Go Back   CruiseMates Cruise Community and Forums > Cruise Deals. Cruise Questions and Answers! > First-Time Cruisers
Register Forgot Password?

First-Time Cruisers Novices ask here & No question is too silly!

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old January 16th, 2006, 02:58 PM
Junior Member
Familiar Face
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 17
Default Need some Help for first time cruiser

I'm interested in going on a Cruise in the Sept/Oct area and am trying to do a lot of research. I talked to a travel agent but wasn't real happy, kinda salesy and I guess I could try another but I had a few questions I'd like help with that could narrow things down for me. I'm excited about trying a cruise but it's all a bit overwhelming. Here's a few questions I have come up with....

1) What's a good destination? I'm really on a cruise more for the cruise itself than seeing many ports but I'd like to go a couple places, maybe Hawaii or something, what makes you choose a destination?

2) How Long? I'm thinking 7 days cause 3-4 seems too short for a major vacation and 9+ is too long to get off and gets too expensive.

3) How much should I expect to pay? Our budget is around $1200 a person (it will either be me and my fiance or me and my fiance plus another couple). I know a $699 cruise could easily be over $1200 by the time you get a flight, pay fees, do a shore excursion, shop, tip, buy alcohol, etc.

4) Where should I leave from? The only port I could really drive to is Galveston (I Live in East Texas) so outside of that I guess I have to fly somewhere, Florida seems to have the most options?

5) Is my time of year bad? I know Sept/Oct is kinda hurricane time but that just works out as a good time to go?

6) Is a cruise a good choice for me? Our little group is pretty quiet, not big party animals, like to enjoy good food, good entertainment, and drink in smaller groups and chat. That kinda thing. What cruise line is probably a good choice for that?

Thanks in advance for all your help! I'm good at researching but I need a more sizeable chunk to look at, it all seems kind of overwhelming right now.
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
  #2 (permalink)  
Old January 16th, 2006, 03:30 PM
reverendjeff's Avatar
Senior Member
First Mate
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Norman,Oklahoma (Home of the SOONERS)
Posts: 495
Default

I will try to give you my own personal take. First of all, welcome aboard! I never thought I would like a cruise, but now I am hooked. I would advise that you sail from Galveston for your first one. Being able to drive to the port is a big cost advantage. There is a travel agent at galeveston cruises .com that I have used both for information and to book with. At their website you can see the price and selection of ships/itineraries from Galveston. The time of year is hurricane season and therefore you may get rough seas, but the price is usually better as well.
Destinations and cruiselines are a matter of personal choice, but let me say this. You do not have to be a party animal to enjoy carnival. You might check out the Conquest for a good itinerary from Galveston.
Let us know where you decide to go, have a great time!
Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Old January 18th, 2006, 09:13 PM
Member
Passenger
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 70
Default Re: Need some Help for first time cruiser

[quote]
Quote:
Originally Posted by adam61
I'm excited about trying a cruise but it's all a bit overwhelming. Here's a few questions I have come up with....
Welcome to the boards. If you felt your TA was trying to "sell" you, this may be a better place for you. There's lots of info available on line. I'm not going to dicourage any professional from trying to close a deal but this is just about people's opinions & here's mine. . .

Quote:
1) What's a good destination? I'm really on a cruise more for the cruise itself than seeing many ports but I'd like to go a couple places, maybe Hawaii or something, what makes you choose a destination?
Some people do consider the ship the destination -- hence cruises to nowhere or with only 1 port stop. A good destination is anyplace you want to go.


Quote:
2) How Long? I'm thinking 7 days cause 3-4 seems too short for a major vacation and 9+ is too long to get off and gets too expensive.
Again, it depends on you & your budget. I was leary of cruising at first & went on a 4 day to make sure I'd like it & not feel trapped. I learned there's plenty to do & they are lots of fun. I also learned I hate sea days. Other people love them & you may too.

Quote:
3) How much should I expect to pay? Our budget is around $1200 a person (it will either be me and my fiance or me and my fiance plus another couple). I know a $699 cruise could easily be over $1200 by the time you get a flight, pay fees, do a shore excursion, shop, tip, buy alcohol, etc.
That's going to be tight, IMHO. Once you book a good rule of thumb, after airfare & getting to the port, you should budget $100 per person for each day you are on the cruise. This budget includes tips, middle of the road excursions & some alcohol. It's very easy to rack up a hefty bar bill & if you get a deal on the cruise your expenses at the end may be more than the cruise itself.

I've heard that if you can get an OV cabin for around $100 per night you've gotten a great deal on your cruise. I never knew if that was before or after taxes & port fees. I try to keep that budget in mind when I book. To save money you many want to consider an inside cabin. Others perfer to splurge & get a balcony.


Quote:
4) Where should I leave from? The only port I could really drive to is Galveston (I Live in East Texas) so outside of that I guess I have to fly somewhere, Florida seems to have the most options?
Driving is cheaper. If you do fly, espeically during hurricane season which you're looking at, many people recomend flying in a day early. This adds the expense of a hotel but saves the worry of "will we miss the ship?" It's up to you.

Quote:
5) Is my time of year bad? I know Sept/Oct is kinda hurricane time but that just works out as a good time to go?
Just understand that you may not go to your scheduled destination. To me, hurricane seasons are getting longer & more intense. I sailed in Sept. once but I'm not sure I'd do it again. At least read the horror stories before you commit so you are sure you know what you're getting into.


Quote:
6) Is a cruise a good choice for me? Our little group is pretty quiet, not big party animals, like to enjoy good food, good entertainment, and drink in smaller groups and chat. That kinda thing. What cruise line is probably a good choice for that?

I can't answer that because I dont' know you. Most of the mainstream cruises are set up to address a variety of different interests: you can swim, sleep, eat, tour, play a game, eat, relax, party, etc. did I mention eat? There are quiet lounges, there are discos, there are pubs & sports bars.

I don't know what your definition of "good" is. Most food is tasty but none of it's gormet. You just can't mass produce that much stuff. The entertainment is entertaining but it's not Hollywood or Broadway quality. It's still fun. Plus I've always been amazed that some of the performers can "do their thing" on a moving ship. To me, that's worth the price of admission. 8)


Give it a shot. No matter what, vacation is still better than work.
__________________
Trish
Reply With Quote
  #4 (permalink)  
Old January 18th, 2006, 10:08 PM
richstacy's Avatar
Senior Member
Admiral
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Denver Colorado, USA
Posts: 1,413
Default

I think you'll love a cruise. A week is a good length. You are right about that. Make sure you get an outside cabin, a balcony if you can afford it. If you want to go from Galveston then the Caribbean is your only option, and that is a great choice for a first cruise. As you already know, Sept. and Oct. are not great months for the Caribbean however. Dec., Jan. and Feb. are better, no hurricanes then.

Other options might be Hawaii or Alaska. If you don't want a party ship, don't rule out Princess and Holland America. Spend some time on the internet visiting various cruise line sites, then some of the discount sites as well. It will all come together for you. there is nothing as much fun, nothing as relaxing, nothing as romantic as a cruise on a huge beautiful ship. Welcome and Bon voyage
__________________
RichStacy
Landlocked in Denver, but cruisin every chance we get.

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
Reply With Quote
  #5 (permalink)  
Old January 19th, 2006, 09:16 AM
TexasFyre's Avatar
Senior Member
Yeoman
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 944
Default

Good morning! And a big howdy from a fellow Texan who lived in East Texas!

I am in your boat as well, being this is the first time I will have cruised. I can try to answer as much as possible, and hope it helps. Al little background here. I will be traveling with my 10 year old son, and another family that has three kids. So i understand the quiet you talk about.

1. Ports. I am all about the cruise myself, could really care less about getting off the ship. I am actually being brave and going during Spring break. Only going because my son was on the honor roll for an entire year, and this is his reward. All the islands are the basic structure, white beach, nice sun, beautiful water, and very over crowded.

2. you are right on the length of cruise, short cruises are for the weekend warriors who are stressed and need a quick getaway, and anything longer then 7 would be tedious. the 5 day or 7 day, in my opinion, seems to be perfect, without getting bored. I'll let you know.

3. Since this was my first cruise, I chose not to go the expensive route, and got an outside cabin, with no ports. I was thinking of an ocean view, but decided that i won't be in my room but for sleeping and changing, so spend less. If I like it, then next time I will budget for a better room.

4. As for the rest, I leave out of Galveston, so i drive there. it isn't all that far, and I have friends in Houston so i stay with them. Hotels on the Island are horrid, but off peak, they come down. All the other ports, Miami, California, etc., they have most of the same itineraries as The ships leaving Galveston. Only time i would really fly anywhere is if I were to take as Alaskan cruise, which is over my budget, way over!

5. You are going through hurricane season, but since you really aren't in it for Ports, then if they cancel the port, you will still be on ship. Hurricanes don't hit every day, so go for it.

6. Is the cruise good for you? I have no idea. The ships are huge. You can get up and move if it is to rowdy. If you want quiet, try a line that carries more of an adult mixture, and during school times. I can't say what the stats are on this, because cruising is very popular now. I have heard that the more elite you sail, the less likely to have a party boat.

I hope to be able to post a good review when i get back, and to help with questions. Since i will be traveling with my son, 10, he will be "parked" in Camp Carnival the entire time, so I can wonder the ship and get some good research from watching.

I hope i have helped.
Reply With Quote
  #6 (permalink)  
Old January 22nd, 2006, 05:32 PM
Anne Campbell's Avatar
Senior Member
Admiral
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: New York City
Posts: 1,131
Default

Here are a few of my opinions on the matter.

1. Hawaii is beautiful, one of the best cruising destinations on earth. But it's a port-intensive itinerary -- you're in port all day long, even spend two nights in port on Norwegian Cruise Lines' itinerary. If you want more time aboard ship, I recommend the Caribbean.

2. Absolutely seven days or more. Shorter voyages are too brief.

3. You can find a nice ship within the budget you cited, perhaps with a balcony cabin. It just takes some looking around to see the best deals on the ship, departure date you eventually decide.

4. Personally, I like leaving from Ft. Lauderdale the best. The best ships sail from there, it's a ten minute ride from the airport to the pier.

5. In the past two years, hurricanes have fouled up cruises from August to early December and according to the weather experts, this is going to continue for some time. The best deals are right after the New Year's cruise, in January. I suggest avoiding Spring Break, because ships are full of kids. Between Easter and school vacation, there are better prices as well.

6. A cruise is an excellent choice. I recommend Celebrity Cruises' which has beautiful, classy ships with good food and service. Princess is also a good choice. Carnival's newer ships are very good as well in terms of food, service, cabin size, entertainment. Royal Caribbean's ships are lovely, but there are so many complaints about the quality of food.

7. You forgot a terrific travel agent. Ask folks on this board to send you recommendations for travel agents they've personally used and had the best experiences with. We can't post names of agents on these boards, but we can send you recommendations.

I think you're doing a terrific job in researching ships. And, I hope you get everything you need to know here.
__________________
Anne Campbell
Editor-in-Chief
www.shipcriticblog.com/
www.cruisingfromnewyork.com/
Cruise news, bargains, tips and commentary.
Reply With Quote
  #7 (permalink)  
Old January 23rd, 2006, 01:08 PM
Senior Member
Admiral
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Palmer, Massachusetts
Posts: 12,716
Default

Welcome, Welcome, Welcome.
You are at the right place. I would suggest that you do use a travel agent, find one that suits your needs, get brochures to take home and really look thru. I have a great TA if you want to e-mail me with a request.
I would be very leary of booking during hurricane season mainly because of what occured last year.
Glaveston has some good cruises sailing from that port.
Picking a particular cruise line is very personal, each one is different from the other, like comparing apples to oranges.
Give us a general idea of what you are looking for in your cruise experience and we can help you narrow your choices.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Boarding time question from 1 st time cruiser E.R. Norwegian Cruise Lines 12 July 1st, 2012 02:06 PM
First Time Cruiser Ntob825 Costa 0 September 28th, 2009 04:05 PM
First Time Cruiser, First Time Poster Sweded Carnival Cruise Lines 11 July 5th, 2008 01:07 AM
Experienced Cruiser, 1st Time Disney Cruiser Dancyalien Disney 11 March 6th, 2008 09:20 PM
First Time Cruiser J-Man Gay / Lesbian Cruising 2 January 5th, 2008 03:16 PM


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


 

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 07:15 AM.
design by: Themes by Design

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.1