Thanks for the info. Yes I think we are going to do the the westeren. Tell I was thinking of doing the arrangements myself, not a travel agent. I live in Ohio and airfare to FLA is cheap. so was planning just the cruise.
There is a lot to be said for booking a cruise on your own including saving a small amount. This will be your first experience with cruising and I am sure you not only have many questions, but you also want it to be a top notch experience. You need to do one of two things.
First would be to spend lots of time on these and other boards learning everything you can about cruising. There is an awful lot to learn and absorbing it all can make your head spin. The second thing you can do is find an excellent travel agent who is knowledgeable and experienced with cruising. This not easy either but asking questions and lots of them will give you some indication of a TA's cruise knowledge and experience. Remember the travel agent is working for you not the cruise line and wants to be sure you return home a very satisfied first time cruiser.
You should expect your travel agent to ask you a lot of questions also. The first question I always ask is, is this your first cruise? From that point on you are going to have a hard time stopping the flow of information and tips from a good cruise agent.
Once you get a little cruising experience under your belt and you want to try doing things on your own, and you have the time it takes to properly research a cruise then by all means do it. Finding the right cruise is not rocket science but it does takes lots of research and knowledge. It comes down to either saving a buck or two, or getting good solid advice and having the best vacation of your life.
__________________ Cruising since 1987 (With a list to long to fit here)
[b]Next Cruise: Voyager of the Seas - Transatlantic November 29, 2008 on the Voyager of the Seas
Agree... using a TA, especially for your first time is wise.
They are a font of knowledge, FREE, will make sure you have all your papers done properly, provide cruise insurance if desired, and just make sure you have all your ducks in a row. PLUS, you can go back and ask questions as they pop up (and trust me.... they will). If the price on your ticket changes, they will be your advocate for getting you the lower price.
Read, read, read -- this board is just wonderful for all the nitty gritty details... are there hairdryers, what about a safe in the room, do we have to do formal night, how safe it is on the beach in .........., do I have to take pesos or can I use US dollars.... Yes, you'll have a lot of questions. Also, check out the Photo Gallery to see pictures of the ports you'll be going to. Pictures are also great to get an idea of what everyone is wearing at dinner/poolside/in port/on excursions, etc.
Go up to Ship Reviews and you'll see a drop down box with selections so you can find out more about your cruiseline choices.
Under News & Features you'll see a lot of great info like "before you go".
If you are using the internet keep checking on all available sites. There is a wide disparity on cruise prices offered by these travel sites. For instance Expedia offered a senior discount on one (55+) that others did not. One cruise I booked was by an independent web site from one travel agency in N.J. when all the major sites showed the cruise fully booked. There seems to be no explanation for these events, so be aware of the situation. Royal Caribbean is a good choice !
Freedom Of The Seas -07
Radiance Of The Seas-07
Adventure Of The Seas-05
Navigator Of The Seas-04
Soverign Of The Seas-02
Big Red Boat-93