CRUISE NEWBIES--HELP!

Jun 26th, 2007, 04:15 AM
  #1  
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CRUISE NEWBIES--HELP!

Hi; My husband and I went to Grand Cayman in May and had a blast snorkeling--now we figure a good way to find another place we would like to spend a week is to take a cruise with several stops that offer good snorkeling. We are looking at a Western Caribbean cruise with stops in GC,Belize,Cozumel, etc. Being our first cruise, we could use some help. We'd like a comfortable interior stateroom, the freedom to go where we want to in ports (not have to stay with a group), and the freedom to dine when we want (or at least not have to be at dinner at a specified, exact hour). Of course, cleanliness is a big issue on the ship. Is there a website that offers tips and advice for first time cruisers? We aren't sure if hidden fees, what's covered int he price and what is not, which lines are the most highly rated, etc. Any help appreciated! Thanks.
chellyroo is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 04:35 AM
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have you clicked on cruises on this website? It answers a lot of your questions on what to expect on the different cruise lines. Also, cruisecritic.com you can get a lot of answers.

Any of the ahips that have more than one resturant will give you the freedom to dine when you want. As for the stops and the freedom you want it just depends on where you stop and what there is to do and how safe it would be to go off on your own.
crackers is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 09:53 AM
  #3  
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Thanks, I will follow your suggestions!
chellyroo is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 10:08 AM
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Ok, I found this on the Royal Caribbean Internation link on the "cruises" section :
It's requested that no shorts be worn in public areas after 6 pm, although there are passengers who can't wait to change into them after dinner.
That sounds awfully stuffy--I mean, can you not wear shorts outside your room after 6 pm??
chellyroo is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 04:53 PM
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Not that stuffy. Take the prior suggestion, click around cruisecritic.com. you will find many answers.
Jeffslaw is offline  
Jun 26th, 2007, 11:09 PM
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Be careful booking excursions that are not through the cruiseline. My brother cruised to Cozumel in August of last year. He and his friends booked a snorkeling excursion theirselves to save money, not through Carnival. Instead of having a fun excursion they waited 2 hours for their prepaid excursion on a dock and nobody they asked seemed to have heard of their tour director. The tour director never showed and my brother is still fighting with his credit card company since his creditcard was not billed until the day after and the charge was run through a restaurant in Mexico that was not even in Cozumel. He is still trying to explain that they never went to a restaurant. He does not know how to even reach the tour operator now. Beware of tour guides using prepaid cell phones. If you book an excursion on your own, check out the company. Sometimes you can get a deal that is less than the cruiseline but be sure that the times allow plenty of time to get back to the ship.
cruisemom is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 04:19 AM
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You are in no way obliged to be with any group except the for lifeboat drill on day of embarkation. You are free to do what you wish at all times. Ship sponsored tours are NOT mandatory and usually much more expensive than doing it on your own. A comfortable interior room wil be whatever comfort level that room has. Generally speaking the lower and more amidships the room is the less you will feel the motion. However personally we prefer rooms with a balcony. Its more money but for us its a must. Its really up to you however. I agree with the suggestion for cruisecritic. There you will find CDC rankings of practically all ships. As for dining the buffet on any ship is always open for anytime dining and in addition most ships have specialty restaurants with nominal surcharges but you will need to make a reservation once on board. NCL has anytime dining at all times but their ships generally get lower scores so beware. Some Princess ships have the option for both anytime and fixed. I don't know which ones besides the Sapphire and Diamond however but on those there are three or four restaurants that serve the same menu as the fixed dining rooms offer.
jacketwatch is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 06:06 AM
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Thanks to you all for the replies, good stuff! I have been reading on cruisecritic.com and am getting a little more sense of what all is involved. What confuses me on the dining is, when I click on a certain ship for all the profile info, I see under "dining hours" 6:15pm and 8:30 pm. So I'm understanding that there are two seatings for dining in the "main" dining area, but passengers can always go to one of the restaraunts if those times don't suit?

On excursions, what I was mainly wondering about is, my husband and I wanted to go back to a particular snorkel spot on Grand Cayman that we found on our trip in May; so I was wanting to make sure we could, like, rent a Vespa while at port (if my nautical grammer is incorrect please overlook! ) and go to a spot on our own. I would be sure to do a lot of internet research on the ports we would be going to in order to know exactly where to go.

Thanks for that tip on which rooms have less motion! I doubt we will be able to afford a balcony room (unless I find some incredible deal!) but my husband does tend to get motion sickness (after snorkeling 6 days in GC it took him about 5 days to lose the "at sea" feeling!) so that is very helpful.
chellyroo is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 06:45 AM
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Yes you can dine any time in the buffet restaurant. Also room service is free as well. I am sure that doing some research will result in finding some local agency for a vehicle rental. It sounds like fun. Cheers, Larry
jacketwatch is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 08:21 AM
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On many cruises if you book early enough you may get an upgrade offered. So, if you pay for a inside room you could end up with a room with a window.

You can easily go on your own for the snorkling on GC.

I think all ships have specialty dining the charge extra to eat. If you want to pick your own time at a resturant other than the buffet pick a ship that has anytime dining. Depending on the ship some have several. The 6:15 8:15 seating is traditional dining.
crackers is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 08:23 AM
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I forgot to add. Picking a shore excursion on your own can be tricky. When you chose your cruise ask here and cruisecritic for suggestions. You can probably get recommendations from someone who has experience. I have seen a lot for the Med cruises.
crackers is offline  

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