After reading the two threads... "Celebration/Sanitation" and "Just Back..Must read for 1st time cruisers", I have put myself into a having-second-thoughts tailspin. I know most of it is my mind thinking worst case scenario, but I don't know what to do. My hubby called from work today and wanted to book the airfare for our August 1st Cruise on the Inspiration but I actually told him to hold off. I was soooo excited a few days ago and planning all the shore excursions and reading up on everything was a lot of fun, but now I am worried that we will be trapped for 7 days in a place that will be no better than a cheap hotel (dirty, unsanitized, crowded and bad food). It would actually be worse than a cheap hotel, considering you can leave a hotel anytime you want and a "cheap" hotel is cheap whereas the cruise is not.
I am in need of some words of encouragement here that we are doing the right thing. We are a family of four (me, hubby, 16 yo son, 19 yo daughter) and this is our first cruise. We are pretty positive people and not only have a good time, but alot of times make our own good time when we go places. We all do have one pet peeve though....and that is uncleanliness. Are the staterooms no better than a cheap hotel (stains, dirty, sticky & a general "feeling" of ick)? Any reassurances? I hope I don't sound snobby because we really are not that way, we just have cleanliness issues.
We are going on our 2nd cruise, in May, on the Holiday, which has also gotten some bad reviews, but I'm still positive. Our 1st cruise was on the Celebration(Sept. 17th, 2000), which, at that time got some bad reviews & now is the most recent ship to have some kind of outbreak, of sickness, but Hubby & I loved it! The only problem, I think you might have is that the towels need some fabric softener, in a bad way. But other than that, the rooms were bigger than I expected, we had a ocean view/window room & me & Hubby could both fit in it, to look out, at the same time & believe me, we're not skinny-
I hope this helps!
You will love the Inspiration. She is a beautiful ship. We found it to be very clean and didnt see any stains you are talking about. You cant listen to everyone. Sometimes there are people that are not happy no matter waht they are doing or where ever they are. Jsut go and Happy cruising.
You will get a few that will complain loudly and forcefully about what a bad time they had but percentagewise they are very few in number. Most people rave about how wonderful cruising is. Many ships have over 80% repeat cruisers so they must be doing something right. We took our first one in late 1996 and while on a limited income we have managed to cruise quite often since then and I think the one this Sunday will be about 23 or 24. <G> Don't go looking for trouble but go and enjoy yourself. Your biggest worry will be how you will aford your next cruise. <G>
You will ALWAYS find *at least* 1 person in this world who does not enjoy something that another 99 enjoyed thouroughly. This is true in all situations....politics, restaurants, clothing styles, how to raise children, and yes....even cruise ships. And it certainly doesn't mean that the one who didn't like something is wrong and the others are 'right'. It's just that person's right and opinoin to feel the way they do.
The point is that it sounds like you might be anxious due to this cruise being your family's first. It isn't exaclty cheap money. It's sorta like commiting blindly.
If this ship was the one that fit your family's needs as far as ports of call, price tag, size, customer age-group etx (it sounds like you did a lot of research), then I would say to stay on your course. If it didn't quite fit to begin with, maybe you can find another that will suit your needs better. But, keep in mind that there will STILL be someone out there who will say a negative thing about even ship choice #2.
We took our first cruise on the Destiny last March and I hadn't found this forum until after I booked. Then, of course I read myself silly and of course amongst the thousand wonderful raves on the Destiny, I found 2 or 3 gripes about this or that. Yes, at first I was questioning myself. But......it ended up being just a super vacation and one that I won't soon forget. I am booked for my 2nd cruise on the Triumph and let me tell you,....it was HARD for us to NOT book Destiny again. I am sure we will have a wonderful time on the Triumph no matter stained carpet (i won't look down), pushy vendors in jamaica (been there, done that), kids in the jacuzzi (it's sorta uplifting to see how much more fun they can have in a jacuzzi than us boring adults who just sit there) etc.
Let us now how it turns out. I assure you that you will have your very own experience that will be uncomparable to any other's. Have fun
I've been on two Fantasy class ships, both older than Inspiration, and they were great. Dollar for dollar they can't be beat. If I wanted top of the line, I'd shop elsewhere and pay 2-10 times the fare. The individuals who find Carnival unacceptable, should have spent a day in my life. I'd like to see the looks on their faces if they saw the inside of a cast iron city water main. Of course the transite mains are clean if you like drinking from asbestos pipe. And most houses in the older neighborhoods are fed through lead supply lines. Your smoke detectors are radioactive. The moral being, if you look for problems you'll find them anywhere, everywhere, and they can be overwhelming if you permit. Relax, you'll love your cruise!
Don't worry about it. You will find yourself so immersed in all the luxury, surroundings, amenities, service, and available food and activities you won't even notice you are at sea. Then you step outside on the deck and find a chaise lounge, layout in the sun, bar servers asking if you'd like a drink, amazed at the massive ocean and colors of the Caribbean water, and knowing the kids are safe and you have nothing to worry about.
You have a fabulous dinner served by expert waiters and then walk to the show lounge for a night of entertainment. After the show you walk to the casino and play some slots or table games. That night you never slept so well.
The next day you are in a port you have never seen before. Take a tour. Learn a little about the place. Do some shopping. Buy items at about 1/2 the price as here in the U.S.
Carnival is a great cruise line to go on with kids. You all will have a great time. We've sailed Carnival 3 times and never had a major problem. I think the worse thing that has happened is we signed up for an excursion and found out when we got there I wasn't physically able to do it. Part my fault for not asking the right questions when I signed up.
The people who complain the loudest are usually the ones who find something to complain about no matter what. Nothing is perfect and there will always be things you don't like. It's all in the way you choose to deal with it. Get your self all worked up and you will have a terrible vacation. Tell yourself, it wasn't a big deal and you'll have fun.
Make your dream cruise come true!!
I just cruised on the Inspiration a month ago. Trust me the rooms are very clean. I am particular also when staying at a hotel etc. We had an oceanview window and the room was great. Not to mention there is so much to do you won't be spending much time in your room. The ports of call are awesome too.
I couldn't agree more with ALL of the above repiles.
Our 1st cruise was on the Holiday (the oldest ship in the fleet) in 2002. I was hooked after that.
We leave on the Conquest 02/29/2004 and then on the Glory 02/29/2005, with a short (3 Day) cruise on the Disney Wonder 10/21/2004.
So.... there must be something to this cruise thing......
As far as the "worst case scenario".....
Worry about what you CAN change..... don't worry about the rest.
You will not find any "cheap motel" that would even compare to a cruise stateroom.
Take your family and have a GREAT vacation.
I hope this post served as "some words of encouragement ".
Rachel, Inspiration will be my first cruise also, not to mention my FIRST VACATION!! 39 and never have done a darn thing-time to change all that!!! There is a group of 11 of us going, needless to say, I'm the only "single" in the bunch. I was somewhat hesitant about that-but what the heck, it was a chance of a lifetime to go-and I took it. Being single certainly does not bother me-plus, I get a cabin to myself!!! Which is nice since I'm only used to sharing with my daughter!! !!!
I'm excited as ever-we leave 3/21/04 and I've been counting down the days since we booked it 6 months ago! Any excursions or info you have for excursions would be great-I have no expectations except to have fun-getting out of Minnesota in the winter, no dishes or laundry or phone or WORK will make it the best ever! PS: I don't look at carpets-and certainly am one NOT used to luxury. Lets just say, I got excited when I got a new refrigerator!!! !!!! Pam
Hey Regina, this will be my wife and ours first cruise also. we are sailing on the Inspiration, and we will be leaving the 22nd of this month, so looking at the calender, only 4 days to go, woohoo, we can't wait, we are also from Minnesota, and it will be so nice to get away from this snow. I will try and get back on to give you an update as to what we did and hopefully give you some usefull pointers.
We've been on the Inspiration twice and about 10 times on Carnival so far. We will be taking my father in law on his first cruise in April on the Elation and he is 73. Don't wait till your 73 or you will regret all you missed out on. This will be our 17th cruise. We prefer Carnival to the others we have been on (NCL and RCL) but all of them have a lot to offer. GO and make your own opinion - don't listen to others. If we all did that we would go nowhere. Bon Voyage!!! Be careful - you will get addicted!!! Debbie
I chose Carnival because we have older teens and my hubby and I enjoy Vegas as a weekend getaway now and then. I was told Carnival has that sort of "vegas style" atmosphere and is fun for teens. I had heard that some cruiselines don't have a lot of "older" teens and they cater more to smaller kids with their programs and such.
Anyway, I am feeling alot better about things. You are right, I shouldn't let this get to me and we should just go and make up our own minds. We aren't looking for "luxury" (although, hey, some of that stuff sounds fun, Thomas) , just cleanliness...and it sounds like that won't be an issue. Thank you all for taking the time to make such detailed responses. It really has helped and I am once again looking forward to the cruise.
Okay, now look for me to start posting some other questions about cruising as they arise.
Hi. PLEASE rest assured that you will have a GREAT time!!!
Have you ever won Lotto??? Been struck by lightening???? Well, your chances of BOTH are much greater than having issues getting sick on a cruise.
Heck, we are leaving out of Galveston on 29 Feb on the Elation, and we have friends leaving on the CELEBRATION on 28 Feb....all of us have cruised SEVERAL times before and NONE of us are even worried about it.
How many times this winter/spring have you seen several people in your/your husbands work place get sick with something????? First one, then it spreads. Just like any "close quarters" things will spread., especially if you don't take the good washing your hands seriously, and ESPECIALLY not eating with your hands (sandwiches, pizza, chips).
People are sick in airplanes, hotels and anywhere you can imagine...you just hear about it when you are stuck together more in close quarters...dorms, ships, nursing homes for extended periods of time.
After YEARS of looking for the PERFECT vacation, we found cruising...and I promise you, it is the ONLY WAY TO GO!!!!!
I had your same concerns because I am a bit of a clean freak myself (not that you can tell that from looking in my bathroom right now.......). I sailed on a Fantasy class ship and had read some of the same "carpet stains, odor in the bathrooms" posts, as well.
They were ALWAYS cleaning the ship, including spot cleaning the carpet. I found it to be very clean.
You'll have an absolute BLAST!
Carnival Elation March 11
Carnival Imagination Sept 07
Carniival Sensation Dec 06
RCI Sovereign of the Seas Sept 06
Carnival Miracle Sept 05
Carnival Glory Sept 04
Carnival Fantasy Jan 04
Good heavens, please don't let a couple people's bad experiences worry you!! We cruised with Carnival last year and had an amazing time. Our room was spotless, except for the clutter we left lying around. <g> The dining rooms, bars, pool areas...everything was very clean. And, the staff are there to cater to all your needs. I became spoiled in a mere 5 days, returning home only to wonder why there were paper napkins (gasp!) instead of cloth, and where was the cute lady with the drinks every few minutes? The only real concern I have is the illness outbreaks on various ships, but I still won't let that keep me from booking a cruise. It's simply a risk when you have a large number of people in a confined space, just like a college dorm. At any rate, enjoy planning your cruise, and have a fabulous time. We sure did!
Thanks to those latest posters. Your posts have added to my reassurance. Tonight my husband booked the airfare. So it is on, baby! We are going cruising and thanks to all of you I am excited again!!! :o)
Here are the xcursions that we did on the Inspiration. Grand Caymans we did the Sting ray city, Hell, and Turtle Farm. I loved swimming with the stingrays, it's an awesome experience. I loved the Turtle Farm because I am a turtle lover. Hell wasn't so great. Costa Maya we did the Jungle Beach Break with an open bar which was cool and relaxing the beach was really nice, but a bit crowded. In Cozumel we did the Dolphin Encounter which was fun. We didn't swim with them during this excursion. They show you how to kiss the dolphin and shake. They take pcitures and video take the excursion. The pictures were $12 each and the video was $29. Now that I look back the video wasn't really worth it. It was only five minutes long. The pictures were great. Then in Belize we did the Cave tubing which I would definately do again if I ever visited Belize again. I did hear the snorkeling in Belize was great too. My favorite ports were Grand Cayman and Belize. The only thing I wish was different is that we could of spent more time in Grand Cayman. Hope this helps, if you have any other questions just ask. I am not a great swimmer, but I was able to do all of this excursions.