Need advice for a mid-20s couple looking to do a honeymoon cruise (ten months late actually) in May. My wife is currently pregnant with our first and will be at the 17-18 week mark at the time of cruising. Our specific dates in May are limited and from what I can find it seems that we're looking at either Carnival or Royal Caribbean out of Florida for those dates. Royal Caribbean's Vision of the Seas trip to Cozumel and back looks nice but from reading they seem to say their ships are about doing things like rock climbing and pool surfing which won't really be on our list of things to do with her preggo and all. I guess what I'm asking is what's recommended for us? We'll be looking to spend poolside time in the sun, nice dinners, shows, etc. Thanks everyone for sharing your expertise!
edit: Oh yeah, I should mention this will be the first cruise for us both so I don't know a thing yet!
Welcome to Cruisemates, and to the world of cruising,and, congrats to you both!
Right off the bat, reading your post, I thought Celebrity, the Solstice class ships, but, with the dates you need, they may be in Europe by then. Please consult with a cruise travel specialist, and let them walk you through the process, especially as first time cruisers.
Ths Solstice class has stunning pool decks, some have beautiful lawns on the upper deck..delicious dining,and all in upscale setting...I loved my time on the Eclipse...
There is plenty to do and see on the RCI ships with out the flowrider and rock wall, so take that into consideration...Make the call and see exacltly what your options are,mand once you select your ship, please come back and lt us help you in any way we can, ok?
Trip, with her book & tea!
Chat Hostess & Board Moderator
Thanks for the kind words Trip. Unfortunately our travel dates won't allow us to get away from Carnival or RCI I guess and it's safe to say we're going to go with RCI for quality sake. We were originally going to do a 3-4 night cruise and spend some time before and after near the main port but we're now talking about dedicating the whole vacation to a cruise around a week long.
One question I do have is how to people usually get themselves to and from the boat to the airport or hotel? Taxi, public transport, or are there dedicated shuttles?
ebEric, first of all congratulations on the addition to your family. Welcome to CM also. As far as transportation is concerned you can purchase travel vouchers from the cruiseline that will get you to where you want to go. There will also be shuttles available at the airport, the hotel and the pier. We usually go with the shuttles it may be cheaper than the cruseline transfers. By all means use a certified cruise specialist but at the same time you can go into RCI's website and plug in your dates and see your options. This will give you a better Idea on what to talk about with your cruise specialist. Enjoy.
In Lauderdale, the port and airport are so close, just take a taxi to the port. When you do a ships transfer, you have to wait till the bus fills, and, by the time it leaves, you could already be at the airport...There is a long line of cabs at the port, ready to take you to the airport. The cost is nominal,and comfort is key..
Will you be pre cruising/post cruising? Remember to also get information on travel insurance...peace of mind is priceless.
Trip, with her book & tea!
Chat Hostess & Board Moderator
OK, so we've been doing some looking around and we're probably going to be booking the Jewel of the Seas southern Caribbean 7 night out of San Jose. The port itinerary is what luring us in more than the ship, is this a bad way to go about it? Reading a few (not many) reviews some people seem to say that the Jewel appears to have less kids which is a plus for us. With so many port stops also we'll have plenty of time off the ship.
-seadog: thank you! And yeah we're working with an agent. According to RCI's website our agent that we're in contact with is "Royal Caribbean Expert Plus". Does this mean we're using the right person for our planning? Any advise on getting some extra perks like ship credit?
-Trip: not sure what you mean by pre/post cruising?
My next question that I'm going to throw out there right now (followed by searching Google a bit) is about extra costs we'll be incurring. Booze is the obvious one (just for me, I suppose ), but what about the port stops? Are there any costs to just leave the ship, like port fees? What about food on the ship, are all restaurants typically included or are there limits or selected options that will only be included in our base price paid before boarding? Are ship activities included?
My first cruise I chose the itinerary first. I knew where I wanted to go, and then selected the ship..funny thing is the main port I dreamed about seeing, [St Maarten] we missed....this happens sometimes, but I was sad..The ship you selected is amazing from everything I've heard on oue message boards.
Pre and post cruising simply means going down early or staying after the cruise is over. Many cruisers will not fly down the day of a cruise, just in case any issues occur.
You do not have to dine at specialty restaurants, which incur a fee. The main dining room is there to enjoy. One cost that can build up fast, is buying pictures, so make sure to check the prices before you buy..get ready to be shocked!
You are not charged to come and go from the ship. Sometimes cruisers go back to the ship for lunch, while others like to try the local menus.
Trip, with her book & tea!
Chat Hostess & Board Moderator
ebEric, the right agent will listen to what you want for your vacation and will then try to make it happen. My wife and I were on the Jewel in December and it is a beautiful ship. We had one sea day and we stopped at 5 different ports. If you want more port days than sea days then you picked the right itinerary. As far as onboard credit and perks you cruise specialist will be able to tell you if there are any available to you. Most of all, enjoy your cruise.
Hey ebEric - Congrats! I like what I see in this thread, but I guess I have a slight concern - you are considering the Jewel of the Seas Southern Caribbean 7 night out of San Jose. The port itinerary is what had you luring, but Have you thought about the logistics of flying to San Juan? The Jewel of the Seas I know - departs from San Juan not San Jose - The itinerary is perfect. The concern I have is flying to San Juan and cruising. I am sure your agent "Expert" has referenced the area of Fitness to travel as it can mean several things - In general, all guests must ensure that they are medically and physically fit for travel. This is stated in your Cruise Ticket Contract and did they go over the need for travel insurance as well? This coverage can be thru the cruise line or thru an independent company that the agent is duly licensed to sell.
As far as your questions - Specialty dining in Chops Grille and Portofino carry an extra charge. For you (since you will be drinking) you may want to consider the Alcohol package or other non-alcohol packages or specialty dining Here is a link to a page that can help you Onboard Experience - Royal Caribbean International
If you are on the itinerary I recently sailed on then you will be visiting San Juan, Puerto Rico (docked) easy on/easy off, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands for a full day 8:00 AM 6:00 PM Docked (easy on and easy off) Philipsburg, St. Maarten 8:00 AM 6:00 PM Docked, okay on/off long pier ; St. John's, Antigua 8:00 AM 6:00 PM Docked Castries, St. Lucia 9:00 AM 6:00 PM Docked Bridgetown, Barbados 8:00 AM 6:00 PM Docked; a full day to relax Cruising - might want to book specialty dining for this night and or a spa experience rather than a simple massage I recommend Relaxation rituals like experiencing the Thermal Suite, with heated beds, showers, and a collection of exotic steam vapors throughout and/or trying Rasul(tm), an Arabian cleansing ritual of chakra muds and aromatherapy, your last day is debarkation in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Oh and by the way unlike some other cruise lines that don't focus on men you can get ready for the new baby by taking advantage of spa services focused on men on this cruise - Men can enjoy the benefits of a deep cleansing exfoliation, an anti-aging shave or an Elemis Skin facial it helps to have something to do and creates couple time, better than having her watch as you surf Flow Rider(tm). ... There are also activities like making a scrap book for sharing with the baby when it becomes of age. You can see them here Things to do onboard - Royal Caribbean International
Now I only provide advice from my own experiences, but if you are considering the Jewel of the Seas, and your new wife is pregnant, I would really advise a pre-night in San Juan. See Baño Grande, a natural swimming pool. Then take a walk on Camitillo Trail and look for the artificial nest of the Puerto Rican parrot and the flora and fauna of the Palo Colorado forest. I recommend staying in an exploring Old San Juan, the second-oldest European settlement in the New World. Ride to San Felipe El Morro, the most dramatic of all the city's military fortifications. Visit the Casa Blanca Museum & Gardens, the Ballaja Barracks, Quincentennial Square, San Jose Church, San Juan Cathedral, and Cristo Chapel. On Foot you will find Old San Juan is walking distance into compact, yet fascinating, Old San Juan. Streets are uneven (constructed of blue cobblestones, cast from furnace slag), and hills are steep, so wear comfortable shoes (tennis shoes a must). Trolleys: There's a free trolley that will take you around Old San Juan and to the forts. You can pick it up across from the information booth, between cruise piers three and four. One great street for window shopping is Calle Cristo; highlights include Magia (99 Calle Cristo), an artisan who crafts works of art from recycled objects -- old mirrors, wooden shutters, antique windows and even pocket-sized religious icons. A new find on our most recent visit to Old San Juan was the pocket-sized Plaza Arturo Somohano. Just a block behind the Sheraton Old San Juan (located at pier central), this tree-shaded park is home to artisans, who sell hand-made and designed crafts. They must be approved by the government to open stalls (no "made in China" stuff here). While vendors vary, on my trip, there were beautifully scented soaps from Taino Soapworks (the anise lavender is a favorite), hand-tooled leather belts, pretty (and reasonably priced) beach-glass jewelry, gourds and coconut shells and charming, hand-made, burlap handbags. Take a tour of La Fortaleza (9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.). Visit the Catedral de San Juan, which dates back to 1540. Fans of the Spanish cellist Pablo Casals should check out the Museo Pablo Casals (Plaza San Jose, Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.), where the Spanish master's collection includes manuscripts, photographs and a library of video tapes of Festival Casals concerts (played on request). Gourmet Dinners: Because many ships spend evenings in San Juan and don't depart until late-night, cruisers should also consider dinner options. Head to the aforementioned SoFo, where the hip restaurants of the moment include Marmalade (317 Fortaleza), which offers a U.S.-inspired menu. Also try Kudeta (314 Fortaleza), which, with its pan-Asian cuisine, feels like something out of Bangkok; order the paella valenciana risotto or the shrimp curry. Aguaviva (364 Fortaleza Street) is another trendy place; it serves seafood. (Note the whimsical, octopus-like chandeliers.) Although the Sheraton Old San Juan is closest to the port (I did not like the large casino), back this fall I loved a one-night, pre-cruise stay at the Caribe Hilton (Los Rosales Street, 787-721-0303), on the outskirts of the old city -- there are plenty of pools, a beach, bars and eateries so you can just hang out, the morning of our cruise we undertook a five-minute taxi to Old San Juan, stored our belongings at a hotel and relaxed prior to getting to the ship. The Hilton (I am a HHonors Member) has been renovated in the past few years and has a lovely on-site spa. If you have lots of extra money then the most Luxurious accommodation in San Juan itself is the Ritz-Carlton San Juan Hotel, Spa and Casino (6961 Avenue of the Governors, Isla Verde; 787-253-1700). In my humble opinion it is, hands-down, the most luxury hotel in San Juan and it's located on the beach at Isla Verde where you'll also find other values like Embassy Suites and Courtyard by Marriott. One of the best places to get details on San Juan is the San Juan Convention and Visitors bureau.
As I stated above my wife and I had a delightful sail on the Jewel of the Seas in the Southern Caribbean and in my next posting I will share the delightful shore side excursions we under took in this multi-port (docked) itinerary! Best to you!
Last edited by mycruiseandvacations1; March 22nd, 2014 at 03:53 PM.
Reason: spelling and punctuation