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-   -   First-time Cruise Advice for 2013 (http://www.cruisemates.com/forum/first-time-cruisers/394321-first-time-cruise-advice-2013-a.html)

Paul Motter January 24th, 2013 04:46 PM

First-time Cruise Advice for 2013
 
First-time Cruise Advice for 2013

By Paul Motter

1-25-13

Cruising has changed! Updated First-time Cruiser advice for the modern world of cruises.

http://www.cruisemates.com/images/CM...rodam-deck.jpg
Picking the right stateroom
is an important consideration

I took my first cruise in 1983, but unlike most I started behind the scenes, working as a crewmember. So, while I had a chance to learn many things about cruise ships, there were things about cruising as a passenger I did not know until later. I started covering cruising as a journalist in 1997, however and all together I have taken more cruises than I count (well over 100). But more importantly, in the last nearly 30 years I have seen cruising form "both sides now."

My first crewmember cruise was in 1983 (30 years ago!), and my passenger cruise was in 1995 - on the Seabourn Sun to the Baltic Sea. It was quite a change to go from crewmember to guest, a big relief but also a learning process just beginning. That was the first time I had experienced pre-assigned dining times, dress codes and gratuities - many of the things that have changed in recent years.

Read the full article here: First-time Cruise Advice for 2013

jackrogers March 20th, 2013 05:07 AM

this is my first time.. iam a little nervous..and wanted some advice. thank you..i am actually into business and i always wanted to do this

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shanon April 30th, 2013 01:54 AM

with choosing a suitable staterooms, I think it is also important to book in advance. Also, the time you are reaching at Port of embarkation is equally important.

jacksmith007 June 5th, 2013 03:15 AM

few tips for first time cruisers!
No pay, no gain. There are many opportunities to exercise on a ship and a few are free -- like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, swimming in the pool, or attending a stretch and tone class -- but the good classes come with a price tag. If you want to take a pilates, yoga or kick boxing, for instance, most lines charge $10 per session.

Eating pretty for a price. Sure, they're intimate and generally offer better service and higher quality food than the main dining room (which is part of the cruise fare), but you pay for what you get. Over the last year or two, most lines have quietly raised the cost of their specialty restaurants to $30 per person (not including drinks).

Five's a crowd. An appealing option for bargain shoppers, families and groups of friends who are really, really close, is to pack five into a standard cabin. A few ships offer cabins for five, including some Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Line ships, as well as the Disney's two liners. Otherwise, your options are booking larger suites that sleep more or booking two cabins.

It's over ...NOW. On the last morning of the cruise, be prepared to be booted from your cabin bright and early (8am is typically the hour). Cruise lines want you to skedaddle so that the cleaners can tidy up your room ASAP for the next round of passengers who will board an hour or two after you leave. Even if your ship hasn't been cleared by customs, or hasn't even hit docks yet, passengers are asked to vacate their room early and hang out somewhere else on the ship to play the waiting game. No fun.

Drink up ...for a price. With the exception of the handful of high-end lines (Silversea, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn and SeaDream), bottled water, sodas and booze are not free (exceptions include Disney, which offers free fountain soda, and Crystal which offers free non-alcoholic stuff). Watered-down juices are free at meal times, but otherwise you'll pay for those too.
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nimak July 21st, 2013 10:49 AM

Honestly ! I didnt start yet, was just thinking to do , feeling afraid !
Thanks for the tips !

Surfguyxxx1 July 21st, 2013 11:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nimak (Post 1479800)
Honestly ! I didnt start yet, was just thinking to do , feeling afraid !
Thanks for the tips !

Look, don't let jacksmith scare you away from cruising. There are so many fantastic things that are fun to do and free too! Reading a book in the sun watching the ocean go by, rock climbing, people watching, dinners, lunchs, breakfasts, midnight buffets, entertainment, working out; I could go on. Go and enjoy yourself and I promise you'll want to book another in no time!

misteragape August 29th, 2013 11:33 AM

First time Cruising!!
 
My husband and I will be taking our first cruise in March with Princess (Caribbean Princess). The stops are Cozumel, Belize and Roatan.
1. The week we have booked is Spring Break.
2. We are 50 (hubby) and 45 (me) cruising alone, both NON-drinkers.
3. I have recently (within a year of cruise date) had a total knee replacement, complete with a prostetic knee cap.
4. We are looking forward to some rest and relaxation after a VERY stressful year.

Having said this, we are looking to maybe skip a port and just relax on the ship while a majority of people will be out. Maybe enjoy the pools and not be as crowded.
It seems as though all three stops offer pretty much the same thing, so in everyone's experience, which port would you skip? Someone said in Belize we may have to take a smaller vessel to get to the destinations, and that may be hard on my new knee...then someone said being spring break that Cozumel may be over-run with drunk college students.
Open to all suggestions and advice!

Paul Motter August 29th, 2013 02:27 PM

This is a great question, and unfortunately I don't have the answer because I have not been to Belize or Roatan.

Let me ask what you plan to do in port? With your new knee I tend to doubt you will want to snorkel or swim with the dolphins. It sounds like you want to take it easy.

I do not think Cozumel will be overrun with drunk college kids (they are probably thinking of Cancun which is on the mainland). It has its own port that offers shopping that the locals cannot reach, so you can get off there and look at the typical souvenirs you see any place in Mexico. I would not bother going into the main town of Cozumel unless you have never seen Mexico before - it is a typical Mexican town (nothing special).

Other than that, there are beaches, horseback riding, scuba diving and other things on Cozumel.

But I think you need to tell us what you would like to do, and can do physically, in port - if you can swim, snorkel, etc, before we can give more advice.

storybookcruises.com August 29th, 2013 05:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by misteragape (Post 1483471)
My husband and I will be taking our first cruise in March with Princess (Caribbean Princess). The stops are Cozumel, Belize and Roatan.
1. The week we have booked is Spring Break.
2. We are 50 (hubby) and 45 (me) cruising alone, both NON-drinkers.
3. I have recently (within a year of cruise date) had a total knee replacement, complete with a prostetic knee cap.
4. We are looking forward to some rest and relaxation after a VERY stressful year.

Having said this, we are looking to maybe skip a port and just relax on the ship while a majority of people will be out. Maybe enjoy the pools and not be as crowded.
It seems as though all three stops offer pretty much the same thing, so in everyone's experience, which port would you skip? Someone said in Belize we may have to take a smaller vessel to get to the destinations, and that may be hard on my new knee...then someone said being spring break that Cozumel may be over-run with drunk college students.
Open to all suggestions and advice!

First, I'm surprised your agent couldn't answer any of your questions as they are relatively common.

With that said, I'm older than you (63), so I definitely like to relax while on my cruise and personally, I would definitely not schedule a cruise during Spring break, unless you absolutely have to. Any ship, no matter the cruise line, will be filled with spring breakers and it can get to be a whole lot of fun! We once booked a cruise for the week after Spring break. Bad idea! While it was the week after Spring break here in the Mid-Atlantic, it was Spring break in the Mid-West! Nothing but a big party.

We've been on the Caribbean Princess and you'll like that ship for sure. As for the ports and which one to bypass, there is no 'may' about taking tenders in Belize. You 'definitely' will have to take a tender into port as there is no pier there, so if you feel unstable getting on/off a small boat, it may be the port for you to skip.

As for Cozumel, yes, it can definitely get rowdy during Spring break, but they stay pretty much in the downtown area and at some of the beach clubs like Carlos 'n Charlies. If you stay in the area around the cruise pier as well as the International cruise pier next to it, you'll be fine as it's for cruise passengers and they have pretty much everything you'll need or want in the area.

Same thing with Roatan - you can just stay right there and enjoy the beach area.

It's a nice itinerary on a nice ship, but if you can, think about changing the dates so you don't have to worry about the Spring breakers and can relax more.

Pete

Queen of Oakville September 10th, 2013 10:19 AM

Staying on the ship is a great idea! After many cruises, you will find that all ports look the same, and you get the same shopping and touristy stuff. We're sailing Oasis this fall, and unless there is a beach really close to the port (sometimes beaches are walking distance) we'll probably stay onboard and enjoy the ship.


Quote:

Originally Posted by misteragape (Post 1483471)
My husband and I will be taking our first cruise in March with Princess (Caribbean Princess). The stops are Cozumel, Belize and Roatan.
1. The week we have booked is Spring Break.
2. We are 50 (hubby) and 45 (me) cruising alone, both NON-drinkers.
3. I have recently (within a year of cruise date) had a total knee replacement, complete with a prostetic knee cap.
4. We are looking forward to some rest and relaxation after a VERY stressful year.

Having said this, we are looking to maybe skip a port and just relax on the ship while a majority of people will be out. Maybe enjoy the pools and not be as crowded.
It seems as though all three stops offer pretty much the same thing, so in everyone's experience, which port would you skip? Someone said in Belize we may have to take a smaller vessel to get to the destinations, and that may be hard on my new knee...then someone said being spring break that Cozumel may be over-run with drunk college students.
Open to all suggestions and advice!


anusarma September 27th, 2013 07:33 AM

First time Cruising!!
 
Belize is a great port to stop at if you like adventure activities and can arrange a trip down the river tubing, or exploring a cave. You can also get some good diving in, if the cruise ship has facilities to book you onto a dive or snorkel excursion. However, I guess with your knee issue this may not really be for you, so I would take advantage of the emptier ship in Belize to explore the facilities. Book a spa treatment in advance for that time in port, or just take your time in the restaurant or lounging round the pool. You can enjoy a good shore excursion in Roatan or Cozumel. Sometimes itís fine just to kick back and relax!

Quote:

Originally Posted by misteragape (Post 1483471)
My husband and I will be taking our first cruise in March with Princess (Caribbean Princess). The stops are Cozumel, Belize and Roatan.
1. The week we have booked is Spring Break.
2. We are 50 (hubby) and 45 (me) cruising alone, both NON-drinkers.
3. I have recently (within a year of cruise date) had a total knee replacement, complete with a prostetic knee cap.
4. We are looking forward to some rest and relaxation after a VERY stressful year.

Having said this, we are looking to maybe skip a port and just relax on the ship while a majority of people will be out. Maybe enjoy the pools and not be as crowded.
It seems as though all three stops offer pretty much the same thing, so in everyone's experience, which port would you skip? Someone said in Belize we may have to take a smaller vessel to get to the destinations, and that may be hard on my new knee...then someone said being spring break that Cozumel may be over-run with drunk college students.
Open to all suggestions and advice!


Paul Motter September 27th, 2013 03:05 PM

I would like to hear more about the shore tour options in Belize & Roatan.

storybookcruises.com September 27th, 2013 04:55 PM

In Belize, one of the biggest selling shore excursions, at least from what we hear, is the cave tubing. Many like to do the zip lining with it, but the cave tubing is extremely popular. If you're more into sightseeing, there are some amazing Mayan ruins in the area.

And in Roatan, it's zip lining followed by snorkeling or scuba diving at West Bay Beach. It is the reported to be the 2nd largest reef system in the world and because it very close to the surface in many areas, it provides one of the best opportunities for snorkeling anywhere on the planet! It is absolutely amazing and if you have ever wanted to snorkel, this is the place. Scuba diving there is awesome!

Pete


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