Best time/ship for "cheap" group

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Mar 22nd, 2003, 03:22 PM
  #1
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Best time/ship for "cheap" group

Odd question, but here goes:

I belong to a group of around 20 people, a couple of the younger ones are on tight budgets. We are just starting to throw around the idea of going on a 7-day Caribbean cruise. Ideally, this cruise would take place anytime between New Year's and next April, but not during March Break or Easter. We're not probably going to "nail" any plans until the end of the year or so.

Any suggestions for the "cheapest" cruise options? For example, are there any "dead" weeks?

This would be the first cruise experience for most of us. Although a cruise would not necessarily have been my choice, we seem to agree on this one. BTW, we're a pretty easy-going bunch and not too fussy either.

Thanks!

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Mar 22nd, 2003, 04:07 PM
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Some cruise lines consider your time frame "High Season". The cost can be higher than other times of the year.

Stay away from Presidents Week.

The week after New Year's used to be reasonable. But, this is not always the case.

Look into a group cruise. You may have enough people to get a discount.



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Mar 23rd, 2003, 08:22 AM
  #3
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Thanks Starfish!

I thought that the 1st week of January might look promising. Not being American, I don't know when Presidents Week falls in 2004, can you please post the dates?

Fodorites, any suggestions about ships or lines that may be offering discounts?
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Mar 23rd, 2003, 01:19 PM
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NCL (Norweigan Cruise Line) and Carnival Cruise Line will probably be the least expensive....BUT they will nickle and dime you once you're on board. Most all of the cruise lines do this, (Holland America to a lesser degree), except the luxury liners like Radisson, Crystal, Seaborne (but they will cost more up front). You need to go on the cruiseline websites and educate yourself with the various iteneraries. A big difference in the price will be if you get an inside or an outside cabin, or especially a cabin with a balcony. I think you're best getting an inside cabin with the lowest category guarantee possible and take your chances that you may get an upgrade (but be content if you don't). Don't pay extra to be on an upper deck...this is just not worth it. When it comes to actually booking, I've found the best cruise rates on www.cruisequick.com

Good Luck to you and your group!
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Mar 23rd, 2003, 03:21 PM
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Presidents Week is in and around Feb. 22. George Washington's birthday is that date.

The prices are probably higher then. Maybe the best rates are the week before or after.
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Mar 28th, 2003, 06:27 AM
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You can definitely get a group rate. We prefer the second or third week in January. Also, the rates will be low the first 3 weeks of Feb.
Since you have varied ages and tastes, consider Royal Caribbean's Voyager class ships. Something for everyone. We've been on two, will do the Mariner next Jan when it's cold and icy back home!
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Mar 28th, 2003, 07:17 AM
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President's Day is the third Monday in February - the week includes that Monday. (Since you are not American, the history of this is that we used to have a holiday for Lincoln's birthday and another one for Washington's birthday - both in February. It got to be too many holidays, so now we celebrate "Presidents' Day" instead. Many people do not get that as a work holiday, but many public schools are closed that whole week, so it is a busy travel week.)
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Mar 30th, 2003, 06:00 PM
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Thank you all: Starfish, Petlover, Maryann, Linda and Gail.

You have given me very good suggestions. We are leaning for the weeks between the beginning of January and mid-February (all of us wanting to be home by Valentine's Day!).

I will follow up on your comments about the various cruise ships.

Finally, thanks for the heads up about the "nickle and diming" - we'll have to be prepared for that ;-)

What about the itineraries? I've seen both "Eastern" and "Western" itineraries posted. Would there be a difference in the 'expensivenes' of the places that we would be visiting?

Thanks again!
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Mar 30th, 2003, 07:53 PM
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Traditionally, the slow period in the cruise industry is the first and second week of December [between Thanksgiving and Christmas] and the first week of January.

The most expensive are President's holiday week, Valentine week, and the first week of August.
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Mar 31st, 2003, 05:43 AM
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Re Eastern vs Western. If you are a beach lover, snorkeler, etc you'll enjoy the Western route with great beaches in the Cozumel area and Grand Cayman. Most Eastern Caribbean lovers are those who enjoy shopping and bargaining in Nassau and St Thomas. Last time we did Eastern, I only got off the ship in one port- St Thomas- and that was in order to ferry over to lovely St John.
If you've never been to any of the islands, you'll have something to see/do anywhere.For us, the ports are secondary to the ship. We love the activities, the dining, the gym, the shows, dancing and singing, drinking and partying under the stars, moonlight walks on the deck, coffee in the morning with the sea rolling by...cruising is quite addictive! So, book a newer, larger ship for the better amenities.
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