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  #1 (permalink)  
Old May 30th, 2007, 07:34 PM
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Default general all-around advice needed

Hi all, im new to this cruise thing, im more at home making airline reservations and can hunt out a deal just about any time when it comes to that, but cruises are a different story.

I am about 6 months engaged now, and planning a July 2008 wedding, and a cruise for the honeymoon has come up several times, as well as picking out maybe 1 island and spending the whole trip there to have time to relax at that island and just chill out without having to be clock watchers trying to get back to the dock by the time the boat leaves.

First of all i'll mention that weve kind of zeroed in on a Carnival Valor Eastern Caribbean 7 day cruise to Nassau, St Thomas, and St Maarten. and ive got a few general questions...

id love to spring for the balcony ocean view room, seeing as this is the honeymoon and id rather not just pick the cheapest way...any thoughts on that? my fiancee has done a cruise before and said they never really spent much time in the room to begin with. does anyone have any input on this?

also in the pricing, just how much is included in the list price? extra costs for food, drinks, tips, extras, etc or any other "hidden" costs in there (aside from various excursions on shore and such)

when on shore doing whatever, do you find yourself hurrying through things and watching the clock all day long counting down to the ship departure? thats one thing im concerned about is watching the clock all day and planning too much of the day around the departure before you even get there. the thing i like about this cruise is it does have a couple days solely at sea which would be good relaxation days as well

those are the things for now, im sure there will be more, which ill post in here when i come up with them

Thanks in advance,
Sam
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Old May 30th, 2007, 07:39 PM
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The cabins are all inclusive except for alcohol drink and sodas. Some of the ships have a separate restaurant that charges a cover charge but that charge covers the entire meal.

When on an excursion, if you are with a group that is with the ship or purchased the excursion through Carnival, you don't have to watch the clock because they do it for you.
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Old May 30th, 2007, 08:52 PM
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From what I have heard, if most of what you will be seeing is open water, why get a balcony? Get a nice outside cabin and check things out from the porthole to get your bearings. It's so much cheaper.

Some restaurants are extra but most everything is free, except alcohol and soda.

As for port days, you usually have a good amount of hours at port so you aren't really watching the clock. On sea days you don't have to watch the clock at all, you can do whatever you want. Well, unless you are in one of the dining rooms, then you just have to make sure they are open for that particular meal.

Have fun planning!
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Old May 30th, 2007, 11:56 PM
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If you sail with Carnival you might have a good chance of getting a free upgrade. My son and his wife went on their first cruise (5 day to the W. Carib.) for their 13th anniv last Sept. They had booked the cheapest cabin to save money and were expecting twin beds and a port hole. Imagine their shock when the check-in person told them they had been upgraded to a suite! They ended up with a king-size bed, balcony and jacuzzi. They have no idea why they got it, but needless to say, they are now doomed to always want that, lol.
We can't quite bring ourselves to spring for the extra $$$ for even a balcony, let alone a suite (and why in the world would we ever need a butler??). We are not in the room that much, so it seems to be a waste of money. I do like the Ocean View cabins. Ours have always had large windows and never portholes.
Major upgrades like that are rare on Celebrity and even RCCL.

1/02 Explorer E. Carib.
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Old May 31st, 2007, 11:56 AM
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I have to say that I would not go without a balcony. Though the time spent on it is up to you, we always find time to sit and relax there. Our honeymoon was our 1st cruise and it had a balcony. We grabbed our fruity cocktails took them to the room and sat on the balcony as we departed. You can still wave to the ppl on shore and on other cruise ships from your balcony. You can also take great pics of you or your dw w/the sun setting from your balcony, we did this on all our cruises. We booked an 8a on freedom for 4/08 and were upgraded to a 8c..We have never had a bad balcony room yet.....
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Old May 31st, 2007, 01:07 PM
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Let me first say that I am a inside guarantee room normally. My son is planning his honeymoon for next summer too and I advised him to go for the balcony. Your honeymoon should be special. In addition, you will probably spending a little more time in your room.
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Old May 31st, 2007, 10:13 PM
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alright i thought of another question, and thank you for the quick and numerous replies thus far

as stated in the first post i'm right at home in finding airline deals and the cheapest fares, for this reason i've been leaving included air fares out of the mix when looking for cruise deals...counting on my abilities to get cheaper air fares than what they are offering...but is there any reason i should consider (or possibly even purchase) a cruise with the air fare included?

also an update on the balcony situation, while i would love a balcony, my fiancee has said if we had one, she wouldn't go out there because shes afraid of heights and doesn't like balconies period, so it sounds like we've settled on an ocean view cabin at least...now if were comped an upgrade then obviously we'll take it, but we've decided not to pay for it and use the money for various excursions.
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Old May 31st, 2007, 10:54 PM
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In my opinion go get your airfair any way you like it, just know that you should get good insurance for your cruise, make sure it covers missing your cruise due to the flight being late etc.

We usually use seven corners, now I have not had to make a claim yet but I hear they are ok.

Sometimes you will find a better deal with the flight included, sometimes you won't. You sound like you know about flights.

As far as I know there is no compelling reason to get the flight thru the cruise line. They won't pay to get you to the ship if the flight is late just because you buy the flight thru them, which is a misconception. Thats why having good insurance is really important and allows you to shop flights with whom ever you like.
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Old May 31st, 2007, 11:16 PM
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By the way always try and fly in the day before, this will allow a flight to be delayed and you can still get to the ship in time.
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Old June 2nd, 2007, 01:58 PM
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I agree with sirrobin. I have always been able to find a better deal on air than the cruise lines offer. They buy in bulk and have to compensate for not selling some of the seats. Plus, a lot of people who are very busy just find it simpler to book it all at once. But, save $ on air and fly in the night before. Stay in a nice hotel and check out whatever city you are leaving from. Adds to the trip in a nice way.
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Old June 2nd, 2007, 06:37 PM
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Just remember July is hurricane season. Always have a Plan B.
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Old June 3rd, 2007, 02:52 PM
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For those unfamiliar with hurricanes, early to mid summer is usually pretty quiet in terms of storms. It is always good to have a Plan B, but the odds of needing it in July are actually pretty slim.
Marty the Floridian
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Old June 18th, 2007, 11:36 PM
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I booked our own flights for the 4 Carib. cruises (2 leaving from Miami, 1 each from San Juan and Galveston) and the Mexican Riviera leaving from San Diego because it was easier for the shorter distances. We had a cruise/tour package for Alaska which included the air. For the longer distances of the Brit. Isles/Nor. Fjords and Aust/NZ we didn't want to even attempt to do it ourselves. We almost always use the cruiseline transfers, too, unless we fly in early and our hotel offers free ones.
I will always do it myself for the Carib. In '04 and '05 I got a better deal from the airlines directly than I would have through the popular "discount" sites. Last time I went through Orbitz. Just check everywhere for the best deal and book as early as possible--that goes for the cruise, too. Many cruises fill up fast, even when they start booking 12-15 mos ahead of time.
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Old June 19th, 2007, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colorcrazie
For those unfamiliar with hurricanes, early to mid summer is usually pretty quiet in terms of storms. It is always good to have a Plan B, but the odds of needing it in July are actually pretty slim.
Marty the Floridian
Hurricane season is June 1-Nov. 30.
The peak time for hurricanes is September.

However, we have already had 2 named storms -- not hurricanes -- this season.
You just had to take into consideration the possibility of a hurricane, as you plan your honeymoon. A hurricane is not likely in July, but it can happen.

Some people can roll with the punches and they don't get upset if their vacation plans change.
Others want everything *perfect* for their wedding/honeymoon and would not handle a change in plans too well.
I've known both types of brides!

We never sail in the summer or early fall. We choose late October or after. And even then, there are possibilities of storms! One year we ran into a powerful tropical storm -- twice! -- in the Gulf in November.
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Old June 19th, 2007, 10:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scs411scs
Hi all, im new to this cruise thing, im more at home making airline reservations and can hunt out a deal just about any time when it comes to that, but cruises are a different story.

I am about 6 months engaged now, and planning a July 2008 wedding, and a cruise for the honeymoon has come up several times, as well as picking out maybe 1 island and spending the whole trip there to have time to relax at that island and just chill out without having to be clock watchers trying to get back to the dock by the time the boat leaves.

First of all i'll mention that weve kind of zeroed in on a Carnival Valor Eastern Caribbean 7 day cruise to Nassau, St Thomas, and St Maarten. and ive got a few general questions...

id love to spring for the balcony ocean view room, seeing as this is the honeymoon and id rather not just pick the cheapest way...any thoughts on that? my fiancee has done a cruise before and said they never really spent much time in the room to begin with. does anyone have any input on this?

also in the pricing, just how much is included in the list price? extra costs for food, drinks, tips, extras, etc or any other "hidden" costs in there (aside from various excursions on shore and such)

when on shore doing whatever, do you find yourself hurrying through things and watching the clock all day long counting down to the ship departure? thats one thing im concerned about is watching the clock all day and planning too much of the day around the departure before you even get there. the thing i like about this cruise is it does have a couple days solely at sea which would be good relaxation days as well

those are the things for now, im sure there will be more, which ill post in here when i come up with them

Thanks in advance,
Sam
Sam,

As you've read, there are a wide variety of opinions and cruisers. That's the great thing about cruising, there are also a wide variety of things to do and choices on how you spend your time and your money.

If it was my honeymoon: Chances are you will only have one. I would make it as memorable as possible.

1. Go with a balcony cabin. It may cost a bit more but you will have more space, a "semi-private" area to sit and watch the waves, have a romantic breakfast, a drink in the evening, or just a place to sit while the other one is getting ready for dinner. There is also a lot to be said for setting out there at night and staring at the stars and the lights of the distant islands. Especially with your new bride.

2. You will usually have between six to eight hours in each port. You will not be able to do everything. I suggest picking something you want to do and concentrate on that. If you enjoy the water or beaches then do a snorkeling, diving excursion and do that plus spend some time walking around the port area and picking up some souvenirs and taking in the local flavor. Or you can take a tour of the islands and get the highlights of the area. You can also pick one or two specific destinations and do an excursion to those destinations. If you are not a veteran traveler then I suggest you do a ship's excursion rather than going out on your own. Unless the destination is close to the port. If you miss the ship it isn't coming back for you.

All of your food, entertainment and most non-alcoholic beverages other than soda and specialty coffee will be included. Room service is included. This is great for honeymooners.

3. The "hidden" costs will be:

a. Alcohol: Mixed drinks, beer and wine. The price of drinks are about
the same as most large city bars. $4-$6 for mixed drinks (drink of
day is less) $3 or so for beer and wine.

b. Tips: $10 per person/per day. It will be added to your on board
account. You should also tip room service waiter $1-$2 per delivery.
Porters at dock should be tipped $2 or so per bag.

c. Taxi and/or cruise transfers: $20-$35. Taxis are less expensive.

d. Excursions: These can be anywhere from $30 to $100 + depending
on what you want to do. Check the cruise line website to see the
pricing.

Now the hard part is trying to find what ship, itinerary and price range you want. Get a good, MCC Certified travel agent and go for it!!!

Congratulations on your upcoming marriage and have a wonderful honeymoon and cruise. I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy the cruise more than a resort. You get the best of both worlds with a cruise.

Take care,
Mike
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Old June 21st, 2007, 01:16 PM
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i'm going to agree with mike m. on getting a travel agent. we have always used one. there are little things such as making sure our cabin in on the side of the ship to see the various places we are sailing to, all of the comps she gets/gives to us, making sure our cabin isn't under the dance floor or casino etc.

we also let her handle all of our flight reservations for the ease of it.

i also recommend a balcony, we won't go without one and i will site all the reasons that mike mentioned.

congratulations and have a great time!!
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