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Old April 14th, 2009, 06:45 PM
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Default Planning 1st cruise

When you decided, ok, I am going to go on a cruise,did you already know you wanted to cruise on Carnival? Were you open to any line, or did your ta, play a role, in putting you on a certain ship? Did you have friends who cruised, who helped you decide?

Did you know where you wanted to cruise to? Did you come to Cruisemates to get the skinny on what, where, and how? If you did, I bet we helped you

Did you do a lot of research, or just jump in blindfolded?

And finally, what ship did you decide on and why? The explanations of our own process, may help out newbies, checking around for info...
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Old April 14th, 2009, 09:00 PM
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Our first cruise was in the early 80's. We were contacted by a TA who wanted to do a square dance group on the Carnival Festival. We had no idea what cruising was all about but jumped at he chance to try it. We have our 20th group sailing in Jan. 2010 on the Legend so I guess we liked it. Oh heck we feel in love with cruising. We have done other cruise lines but always come back to Carnival. They work very well with our square dancers and the dancers love it. It is so much fun to take those first time cruisers with us and watch them throughout the week. That's my story of how I got into cruising.
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Old April 15th, 2009, 12:44 AM
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I believe it best to be open to all lines, but look specifically at a couple of lines. Where you want to go, when you want to go, and budget will of course determine which choices you have. Another determining factor is if you have kids or not. A good travel agent can help you with this but do not hire the first one you meet with. Make sure you find out all of the details and feel comfortable with the travel agent. He or she should specialize in cruises and have personal cruise experience, but also be able to book your hotel, air(to find this out ask if they are ARC/IATAN affiliated, and if they are home based they should be with a host agency that is or they cannot legally sell you an airline ticket), and excursions at your request. Also, you do not pay the agent's fees, with the exception of a fee on domestic airline tickets, and no more than $30 maximum per ticket on that. Travel agents work primarily on commissions so a good travel agent is invaluable.
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Old April 15th, 2009, 01:13 AM
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First cruise was done spur of the moment and blindfolded. I was on mailing lists for all the cruise lines. Carnival sent out an email for "12 Days of Christmas", at 1:30 on a Sunday. First 25 people to call them at 3:00 had a chance for one of 5 cabins on 5 different cruises. I managed to get in on a 4 day trip to Cozumel out of NOLA on the "Fantasy". We had saved "Wendy's beverage cups" the year before so it cost us $24 to convert our credits into airfare for 3. Total cost of the cruise and airfare for my 2 daughters and myself was $459.00!! , then I found cruisemates and received lots of answers to all my questions about cruising! Day of the cruise we found out the southern US can get ice storms that delay all the planes! Due to the ice and so many people being late arriving in NOLA, the ship's departure was delayed for an hour. We arrived at the ship at 3:45, it was supposed to leave at 4:00!

After the harrowing ice and airport problems of our first cruise, we decided our next cruise would be one where we could drive to the pier. We decided on New England/Canada on the "Victory" out of NYC. This trip was researched throughly before making the deposit( we upgraded to a balcony), again with cruisemates being there to answer many questions.

This year's cruise was set for October to the Bahamas on the "Pride" out of Baltimore (again this is within driving distance). Research was done on most of the trip before the deposit was made. No sooner had this trip been booked and prices started dropping on spring and summer cruises, so we're also doing a 4 day getaway to Canada on the "Triumph". The "Pride" will have a balcony, the "Triumph" is an inside cabin. , found out last year that unless you plan on taking a winter coat, the balcony is cold heading north!
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Old April 15th, 2009, 01:24 AM
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I find the expression "to which we can drive" to be amusing. Any in continental North America or South America can be driven too if you have enough time. I tend to take a bus to save money. Ultimately it just takes a little planning to get there on time and most people don't plan ahead.
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Old April 15th, 2009, 06:06 AM
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It all started when I decided that I wished to visit the Mayan ruins. Commodore cruises had a brochure for Mexico out of New Orleans...2 hours drive...so I took it in order to visit the Mayan ruins. As it turned out I enjoyed the cruise as much as the ruins so I booked again for the following year. Problem was after I booked Commodore went belly up...so I switched to Carnival...it being the other ship in New Orleans.
That was the beginning 8) ..I was hooked !
Every year I would venture out a bit more. Flew to Florida the next time, then to Alaska, then to San Juan, and so on.
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Old April 15th, 2009, 07:53 AM
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PRICE with Carnival vs other lines when we started cruising, We went on other lines for the itinerary. No other line beats the Military price for a balcony with Carnival.
We are happy with Carnival after over 20 cruises. For a first cruise, hit the Eastern Caribbean or Mexico area. It depends what you like to do and see.
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Old April 15th, 2009, 03:37 PM
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Oh, Trip, this is so mean of you....a memory test? Okay, let's see if my brain still goes back that far.
AHA! My first cruise was NCL's Norway because they had a single share option and that was the only way I could afford to go. I had watched way too many Loveboat episodes while living in upstate New York where winter lasts forever and is horribly cold, and, once I moved to Florida, I just had to go. Been doing 1-3 cruises a year ever since. Sigh...nothing booked right now.
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Old April 15th, 2009, 11:19 PM
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Carnival does well with their Category 1A cabins. Instead of paying the full 200% for a standard cabin, solo travelers in a Category 1A pay only 150% of the double occupancy fare. I am currently booked in a Category 1A, but am hoping for a free upgrade. Not gonna expect it but one can always hope.
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Old April 16th, 2009, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brad813
Carnival does well with their Category 1A cabins. Instead of paying the full 200% for a standard cabin, solo travelers in a Category 1A pay only 150% of the double occupancy fare. I am currently booked in a Category 1A, but am hoping for a free upgrade. Not gonna expect it but one can always hope.
If you have been assigned a room #, don't count on an upgrade.
But if you paid the 1A rate and listed as "guarantee" you will most likely be upgraded to at least a cat 4. This based my my experiences .
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Old April 16th, 2009, 01:55 PM
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I did say I am not expecting it, but you never know. I just said that I am hoping. I will be happy with any cabin of course. Of course if I find a cabinmate I may have it upgraded to an oceanview. What age group can I expect on a 4 Day cruise to the Caribbean right before Halloween?
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Old April 16th, 2009, 04:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brad813
I did say I am not expecting it, but you never know. I just said that I am hoping. I will be happy with any cabin of course. Of course if I find a cabinmate I may have it upgraded to an oceanview. What age group can I expect on a 4 Day cruise to the Caribbean right before Halloween?
1A or 4A the view is the same.
As for the primary age group at Halloween, they will all be there. 7 to 70 and everything in between.
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Old April 16th, 2009, 04:57 PM
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Just as long as I am not at a table with a bunch of elderly people I am fine. I am afraid of old people. Not so much an issue of their age as a reminder of the frailty of of the human body and the whole mortality issue. I am a daredevil type because I enjoy cheating death after all.
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Old April 16th, 2009, 08:53 PM
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Here's my story and I'm sticking to it

Our first cruise started as a family ski trip for Christmas. As we began planning we decided that we would have had enough of the cold and decided to check out some all-inclusive resorts and cruises. TA gave us some brochures on the all-inclusives, Carnival and Princess (based on our budget). We liked the mobile but stay-in-place nature of the cruise and after looking more at costs and itineraries we opted for the Glory out of Port Canaveral returning Christmas day. That lat us spend Christmas with dear friends that year.

Have not done two cruises with Carnival and are planning a third. We will probably check out a variety of lines, not because we don't enjoy Carnival, but "because they are there"
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Old April 16th, 2009, 09:17 PM
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it was my 22nd birthday coming up and i really thought i regretted doing nothing much for my birhday the year before. I called my best friend that i at the time missed alot since i had just moved away from her and since it was her birthday the month before i asked her if she would go on a cruise with me! she said yes and we booked with carnival, mostly because of the price. fell in love with the cruise line, fell in love with the type of vacation experience and now am booked on my second cruise two years later. this time i am still going with best friend but we are also bringing our hubby's ! i leave in 18 days! woohoo, also with carnival because we had such a good time last time and plus we are trying a different ship, different ports and still got a really good deal.
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Old April 17th, 2009, 04:45 AM
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My cousin and his wife had been cruising for several years and kept telling us how great it was and affordable. Finally the wife and I told them to find a cruise and we would go with them.

One week before the cruise my cousin went into the Hospital for an extended stay so they couldn't go on the cruise. My wife and I went on the cruise, blindfolded, one might say, and believe me it took us half the cruise to figure out the who, what, where and why of cruising before we started enjoying our selves. Believe me, it was a learning experience!

We decided to try one more cruise, this time my cousin and his wife booked a Carnival cruise, our first was Princess, and we had a wonderful time. We have been hooked ever since.

Happy Sailing
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