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Old September 14th, 2007, 04:54 PM
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Default Introducing myself (finally!) :-)..and a question.

Hi Everyone! I am "Graycie". I have been a "board lurker" for a while, but this is my first actual post .
I have enjoyed reading this board so much! It has given me tons of useful advice. I feel like I am a cruise addict......except I have never cruised!

I am planning to take my oldest daughter (11) on a cruise in March of 2008. I have extensively researched everything that has anything to do with a cruise, but I still have a few questions . I figured this was the best place to come to get them answered!

The biggest issue I am running into is WHICH cruise to take. This is going to be a total surprise for her; she will have no idea until we arrive at the airport. I am having to be sneaky in figuring out which places she would rather visit and which excursions she would like to do.

I know we would like to do a 3-5 day, and we will be leaving from a Florida port. (At this point, since we are having to fly anyway, which port doesn't really matter) Do you guys have any suggestions on which ship would be better suited for us? Ports of call really do not matter at this point, but I would rather not have anything that included Calica, Mexico. (I have heard that it is basically just a gravel pit.....am I mistaken?)

I am so excited about this trip! (Can you tell? )
I am sure I will think of tons more questions, but I will hold them for now :-D

Thanks in advance!!! :-)

~Graycie
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Old September 14th, 2007, 04:56 PM
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I recommend the Sensation 4-day cruise to Freeport and Nassau. I took my 14 year old son on it. We had a blast! In fact, Freeport is mostly an industrial wasteland, so you may just want to do the 3-day to Nassau (it stays there overnight), also on Sensation.

I think it was a good cruise for first-timers.

Read my review on the review page and my photos at the site below.
Ask me any questions.
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Old September 14th, 2007, 05:06 PM
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Carnival Inspiration! Just check it out. It's being refurbished this month.
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Old September 14th, 2007, 05:54 PM
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I would do a 5 night cruise. There just isn't enought time with anything less to really enjoy the cruise. You will find everyone has their personal choice of cruise lines, Carnival vs Royal Caribbean, etc. Does your daughter like beach activities or site seeing. Some ports are more about good beaches than site seeing, while other offer more site seeing than beach activities. It took me months to plan my first one, which was the Bahamas, Nassau, Grand Turks and Carnivals private island, Half Moon Cay (pronounced key). After that one I decided five nights wasn't even enough so now we are doing a seven night cruise. Have fun planning and enjoy what ever you decide on.
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Old September 14th, 2007, 06:22 PM
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Do you guys have any suggestions on which ship would be better suited for us?

Either Inspiration outta Tampa to Grand Cayman/Cozumel or Imagination outta Miami to Grand Cayman/Ocho Rios. I would avoid the Bahamas that time of year, never know what the North Atlantic might bring. Course, I'd honestly avoid the Bahamas all times of all years.
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Old September 14th, 2007, 06:36 PM
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I too would recommend "Inspiration" out of Tampa to Western Caribbean. Inspiration is a great ship, and is in refit right now, so it'll have lots of new water "stuff" aboard, and will be in excellent condition. I'd do the 5 day, as I'm sure you won't want to leave the ship after just 4. Tampa is a great port, and IMO much easier to sail in and out of than the other ports in Florida. Tampa has a great airport, and it's only a short ride to the port, plus there are loads of excellent hotels available near the port, or the airport in the Westshore area. No matter what you decide, you're going to have a great time! Welcome to CruiseMates!

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Old September 14th, 2007, 10:35 PM
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I really enjoyed Calica, Mexico. We went to Xcaret and it was amazing.
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Old September 15th, 2007, 12:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dina
I really enjoyed Calica, Mexico. We went to Xcaret and it was amazing.
Did you write a review Dina? I'd love to read it. We are going to Xcaret Oct. 13 on the Inspiration. Did you post any pics? I'm so excited!
Thanks,
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Old September 15th, 2007, 12:10 AM
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Wow! Thank you guys for the quick responses! :-)

Dina, I have heard nothing but WONDERFUL things about Xcaret. I was thinking of planning a trip there in the next couple of years. I guess I wasn't aware that Xcaret was in/close to Calica.

SkyMaster, Thank you for the suggestions. The 5 night does sound more tempting than the 3 . And thank you for the welcome :-)

ClevelandRocks, I have to ask why about the Bahamas. I am traveling with an 11 year old and we would preferrably come back unharmed. Should I be worried?

FloridanMaw, You guys have almost talked me into springing for the 5 night.......if I give it any deeper thought, I might go for the 7! Planning this has been a blast. I think that is half the fun! :-)

HoneyBear, Certainly checking that one out. I think I have researched all of Carnival's ships, but I have a hard time keeping what ship goes with what itinerary in mind

Michelle1959, Those were fabulous pictures!! :-) The cruises you mentioned sound fabulous. I am starting to wish I had booked for Oct. 07

Thanks again for all of the advice! :-)
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Old September 15th, 2007, 01:26 AM
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AmazingGraycie, if you do decide to take a 7 day cruise, you won't regret taking the Legend out of Tampa. Another bonus with leaving the Port of Tampa, you'll get to sail right under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge with a thrilling funnel clearance of only about 9 feet! We missed our first night eating in the dining room because we had the early seating and wanted to be topside to see it for ourselves.....

<<<that was what my 8 yr old grandson's eyes looked like...
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Old September 15th, 2007, 08:02 AM
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Mu DW and I love the Imagination. We did a 5 day to Grand Caymans and Jamaica and had a great time.
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Old September 15th, 2007, 08:35 AM
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ClevelandRocks, I have to ask why about the Bahamas.

First, Calica is an absolute diamond compared to Freeport and Playa del Carmen is right next to Calica and that beach ROCKS! Nassau is the better of the two stops, but you can always catch it on an eastern caribbean cruise. Trust me, the weather will be MUCH nicer in the Western Caribbean than it will be in the Bahamas in March. Finally, YES, you an an eleven yo daughter should be concerned traveling in the Bahamas. Only reason for goin to the Bahamas is to get your hair braided, and bein a male in his late fifties, I HATE anyone with hair. If you look at the cruises in my signature you'll see Sensation Feb 2003. That's the route Inspiration runs now, it was FABULOUS. Then the following month (March) we took my mother on Fantasy to Bahamas (same route Sensation has now) it SUCKED especially compared to Grand Cayman/Cozumel. It may be a little cool leaving Tampa the first nite, but you'll wake up to beautiful/warm tropical air the rest of the trip. INSPIRATION, p-l-e-a-s-e take my word for it and the advice of others.
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Old September 15th, 2007, 09:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Honeybear
Quote:
Originally Posted by dina
I really enjoyed Calica, Mexico. We went to Xcaret and it was amazing.
Did you write a review Dina? I'd love to read it. We are going to Xcaret Oct. 13 on the Inspiration. Did you post any pics? I'm so excited!
Thanks,
yes I did... Let me find it for you..

http://www.cruisemates.com/articles/...cination29.cfm

http://www.cruisemates.com/gallery/view.php?id=3322
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Old September 15th, 2007, 09:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmazingGraycie
Wow! Thank you guys for the quick responses! :-)

Dina, I have heard nothing but WONDERFUL things about Xcaret. I was thinking of planning a trip there in the next couple of years. I guess I wasn't aware that Xcaret was in/close to Calica.

SkyMaster, Thank you for the suggestions. The 5 night does sound more tempting than the 3 . And thank you for the welcome :-)

ClevelandRocks, I have to ask why about the Bahamas. I am traveling with an 11 year old and we would preferrably come back unharmed. Should I be worried?

FloridanMaw, You guys have almost talked me into springing for the 5 night.......if I give it any deeper thought, I might go for the 7! Planning this has been a blast. I think that is half the fun! :-)

HoneyBear, Certainly checking that one out. I think I have researched all of Carnival's ships, but I have a hard time keeping what ship goes with what itinerary in mind

Michelle1959, Those were fabulous pictures!! :-) The cruises you mentioned sound fabulous. I am starting to wish I had booked for Oct. 07

Thanks again for all of the advice! :-)
Xcaret is a maybe 15 minute cab ride from where the ship docks. I absolutely loved the time I spent there.
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Old September 15th, 2007, 09:50 AM
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Hi, I never introduced myself here either.

Hi Gracie, Im Jane. I moved from Boca Raton, FL to Texas a couple of years ago because my Dad got macular degeneration which isnt curable and he was the only driver. My mom only drives around the block lol, she is a scary cat and cant stand traffic, so thats not a option. No chance of getting her on a ship though.

It took me a while, but I finally talked them into letting my younger sister cruise with me.

I used to live in S. Florida for 13 or 14 years and only did a few days cruises that I didnt keep track of or I'd be platinum on Carnival, lost the credit since I have no proof I ever did those cruises.

I didnt cruise until last Halloween from Texas, but making up for lost time.

My advise is if Florida is convenient, pick either RoyalCaribbean or Carnival out of Port Canaveral or Miami for the 3/4 day cruises to see how you like it. RCI prices are very competitive to Carnival in that market, started at $169 when they dropped the prices. I know some went thru a marketing push and got an extra $50 off and higher categories for $384 for 2 people!!!! including all taxes and fees, Im jealous lol. I wish I still lived near the Ft. Lauderdale port.

This is the first time Iv introduced myself here, thought Id join you to see if it will break the ice.

Hi, and glad you decided to come out and post.
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Old September 17th, 2007, 10:59 AM
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Hi Flowers! Very nice to "meet" you. I haven't posted but a few times here, but I have been reading the boards for quite a while now. The people here seem really nice and I look very forward to getting to know everyone better! :-)

~Graycie
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Old September 17th, 2007, 12:31 PM
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Gracie, be sure and let us know what you decide. Bahams aren't QUITE as bad as I made them sound, but it was a definite mistake for me to do the Western Caribbean first then the Bahamas. Kinda like goin from Vegas to Akron.

And HELLO Flowers!!!
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Old September 17th, 2007, 01:01 PM
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Carnival Inspiration is no longer going to Calica. They are going to Cozumel instead. We are booked in March 08, out of Tampa. And we just received our itinerary change notice.
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Old September 17th, 2007, 03:23 PM
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Bahamas has the Atlantis Resort which has an unbelievable aquarium (free admission). It is quite awesome IMHO

I would not recommend a 7 day for a first cruise. It may be a bit much for the newbie cruiser. A nice 4 or 5 day cruise is probably perfect with a 4 day be the most perfect. That way you get off the ship wanting more rather than burnt out from all the activities. A Carnival Fantasy Class ship would be nice. These are large enough to have most of the bells and whistles but small enough so that you are not constantly lost and all turned around.

I would suggest you take your daughter during a time when school is out. You will have to suffer with all of the hundreds of kiddies on board but your daughter will have her pick when forming her "'tween cruise posse" to hang out with at Camp Carnival and by the pizza counter.

I hope you both enjoy the cruise and I hope you enjoy to planning. (that is half the fun)
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Old September 17th, 2007, 08:16 PM
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You are right about that being half the fun! I have "planned" about 45 different cruises. Real pity I can't actually take all of them

~Graycie
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Old September 17th, 2007, 08:18 PM
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Welcome aboard
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Old September 17th, 2007, 08:30 PM
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Thank you! :-)
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Old September 17th, 2007, 11:04 PM
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A big welcome to Graycie and Jane!

It is hard to decide on that first cruise, but the fact is, you can't pick a bad one! Please encourage your daughter to go to Camp Carnival and meet other children her age. I know it will be hard to let her leave your side, but she will enjoy it so much. Have fun deciding! And yes, I agree, the planning is half the fun!
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Old September 18th, 2007, 12:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glenda55
Carnival Inspiration is no longer going to Calica. They are going to Cozumel instead. We are booked in March 08, out of Tampa. And we just received our itinerary change notice.
Oh Glenda55! Are you sure? We are suppose to go to Calica in 26 days and we haven't heard a thing about any changes! I REALLY want to go to Xcaret but I love Cosumel a lot too. It doesn't matter that much but I should have already made my reservations.

Dina, thank you Sao much. I'm having a to of trouble with my computer so I copied and pasted your review and pics on an email to myself so I can read it if this computer goes off line. I just got it Christmas, I need to put it in the shop. Lol. I do thank you so much for your effort. I'll read it with my morning coffee. Thanks again
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Old September 19th, 2007, 11:43 PM
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Hi Graycie and Welcome to the boards. I love your name "Amazing Graycie" and that is what caught my eye when I saw your thread posted. My mother' s name was Grace (as is mine) and we called her "our amazing Grace." In 2002 she celebrated her 80th birthday and we threw her a big party with a stretch limo to pick her up. We decorated the hall and put out flowers (she always loved them) everywhere. Since she loved her family so much (6 children plus raised an abandoned one), we put out our baby pics and let the guest guess which one belonged to each of us. My sister writes beautiful poetry and wrote a song about Mama, called Our Amazing Grace. The song was to the tune of the spiritual hymn, Amazing Grace. The 5 daughters sang this to her at her birthday and she was so proud.

Mama was an amazing woman and she took care of everyone including my dad who was in failing health. She always did her own housework and kept a spotless house, shopped, cooked and did everything right up until she got sick in September, just 5 months after her birthday. I am sad to say, that after open heart surgery and complications we lost her in November 2002. I miss her every day and just couldn't pass up the opportunity to post this tribute to her when I saw your name.
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Old September 20th, 2007, 09:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Honeybear
Quote:
Originally Posted by glenda55
Carnival Inspiration is no longer going to Calica. They are going to Cozumel instead. We are booked in March 08, out of Tampa. And we just received our itinerary change notice.
Oh Glenda55! Are you sure? We are suppose to go to Calica in 26 days and we haven't heard a thing about any changes! I REALLY want to go to Xcaret but I love Cosumel a lot too. It doesn't matter that much but I should have already made my reservations.
Have you seen anywhere that "Carnival Inspiration is no longer going to Calica. They are going to Cozumel instead"? I'd LOVE to go to Cosumel but I haven't heard this anywhere. We are leaving in 23 days and I need to start making tour reservations.
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Old September 20th, 2007, 06:30 PM
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Check with the website and Carnival directly. They should of sent you a change notice.

Ship Inspiration

Sailing From Tampa, FL on 10/08/2007

Itinerary Tampa, FL ; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands ; Cozumel, Mexico ; Tampa, FL
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Old January 23rd, 2008, 07:45 PM
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Hi there! I know this reply is a "little" late, but I haven't been to the boards in quite some time! Your story actually made me cry. It was very touching and heartwarming. Your mother sounds like she was very much amazing! :-)
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Old January 24th, 2008, 10:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmazingGraycie
Hi there! I know this reply is a "little" late, but I haven't been to the boards in quite some time! Your story actually made me cry. It was very touching and heartwarming. Your mother sounds like she was very much amazing! :-)

Thank you, it is never too late to reply. Mamma was very amazing and as time goes by, we realize more and more just how amazing she was. Have a great day.
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Old January 24th, 2008, 12:26 PM
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I will have to vote for Carnival Inspiration out of Tampa (the ease of Tampa's airport together with getting to the port is a plus factor); sailing under the skyway bridge is awesome and INspiration was just refurbished and is great for teenagers.

My second vote would be Enchantment of Seas; which I think is still sailing out of Ft Lauderdale; just a beautiful ship.

If inspiration or enchantment is booked; then you have the fasination and imagination that does a pretty good iteniary; don't waste time and money on a 3 day cruise, just not worth it IMHO.
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