This is reposted from the Royal Caribbean board becuase nobody responded. I hope someone can answer my questions in here!
I have been reading the various posts and have learned a lot already but I just have a couple of questions specific to the cruise I'm looking at (4 night Bahamas on Majesty in January '05). I have cruised before on Carnival Celebration with my Mom and so I know what crusing is like and generally how things work but this time I'm setting it up and going with just my husband so any advice would be great!
1. Is cruising in mid-January a bad idea? Is it too cold to enjoy? I like temps in the 70-80 range so I'm not expecting too hot.
2. Is it too late to book now for January? I heard that the good prices can only be gotten 18 months in advance.
3. Flying into Ft. Lauderdale (from Denver) is a lot less expensive than flying into Miami but I am concerned how we are going to get to the port of Miami from Ft. Lauderdale. If we come in the day before the cruise leaves and stay at a hotel in Ft. Lauderdale, do we need to go back to the FLL airport and take the bus transfer from there? I know we can take a cab but wouldn't it be like $80?
4. Are there any Slot / Black Jack tournaments, late night comedians or topless sun tanning decks? My husband and I would like these activities the best.
5. Is it easy to book the cruise yourself through Royal Caribbean directly? Anyone experience difficulties doing this? Any magic phrases to say to get a good price?
6. Is there any deck NOT to book a stateroom? Where is the water level anyway?
7. Is there an internet cafe on this ship? How easy is it to use? How about a sports bar? Can you watch sports (football) on your room TV?
8. Are the twin beds pushed together to make a queen already when you get there or do we have to sleep seperate?
9. Is there any way to request a 2 person or window table in the dining room?
10. Anything to know about the food? Is any dish a must have, anything to stay away
11. Are the obstructed view room a total waste of money or are they a good way to save some money?
That is about all I have, sorry for the tons of questions. Please reply if you have advice for a couple of 23 year old newlyweds looking to have a great vacation without spending a fortune!
1) Cruising in January is very popular. It will certainly be warmer than Denver.
2) lots of different thinking on timing of when to book. Best thing to do is to price it out and see if it meets your criteria.
3) The cost savings of flying into Ft Lauderdale can be offset by the time and cost to get down to Miami. There are several alternatives, one is to look into a one way car rental , there apparently is a rental car drop off at the pier in Miami.
4) I think you will find everything but the topless sunbathing.
5) My personal recommendation is to book through a good Travel Agent. That person can also give you definative answers to many of these questions.
6) On most ships the water level begins on deck 2 which is rarely a passenger deck.
Room location is a matter of prefernce and cost.
7) Most ships these days provide internet access, although it is not cheap. Sports access in a bar or cabin will depend on where the ship goes and whether a satalite feed is available. These days ships offer as much as possible.
8) Ask for the bed to be set up as a queen and the beds will be pushed together and made up this way. There are some very rare exceptions where this cannot be done and this would be indicated on a map of the rooms on the ship.
9) you can make the two person table request, there are no guarantees. If you do not like your table arrangement (check this out early upon boarding) there is usually a time to see the Maitre D where he will TRY to accomadate your need.
10) Hard to respond regarding food as this is so much an individual prefence. Do know that if you do not like what you are served your waiter will bring you anything else on the menu.
11) Obstructed view will normally give you a view of a life boat or lifeboat rigging. If you must have the light from a window (not afforded by an inside cabin) this is usually the next least expensive option.
I would find a good TA and work with them to book your cruise, they will answer all your questions and alay all your apprehensions.
great advise from Papa Bill.
just a thing or two to add. Look into a 1-way car rental from FLL to MIA - look into the cost of the super shuttle. The airport is only like 10 minutes from most of the downtown hotels in Ft. Lauderdale if you need to get back to the airport to pick up the shuttle.
If you find a good deal book it now, watch the rates, if they go down and its not a promotional fare, you can get the better rate. Most TA's will try to meet or beat most internet fares.
You can ask a TA any of these questions that we aren't able to answer for you. They don't charge you anything to ask questions, have them work up some fares for you.
If you book direct you will be quoted brochure rates which are the highest rates. You need to know if there are any promotions going on, what the codes are etc, etc when you call direct.
Post your request in the Bargain Finders section of this board, you will get quotes from reputable cruise travel agents.
Bahamas can be cool and rainy in January. We were in Nassau the second week of January and it was cold and rainy, no beach days, but you could hit a nice warm spell you just never know. It all depends upon the type of winter.