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Choices...choices

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Aug 7th, 2011, 04:50 PM
  #1
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Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 109
Choices...choices

We are cruising virgins. We are a couple, mid-40s to mid-50s...trying to plan a mid-October vacation. It's our birthday week (14th and 15th).

Started with Costa Rica and nixed it due to October is the rainy season.

Then started to explore cruises. We've never been on a cruise. Found what we thought was a pretty good deal on Celebrity for a 12 night Mediterranean cruise (Rome, Palermo, Haifa, Ashod, Naples, Rome).

Our concerns:

It's a guaranteed cabin class with no pre-assignment. What are the chances we'd get an obstructed view or limited view cabin? To choose our cabin increases the prices by over $1k.

The added cost of excursions start to REALLY add up. For virgin cruisers are the shore excursions the way to go? From my research we could possibly do Haifa on our own since the port is close to the city...but???

Our cost: coach airfare to FCO, plus cruise, plus 1 or 2 excursions, beverage package + tips is roughly the equivlavent of our 2nd choice:

Returning to Kauai....

1 FF first class ticket, one purchased first class ticket, condo in Princeville, meals, etc.

Which would you choose???? and why???

Help...I vote cruise, DH votes Hawaii.....
sofee is offline  
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Aug 7th, 2011, 06:57 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 8,175
I'd always pick someplace new over someplace I've already been.

When you pick a guarantee, you select a category of cabin--just make sure you'd be happy with the worst cabin in that category.
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Aug 7th, 2011, 07:07 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
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Since we have been on seven European cruises you will find us favoring cruise as they provide a lot of convenience and economy. We always book the cheapest room and take the guarantee option. We don't care if we have a limited view or no view -- why ?? because we don't send anytime in the cabin. But it is nice to have window so you know if the sun is up or not. On one cruise we were upgrade to a cabin with balcony, on two others we were assigned the handicap room -- set up for a wheel chair and therefore much larger, with bigger and nicer bath. Nice shower instead of the small shower/tub arrangement. On the other times we got at least a one or two level upgrade. One or twice did have restricted views -- but who spend time looking out your porthole. Cannot see that much anyway and we would rather be on deck.

We do not ship excursions BUT that requires you to do an enormous amount of homework so that you can get the most out of each port. If the ship does not dock close to the town center, then the ship will always have transportation to the town center. We take the beverage packages - saves a few dollars.

We are the first off the ship the morning. At the breakfast buffet will have grabbed some fruit and rolls for our lunch ashore. Will return to the ship a couple hours prior to leaving and have a little salad and dessert. Try to be near the top of the ship when pulling out of port with a drink. Nothing better. We always take the late dinner so we have a leisurely time to relax and dress for dinner.

It is systems that matches our travel style and we are comfortable with it. But others may or will agree with it. That is fine, It is now we travel.
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Aug 7th, 2011, 07:14 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
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.....When you pick a guarantee, you select a category of cabin--just make sure you'd be happy with the worst cabin in that category......

I suppose that is a possibility but that has not been our experience. We always pay for an inside, bottom of the ship cabin, and have always had a better category of room by at least one level, mostly two, and one time a balcony.
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Aug 8th, 2011, 03:42 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,859
I'm with abram. New to me is always better. Plus Celebrity is rated excellent in the food category.
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Aug 8th, 2011, 05:10 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269
Konaweb.com Kohala Coast Hapuna Prince

driest spot in Hawaii in fall only place I would go.

Really like Eastern Med Cruises have done your route

Celebrity is good usually get my best deals on priceline.com

Can pick my cabin on line 70% off help if needed

cruisecritic.com will have reviews on your ship.

Personally would go for the cruise at $1k off... I like exotic

If it is not to your liking always get moved at no

charge to best available very unlikely they will be booked

in this crappy economy... Happy Deciding!
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Aug 8th, 2011, 09:46 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 9,089
Actually we are cruise to Israel in the fall as well and the private tours are quite high those no as high as what the ship offers. You can booked a shared private tour for much less however. A fully private tour (like just you and a driver) will go for about $600.00 per day in Israel. The other ports should be self doable. You can cut a deal right on the dock with a cab and go or research a bit and use public transportation. Haifa is indeed a port but the POI's are not close by. You need some sort of transportation. Alternatively consider a so. Caribbean cruise out of san Juan. Its closer, the air will be cheaper as will the cost for the ship AND the excursions. Its a good intro to cruising. . Cheers, Larry
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Aug 8th, 2011, 03:04 PM
  #8
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,160
Heads up from an experienced (and satisfied) Celebrity passenger. If you are not happy with your assigned GTY cabin, phone Celebrity or your TA and request a change to another in the same category. We were once assigned to a handicapped accessible cabin, which we did not want or need; I was able to change easily. You can determine which cabins are open for a particular sailing at seascanner.com.

Celebrity has an alliance with Choice Air. Once you have a reservation number, you can go to choiceair.com and plan your flight at greatly reduced cost. You can check out Choice Air without a reservation number by picking the "Quick Flight Search" option.

Bon voyage
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