Caribbean cruise help

Old Sep 25th, 2007, 10:54 AM
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Caribbean cruise help

Can anyone tell me the best time of the year for a caribbean cruise, the best ports to see and the best ship.Sorry, I have not taken a cruise before so I'm really ignorant there.
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Old Sep 25th, 2007, 11:13 AM
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Suze1:
It sounds like you are a good candidate for a local travel agent. They can get to know your likes, your timeframe, and fill you in on all the itineraries and ships in depth.

I hope you will love cruising as much as the rest of us around here.

Come back with your specifics and we'll fill you in on other details!

Good luck. Hope to see you soon!
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Old Sep 25th, 2007, 11:52 AM
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We are happy going at any time of the year but you'll find a lot more kids on board when school out.
Go to any travel agency. Tell them you are thinking of taking a cruise to the Caribean. Ask for cruise catalogues - they are free and each cruise line has them with all their ships and the ports they go to. The catalogues also have the floor plan of the ship so you can see what's where. This will help you decide where you might want to go and on which ship. You don't have to book a cruise with the agency (Their prices are usually but not always higher.) When you decide to cruise, shop for prices with different TAs and the cruise line itself. You will also find lots of info on line for each cruise company. Also go to cruisecritic.com, then their 'Boards' then to "Discussion' then 'Ask a cruise question'. You can ask questions here and read many answers .
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Old Sep 25th, 2007, 12:32 PM
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I like to go someplace warm towards the end of the winter - February is good since it gives me something to look forward to all winter and when I get home it feels like spring may happen soon.

Length - the shorter the cruise, in general, the younger and rowdier the passengers. I think for a first cruise 7 days is a good length.

Best ship - first decide which cruiseline. Different sites group them basically into 3 categories by expense, amenities. The middle category (Celebrity, Princess, etcf.) might be a good place to start unless budget is more important.

Best ports - Caribbean cruises are roughly split into Western and Eastern Caribbean. Ports also depends on from where you want to leave - most leave from Florida, but some from Texas - plus some other southern ports.

In reality, one only spends 6-10 hours at each port, so I think that is almost the least important part. I am not a big Bahamas fan - but that is because I have been there several times. Check to see if you ahve been any of the ports before and that may influence your decision.

That should get you started. Expedia and Travelocity (and a zillion other sites) have a feature where you can sort cruises by length, itinerary, price - that might also be a place to start.

Personally, we loved Celebrity (Century) cruise to Western Caribbean from Miami last February - but options are almost limitless.

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Old Sep 25th, 2007, 12:51 PM
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Looking on the web site Tahiti sure looks like a nice cruise but rather expensive, I wonder about the Cayman Islands, Aruba if there as nice as Tahiti and maybe more reasonable. It would be just me and my husband and in no way would we go summer months. We're in our middle 50's, good shape but we certainly do not want a bunch of kids around us. Anyways, just want somewhere warm and beautiful and somewhat reasonably priced.
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Old Sep 25th, 2007, 02:05 PM
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Suze1: IMHO nothing is as nice a Tahiti. The Tahitian Princess will be pulling out of that region leaving the far more $$$ Regent Paul Gaughan as the only ship there unless you consider the masted Star Clipper. If you can swing it to Tahiti do go. It is well worth it. The TP will cruise there in 4/2008, and again in 10/2008 and will not return until 12/2009.
I agree about going to cruise critic for info. Generally to avoid kids and warmer weather go later in the season. Oct. for example is a good month and the prices are lower too.
Then ask yourself what style you prefer. Are you more casual or formal? Would you be more comfortable in a big, glitzy cruise ship or something more sedate? What do you want to see in ports? Are you a shopper, a beach goer, a sightseer? What about history? For example would you like to see Mayan ruins? Lots of questions o be sure but its best to sort it out first then look for something that appeals to you the most. Cheers, Larry
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Old Sep 25th, 2007, 03:09 PM
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Is there any other nice ships that go to Tahiti if the Tahitian Princess woun't be available anymore. Radisson Seven Seas is way too expensive.

To answer some of your questions we are more sporty and casual than dressy. We also like sightseeing and history. Would love to see the Mayan ruins, we are not shoppers and we do not like glitzy.
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Old Sep 25th, 2007, 07:17 PM
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This is very funny - you asked about the Caribbean and now mention Tahiti - that would be a very long cruise - certainly more than 7 days.
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Old Sep 26th, 2007, 03:49 AM
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Tahitian cruises are about 10 days and for any cruiser, new or old are worth considering IMHO. No, there are no other ships that go there besides the PG (very $$$) and the masted Star Clipper. For Mayan ruins the only ship I see for say Oct. 2008 is the Carnival Glory. I would look into the Voyager class ships of RCI if I were you. These are beautiful ships with tons of activities and get very good reviews. See the link for itinerary
http://cruises.travel.yahoo.net/CS/f...ne=&Home=&LID=
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Old Sep 26th, 2007, 05:05 AM
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I agree you need to find a good local travel agent that can help you.
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Old Sep 26th, 2007, 05:18 AM
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It seems that link doesn't work. However just go to Yahoo! travel, cruises, plug in southern Caribbean, 10/2008 and RCI and you will see.
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Old Sep 28th, 2007, 09:59 AM
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January and February are excellent times to go to the Caribbean. March can be filled with spring-breakers. We usually go in Feb. ourselves, gives us a break from winter and is something to look forward to. Carnival will give you the best bang for your buck. I've tried to price others, but they always come up $400--$500 more per person for basically the same cruise. A 7 day cruise is usually not where the rowdies go, except maybe spring break. We are leaving from Tampa on Carnival Legend, February 23, 2008. Tampa and Port Canaveral are two great ports to sail from. Ft. Lauderdale is ok, and I hate leaving from Miami.
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Old Sep 28th, 2007, 01:57 PM
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Don't forget you got to fly down to Tahiti - more $$$ for the airfares.

Best bet, since it is your first cruise, is to go on a Caribbean cruise of your liking from a port that is easy for you to travel to.

And, do NOT travel to the embarkation port on the day of the cruise. Go there a day or two or so and stay in hotel.

Our first cruise was with RCI and we were so bowled over with everything on the ship.

Enjoy!
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Old Sep 28th, 2007, 03:43 PM
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We also belong to RCI but looking at the prices it doesn't seem like they give you a break.

You're all correct, Tahiti is not affordable with the flight and the cruise so it will be the Caribbean, which are the best ports. It has Western, Eastern Caribbean etc., which one to take. I also heard to never take Carnival, the Princess has good reviews.
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Old Sep 28th, 2007, 03:47 PM
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For me its the southern Caribbean. JM2C.
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Old Sep 28th, 2007, 07:02 PM
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I book my cruises through American Express. They have certified cruise experts and good deals for card members.. My first cruise was Carnival, way back in the day when I was looking for a big party and didn't have a lot of money to spend.
The quality of food was so so however abundant. These days I stick with Princess...although I have to say I am going to the Galapagos on Celebrity next year. I have my heart set on Silverseas one of these days when I win the lottery...ha ha I'll have to play it first!
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Old Sep 29th, 2007, 06:36 AM
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Yeppers, RCI seems to be pricy these days but you DO GET what you pay for.

Our last cruise was on NCL to Southern Caribbean (yes, Southern Caribbean is GOOD!) and the cruise was excellent - for us, that is, because the Freestyle concept suits us.

We're booking our next one at the moment. We wanted to go on RCI but it's out of our budget so we've decided on NCL and Southern Caribbean again, plus Western Caribbean (back-to-back).

We like long cruises (10-14 days) with a variety of ports as well as days at sea.

Carnival isn't our cup of sea as we're not the sort of people who go night-clubbing.
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Old Sep 30th, 2007, 03:19 AM
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Ah, here we go with the Carnival bashing by people who have "heard" from others. Carnival has changed over the years, they are NOT all about "night-clubbing and partying" they are just like the others. If you go to cruisecritic.com and click on carnival and the message boards you will see how people love carnival today. People who finally do their first carnival cruise report and say what a wonderful experience they had and that it was not what they were lead to believe by others. Carnival has the biggest cabins in the industry, not to mention the newest, excellent food now, great Las Vegas type shows and again, the best bang for your buck. But if you really want to listen to what some stuffy old ____ told you when he heard from someone else that heard from someone else, well that is just stupid travel planning. I guarantee you will love it. Just make your own decisions by comparing yourself, which means do a carnival and then do one of the others, but please, please stop the bashing without knowing.
I do agree with one poster, as we also fly down the day or two before and get to the ship around 11 am and checkin and on the ship by noon having a drink on lido. Don't let the cruise lines do air for you the day of the cruise, you will just barely make it and be way too rushed.
dave
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Old Sep 30th, 2007, 03:26 AM
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Also, be careful with the free-style dining experience, it is not for everyone. For everyone one person who likes it, there are 10 who have tried it and hate it. It is NOT my cup of sea. YOu can find many people "discussing" this topic on the boards. For European land trips I love Fodors, but for Caribbean cruises, in my opinion only, http://boards.cruisecritic.com/ is a much better site with much better info than you can get here. Especially for first timers.
dave
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Old Sep 30th, 2007, 05:51 AM
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My personal experience with Carnial (including a new ship) was that they offer a good value for a cruise overall. Cabin was large and nice enough.

I did not care for the food or service and I found Conquest class to be extremely overcrowded.

It is also very casual which is not my cup of tea but their fans love tem.

No one can tell you the best ship and ports for you, OP. Remember that one man's tras is another's treasure and I am sure that my taste is just that.

As a first time cruiser with nothing to compare to, you will likely be pleased with most any decision as long as your personal tastes (freestyle versus scheduled dining, casual vs formal atmosphere, high level of activity vs lw key) are considered, not the tastes of others.
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