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Old August 14th, 2007, 12:30 PM
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Default What Kind of Cruise Information do you Seek Online?

Seriously, without naming any names of web sites for what they do well or not so well, and without talking about these message boards, I want to ask about what you use the Internet for to find cruise information.

What information do you find it hardest to find when planning a cruise.

First-time cruisers - what questions have you had the hardest time getting answers for? Or perhaps you got answers but they didn't fill in that gap of knowledge you really needed, if you get my drift.

What is the hardest piece of qualitative or quantitative piece of infoormation about a cruise you have ever needed to find, or on a continuing basis, need to find out?

If you could ask CruiseMates to write any article, what would it be?
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Old August 14th, 2007, 01:29 PM
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Default Re: What Kind of Cruise Information do you Seek Online?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter
What information do you find it hardest to find when planning a cruise.
Information about ports and reviews for different excursions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter
First-time cruisers - what questions have you had the hardest time getting answers for? Or perhaps you got answers but they didn't fill in that gap of knowledge you really needed, if you get my drift.
When it was my first cruise I think what took the longest time to get my head around was what a day on a ship was like because so much happens

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter
What is the hardest piece of qualitative or quantitative piece of infoormation about a cruise you have ever needed to find, or on a continuing basis, need to find out?
That would have to be past price history for airfare and cruises, so you know statistically when might be the best time to book for a specific cruise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter
If you could ask CruiseMates to write any article, what would it be?
Ok maybe this isn't exactly an article but I would love to see something about each port. So that it is one stop shopping for a good starting place about a port. I would love for it to be well organized so its easy to find the info about the specific port of call you are looking for. Also would love for it to be updated regularly. In the article for each port I would love too see

1.) best sites to visit for site seeing
2.) best places to eat
3.) little known but amazing places that are a must visit
4.) what the people/environment is like (safe, friendly, etc)
5.) information about different water and non-water activities to do
6.) relevant pictures of the port

Truthfully some of this info is buried in the forums. Its hard to search through so many posts and find what you need. With so many replies on some threads sorting though it all takes A LOT of time and the information gets buried.
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Old August 14th, 2007, 01:54 PM
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Thank you for the questions, the truth is we do not focus on port information so much in our articles, but we do cover some of the more popular ports.

The problem is that there are so many ports, and a lot of this is covered in the message boards.

We also now have sister sites such as wikitravel.org (Won the Webby for best travel site in 2007) and World66.com have a lot of destination information.

As far as knowing when to book a cruise, or how to get the best price, we have quite few articles in our "consumers affairs" area where discuss how to get the best deal on a cruise. Some of therse article I personally believe should be read by anyone who ever goes on a cruise. They are recent articles written by myself and Kuki.
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Old August 14th, 2007, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter
We also now have sister sites such as wikitravel.org (Won the Webby for best travel site in 2007) and World66.com have a lot of destination information.
Thanks for the info! I have never seen anything about this on the forum before.

There is a lot of great stuff on cruise mates its just a little unorganized - web navigation wise The front page is hard to navigate through because there is information overload. And sometimes even when you get deeper into the site.
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Old August 14th, 2007, 07:57 PM
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Quote:
I find it difficult to find info about embarkation and disembarkation details ie. How far is the port from the airport/train station/accomodation (Europe) ? What is the best way to get there? How long does it take? How much does it cost?
both excellent topics. These would both make good articles.

For the above, you are right, it varies by port. And it is hard to get good information because so many rely on ship transfers. I am going to make a point of remembering these things.

Quote:
The other detail that has really confused me is time travel in the Caribbean. I have booked some independent shore cruises and never know whether the port is on ship's time, or local time, or if there is any difference. Different lines seem to handle this differently.
In the West Caribbean you are completely right, you have to ask the ship in each port if they are changing to local time or staying on Ship (Miami) time. The fact is Jamaica, Cozumel & Grand Cayman local time is an hour earlier. So you need to keep your watch on whatever your ship uses for "ship time" and be sure you know when it is going to leave. Then, wherever you go in port rely on your own watch. If you need to set up a time with a local, verify he is refering to local (Central) time and not trying to "help" you by giving you ship time when you don't know it.
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Old August 14th, 2007, 11:45 PM
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With respect to "sister sites," don't forget FlyerTalk which has wonderful info on airlines, hotels, car rental, and destinations.

I find that most sites focus on Caribbean instead of the multitudes of cruise destinations. The other thing lacking is a "truth police" with regard to those items that are not opinions; e.g., cabin size, crew size, itineraries, etc. Also, none of the cruise websites have a good way of rating ships and cruiselines; most methodologies allow for "stuffing" the ballot box and "dissing" the competition. I would like to see someone set up a better way of rating ships online (if I had a suggestion, I would surely offer it).

Finally, what is really missing from the web is accurate "bottom line" pricing information.
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Old August 15th, 2007, 12:07 AM
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As a first time cruizer here's what I had trouble finding when I first started looking on the boards..

1. Tipping for room service on ships with the 10.00 a day auto tip
2. What ports used tenders, and which ones you could just walk off the ship.
3. If you did not attend the formal night in your traditional dining arrangements, what were you to wear if you went to the casino or a show after dinner on those nights.
4. Haven't seen a lot about the specifics of the games - bingo, trivia, what cards games are played and how you get involved.

Now, that I've been on awhile... I've found plenty of information about the tipping room service one.

Articles?
I stumbled on to those one night and read everyone of them, before realizing it was about 2:00 am and I should be asleep

Any articles that are written with a good sense of humor, are the best
I'd enjoy an article on playing in the casino experiences, special celebrations on board, people's first cruise experience vs. their 10th one, etc... what they've learned, what's changed, etc.

I learned so much searching for my answers....and discovered I then had more questions.... it was a good way to learn this website and the boards.
So no complaints from me!
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Old August 15th, 2007, 02:30 PM
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The hardest thing I find to research is Visa requirements. Different countries have different rules. Like in St. Petersburg, if we went on ship's tours we did not have to purchase an individual visa. But, one site on Oman said you had to have a visa before you left your home port. Yet, another site said you could apply at the airport when you landed. Any suggestions for comprehensive information?
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Old August 15th, 2007, 03:35 PM
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this may be kinda selfish, but I would love seeing an article that rated the pools on each cruise ship/line with photos of the pool area

when I cruise I try to spend as much time outdoors as possible and most of my time is spent on the pool deck

I guess the ratings could be based on:

size (passenger ratio or something)
beauty
ambiance
music
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Old August 16th, 2007, 10:08 AM
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Default Re: What Kind of Cruise Information do you Seek Online?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter
What is the hardest piece of qualitative or quantitative piece of infoormation about a cruise you have ever needed to find, or on a continuing basis, need to find out?
I think the hardest thing to find online ... on any website, including Cruisemates, is good objective cruise reviews. I think that's always gonna be hard to find because everyone writes to their own experiences. So, the only way to get a more "accurate" handle on a ship or a cruise is to have LOTS of reviews to read ... many of them reasonably current ... so you can at least get a "feel" for the experience to be had on a certain ship or itinerary.

Case in point. A friend of mine from work is planning a Hawaii cruise for next year. He said that the group he is traveling with thought POA would be a good ship to go on. I told him that I honestly believed he and his group were making a mistake. Since they are older and place a premium on "down time" and enjoying each other's company in a relaxed fashion, they would be far better off on a ship that sails round trip from California. I told him that I had read a lot of reviews of POA where service was sometimes an issue. I told him that what he would pay for a sailing on POA, plus round trip airfare to Hawaii, he could almost get a 15 day cruise for the price of a seven-day one.

But, when I tried to point him in the direction of reviews, there weren't enough of them on CruiseMates to give him a clear indication that there were service issues and other problems on POA. So I simply provided him with the URLs for other sites. Hopefully, he'll get enough information now to make up his mind. I told him to stick with reader reviews, as opposed to any "official" staff reviews as the primary basis for making up his mind.

So, in a nutshell, we need more reviews ... lots more reviews ... of all ships. And we need comprehensive ones. Many of the reader reviews posted are only one or two paragraphs, saying whether or not they enjoyed the cruise, but very little information as to what the reviewer based their opinion on. Maybe a form the reader fills in that would guide him in the information it would be helpful for him to provide?

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Old August 20th, 2007, 10:16 PM
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I had the most difficulty finding information on the shore excursions. I would have liked to know ahead of time about any extra costs (pictures!) and more specific information about distances to be walked, as I have a slight disability.
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Old September 2nd, 2007, 01:06 PM
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I am having a difficult time trying to find prices and times of certain excurions I want to do. These excursions are not listed and I can't find any information anywhere else for them.

The other bit I would like to see is a list of services the spa does so I can have an idea of what spa treatments I will have other than a pedicure while onboard.

I am lucky to have found some great sites for information about each port, so I have a general idea of what I want to do while there. I also rely on Webshots of Photobucket for pictures of the ship so I have an idea of what to expect. This is also how I pick the ship--if the decor looks too outlandish, like on the Valor, I'll choose another ship.

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Old September 2nd, 2007, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by misguidedangel
The other bit I would like to see is a list of services the spa does so I can have an idea of what spa treatments I will have other than a pedicure while onboard.
We have an article "Getting the Most out of your Onboard Spa" coming next week!
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Old September 2nd, 2007, 09:22 PM
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I check the pricing for the best bang for the buck.
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Old September 17th, 2007, 02:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TX Traveler
The hardest thing I find to research is Visa requirements. Different countries have different rules. Like in St. Petersburg, if we went on ship's tours we did not have to purchase an individual visa. But, one site on Oman said you had to have a visa before you left your home port. Yet, another site said you could apply at the airport when you landed. Any suggestions for comprehensive information?
This is a touchy area, because visa requirements can change at any time. For us to write about them could mislead people if we missed an important update. Plus - the rule vary a great deal by what country of citizenship you are...

Basically, we can only recommend going to the state departmet for the U.S. (especially if you are a US citizen) AND going to the government "state department" or counterpart of whatever country you want to visit and see what THEY say about visa requirements.
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Old September 26th, 2007, 08:12 AM
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hello can anyone help me with some info what to expect onboard a cruise? What entertainment do they have? Should i expect to see shows like riverdance or cirque de sole? How are the rooms are they really small? Whats the best cruise liner to be on or whats the name of the best ship? whats the best destination? Are there young people as well as old? can anyone answer some of these please?thank you
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Old September 26th, 2007, 09:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmoyles
hello can anyone help me with some info what to expect onboard a cruise? What entertainment do they have? Should i expect to see shows like riverdance or cirque de sole? How are the rooms are they really small? Whats the best cruise liner to be on or whats the name of the best ship? whats the best destination? Are there young people as well as old? can anyone answer some of these please?thank you
My only experience is my first cruise on Carnival's Celebration, but I'll try to answer your questions because I was in your shoes a few months ago.

Though you won't find Riverdance or Cirque de Soleil, you will find lots of good review type shoes, lots of singing and dancing, good costumes, lots of variety, also singers and comedians. There are all kinds of games: many trivia contests, bingo, Family Feud, Newlywed Game, hole-in-one, etc. There are many lounges, a disco just for young people, a dance lounge for adults, a casino with both slots and table play, a karioke lounge. The pools are small and always crowded, mostly by teens and younger adults, but lots of fun. You can either eat in the dining room (great, gourmet-type food), which is a good place to start making friends, as you are assigned a table with a group in a similar age range. Or, you can eat at the buffet on the Lido deck, more down home type cooking but a good variety, including hamburgers, hot dogs, and a sandwich bar. Of course there is also the 24-hr. pizza bar.

I found the rooms surprisingly large. I had an outside cabin. The setup was two twin beds set at right angles, which left lots of room to move around. There was a closed circuit tv, a desk, built-in closet/shelves, and an in-room safe. The bathroom was tiny but ample.

One warning: you will find lots of message boards which list everything but the kitchen sink that you MUST TAKE. I overpacked a full suitcase worth. If you have lots of rechargeables (camera, cellphone, ipod, etc.), I do recommend taking a multi-plug serge control strip. The only other things I found useful were a small plastic toothbrush holder that held to the mirror with suction cups and a yellow highlighter to mark the activities you want to do each day. And, while it may not be useful for everyone, I took a rolling cooler that I had the cabin steward fill up everyday with ice, so I always had cold drinks, since I don't care for the iced tea or lemonade that are served.

Relax, don't over analyze like I did, and take the bare essentials. And have fun!
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Old October 26th, 2007, 10:03 PM
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:( I recently took a 7 day cruise on Princess Cruises. I purchased prepaid internet minutes to use the onboard computers in order to keep up with my emails.. After my internet minutes were used up, quickly, I just paid as I go. After a while I notice the minutes and money ($350) were adding up fast. I talked to others using the Internet Café. They too felt the minutes were being added up quickly and not enough time on the computer. After talking to a few people we felt that the satellite internet connection was taking along time to connect. I complaint to the Internet Café Manager. He told me, “You know how you guy get while surfing the net?. I then complaint to the front desk onboard. I was told that they are not responsible for the satellite being slow and that this happens. I think they should put a warning on their flyers that show prices for internet use. That way people will be worn of the delays and waste of minutes and money.


I also sent letter to Princess Cruises and advised them of my complaint, no resolution. Princess Cruise’s Customer Relations Specialist, Arielle Gauer, sent me a response which shows their “great? customer service that said, “Further correspondence with our office will not garner a change in resolution nor generate further response.


Please keep this complaint on file in order for other cruise customers to use as a tool in deciding on what cruise line to choose.


Ernest Gonzalez

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Old October 28th, 2007, 10:34 AM
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I am not [i]that new to cruising, but I don't find enough current and objective reviews. I scour everything I can find before I book.

Spa pricing is another thing that is difficult to find. We all know it will be pricy, so what's the big secret ?

Thanks, Paul, for the upcoming article about spas.

Also, I want to know if there will be thousands of kids (don't bash me )
or large groups booked.

Much of the rest is subjective or found on cruise line sites.

Pat

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Old October 28th, 2007, 01:24 PM
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The one thing that drives me nuts looking on-line is trying to get the total cost, including gov't taxes and fees without having to go through an extensive process. On site wouldn't give me that info unless I put in a credit card number ...so not going to happen!
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