First time cruise for us
Hello, just signed up.
My wife and I are planning our first cruise. We are in our early 50 late 40 area. I have traveled and have spent much of my life outside the US on business, always flying. My wife has lived abroad with me for about five years in Mexico when we both worked on a development project there. We have never taken a cruise before in our lives (though I have taken supply ships to one or two places definitely not the same thing). My wife wants what I consider kind of middle of the road for her first trip, I am not overly enthused. I like themes, it could be lectures, writings, museums, just about anything. Since its our first, what would be good that would fulfill both of our needs and our make sure we both have a good time. Thanks
Welcome aboard Cruise Mates! Nice to have you here. You'll get alot of great information from some great people, so jump right in and ask away.
Cruising is definitely one of those things where there's something for everyone no matter their taste, budget, or lifestyle. And you'll get as many recommendations as there are people about which one is best for you.
But as I always say, what one person loves another will hate, so it's very important for you to find the right one for you and not the right one for them.
First, it's really important for you to work with a reputable cruise specialist who can provide as much information as you can handle so you can make the best decision for you based on your budget, lifestyle, and requirements.
Now, with all that said, based on what you've provided so far, I would personally suggest you take a good look at Princess, Holland America, and Celebrity. We've been on all of them several times and love each of them for different reasons. We're a little older than you (63), but we prefer the more relaxed style cruises with less children and, of course, really good food! And we prefer the smaller ships over the mega ships. But that's us, you may be completely different and may want more amenities, in which case you may also want to look at RCCL, NCL, or Carnival. That's why you really need to talk with a specialist - they can be a wealth of information and their services are free to use.
Your first cruise is something special, so make it something really special!
Welcome to Cruisemates....You found a good place to start planning your first cruise. Do you have any idea what area or ports you want to visit and what about activities you enjoy. That would help narrow your search down a bit...
I think Europe would be a good idea. Do you have a particular cruiseline that you prefer?
Welcome to the addictive world of cruising.
There are a myriad of choices for you and it is hard to choose.
What you have said so far would lead me to recommend a line such as NCL and add $100 to your cruise budget and do some of the alternative dining venues.
Celebrity (In a Solstice class ship), Princess and Holland America would also be good choices. These would be a bit more formal but they have beautiful ships and "overall" decent dining. On many of these cruises they will have lectures on their Alaska, some Mediterranean and longer cruises.
There are many European itineraries that will give you the museums, history and old world charm that you are looking for.
You can also consider doing a Caribbean cruise on one of these lines to see how you like the cruise experience. I would not do anything under seven days. A shorter cruise is a different demographic and experience.
Please come back with more questions that will help us narrow down your needs and expectations and we can make a better recommendation that fits them.
Welcome to Cruise Mates
A travel Agent is a great source to obtain a wealth of information and advise.
Details should include, Ships, regions, tours & insurance.
Many different type's of coverage's available for travelers.
Cruise lines will start cancelations penalties from earliest date including tours, hotels, air travel, providing you booked through the cruise line.
If you and your wife have an existing HMO or PPO medical insurance, you must obtain a pre-approval package from your insurer or you may not be reimbursed on medical cost.
Trip Cancelation insurance is costly and much of the coverage is secondary to coverage you already may have or may receive, such as your airline have limited coverage on lost/delayed baggage or your home-owners policy (hazard) may cover personal items that are excluded on most other policies, such as computers, cell phones, camera's etc.
Auto rental companies offer insurance, you should understand that your primary auto policy may cover a rental excluding deductible, unless hit by an uninsured driver and if you decline the coverage from the auto rental company, your credit card company should cover the deductible and contain additional under-insured coverage, you must contact your insurer and get a copy of your policy to obtain full details and exclusions.
Please note: labor union strikes are not covered, Lufthansa start a strike on April 1st - April 5th 2014.
You can even purchase primary medical coverage with trip evacuation, these policies will cover accidents while abroad, most policies will not cover pre-existing conditions. Most of these policies are 80/20 meaning you will have a deductible normally around $250 plus liable for the first 20% of reasonable medical cost up to policy limit, the European Union have charts for medical cost.
Many of these policies include trip evacuation coverage and death benefits.
Remember, one drop of alcohol in your blood will cancel out your coverage, so if you plan on drinking cold beers or glass of wine, reconsider the purchase of this type of coverage.
The season's dictate the ships ports, ships in Europe reposition to Alaska/Caribbean normally around September & return in May, 2014.
That being said, You should determine budget, Europe is far more expensive and requires transatlantic flights/hotels and the exchange rate is around 40% higher, once your there.
Always fly to your port of embarkation early, Europe several days, Caribbean/Alaska 1- full day minimum.
Then you should determine what type of cabin you want: Inside, ocean-view, Balcony or Suite?
Itineraries and ships will be your main decision, newer or older ship?
Mega Liners or medium size ships.
I suggest you check-out the ship reviews here on Cruise Mates, great stuff.
Anyway good luck
PS, if you are thinking of booking on a Princess cruise, I can send you a referral, you will get a $25 per person discount, providing you complete the Princess referral form they send you via e-mail before booking.
You can use any travel agent, online agency or book direct with cruise line, your choice.
Details will help in selecting a ship.
The Celebrity (Solstice Class) ship are beautiful, however, they do not have self serve laundry rooms with irons as Princess ships have great self serve laundry rooms with irons to press everything.
Celebrity does not have any time dining options, Princess does, the exception are the PAY restaurants.
Holland America has mid size ships with cabins around 183 SF +/- for inside with outside Balcony are additional SF for balcony.
Holland America will have more seniors in general and have the most loyal of repeat cruisers, excluding the elite members on Princess, they get unlimited dry-cleaning/laundry along with free internet packages, long voyages allow for light packing. Exceptions are suites, most of the cruise lines offer these amenities complimentary with butler services.
Princess does have two newer ships, the Royal and soon to be Regal Princess.
I actually check the web-site "Vacations to Go" to pull up all the ships sailing the region of my particular interest, then open the links to read the ships features, such as self serve laundry, anytime time options etc.
5 of the 6 major cruise lines (Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Holland America, and Celebrity) have traditional dining as well as anytime dining. Celebrity calls their version Celebrity Select Dining. NCL is the only one that does not offer traditional dining.
Celebrity Select Dining
If you choose Celebrity Select Dining, you will still be seated in the ship's main restaurant, order from the same dinner menu, and enjoy the same exemplary service, but with more flexibility of timing. Choose this option when booking your cruise and you can make reservations day by day pre-cruise, reserve once onboard, or simply come to the dining room whenever you'd like to have dinner.
Celebrity Select Main Dining reservations can be made online up to four days prior to sailing, or once onboard with the Maitre d'. Subject to availability. Gratuities must be prepaid in order to participate in Select Dining. Only groups of 20 or less can be seated at one time.
Plus, Princess is not the only cruise line that has self-serve laundry facilities onboard. Carnival and Holland America also have them on most of their ships as well.
Cruise Price Tracker
I have found and used a new website which tracks the price of cruises free of charge:
Saved me a few hundred Dollars which I enjoyed spending onboard at the Crown Grill on my recent Caribbean cruise
Hope this helps both first time cruisers and the more traveled contributors alike!
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