My wife and I are new to cruising and are still in the evaluation stage. We took the U.S. Lines cruise around the Hawaiian Islands earlier this year and are booked on Celebrity's Infinity for a Southern Caribbean cruise in Nov.
Question-we prefer the more "classic" kind of cruising (I think), that is formal dress, at least some nights, (my wife likes it, I bought a tux and I am determined to wear it) no kids, things to do but not frantic activity. Price is always a consideration but we would be willing to pay more for the right cruise line or ship.
Any advice from seasoned vetrans out there?
You will enjoy Celebrity Cruise lines. We found that Celebrity is somewhat more refined than other lines. We have been on Galaxy and Mercury. We also found that the pricing for Celebrity to us was reasonable. The men seem to be 50/50 with tux or dark suits. On a 7 day cruise there are normally to formal and two informal evenings, the others being smart casual Enjoy your cruise.
Our family of 4 have sailed on two Celebrity cruises and can tell you that this is a classic line- although each cruise is certainly going to be unique due to circumstances.
Our cruises on Celebrity included at least 2 nights of formal black-tie optional attire, especially the Captain's Dinner event.
Celebrity seems to cater to adult cruising/family cruising, although if you cruise during holiday times, like we did at Christmas time, you will see the ship has lots more children, young adults of varying ages.
Our most recent cruise was on the Galaxy during March, spring break time for college kids (our are in that category) and we found very few of the passengers were young adults, more so adults like us, although our kids enjoyed the ports, and relaxing by the pool, the night life for them was quiet, not like our Panama Canal cruise during Christmas/New Year's which had many families aboard, and roaring disco nights.
Dining on Celebrity is superb and we are fussy eaters! The service is also very good, if only the bed pillows were bigger- my only complaint.
I believe you will be very pleased with a Celebrity cruise!
We started to sail with Celebrity for my husbands 50th birthday seven years ago. It offers exactly what you are looking for in a vacation experience. But like UH mentioned, don't travel during a holiday or school break. Celebrity is trying to woo the Family to cruising, but they are not the best in that market. You will find great accommodations, food, public rooms, itineraries, spa and Thalostherapy Pool, entertainment is good and you are treated as an adult with limited announcements. Do make sure to read your newsletter every night so you know what is going on the next day! Plan you time in port before you arrive, so to enjoy your day and the variety of each port of call. Vary your shore excurisions and things that you would like to do ashore. We will sail on our 5th Celebrity ship, the Galaxy on 11/2. We have also sailed 3 RCI ships who cater to a very diverse group and does a great job with families and on 2 Princess ships (we love Princess Cay their private Island.) and their entertainment is excellent.
Hi -- We have been on Celebrity (Mercury), Princess (Royal and Grand [twice]) and RC (Voyager) in the last 18 months. Just a few observations. Food best on Mercury in the dining room but buffet is not set up well -- no individual food islands and limited times when open which causes people to line up in very long lines. Buffet, burgers and pizza open most all of the time with Princess and RC. Also, there were times in the day on Mercury when no food is available (except room service of course). Sounds petty considering how much we all eat on a cruise, but we saw several people asking where they could get something to eat (between 2 and 4 in afternoon) and the answer was "you can get pizza at 4". This really big guy screamed back, "But I'm hungry NOW". Like I said sounds petty, but considering some people are from different time zones and many people stay up late and sleep in late, I think the buffet should be open at least with a limited menu all the time. Same at night -- on Princess, I like to grab a plate of fruit salad or such to take back to my room when ready for bed (which for us is not late) -- on Mercury, there was nothing available because the buffet was not open until the "scheduled" midnight buffet.
We found very few kids on the Mercury or the Grand, but 700 of the littl' devils on the Voyager! These were all Caribbean cruises. However, I was prepared not to like the Voyager becaue of it's size etc. and found that I liked it indeed. The art and architecture is terrific, there are plenty of quiet places, and a nice library. It helps a lot to have a balcony cabin so you can sit "outside" in the day wihout fighting for a quiet lounge chair (if quiet was what you want). I thought the use of the upper open deck for a miniature golf course, basketball court and in line skate course was a real waste of space. It seems to me all of these things (except maybe b-ball) could have been on a lower deck. The Voyager also surprised us with the entertainment, not the shows but the lounges and lobbies and sit-around areas. Very good, which I can't say for the Grand Princess last time. On the Grand, it was SOOO bad, it was embarassing (in the pub and in the atrium before dinner etc.)
When you've had enough of the "sun and shop" type cruises, try the med. Our trip on the Royal was Black Sea, Greece etc. and without a doubt was the best. Different type of passengers, different interests, etc versus a Caribbean or Hawaii cruise. Visiting former soviet block countries, having a band playing for you when the ship comes into, and leaves (with hundreds of people waving and wishing probably they were going with you) the dock, seeing the sunset over Istanbul, noticing there's no women on the streets of Istanbul, exploring the topo sea maps in the library each day to see the "holes", channels and where we have been, etc. -- and yes I could go on and on. We felt very fortunate to be able to take that cruise -- in all ways you can imagine -- and although sounding corny, it was a life-changing/enhancement experience. The Royal, although old and small, was fabulous and the service the best of all.
Don't know how this got sooo long ---- hope it helps.
Forgot to mention another suggestion. Try a "luxury" line when they go "on sale" and compare. We almost jumped on the Seabourn deal offered by Moment's Notice (imagine a Seabourn cruise for $100 per day per person!!!!) but decided maybe tuxedoes and caviar weren't our cup of tea. Maybe someday though, with a more casual line like Windstar or the Seabourn Goddess ships........
Of the mainstream lines, it sounds like you might like Holland America, though Celebrity is also a fine choice. You're likely to find kids on these ships, depending on the time of year you sail, but if you select late seating you'll get to enjoy your dinner with fewer little ones around.
If money is no object, Crystal Cruises or Cunard's QE2 (grill class) might also appeal to you if you prefer the formal style of cruising. And if you really want to splurge, check out the smaller ships of Seabourn and Silversea.