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  #1 (permalink)  
Old December 6th, 2001, 09:22 PM
Tom Tom is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 319
Default First cruise

I am taking my first cruise on the 3/3/2002 Carnival Paradise (7 day E. Caribbean - the singles cruise) and I have a couple of questions.

1. I understand Carnival will use MIA or FLL for Miami sailings. Do they tend to use either airport? I will be flying in the day before from Denver.

2. Do they use non-stop or connecting flights? While there are a few non-stops from DEN on United or American to MIA and Frontier will have a few to FLL, other airlines have connecting flights such as Delta (through ATL or CVG), Continental (IAH), United (ORD, IAD, even MCO and TPA), American (DFW), Northwest (MEM) and America West (PHX or LAS). Just wondering what others experiences are. I've heard horror stories of the 30 minute transfers at some airports.

3. What hotels do they use? I've heard one by the airport seems to be their favorite.

4. How do they handle luggage for the overnight hotel part? do you pick up your luggage, or do they hold your luggage and should I pack a carry-on overnight bag?

Thanks for all your help. I will have many more questions before the big day.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old December 7th, 2001, 10:22 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,238
Default Re: First cruise

Hi, Tom ...

First, WELCOME aboard !!! There is a wealth of information around this friendly place.

Smart you for flying in a day early! I think it snows in Denver in the winter. What do they call those warm winds that sometimes show up mid-winter? I think I remember "sneak breezes" ???

Cruise line air reservations can be pretty dismal. You may be better off choosing your own flights and paying the fee for what they call "air deviation." I would choose a non-stop any time. There are "legal connection times" in all airports. The larger the airport, the longer the "legal" connection time. If your incoming flight is late at the connecting airport, it can be all kinds of stressful and hairy and "legal" goes right out the window.

Also, if a connection time gets cut short, you may make the flight, but your luggage might not. Another good reason to fly a day early. Put a toothbrush and some clean undies in your carryon.

You might also be better off doing your own hotel reservations, saving money to spend buying umbrella drinks.

Your luggage will go with you to the hotel. DO NOT put the ship's tags on before leaving home ... put them on in the hotel before you go to the ship.

Keep asking questions, we're here to help. (Actually, we're here to stow away with you on your cruise, but please don't tell.)

pamda -- CM Frist-Time Cruisers Editor
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old December 7th, 2001, 04:07 PM
Tom Tom is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 319
Default Re: First cruise

Thanks, Panda

March is Denver's snowiest month (November is 2nd and April is 3rd). The airport is designed to handle major snowstorms. The roads leading to the airport, on the other hand, are not. The overnight stay isn't so much an issue about the weather, rather that it is a 3 1/2 hour flight from Denver to Miami, and then there are the 2 hours of time zones I cross. Therefore, to make a 4:00 sailing, I almost have to catch a red-eye or fly the day before.

The winds you are talikng about are "Chanook" (sp?) winds. The meaning is "snow eater". We can get a foot of snow here and it is usually gone in a week or two.

Thanks for the advice on the luggage. I've been debating if I want to pack everything in one bag or bring a carry-on. The lines here in Denver at security are prety bad at times. They have an "express" line, but you can't have any carryons or laptop computers, only purses and briefcases are allowed.

I checked MIA's website and they have 6 non-stops from Denver (and a 1-stop on Delta), 3 each on United and American. Another airline, Frontier, has a non-stop into FLL, but this isn't pratical because the only flight leaves FLL at 8:30 am. The prices they listed on their websites are not that good. By the time I add in hotel, taxes, transfers, and all that good stuff, the cruise air package is competitive (or close enough to where it isn't that big of a deal).

Thanks for the advice. I was wondering how you guys go on so many cruises! <vbg> I promise to keep your secret.
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  #4 (permalink)  
Old January 30th, 2002, 01:48 AM
Posts: n/a
Default Re: First cruise

Dear Tom, my cruise next month will be my first, but I have traveled a lot for someone my age. I'm 36, and I've been to at least 3 continents.
I'm a big advocate of avoiding travel agents, the airlines themselves, etc... I've always had good luck with the on-line travel services, such as expedia.com, orbitz.com, and others. They can take care of a cruise, air fare, a hotel room, a rental car, and a lot more, all at a very competitive price.
For instance, my Miami round trip from Houston is 275.00.
Take a peek at a few of the web-sites and check them out. Even if you don't end up using them, let me know how they fared in comparison with the more traditional methods.
Take care, and have a great time.

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  #5 (permalink)  
Old February 20th, 2002, 12:16 AM
Posts: n/a
Default Re: First cruise

Tom - Hi, I will be on your cruise!! I just booked with SinglesCruise.com today! I, too, am going for my first time. I have been reading through all these posts, sure to find someone, or something that could help me. (With all those same questions)
I will actually be flying from NY the day before....
See you soon!
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