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  #1 (permalink)  
Old December 11th, 2005, 02:57 PM
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Default First Time suggestions

My girlfriend and I are currently attempting to plan a trip in Febuary. We have never gone on a cruise and really have no idea where to start. We have decided that we do want to go to the Carribean. Any tips or advice on which ship or serices to use would be much appreciated. I guess what I am looking for is the overall best value, I know that is not very specific but this is where I am starting and any imput will help.
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Old December 11th, 2005, 04:25 PM
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Also, we are looking for something more quit, romantic, not to many loud parties but good entertainment. We would probably alos prefef destinations that have alot of sight seeing as apposed to sitting on the beach.
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Old December 11th, 2005, 04:40 PM
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I too am a first time cruiser. The first thing to ask, is, can you drive in or fly in? This matters to some, so I asked.

Now, what part of February are you thinking of? How long are you planning to cruise? Might also want to check on the web somewhere when Spring break kicks in for some. I know here in my area, it's March, but some areas may start sooner.

They Caribbean is a big place, the longer you cruise, the more expensive it is.

Might I suggest you and your Girl friend get movies or books on all the various ports and study up? If you have libraries near you, check and see if they have VHS/DVDs. My little library I work at carries DVDs on cruising ports. It helped me to decide.

After you figure out where you are going, look on the internet once more, research all the cruises for February and where they depart. From there, you can go to the destinations area and read those boards.

It's not easy to decide. And holidays, school breaks, weather, those are all major thoughts to look at.

Hoped I helped some.
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Old December 11th, 2005, 10:26 PM
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First: picking the cruise with the best value. I would start looking at the ports, since you seem more interested in that. Once you figure out which ports have the most entertainment value, look for a cruise that goes to those ports. It's a litte backwards but worked best for me. Don't forget that the embarkation port is also a port to be visited. We chose a sailing out of New Orleans because we could have a lot of fun in New Orleans, then Grand Cayman (Stingrays), then Jamaica (Appleton Estate) then Cozumal (Party boat and sea lion swim).

Once you pick the itinerary, pick your date. Check the port calendars to make sure that your ports won't be over violated by 9 ships on the same day. It's no fun fighting that type of crowd. Is the date you chose a time off for school children?

Now, find your cruise line. I went to ALL the web sites and plugged in the date and itinerary and specific cabin category. Write down everything. I chose Carnival (4 times) because I hear that their food and entertainment are the best. They had the best prices of all the cruise lines in my search. I've never had a bad cruise with CArnival. In fact, our last cruise, we were drunk and sun burnt before the ship ever set sail!! No, I'm not the crazy drunk screaming by the pool. I was actually behaving.

Was that too much info? If you need help, feel free to email me.
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Old December 12th, 2005, 12:16 PM
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since you are starting from scratch, i would highly recommend a visit to a local travel agency, request to speak to an agent who has a lot of cruise experience, pick her/his brain. Before you go, make a basic list of what you think you want. example - beaches, shopping, water sports, snorkeling, history, etc, etc. Do you want a party ship, a family ship, or something else.
You mentioned February, you might be out of luck for 06. That's a really popular month, get to the travel agent right away and see what they can do for you. Cruises are booking and selling out 1 year in advance.
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Old December 12th, 2005, 02:00 PM
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I know everyone is going to shoot me for saying this, as the general advice here is to plan way ahead (as I did for my upcoming cruise in Jan) however, when I took my first cruise this past March I did it completely differently.

Read up on the differences between all the major lines (activities, ambiance, average ages, ports), then once you understand at a basic level how they are all different, you can try a site like vacationstogo.com which offers a 90-day cruise ticker that shows all cruises and often times they have rather reduced prices just a couple weeks before sail date.

This past March I had a vacation week already booked at work and 10 days before I was supposed to fly out, I changed my mind and canceled the trip and decided to fit a cruise in for that same week. Using the VTG cruise ticker helped me find all my options for cruising that exact week and I ended up with a 7-day Eastern Carib sailing on Celebrity's Millenium for $550 for an inside cabin.

I had an absolute blast on the cruise and it really turned me onto cruising! I'm hoping my next cruise in January on RCI is just as fun!
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Old December 13th, 2005, 08:28 AM
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I would also recommend seeing a travel agent who specializes in cruises. For your first cruise I would not leave that up to your personal research. Do the research online so you have an idea of what to ask but let the travel agent do the work for you.

The travel agent also can get you a better price, except on Royal Caribbean, than what you can get on your own because they will cut their commission for you.

Regards,
Thomas
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Old January 1st, 2006, 06:21 PM
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Some people are planners; others are not. I booked my first cruise b/c I was burned out, surfing the web & saw a great deal. I was off & sailing about 5 weeks later.

Can you drive vs. fly to a port is an important consideration. If you can't get to the ship for a reasonable price, the great deal you found isn't so terrific.

Where do you want to go? What are your interests? How old are you? What's your budget? Only you can answer these things.

Generally, any mainstream cruise is going to give you a similar experience. If you absolutely must have or can't stand certain things, the options may narrow. For example, I'm not a big fan of traditional dining so I tend to start my search on lines that let me eat when ever I want. Some people really want to climb a rock wall or go ice skating. There's only 1 line that does that. Others must sail the "Love Boat." If you've got small kids you may be drawn to sailing with a certain famous Mouse.

Enjoy.
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Old January 1st, 2006, 11:15 PM
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Default Overwhelming, isn't it?

I feel for you, friend. Just booked my first cruise a week ago, and can't WAIT until we sail in September.

Talking with a TA is an excellent idea, but if you want to do a bit of research, just plug your desired destination and dates into Expedia, Travelocity, or any other site that handles cruises and it will spit out results for many lines. I used Expedia for a lot of early research, and it helped me zero in on what we might be interested in. For example, I ruled out Carnival right away because "party hearty" isn't my hubby and me at all. The decent web sites have ship reviews/ratings and deckplans, so you can get the feel for what's out there. It's a tough choice, no doubt about it! Takes a bunch of work to find just the right cruise.
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Old January 1st, 2006, 11:32 PM
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frist timer i would recommend going to a travel agent they would be able
to answer your question
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Old January 9th, 2006, 07:15 PM
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Seth, there is good advice above, but re your specific concerns, If you can get a reasonable price, a cruise to the Eastern Caribbean on either Princess or Holland America would fit your criteria very nicely. sounds like romance is sort of on the bill, so I think a balcony would be nice if you could afford a few extra bucks.
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Polynesia, Carib. '86
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Royal Odyssey, AK,'96
Old Cr. Pr. Canal, '97
RCCL, Carib, 1998
Volendam, Car, 2000
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Old January 15th, 2006, 10:14 AM
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Don't know if you have planned yet but... research, research and then... more research. Now for recommendations... I have done romantic (Princess) and fun (Carnival). I prefer Carnival because I have found romantic time son their ships as well as having fun with my wonderful wife. I am sure that you both would want to do activities after dinner and Carnival has activities into the early morning. Princess pretty much closes up shop after dinner. No fun and not to romantic if you spend the entire evening in the cabin, well... maybe so 8)
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Old January 15th, 2006, 12:30 PM
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They already said, they are looking for something quiet, no loud parties, and sightseeing rather than beaches -- thus my suggestion of Eastern caribbean and Princess or Holland America rather than Carnival. I'm trying to suggest a cruise that fits THEIR bill, not someone elses.
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Polynesia, Carib. '86
Cr. Odyssey, Scandinavia, '91, 30 Day S Pac. 2002
Crystal Harm, Aust., N.Z., '94
Royal Odyssey, AK,'96
Old Cr. Pr. Canal, '97
RCCL, Carib, 1998
Volendam, Car, 2000
Ryndam, 35 day S. Am., Antarctica, '03
Is. Pr., Canal, 2004
Statendam, 34 day China, Japan, AK '06
Cr.Pr., Carib. 08
Eurodam, Atlantic, Med. '10
Golden Princess
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Old January 16th, 2006, 08:04 AM
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I am an expereinced cruiser/cruise writer:
email me and I will send you my check lists. I still use it every time I cruise. Since the first cruise I have never left anything at home that I needed.

You must put (cruise) in your subject line so that I do not delete your email.
peachyke1@yahoo.com
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