My husband and I, as well as 4-5 other couples in the mid-twenty age group, are planning our first cruise for this year. I have been designated to decide where to go and what ship to take!! We want to travel this spring or summer to the Caribbean, and the ships are limited. The Grand Princess is available for the Eastern Caribbean and the RC Monarch is available for the Southern Caribbean. I have been reading many reviews on this web site and on others, and I am a little overwhelmed. The Southern Caribbean islands do intrigue me, but the reviews of the Monarch, don't seem to exciting. We do want a luxuorious ship, great service, and great ports. This will be a big vacation for us all. I seem to find a mix of pros and cons about the Grand. The two itineraries are quite different, with the Eastern stopping at only three ports and the Southern at a different port each day. Please give me any imput that you can. Thanks in advance for your suggestions in helping to make this a vacation we will always remember!
Have you check the itinaries for "Ocean" and "Dawn" Princess, they also do some nice southern itinaries. There is also the new Celebrity Infinity that will be doing a simular route? I have to agree with you on going on the Southern route, beautiful islands, but it is port intensive. You may want to also check into Voyager of the Seas which does the Western Caribbean or Explorer of the Seas, which does the Eastern CAribbean. If you are interested in a Carnival ship, their new one Spirit also has a nice itinary and will start cruising this April.
Here is also a link to our "first cruise" section, lots of great tips, enjoy:
With your age group, combined with the fact you're cruising with a group of friends, I'd take a close look at Royal Caribbean's Voyager or Explorer of the Seas. Think either ship would offer an excellent all-round cruise experience for the group.
Kuki & Donna are seasoned cruise experts and know what they are referring too. Unfortuanately your time constraints are limiting your choices. I would not consider the Infinity at this time as she has yet to set sail and since your responsible for the "group" you may want to choose a ship that is already sailing. To my understanding the Monarch of the Seas is a great RCI ship and it was known as the Honeymoon ship because she used to set sail on a Sunday allowing newlyweds to start their honeymoon. But I have heard the cabins are small. The Princess ships mentioned offer a good venue. Cabins are adequate and all of these ships are fairly new. Having been in your shoes for a group, this is what I did. Determine a date, determine a destination - Eastern, Western, Southern itinerary, then look at 3 ships if you can. Chart your diferences, pluses & negatives, then let at least 2 travel agents give you group quotes. Compare apples to apples including what "perks" the cruise line will give you for a group booking which must be 8 cabins or more at double occupancy. This is really fun but does take a little work. The Western Caribbean can be very HOT in May & June, too. If I can help, please feel free to e-mail me.