lot of the people who were complaining, have probably never worked in food service. Hence they probably have no idea as to the complexities of feeding that quantity of people on a daily basis, and still be able to give the quality that they would expect out of a very nice restaurant. I seriously doubt that a high quality restaurant would be able to handle that large of a crowd at any given seating, without comprimising quality.

So I guess bottom line is this. We are going for the location(s), the experience of cruiseing, and the occasion, not the quality of food.

Another plus for us is being able to go to various ports and only have to unpack once!

Since deciding on this cruise, we have become obsessed with the thought of cruiseing. And are trying to plan another cruise with family and friends. Time will tell if we can get our "Group" together.

Hope this helps.


Independance of the Seas
Monarch of the Seas, October, 2007
Serenade of the Seas June, 2006
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  #37 (permalink)  
Old April 25th, 2006, 10:25 AM
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Destination is number one. Cost has to be a factor. Then the cruiseline's reputation. Is this a place that we would feel comfortable? Does it provide good food and good service? Is it known for treating its customers and staff well? I'm going on vacation to relax, not fight with management, so do they live up to their promises and responsibilites? Celebrity, are you listening?
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  #38 (permalink)  
Old April 25th, 2006, 10:54 AM
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We have always travelled as a 3-generation family and want a cruise line that will please everyone's tastes and budgets. In the early 90's, we started with Premiere Cruise Line and did a Disney vacation and 4-day Bahama cruise - the price was good, we had 1 child with us and grandma loves Disney World. We then did the Disney Magic with 2 YOUNG children during its first year - it was chosen solely because of the Disney characters on board and that part was charming, but the service lacked compared to Premiere (no longer in business). Then we found a fabulous price from a discount cruise broker on a Holland America ship and were hooked - the Holland America deep discounts don't seem to be as prevalent as other lines (especially NCL), but if you look, they're there. HAL's service is personal - it is always hard to leave these people because they've become friends - the food is hugely varied for all of our tastes, including our picky eating kids and grandma - everyone finds activities that they like - or none at all - and the absence of lines for food, etc. is a blessing. So, in response to your question, first issue is - MUST be HAL, second is price, third is itinerary and fourth is departure port - because we must pay for airfare, we don't want to travel across the country to, say, San Diego or San Juan and pay that airfare for 8-10 people, when we can travel to Florida for half the price. For our varied group (now aged 11 to 72 and all ages in between), we don't want to go on any line other than HAL, because we don't want to spend our vacation comparing how great HAL was to a different line. If my husband and I went alone on a cruise, we would look more into the nightlife of each cruise line before choosing, although HAL's is good for us - we're usually worn out by midnight anyway.
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  #39 (permalink)  
Old April 26th, 2006, 01:05 PM
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There are two things that influence why and how I cruise:
1 – Budget
2 – Brand Reputation

1 – Budget. Being the sole income provider, cost is necessarily a major issue. My travel agent presented very attractive pricing with Royal Caribbean. That was the reason for choosing Royal Caribbean for both my first cruise and my upcoming second cruise. If the price were right for most any other line, I would make a different choice.

2 – Brand Reputation. Closely related to budget for me is brand reputation. For instance, I’ve always heard good things about Disney and Royal Caribbean, bad things about mostly Carnival. I’ve known persons who love Carnival and who hated Carnival. It’s just a matter of taste/preference. I prefer a slightly more sedate approach to cruising than what Carnival’s “Fun Ship? tagline implies. Some like a non-stop party atmosphere. I like a more balanced atmosphere. Royal Caribbean has provided what I look for in cruising thus far. I would look for a similar experience on any line I choose to sail in the future. While I’m on the topic of atmosphere, I truly love the Royal Promenade on the “Voyager? Class ships of Royal Caribbean. Voyager of the Seas was my first cruise and Adventure of the Seas is my upcoming second cruise. The Royal Promenade was busy, but not rowdy! It offered lots of options for shopping, dining and entertainment. It was just a fun place to be! Again, it is that type of atmosphere I would expect from any cruise line I sail. In view of the foregoing, if I were offered a really great price on a Carnival cruise versus a slightly higher price for a Royal Caribbean cruise, I would probably choose the higher-priced Royal Caribbean cruise, as they offer the best balance of price vs. atmosphere for my taste.

Cruise History:
Voyager of the Seas: October 2004
Adventure of the Seas: December 2006
Anthem of the Seas: October 2016
Disney Fantasy: May 2018
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  #40 (permalink)  
Old April 27th, 2006, 12:02 AM
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Andy and Bob
I got the cruise bug three years ago after my kids decided to christen my retirement with a gift for the fairwell transatlantic cruise on HAL's 'old' Noordam (Tampa to Lisbon). The cruise and itenerary were super! Our family spent many summers in Europe but always flew as time was of the essence. One of retirement's great pleasures is the ability to enjoy the time getting there
The Noordam experience provided me with the opportunity to do things I greatly enjoy, meeting people, enjoying great food, learning about wines, hearing lectures on the people and cultures of the ports visited.
My fascination with food was a major reason I chose Ryndam for my second cruise because of the attention given to Pinnacles and the promise of the food prep seminars. I also was lured by the prospect of the Canopy excursion that even my 67 years didn't deter me from undertaking.
I truly enjoy sea days so I think this is a major factor I use in selecting a cruise (9 sea days on Celebrity) so I can see Hawaii and Panama crossing in my future along with more transatlantic crossings--budget withstanding. 8)
Ed aka Old CA

Ryndam, Baja / Mexico March 2005
"Old" Noordam, Transatlantic-Eastbound, April 2004
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  #41 (permalink)  
Old April 27th, 2006, 05:28 PM
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We took our very first cruise last April. I did alot of research on this board by listening to people's comments - good or bad.

I picked Royal's Serenade of the Seas because Carnival was still being called a Party ship & Royal was commented by alot of people as very high class. I wanted a big ship & a ship that was relatively new.

Also based on Islands. We wanted to see as many Caribbean islands in a week as we could cram in. It would be good to know in case we ever decided to go there for a vacation for a week. It didn't matter if we flew to Florida or Puerto Rico to get to any ship. Ours is based out of Puerto Rico.

We also based it on the school period as we didn't want to deal with tons of screaming, unsupervised kids. So we picked April since it was after Spring Break & nearly all kids would be in school.

Would do this cruise again in a heartbeat!
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  #42 (permalink)  
Old April 28th, 2006, 10:53 AM
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The unique thing about cruising is that you can find a line that suits you and your needs, its really is a niche market.
I think that it is important for cruisers to try different lines, so many get stuck on one cruise line that they fall in love with and can't get enough of. Try different lines, you don't know what you are missing(or not) unless you try something different.
Our tastes have gotten a bit more sophisicated(sp?) as we have cruised.
We like the more "traditional" lines as opposed to the mass-market "budget" lines.
Our current favorite is Princess - there is a casual-elegance about Princess- its not stuffy or boring, there is a nice balance of things to do day and night. Great service, very good food quality- that's important to us.
When we are choosing a cruise we start with the ports-of-call first, then we choose the cruise line.
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  #43 (permalink)  
Old April 28th, 2006, 04:59 PM
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Mid-40s cruiser. 14 cruises to date on: RCCL, Carnival, Princess, Celebrity, Costa

How do I choose which line to travel on?
It is a combination of these factors, pretty much in priority order. It is almost like an "AND" function in that any one of them could call of the cruise, but no single one would make me go (e.g. they all need to be true).
Date - I have windows of opportunity to go
Duration - I have a limited amount of time I can take for a cruise. 10-12-14 days cruises aren't a possibility
Proximity to home - Since duration is a problem, adding travel days on to get to the cruise becomes problematic. It also impacts costs.
Itinerary - I dislike sea days so I look for port intensive itineraries
Costs - I tend to look for bargains. I'm not so enamored with cruising that I won't take a land based cruise if it is cheaper. I also consider the airfare as part of the cost (also part of the proximity factor)
Personal taste - the cruise lines have different personalities. I have found that RCCL & Carnival are more to my liking, celebrity the least. I tend not to care for the elegant, formal, poshness of some lines and food does not factor into my decision (they all have acceptable food for me).
Ship design - I like vaulted space, lots of activities, large ships, and don't want to feel like I'm on a ship. For that reason, RCCL Voyager class and Carnival Spirit class are among my favorites, Sun Princess has been my least favorite (although...what were they thinking when they created the dining room on Carnival Miracle)

Why did I pick the last cruise line: It was Celebrity. I was looking at RCCL, but the same itinerary on RCCL was about 25% more for a comparable ship. Price won :-)

Variety is starting to become a factor. I have been to the Caribbean many times, so I'm looking at other locations now (e.g. Med, Baltic, new England, Hawaii).
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  #44 (permalink)  
Old April 28th, 2006, 11:15 PM
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My first cruise was on RCCL Song of America in 1998. (ship is since retired) Chose this ship from NYC to Bermuda on advice from cruise agent (formerly with Cruises Only. Now independent via CruiseValueCenter). Wanted party environment; went with oldest daughter to celebrate her birthday. We dance, sing and get grazy together. We are socially agressive ladies and best friends! Went cheap-inside cabin - NEVER AGAIN! Great service and food. Did not see any shows - too busy partying!

Second cruise was with hubby on HAL Zaandam's 13th voyage to W.Carib. I booked a surprise "Renewal of Vows" on Half-Moon Cay in the universal chapel on the Island for our 25th anniversary. (as opposed to the usual Captain's Vow thing on-board). My husband almost fainted during the ceremony, he was totally in shock that I pulled this off without his knowing! It was most unconventional; HAL gave us a framed copy of our "vows" and supplied a champagne and canape brunch for us and our guests at the ceremony. Very classy and subdued, older group, smaller ship, elegant, etc.Booked a balcony suite - first class all the way-no costs curtailed! Loved the ambiance, white-glove treatment and elegant cuisine. It was a remarkable difference from my first cruise.

Third cruise was with my youngest daughter (H.S.Grad gift)on Celebrity's Zenith out of NYC again to Bermuda. Oceanview Cabin. Met some nice people from N.J. and stayed with them all thru cruise & ports. Had a blast! My prior experience spoiled me (my daughter was fine with this ship). Our cabin was hardly cleaned (we planted dirt, hair & papers on carpet in cabin in various obvious areas and at day's end nothing was touched by the steward!), we had to constantly ask for bathroom tissue and ice refills, etc. Food was tolerable (but I said I was spoiled!) and service s-l-o-w. Celebrity is off my future cruise list as of now.

Fourth cruise was with hubby again on Sun Princess to Alaska. We booked a 15 day Land-Sea-Air adventure. Our agent secretly upgraded us from a mini-suite w/balcony to a 3 room penthouse suite.....ultimate in luxury accomodations. Princess treated us like royalty and it was a fantastic vacation in every respect. Being New Yorker's we expected less than quality shows - but we were pleasantly surprised at the talent and quality performances. Meals and service were exceptional.

Fifth cruise was with hubby again - Crown Princess to Panama Canal, Costa Rica, Cozumel, Grand cayman, etc. 14 days of pleasure and pampering, in Princess' usual style. Unfortunately I had an accident - tripped on loose brick walkway in Port Cristobal, Panama, broke my arm in 2 places and had to miss a few pre-paid excursions (which were refunded by Princess). The medical crew on board wired my x-rays to Univ. of Texas College of Orthopedics to confirm my condition. The Ortho.MD on the ship applied a soft cast at first and the night before we docked at Port Everglades he replaced it with a hard plaster full arm cast so i would be protected through further travel home to NY from Fla. No complaints there regarding Princess.

My Sixth cruise will be this June 5th out of NYC on Carnival Legend to the E. Carib - this time with my entire family - in balcony cabins - looking forward to the Carnival experience. Although after my crazy crew hits the decks, Carnival may never recover! (ha ha)

My choices of cruise line and destination have mostly been guided by my agent, whom I trust totally. I tell him when, he suggests where (depending on season) and best ship for current needs and number of people I am traveling with. I prefer dealing with the same person who has always been accountable to me for information and in making recommendations in my best interests. So far, he has not let me down, therefore I have not hesitated to steer friends and associates to him for their cruise needs. He is experienced, knowledgable and honest - I think he knows that I can be a "pit-bull" or a "poodle" depending on how I am treated. He has much to gain if I am satisfied and lots to lose if I am disappointed. I am a fair person with keen instincts; I ask only to be treated as I treat others - respectfully and honestly....I ask for nothing more and I will settle for nothing less.
Think before you speak......words are not connected to a retractable cord!

"Time you enjoyed wasting, was not really wasted at all" ~ John Lennon
Carnival Victory to N/E & Canada 7 days
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  #45 (permalink)  
Old April 30th, 2006, 12:11 PM
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Are you also interested in knowing the problems that come up on ships?
Check out EVENTS AT SEA website.
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  #46 (permalink)  
Old April 30th, 2006, 10:08 PM
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Just returned from our 14th Carnival cruise today off the Valor. I am loyal to Carnival because they have provided a consistent experience. The Fun Ship experience is Carnival's and Carnival's alone. I have tried Princess and Royal Caribbean and have not been impressed to the level to which Carnival has impressed. Every line has some good, some bad. Carnival's Fun Ship mentality has not changed since the Kathy Lee days - their brand has been the same, even though many improvements have and continue to change. I do believe that Cruise Lines do need to start considering other port stops. Don't get me wrong, St. Thomas and Nassau are nice ports in which to visit, but so many cruise passengers (those that have cruised) have been to these specific ports of call. I am impressed that Carnival is going to offer new stops to St. Lucia and St. Kitts onboard the Legend in 2007. I too am getting tired of Nassau and St. Thomas. At this point I'm finding myself remaining on the ship in these ports of call. I am 39 years old and have found Carnival does a good job of staying in touch with everyone's senses because there exists so much variety. I've found Princess and Royal Caribbean to be quite boring.
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  #47 (permalink)  
Old May 1st, 2006, 12:48 AM
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It was a quirk of fate that Carnival was chosen to be the initial cruise for me. I responded to a "time share" ad that offered a cruise with it and Carnival was the cruise line. I did the Esctasy out of Miami in '99. Had a good time on it considering it was my first ever cruise. Since that time, I have done two more Carnival cruises and a Princess cruise. I now have two more Carnival cruises set for this year and look forward to more of Carnival in the future. For myself, Carnival offers more fun than the others and the service, ships and destinations are the best to me.

Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

Courage and perserverance have a magical talisman; before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into the air.

Pick your company wisely! Hang around people who are going to help you become all God created you to be.
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Old May 1st, 2006, 10:30 AM
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Andy, I am happy to see that you will be again have another book come out. I enjoyed the first immensely. I am hopeful you will remember me and our interaction many years ago when I was the Cruise " guide " for The Mining Company.

Since our first cruise in 1984 Linda and I have been cruiseaholics. Some fifty plus cruises later we remain so despite so many changes in cruising, good and bad, through the years.

The good, modern ships and amenities. Cruise availability and diverse homeports made possible by the sheer number of ships now sailing. The bad, continued priority to onboard revenue streams and the cookie cutter approach toward a mass market product. These areas have influenced how we choose a cruise today versus how we did years ago.

In our early years of cruising brand loyalty was our first filter. We knew and loved what was then a unique product NCL. Our first five or six sailings were on NCL ships. When we decide to try another line, Carnival, we imediately retreated back to NCL having found the Carnival product much different at the time and although a good cruiseline it was not to our taste. It differed greatly from NCL at the time. Our next foray into different was RCI and we found that it presented a different experience from NCL but that it was also within our desires of what a cruise should be. We alternated between those lines for several years. When celebrity appeared as a little known line we decided to sail thier first ship, the Horizon, since it sailed fom NY to Bermuda and was convenient. We fell in love with Celebrity which became our number one preference for quite a while since NCL started what we felt was a big downhill slide resulting in almost bankruptcy if I recall. They had also started to be the leader in coming up with what I call nickle and diming. Alas remember the first room service charge? Of course today Norwegian Cruise Line has nothing Norwegian about it except the name.

Today brand loyalty has little to do with any decsion we make on which cruise to take. We are of course past passenger members of numerous cruiselines. We have found that being so means little to the lines therefore means little to us. One has to earn loyalty and has to present a uniqueness to inspire loyalty. Pass passenger pricing, upgrades, added value amenities are found to seldom be of any major plus when scrutinized. Instead are basically merely sales gimmicks cloaked in claimed valued passenger perks that fail to deliver. Between lines not even maintaining accurate records of our sailings with each through the years, and special pricing that often results in a less than best price I find the efforts of all the lines in this area cause me to more to get aggravated than to feel like my business is really important to them in any was. So being a past passenger and so called perks offered us as such have no bearing on our cruise selection.

We are in that segment of cruisers that go for the ship, it's generally our destination, The individual ship and it's reputation which we derive not from all those brochures we get weekly, nor the emails, or the ads. Certainly we review and note all those things but the real defining factors are sought out from real cruiser comments. By reading reviews by our fellow cruiseaholics here and in similiar venues. Reading posting's on BB's and by word of mouth via fellow cruisers. Lines certainly vary in the quality thye maintain but we have found through the years that ships within the line can very tremendously! Ship and cruise quality can also change very fast. The crew and staff of a ship at any given time is what truly sets the quality and enjoyability of each cruise. The food may not be as good as the last time but a great waiter and happy assistant waiter can make you really not care simply because you are having such a great time at each meal. We subscribe to the mantra that a tight ship is a happy ship. A happy crew makes a happy passenger! Line policies towards crew, supervisors handling of crew, these are the background things that can make or break a ship and a cruise.

Our first preference is to find a cruise in an off timeframe, May, June, Sept, Oct, when the kids are still in school and fewer families are sailing. Certainly not because we hold anything against families enjoying cruises together but simply because our kids are now adults and we are in a different frame of mindset than a young family. Pricing is often much better as well during these time periods since many cannot cruise with thier kids being in school and such. At times, like a sailing we made last November, the opposite held true since we were sailing with several couples that still had young children and were bringing them. So even that criteria can vary.

So generally first select from sailings within our preferred time frame. Next try to find a date that is convenient for our friends we often travel with. Linda and I being retired are flexible, many of ours friends are younger and still a slave to the gristmill so thier schedule needs trump ours. That done we then note what ships are sailing within our time frame and then eliminate those ships that have been disparraged by recent cruisers if we find the comments valid in nature. I mean comments about the toast was burnt twice don't count. The fact that a line doesn't provide trays at the buffet area gets an interesting note. That luggage didn't arrive until a couple hours after boarding, not so important as long as it arrived. Being allowed as policy to lounge in your cabin or have have room service in your cabin on day of disembark, that says the line is thinking more of my convenience as a passenger than there own convenience. May be small issue but it speaks loudly to me. Where ships are comparable a local homeport is a factor. In our case we would prefer sailing from NY. NJ, even Baltimore versus flying to Florida if enough factors were the same.

Price and availability of choice of cabin location and categorey is the next filter we apply. Itinerary is the least important factor most times. With the exception of our cruise to Panama Canal where we wanted a round trip from Florida through the canal and back. Bermuda cruises and sometime in our future an Alaskan cruise, which island we stop at matters little. Most are now over populated on cruise days and pretty much cookie cutter in what they offer to limited time cruise visitors with some minor exceptions. I mean Cozumel is a gorgeoud island but with 5 or more ships in port for the cruise passenger it is basically just a hot crowded island with lot's of crowds winding through tourist sovenir outlet to outlet.

So as the cruise industry continues to grow the defining characteristics between lines continues to diminish. As the cruise industry grows the island locations continue to become more and more like just another crowded beach and absurd t-shirt marketplace.

Hence time frame and individual reputation of ship followed by price and availability first, embark port as well.
George in NY
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  #49 (permalink)  
Old May 1st, 2006, 05:14 PM
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Our first cruise was on the Majesty of the Sea. We chose that line and ship because of the shore excursion to Tulum.
Our second cruise was on the Carnival Jubilee. We chose that ship because it was the only ship stopping at Sitka.
Our third- the Carnival Destiny. We went on this ship because we went in a group of 8 and it was what everyone wanted to do. Personally, we didn't like the large ship very well. Spent a lot of time lost onboard!
Our fourth-on the Norwegian Sea. It was an east coast cruise and at the time of booking we thought it would be a nice get away, but nothing special. This was in June 2001 and pre-9/11, but the cost is what swayed us. We paid $250pp, total. It was a thoroughly enjoyable cruise and we loved freestyle.
Our fifth- on the Grandeur of the Sea. We chose it because of wanting to go out of New Orleans since it was a closer port.
Our sixth- on the Norwegian Dream, out of New Orleans. This cruise combined our favorite port to leave from with what has become our favorite cruise line.
Our seventh- a 13 night on the Norwegian Crown. Since retirement we were able to do a longer cruise. Again, it was a smaller ship, which we like, and on Norwegian Cruise Line. It was a great time and we could have stayed even longer!
Norwegian Cruise Line has become our cruise line of choice, so that is the first thing we look at. Itinerary is next, but we don't mind going back to ports we have already seen. Cost is a factor, but we have purchased our last 4 cruises on an auctin site, and have got such terrific deals that we would be crazy to say no to cruising.
Carnival Valor
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  #50 (permalink)  
Old May 4th, 2006, 11:05 AM
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Default i must agree

Originally Posted by rollerdonna
Andy, I will quote my husband in saying that "Carnival gives you the biggest bang for the buck" and that is why we have sailed Carnival 5 times already.
My personal favourite was the Paradise, when it was a non-smoking ship, and I would book another cruise on a non-smoking ship in a minute, if the cruiselines would WAKE UP and offer them!!

I have to say I agree, basically what is the best deal, not neceassarily the lowest cost but what are we getting for the money and what is really important to us.
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Old May 7th, 2006, 06:18 PM
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We choose to sail Cunard. We first sailed cunard in 2001 just after 9/11 and then we couldn't really afford to go away again for a long while. Anyway we kept watching out for the, then forthcoming, Queen Mary 2. Eventually we saw the cruises go out on sale and booked on her 5th Voyage which was a caribbean itinerary. We choose to go Cunard because of sailing on the QE2 and loving it so much and wanting to go on the Queen Mary 2.

We have now done two cruises on the QM2 and are hoping to book a third for next year and we have already booked another QE2 voyage.

The reason we are Cunard loyal is that the service, amenities, staff, cabins, decor & onboard prices are just so fantastic. We are not into a huge amount of glitz and glamour and we would steer clear of any ship that was too over the top. We don't need to have an ice rink at sea, because when I cruise I love to have the peace and serenity of the ocean. We also enjoy the fact that most itineraries for Cunard have sea days which give us a chance to go sit up on deck and watch the world go by. I guess we find it so relaxing because we both work in very hectic jobs and don't want that on vacation. We find the staff on cunard to be welcoming, helpful and very friendly and we just love the Golden Lion pub too. We have found that the staff will go out of their way to please you or sort out any issues that may arise.

We have chosen to rebook Cunard this time, now we have a baby, because of the British trained Nannies, (Nursery Nurse is the proper term.) I feel happier leaving my little boy with someone who I know has the very best in childcare qualifications. (My Mum is also a British Nursery Nurse) ) The line also do not charge extra for childcare which is another great tip in it's favour.

I hope this ramble helps in someway. 8)
What do you mean this isn't how they eat onboard?

Queen Elizabeth 2 - Trans-Atlantic 2001
Queen Mary 2 - Caribbean - 2004
Queen Mary 2 - Mediterranean - 2004

QM2 Transatlantic
QE2 40th Anniversary Round Britain Cruise.
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  #52 (permalink)  
Old May 10th, 2006, 12:37 AM
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We cruise a couple of times a year for the most part. I tend to like newer ships. We cruised in April 2006 on what I would consider an older ship - RCCL Rhapsody of the Seas. We had a Family Royal Suite on the 8th Floor - room 8020. All of the rooms on this floor are Grand Suites - Family Royal Suites - Owners Suites. In other words the expensive floor. The lay out of the ship was terrible. The floor above us is the pool area with plenty of noise - especially on out door party nights. This room is a 2 bedroom - 2 bath suite. The second bedroom had constant hall noise and noise above with people using the out door stairs. Our friends had room 7148 which is a balcony room with constant noise to all hours of the night with the band in the lounge below them.

We have had the Family Royal suite on the RCCL Navigator of the Seas and the noise was not a problem there due to the fact that the room is on the back of the ship! Those rooms are the best.
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Old May 10th, 2006, 10:26 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 14

It's hard to say exactly why I choose the cruises I do. I have enjoyed ALL the cruises I have been on and can't imagine not liking one. My preferences have changed, though, since I first sailed the seas. When my husband and I took our first cruise, we decided to take our mothers (both in their 80's), so I researched the cruiselines to see which one would be most appropriate. We placed a high priority on excellent food. After deciding that Celebrity was the line and that 7 days was the length we merely waited for a bargain--and we got one $399 guarantee. for the Western Caribbean. The next time we wanted an anniversary cruise and were cruising with working friends in the winter, so date, length and itinerary were paramount(we didn't want to repeat) We were unable to wait for last minute bargains and decided to try a bigger, newer ship with a younger clientele. We chose Princess. By this time we knew that we would like to cruise longer and we had developed a preference for sea days--everything on the ship is open then. In order to get my husband to Chile, I had to find a cruise to or from there (We live in Canada far from the sea so must always fly somewhere to start cruising). I located the repositioning offer from Princess and Celebrity. We chose Celebrity because it was considerably cheaper (almsot 1/2!). Our next adventure took us back to Princess and North to Alaska. Itinerary and the optional land tour were the deciding factors there.
When I decided to take my 21 year old daughter on her first cruise I went to Carnival--basically so she would have lots of people her age on board. I worried about food quality, noise, etc. , but was pleasantly surprised. In fact the wines were the best on all 3 lines!
This long preamble is just to say, that at this point we were open to cruise almost anywhere on any cruiseline, so when we saw a bargain on MSC we grabbed it and crossed the Atlantic.
At this point, we have refined our desires: we prefer itineraries 10 days or longer that visit ports we have not yet seen. We enjoy sea days and good food and wine. We like the dress up, but prefer only 2 categories--formal and casual. When we're traveling with friends, we enjoy the any-time dining, but when there are only 2 of us, we like the fixed because we meet such interesting people. We like ships with lots of activities and some quiet well-lit spots for reading or musing. We enjoy the shows and listening to the music (MSC was the best and most varied). And I like to have a self-serve laundromat nearby (Yeah Princess and Carnival!) The other factor we consider is whether or not the cruise is round-trip.. Because one-way air fare is so disproportionately expensive, round-trips are our first choice.
There you have it --passenger mix you can enjoy, itinerary (includes sea days), price, convenience to and from cruise port (eg san Juan is beautiful, but leaving from there adds so much to our total trip cost) food and wine, bright and relaxing decor, and laundromats and activities.
Great service and cleanliness are a given.
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  #54 (permalink)  
Old May 14th, 2006, 09:11 AM
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To me the ship is your resort for the week or longer and what it offers on board is the most important.We have travelled on our 4th cruise in the last 16 months with 4 different cruise lines,Carnival,NCL,Princess and last RCL. I personally could sail around for 7 days with never getting off the ship so ports of call are a personal thing for each individual.
We have had a balcony, outside porthole and inside cabins and for us the inside cabins are just fine,maybe a tad smaller but still ok.You are only in the room to sleep,shower and change and for the difference in price I will always stay inside unless a really good deal would come about.
The food on all ships has been great , with some better than others but still on each line I was able to put on a few pounds(drats).I did like the NCL freestyle better though as it gives you more flexability to do the things on board at your liesure and eat when you are hungry. Princess also offered this freestyle in 1 of their restaurants as well which was nice.
Set seating lets you meet the same people every night for your meals which is ok but at freestyle there is a chance to meet many different people and if you hit it off you can sit with them again and again.
The layout of the ship also makes your cruise more enjoyable. I personally liked the NCL as it seemed easier to navigate around from one end to the other.Some ships make you go up 2 floors and then across usually through the casino to get to were you are going which is a smart idea to try and get you to use the casino but I try to avoid the casino.Its nice to take a walk around the ship on lower floors like the NCL.
The theatres on board have all been great but Carnivals was nice that you had more leg room and a table to put your drinks on(Conquest)The shows were excellent and the cruise director was very good on 3 of them.I found the entertainment a little less organized on the Princess and their cruise director was by far not up to par and again this is just this one ship of the Princess lines (Star Princess).The theatre had uncomfortable seats in the NCL(Norwegian Star) felt like we were sitting on the floor but the entertainment was great with again a great cruise director.The last cruise we were on was the RCL(Mariner of the seas) and the entertainment was the best with also the best cruise director so you can luck out on board with a great cruise director with great entertainment.I am sure every ship is different that way and again some are just better not that the others are really bad.
A lot of people have mentioned the smoking policy of the ships and I know most have tryed to set half of the different bars as not smoking but we still find that certain venues are unapproachable for us because of the smoke.It is usually the main dance and sports bars which we both enjoy to participate in and just can not. For dancing after the show we found NCL with the best dance band and Princess a close second.On RCL it was just tooo smokey in their 1 outlet to dance late at night as well as Carnival(by the way we are young 50 year olds who like all kinds of music)
The best pools on board any of the four ships we were on was the Princess which had 4 and all were great and spread out so they never were really crowded.The hot tubs I would give the edge to RCL as because of the size of this ship they were quite bigger.Deck chairs were in abundance on all ships but still very crowded and again I think that depends on how full the ships are.I did like the RCL solarium deck chairs as they have a nice soft cushion to lie on but not as many as these.If you go to an all inclusive resort you lie around the beach or pool and have a few drinks.Well on a cruise ship you lie around the pools or on deck anywere and have a few drinks.The difference is on board there is something to do every hour on the hour entertainment ways which is 100% better than at the resorts we have stayed at or you can just relax,you have the option.
We enjoy going to different cities to cruise from as we always go in the day before to see a bit of that city and to make sure we do not miss the ship.By the way we are from Ontario Canada so we are flying no matter to catch a cruise ship.We were fortune enough to see New Orleans just before it was wiped out by Katrina.We got to see Los Angeles for a couple of days.The last two were from Ft Lauderdale and Orlando but we did not have much time to explore.I am sure embarktation is different at each port and with each cruise line but we found so far that Princess was the easiest and NCL was the worst so far.Again this could be different from port to port.I think disembarking I would give the edge to NCL as you can use your room untill they call your colour tag.In our case we have to leave the ship early all the time to catch a plane home.
Again our main priorty in booking a cruise is first of all the price for the cruise and the air fare and what the ship looks like and has to offer and then the ports of call.I have found that even when you go back to the same ports there is always different things to see or do.We would like to do Hawaii and Alaska within the next two years and the Panama Canal.I would recommend an inside cabin as they are always a lot cheaper and as I said before you only sleep shower and change in the room , the ship is your resort. You do not have to participate in everything on board as just watching others have a good time is also very entertaining.
PS I loved skating in the middle of the Bermuda triangle and the ICE SHOW on the Mariner was excellent.Always shop around for prices at different sites as the price can be a lot different for the same room.I find getting my own air fare is also a lot cheaper so do research before committing. Just remember everyone has an opinion and it is just that their opinion so keep an open mind and get out there for the time of your life. Hooked on cruising
Ps my first cruise was on the Mardi Gras back in the late 70s ,Conquest 2004 December,Norwegian Star 2005 December,Star Princess 2006 April(a week before the fire)Mariner of the Seas 2006 May.
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Old May 16th, 2006, 05:30 PM
cruisindarryl's Avatar
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Location: Jville, FL USA
Posts: 16

Hi All!

I would think that seperate chapters would be needed. I know from my own experience that in '86, my only qualifier was that it was cheap, hence Premier's Oceanic and we loved it! Then we did our first 7 night in 95 on CCL's Holiday.The itinerary was important but since we didn't know better (and none of our friends had cruised) any port would have been great and we loved the ship! Now 11 years later, after sailing on Oceanis again in June '00, RCCL, Princess twice, CCL a few times and Celebrity 3 times. I have seen a dozen Caribbean isles, Alaska and Hawaii.

Now when i book a cruise I look for itinerary first but would except less of what I wanted from an itinerary to go with a CL I prefer. It all depends on where the cruise is.

At this point, If someone said lets go on a Caribbean cruise, i would not ask what ship or what ports or how long, I would just hop on and have a great time. But in planning a Med cruise for June07, I have looked at all the lines and think that the Millinium has the itinerary we want. Though this is after sailing twice on the Summit (and hopefully the Connie in Dec06) I know the class of ship and what to expect. Personally we love Celebrity!

BUT, The Carnival Freedon has a GREAT itinerary and we could do a balcony for less than inside on the Millie.

We are foodies and have been pleased with dining on Celebrity far more than CCL. Also, Joe farcus is very imaginitive but a little over the top for my family's tastes. BUT CCL runs a good program as long as you know what to expect plus we would have a balcony.

There is a reason that Millie is more than Carnival Freedom. Some people see no advantage in one or the other but because we like fru-fru type food and the better, friendlier service and the more classic decor on Celebrity, and not the party atmosphere on CCL, we will probably end up doing Celebrity. Especially since its a Med cruise, which is a "BIG" cruise for my family. Then I think will the party atmosphere on Carnival be so prevalent in Europe. anyway, we will take a vote and decide.

If it was Caribe or even Alaska cruise, I could do any ship as long as the itinerary and price were right.

In summary, now that we have tried several, we pick a CL based on service, food, itinerary, decore. BUT we are always on the look out for specials.

Take care and happy cruisin!

3/86 Oceanic
3/25/95 Holiday
4/15/98 Dawn Princess
7/29/99 Sun Princess
6/16/00 Oceanic
11/2/00 Sovereign/Seas
12/17/00 C Victory
4/27/01 C Spirit
6/7/01 Jubilee
09/26/02 Imagination
3/14/03 Summit
11/3/03 Century
12/18/05 Summit
12/18/06 Constellation
04/18/08 Westerdam
06/26/08 Dawn Princess

103 day at sea...so far

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  #56 (permalink)  
Old May 22nd, 2006, 06:22 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 411

Cruising is probably the best bang for the buck and no other vacation offers all of the amenities that a cruise offers.Having now completed some 33cruises and been on all the main lines to include those based in Greece in the former years I have never had a bad cruise some obviously better than others.My answer to those who are constant complainers is that a cruise is sure better than staying at home any day.When someone asks me what is the best cruise line , my answer is that they are all good as Ican find something nice about each one.Ifyou were to ask a specific question such as who has the best food,best service,shows, friendliest crew,largest rooms,alternative restaurant etc then Iwill give an opinion only which is my point of view and means nothing and certainy is not the gospel.Most recently have stayed with both Holland where we have 110 days and Celebrity with numerous cruises.The reason behind this is that I feel that the cruise experience is very constant with both and you know what both will offer in general.
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Old May 22nd, 2006, 07:47 PM
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We love to follow the sun, so the Caribbean, Hawaii, Panama Canal, etc. are our preferred destinations. We prefer to travel in the fall when kids are not an issue (not ours - other peoples). We prefer the mid-size ships to the huge mega-ships (too many people) and it's easier to get to know the staff. We love balconies. I prefer not to have to fly, but living on the West Coast limits us if we don't fly. Majority of our cruises are with Princess and occasionally we go with RCI. I would like to try Celebrity - but their prices seem a little higher and since I'm happy with Princess it's hard to convince myself to make the switch - but probably someday. As for food - good quality is fine, not looking for the "absolute best", good entertainment is important - must admit Princess seems to be slipping in that category, and no surprise - price is important, but what always gets our attention is the service and friendliness of the crew.
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Old May 24th, 2006, 11:37 AM
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Posts: 25

I pick a cruise first based on the pricing and ports, I do look for the bargains when the newsletters come in. Then we pick based on the cruise line, certain lines cater to different types of people. We prefer more adults than families so we like Celebrity and Princess. We traveled on the Adventure of the Seas and it seemed to impersonal. Prefer a slightly smaller ship where you get to know some people. We also like the entertainment on Princess, we sailed the Caribbean Princess with three sea days and there was always something to do with a great variety, not just bingo twice a day.

Soveriegn of the Seas 2000
Legend of the Seas 2002
Constellation January 2004
Adventure of the Seas January 2005
Caribbean Princess January 2006
Queen Mary II, November 2006
Cruise of the Century December 2006
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Old May 25th, 2006, 02:36 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Central Louisiana
Posts: 965

We have 25 cruises behind us a 3 more booked.

As rookies we sailed on a combination of budget and itinerary. We began sailing out of New Orleans on Commodore because we could drive to the port and they offered some terrific specials from time to time.

Once we were hooked we had a wonderful TA who kept her eyes open for great deals. When she found a deal that we had the air miles for we would sail from San Juan and were able to experience the Eastern, Southern and Exotic Caribbean aboard NCL, RCCL and Princess.

After 9/11 when flying got to be a hassle NCL began sailing from Houston and a few other lines added New Orleans and Galveston as their ports of embarkation. With that added convenience we were able to sail more often without air/hotel costs. Consequently we have done the Western Carib mucho times but that's okay. We love sailing and the ports are not as important to us as the sailing experience. If we don't care for a port, such as Progresso or Jamaica, spending the day onboard, having the ship to yourselves is not a bad way to spend the day. You wondered whether the "drive to port" phenomenon is waning and I would no. Not for us anyway, nor our friends with whom we often cruise. I would agree with a previous poster that I would jump at the chance to do additional ports on longer cruises from the LA/TX ports even if it meant several sea days.

Which does not mean that the ship is the destination. We do enjoy the grandeur of the Voyager class ships with RCCL but really prefer the mid-size ships.

We find the dancing and competition announcements in Carnivals' dining rooms wearisome but understand how some people find it energizing. While we find it nice to have wait staff who are familiar with your preferences, it is nicer to eat when, where and with whom you like. Therefore Princess and NCL get the edge in dining. I have not found the lines we've sailed to have dramatic differences in food. The ships within a line vary as much as the lines themselves so I don't feel you can necessarily say X has better food than Y. You probably can say Ship of Fools has better food than the Good Ship Lollipop but not by line.

I find continuous announcements annoying and don't like to be badgered to buy wine packages, froo-froo drinks, have photos taken, etc. This I do think varies by cruise line.

I like lines who allow me to stay in my cabin until disembarkation, as does NCL. Additionally, anything that makes the experience easier is a plus. This includes online pre-boarding, excursion and spa bookings.

I reaaaly dislike spas who push their products and charge for use of the steam room or sauna.

I like cruise lines who have plenty of dancing throughout the evening for folks our age (50's). And it would be most appreciated if the bands worked in sets longer than 30 minutes. On our last 2 cruises we were continuously looking for a place to dance, only to have the band break shortly after starting!

I like lines who reward my loyalty to them by giving me something other than a cocktail party. I mean, will somebody PLEASE kill the repeaters party and just give me a coupon for a free drink of two. Priority boarding, excursion tickets and of course, discounts are appreciated.

I am VERY likely to cruise with a line who has a credit card program that is straight forward and realistic. NCL has the edge here and Carnival needs to be spanked for its current program. RCCL's is unrealistic and Celebrity's is very convoluted.

I am not likely to book a cruise with a line whose customer service reps know less about the cruise than I do. It is distressing to call with a question and get a different answer from every person you speak with. Bad business in any business.

I am more likely to cruise with a line who can offer me a really good deal on transfers and hotel pre/post cruise, especially when travelling abroad.

Don't advertise a special with so many conditions that it's not actually usable. That's deceptive and just makes people distrust you. So when I get email specials for $XX off only to find you can't use it on this ship, that date or those itineraries. I mean, really, who are we kidding here. Act like a grown up and either make me an offer or don't, but don't toy with me.

I am more prone to book a cruise when I can get the information easily on their web site. Make the tabs easy to find, say, clearlywhat they are, and for goodness sake don't make me go through logging in just to find the price on a cruise. Yeh, I know it's a marketing thing, but I don't like it, it's intrusive.

So, with all that here's what prompts me to book a cruise:
1) price
2) accessibiltiy to port of embarkation
3) itinerary

If all of the above were roughly equivalent, my deciding factors would be:
1) Freestyle/Personal Choice dining
2) Atmosphere of the ship
3) Dates when fewer children and teens onboard
4) Perks offered as past passenger.

I hope this is useful to you
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Old May 30th, 2006, 03:27 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Destin, FL
Posts: 18

We have 26 voyages including 16 transatlantic crossings on Cunard. We are more ship oriented than itinerary oriented. Most ships go somewhere fun. Transatlantics are determined by schedule and when we can get to the UK. Cruises are determined by quality and ship size. We absolutely avoid the big boats like the plague and prefer small all inclusives like SeaDream and Seabourn. Once you try a small ship and get away from signing chits for every little thing, it is very hard to go back. Price is the least important to us, not that we are unlimited wealthy but when you decide to go on holiday, why make compromises over a few hundred bucks? If we cant go like we want to, we wait till we can.
Build more small, quality ships and more transatlantic liners.
All the best.
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