My finance and I have never been on a cruise and we need your educated and experienced opinions. The budget is less than a thousand for both of us for really any amount of time. Booking is confusing, I would like to the plan the most luxury for our buck. Please suggest destinations, and any tips we will need to make our trip smooth and memorable.
Sophie, welcome to Cruisemates,and congrats on your first cruise...here are some tips for you to use a a guideline.
Don't book with the cruise line, use a cruise specialist agency. You will be sailing during [Sept] hurricane season, so the prices should reflect a slightly lower price, allowing you to maybe get a btter cabin, for a lower price. Your budget is tight, will you need air fare included? Also make sure you ask your ta about travel insurance.
The eastern itinerary, St Thomas, St Maarten, Nassau, is best known for shopping...the western itinerary, Cozumel, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Roatan etc, is well know for great snorkeling, diving, and water sports. Do you have a dream port you always wanted to visit?
At this time of year, many ships are in Alaska, and Europe, so your selection of ships is not optimum....give us some of your thoughts, so we can give you more of ours....
Trip, with her book & tea!
Chat Hostess & Board Moderator
Is there a cruise port that is close to you that would be more convenient to cruise from, or are you willing to fly anywhere to board the ship? Knowing where you are leaving from will focus your choices to the ships that sail from that port.
Aside from the obvious eastern or western Caribbean itineraries, Bermuda is still an option in September, but it only sails from NYC or Boston I believe. It is a great choice as you are in port coming and going at will for nearly 3 full days. One way cruises from the east coast into Canada are also an option in the fall. We also love the southern Caribbean itineraries.
Do opt for a full 7 days if you can. Ask your TA lots of questions, and think about what is important to you on this cruise. Do you like lots of entertainment options available on the ship? Cruiselines vary somewhat in their atmosphere and passenger demographic. Sme may be very sedate after 9:00 pm. Would you plan on taking lots of very active excursions while in port, or do you just prefer beautiful beaches?
Since this is your first cruise, I wholeheartedly agree with others that you really need to talk to a cruise specialist. Obviously, I'm prejudice on the matter, being one myself, but an agent can really help find the perfect cruise for you based on your requirements, lifestyle, and budget. They can discuss all the various cruise lines, ships, and ports of call. Whereas if you call the cruise line, you have to call each one and it's going to get confusing for you. Plus, if you book directly with them and have any problems, who do you think they represent? An agent is going to charge you the same as the cruise line and sometimes less, if they have any group space onboard, plus they may be offering some other amenities, like onboard credit. They charge nothing for their services, so it makes sense to utilize their expertise for free.
With that said, keep in mind that everyone has their opinion on what cruise line is the best. So remember; what one person loves, another will hate. It's all about finding you the perfect cruise for you, not finding the best cruise for someone else.
As for pricing, that is really going to vary by cruise line, itinerary, length of cruise, ship, and sail date. If you're flexible in your timetable, there are some great deals in September and again between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
But talk to your agent and they'll be able to make it alot less confusing and help you avoid all the hassles, while answering all your questions.
Let us know if what you're thinking as there are many people on this forum to help.
__________________ Travel Agent/Cruise Specialist w/12 yrs exp and 47 Cruises on 11 cruise lines! Favorites: Paul Gauguin - Tahiti: Uniworld River Cruises - Europe; Celebrity Solstice-class ships; Holland America - 12-nights Baltics & Russia; RCCL - 14-nights Greek Isles, Turkey, & Croatia; Holland America - 14-day Alaskan cruisetour; 10-night Canada/New England cruise; 21 days Hawaii w/7-night NCL cruise; Oceania - 25 days in Asia; more than 3 months touring Europe by train. And many all-inclusive resorts!
I would go to your library, get cruise port and cruise books. They come out often. Berlitz does almost every boat afloat.Fodors, Frommers, more.Stick to the American oriented ones like CCL.RCL. Princess, Norweigan, Celebrity.. Watch out for older ships of CCL,NCL. Not the best experience. Very short under 7N cruises tend to be noisy booze cruises spending half of time going/coming to home port. To do a 7N on above ships call several discount cruise only agencies. Ask for their best deal on INSIDE cabin only. Ask what On Board Credits they will give(OBCs).. Make a spread sheet of all details.Eastern Caribbean more attractive than Mexico for Honeymoon. The more effort and knowledge you expend the better the deal. Bon Voyage. PS. Vacationstogo.com an excellent resource, esp. for deck plans. Cruise Critic.com also.
Since this is going to be your first cruise, I’m sure you’ll have a lot of questions. I’d suggest you talk to a travel agent or a cruise specialist. He’ll have all the answers including where your budget can take you.. By the way, those Carribean cruises are great. I just don’t recall its costs.