to Cruise or not to Cruise

Jul 26th, 2005, 07:51 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 45
to Cruise or not to Cruise

My wife and I are planning a 7 day vacation to somewhere relaxing and beautiful. We figured a cruise would be nice but there would be a lot of activity. We thought a resort where we could just relax the entire time on the beach would better suit our needs. But now looking at trying to fit this trip within our budget (under $2500), I'm wondering if we should start looking at cruises. We would love to stay in St Johns for a week but it's just not looking like we'll be able to get flight, hotel, and food for under $2500. We plan on flying out of Charlotte, NC during either Sept or Oct. Any thoughts from the crowd?
jamicah is offline  
Jul 27th, 2005, 05:48 AM
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I vote for going to an island.

I'll top my trip report for you re cruise vs resort...

(Lots of inexpensive Caribbean vacations to Dom Rep and Jamaica.)
Diana is offline  
Jul 27th, 2005, 05:23 PM
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personally, you get your best bang for your buck on a cruise..

It is all-inclusive and you hit at least 3 islands on a 7 day cruise.

Sept and Oct is HURRICANE season, no matter what anyone says..I would NOT want to be on a cruise ship NOR an island during that time....

Hmmmmmmmmmmm...perhaps the end of Oct would be better.

Cruises normally run about $1200 including air and port taxes pp--so your budget is definitely doeable.
You can also look into a cruise ship that has balcony cabins as that adds a little more romance..and book an outside cabin on the aft of the ship( BACK of ship as the balconies are almost the size of your room and there is tons of privacy...

Look at Celebrity's Millenium or the Constellation.....both are beautiful..
Also look at Princess cruises on the Grand or the Golden...

You still get time at the pool,an on-board spa,unlimited food ( you do have to pay for alcohol),and when you get off on the various islands, you can do excursions to beaches for the day or shop...

Cruises are filled with lots of young people and honeymooners...
andy is offline  
Jul 27th, 2005, 07:06 PM
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Sorry to read you probably will not be roughing it in St. John. Maybe you should think about an affordable AI somewhere. I just watched a report on the Connecticut man who went missing on his honeymoon on a cruise. Cruises sound almost sinister after the stuff I was listening to. International waters don't provide you much legal protection... 2 sexual assaults complained of per week... uncertain prosecution for crimes... yeeesh! Anyone else been following that case?
Tuxedocat is offline  
Jul 28th, 2005, 05:41 AM
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Although cruises are very affordable, and obviously have a loyal following, they are not for everyone. I'm with Diana & Tuxedo on this one. I went on a free cruise back in January, and you couldn't pay me to waste another week on one.

My biggest complaint is the fact of being on a schedule, and feeling trapped. I go on vacation to relax, and not worry about what time it is.

Well, on a cruise, you're on their schedule. You eat when they have their scheduled dining hours. You find yourself just starting to relax on a nice island stop, and then you have to pick up and head back onto the ship. Our vacation seemed very hurried where ever we went.

The food on our cruise was average at best. No better than a cheap all-inclusive. Drinks are not what I'd call cheap either.

I know Andy said in a post above that his cruise was filled with young people, but not ours. At least 75% of our cruise were senior citizens. I have nothing against the seniors at all, but I'd simply prefer to vacation with people our own age. I'm sure this depends on what cruise line you choose, as well as the crappy food.

My post is not intended to attack cruises, or the people who enjoy them. It is simply a "heads up" to do your research, and know what you're getting into before booking. Again, cruises make plenty of folks happy, but never again for this 30-something couple!!
ScottB is offline  
Jul 28th, 2005, 05:48 AM
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I suggest looking at -- they have a lot of budget packages that include air and lodging. Dominican Republic resorts come up a lot. Since you're planning a trip during low, low season, you can probably get a good deal. You are accepting some risk with hurricanes, however.
JimC is offline  
Jul 28th, 2005, 07:57 AM
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No cruise hear! I went on one for a week which was a really nice, expensive, small ship with only about 200 people. I would not do it again... put me on an island anytime... GL
MIM04 is offline  
Jul 28th, 2005, 11:11 AM
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Typo - here

Sorry, I just get all worked up about cruises!
MIM04 is offline  
Jul 28th, 2005, 01:15 PM
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First of all, the mainstream cruise lines like Celebrity or Princess are not all inclusive. Drinks, gratuities, etc. are extra unless you go for a premium line such as Seabourn, SeaDream or Silversea. These latter 3 can be considered all inclusive, but they come at a price and certainly not under $2500 for a week. That doesn't mean that mainstream cruises can't be a good value just that they're not all inclusive.

I'm not sure I understand your point.
Murders and assaults happen everywhere, so I wouldn't be at all surprised that it happens on cruise ships too. Afterall, how many millions of people go on these a year? So what are the statistical chances of a crime happening on a cruise ship vs anywhere else in the world?
Patty is offline  
Jul 28th, 2005, 01:25 PM
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tuxedocat, I have not been following that story, however, I have heard of many people who go missing during a cruise, never to return. Gives me the creeps!
MIM04 is offline  
Jul 28th, 2005, 06:49 PM
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Patty: The show I saw featured a maritime attorney who was quoting the shocking and little known statistics. These are comparable to one of those very large resorts and any resort which has on average 2 sexual assault complaints a week (per ship), and most thefts, and worse yet "disappearances" are NEVER solved. I think those are some startling statistics for a confined area where one would think, the bad guys couldn't just jump into a getaway car. Additionally, the particular status of a vessel in international waters means uncertain legal protections. In the case of the Connecticut man, they weren't even sure what police to call in. It was a good week before Turkish authorities threw up their hands and called the FBI.
Tuxedocat is offline  
Jul 28th, 2005, 09:04 PM
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How old are you all?

Cruise lines vary in ages--
for the younger couples, Carnival is good..lots and lots of 30's....

Tuxedocat-and what about Aruba????
I have been on both land pkgs and cruises for years and aside from an All Inclusive land package ( where you have to eat all your meals at either a buffet or in one of 3 places), a land package always ends up more money...

A cruise , while definitely not for everyone, has just about everything included--ie. meals, rooms,entertainments--you do pay for alcohol,tips ,excursions and spa--but all else is definitely included unless you take one of the huge ships that has a pay restaurant ( and even then you are not obligate to use that particular restaurant)...
Yes, you are on a ship and confined...but there are tons of things to do...

Yes, there are seniors and older people..but you will also find that on an island...unless you do one of those AI in Jamaica where the normal age is 30 sometime.....

But, it seems to me your idea of a vacation at St Johns makes the typical AI not the exclusive type vacation you are looking for.

Just remember, you can do as much or as little that you want on a cruise..and some of the larger ships (Princess-for instance) have dining room that you can reserve a specific time, dine by yourselves and not be stuck at a dining table with companions that you have nothing in common with..So don't give up on them...

andy is offline  
Jul 29th, 2005, 05:03 AM
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I really don't see how being in an AI or on a ship are that much different. I enjoy both for different reasons.

Many folks who go to an AI do not leave the property. I never did understand this personally.

I do not find cruising restrictive. I do find the very big, new ships way too crowded and full of kids for my taste. The only time I have felt "trapped" was on a Carnival cruise. I could not wait to get off! Rowdy, tacky, poor service, smoky and crowded. When I was 20 ok, maybe, at 40 it was torture.

However, put me on a Celebrity ship in a nice balcony cabin with room service, adult only pools and a Martini bar and I am pretty much in heaven. Dining at the same hour every evening is a postive for me, not a negative. And the food is better than even the most expensive AIs I have been to.

On a cruise, when I am in a port I like, I take a cab straight to a great beach and spend the day there. There are beautiful beaches throughout the Caribbean and I get to enjoy a few in a week instead of just one. Sometimes, I like that better.

And I have never felt in danger on a cruise ship (104 and counting) as I did in St.Thomas where I was uncomfortable even running by myself in the mornings, let alone going out at night. Check out the crime statistics there, if you want to be nervous about something.
kfusto is offline  
Jul 29th, 2005, 05:35 AM
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Just as I had mentioned before, cruises do in fact have a loyal following, and please many vacationers. Everyone is different, and what seems enjoyable to some, is pure hell to others.

Someone posted above that they didn't see much difference between a cruise and an AI. The biggest difference in my eyes is that on a ship, you are always on the go/move, and stand in line several times a day. At least at the AI, you can dig your toes into the sand, and not worry about getting back to the ship on time. Much less restrictive in my opinion.

And for those folks that never leave the resort grounds from an AI, maybe they are just staying within their own comfort zone. Is it wrong?....nope, just a different preference. Do I feel that people who stay in their resort all week are missing so much of what any island has to offer? Yes, but that's their choice. If they are happy, nothing else matters. Just because many of us like to explore the island, meet locals etc, doesn't mean others would enjoy it.

It all boils down to what makes each individual happy...period. If you like the busy cruise life, and don't mind being on a schedule, good for you. If you prefer the AI, and never leave the grounds, again, good for you. Thank God we all like different ways to enjoy our vacations, otherwise it would be a very boring world.
ScottB is offline  
Jul 29th, 2005, 06:40 AM
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I love cruises but am very picky. I would not do the large ship cruise where they nickle & dime you to death. I have gone on Windstar Cruises, Radisson and Carnival. I did not like Carnival, but definitely loved the other two. They both were very expensive and worth it.
Tango is offline  
Jul 29th, 2005, 06:42 AM
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Sorry, I hit the wrong button before i finished my thought!

Like I said, I really like being on the water and having everything at my fingertips, but with what you have said, I think an island vacation might be more up your alley.

Why don't you try Dominican Republic? I've heard great things about it - My sister went a few years ago to one of the all-inclusives and said the food was delicious, the beach and resort beautiful and the people very nice.
Tango is offline  
Jul 29th, 2005, 11:31 AM
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Regarding cruises, I agree with Tango -- we have only been on Windstar (very small -- 148 passengers on their two small ships and about 300 on their one 'larger' ship) and the Raddison Paul Gauguin (about 350 max, but only about 200 when we sailed on it). There are no set times for meals, no assigned tables and no regimentation. We have often had dinner off the ship when in port late enough or overnight. We have found cruises on these two cruise lines to be very relaxing and enjoyable and we have made some wonderful friends on them. And we have also gotten some very good deals as "alumni." Last March we had planned to go to the new Ritz Carlton in South Beach, Miami, and then got an email from Windstar with a great deal on a Caribbean cruise, which was much cheaper than a week in Miami eating out all our meals, etc. And we got to see several Caribbean islands we had never visited before, which helps us decide where to go next.
linmartin is offline  
Aug 4th, 2005, 11:08 AM
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I am cruising in 3 wks to cayman,cozumel,keywest, but for total relaxation, go to cozumel for 7 days at an all inclusive like el cozumeleno and relax, relax, relax, beautiful beaches, beautiful surroundings, enjoy doing NOTHING!!!, otherwize cruise!!!
txtourist is offline  
Aug 4th, 2005, 12:26 PM
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If you really want an island, you could consider shortening the length of your trip. Also look into the British Virgin Islands - Tortola or Virgin Gorda. You could probably do about 5 nights with air for $2,500 at a decent resort.
KimF is offline  
Aug 4th, 2005, 12:54 PM
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Are you perhaps in the vicinity of a BJ's shopping club or Costco or such? These large wholesale conglomerates put together some incredible travel packages at a significant discount. I was just at BJ's today and saw an ad for Divi Carina Bay Resort in St. Croix(an AI) with prices starting at $895/pp. I think that includes airfare from Newark. I don't know where you're flying from, but in any case, there were many other trips. My brother and his wife used this program to get a really good deal on Aruba for their honeymoon and had pretty smooth sailing. Check it out.
Tuxedocat is offline  
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