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  #1 (permalink)  
Old August 31st, 2005, 10:18 AM
Gloria B
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Default First time cruiser

Trying to find the right cruise........very confusing there is so much to choose from. Planning a spring break trip to Caribbean - will need a suite or family suite. Have 2 girls 13 & 15. We are an active family and like to go non-stop. Would like to take advantage of many onshore excursions but that can really get costly. Would like to have a larger-than-most balcony suite. Something large enough for all of us in the morning for a quick breakfast or an afternoon rest. Budget for cruise is $4,000 max. - Is this realistic for what kind of room we'd like? When staying at hotels we always stay at really nice hotels, not the best but pretty close. We want the same experience on a cruise ship. Also - I thought that all food was included but I've read about surcharges for premium meats, etc. Which cruise has the best choices with the least surcharges? I've also read about children's non-alcoholic drink cards where $30 buys them 20 drinks........why isn't pepsi/lemonade what have you included?? Should I contact a travel agent or book online. So many questions - hopefully someone can help me sort it all out!
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old August 31st, 2005, 11:05 AM
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Default Re: First time cruiser

My initial reaction is that $4K for a total budget is not realistic given what you are looking for in a room. I think you will pay almost $4K for just the cruise alone for the four of you, if not more. This leaves you with little spending money for excursions, etc.

But, if you have the money, I would suggest Eastern Caribbean because you'll have lots of stops in lots of islands, so lots to do. And, you can just go to the beach in a couple of places, which will be cheaper for you for one or two days.

The "soda cards" are about $40 per person, and include fountain drinks. You can usually get lemonade/ice tea/juice (a.m.) and water free at the buffet.

You might enjoy Carnaval for the party atmosphere (go go go). I've never been but I'd give it a try if I had a limited budget and liked to be doing lots of things with teen-aged kids.

Good luck.
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Old August 31st, 2005, 11:35 AM
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Default Re: First time cruiser

I HIGHLY recommend finding a good cruise only travel agent. As a first time cruiser you REALLY need some professional guidance and information.

Read all the articles you can from our "First Time Cruisers area", and then search the message boards too.

If you want an actual "suite" I'm afraid $4000 for the 4 of you is not a realistic budget.

You could likely get a standard balcony cabin for that budget... depending of course on what time of year you want to cruise.

Food is included in the fare!!! Though some ships offer alternate fine dining restaurants at an extra cost, you don't have to use them, and you can still eat well.

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Old August 31st, 2005, 01:41 PM
Gloria B
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Default Re: Re: First time cruiser

We have about $4,000 for the cabin - we'll have other $ for the airfare, extras and excursions. Could the four of us get a larger balcony cabin for the $4,000 and if so would it be from early booking or cerain cruise lines. Don't we pay less for the two kids?

We've done alot of all-inclusive resort vacationing and even the sodas were included - what's up with having to buy a drink card for drinks. Isn't that supposed to be included in the cost?

What other things do you have to pay for on the ship? I know about things like spa treatments and pictures - do the photographers hound you to pose for pictures all the time? But are there other things like some of the shows or certain areas of the fitness centers.
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Old August 31st, 2005, 02:42 PM
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Default Re: First time cruiser

I suggest going into one of the travel websites such as Yahoo Travel or Expedia and start pricing cruises. This will give you an idea of what the larger suites cost, locations, etc. And you can get good ideas as to where in the Carribbean to cruise as well. What islands are of interest and so forth. There are many choices of itineraries and cruise lines, etc.

I wouldn't book thru them however and agree with Kuki above to contact a cruise specialist travel agent. They'll really be able to guide you and you'll at least have some information from your end to help out. I don't know if cruise specialists have better pricing now (they used to) but I would think that they'll have access to better cabin locations.

$4000 for a suite? I think not. And regular cabins, even with balconies are really small. Maybe a possibility would be 2 cabins?
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Old September 1st, 2005, 08:04 AM
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Default Re: First time cruiser

Hi, you don't say when your Spring Break is, but just to give you an idea:

Celebrity Millennium's Eastern Caribbean cruise the week we are on Spring Break, which would be April 16-23, the price for a Family Oceanview cabin for 4 is: $7,017.80 which includes taxes and port charges. The royal suites are over $11,000.00 for that same week.

You could get an Inside Category 9 for $3,917.80, but for 4 people these are quite tiny.

These are the Celebrity list prices. Good Luck.
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old September 1st, 2005, 08:30 AM
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Default Re: First time cruiser

Follow Kuki's advice. Get a TA and ask these questions. I would think $4000 adequate
for something like I descride below.
Sounds to me like you should look into something like a regular balconey cabin on a Carnival ship sailing an Eastern or Western Carib itinerary. On ships like Destiny a regular room is 200+ square feet, with a large bathroom and big balconey. Some of those rooms are bigger than small suites and mini suites on most other lines.
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Old September 2nd, 2005, 04:15 PM
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Default Re: First time cruiser

browse around the sites of one of the advertisers on this site

***edited to remove commercial url***
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  #9 (permalink)  
Old September 7th, 2005, 07:20 AM
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Default Re: First time cruiser

Don't let the "soda thing" ruin your cruise. I understand that at the all-inclusives, sodas are included, but then so are alcoholic drinks. On cruises, this just isn't the case. If included sodas are important, don't cruise....there are also a ot of other rules on individual cruise lines regarding dress, smoking,etc...as you choose a cruise line, make sure you understand the rules and can abide by them...nothing worse than someone who books a cruise then refuses to follow the rules!
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  #10 (permalink)  
Old September 20th, 2005, 08:14 PM
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If you are going to be on the go all the time you do not need a expensive cabin. My wife and myself have stayed in balcony rooms, ocean views and on our next two cruises we have a interior room booked. We have found that we can take 3 cruises for the price of 2 if we stay inside. We do not spend enough time to make a nice room pay off. We had a balconey on our 15 day hawii cruise and spent maybe 6 hours on it. I hope this helps
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