Cruises. Love or hate?

Sep 22nd, 2008, 08:15 AM
  #1  
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Cruises. Love or hate?

I've got an opportunity to join some friends for a 40th birthday party on the Grandeur of the Seas (Royal Caribbean) in December.

Wife and I are frequent travelers but have never been on a cruise.

We've been asking our other friends who travel and every one seems to have a very strong opinion, be it positive or negative, about cruising in general.

Why is that?
ciaony is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2008, 09:57 AM
  #2  
 
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In my experience,many opinions about travel and travel related subjects are just that: one extreme or the other.Most of my friends either love or hate Vegas.Or New York.Or South Beach.Or Mexico.Not much in between ground.Human nature I guess.
BeachBoi is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2008, 11:50 AM
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The secret is "like". You either like a cruise or not. It is a matter of preference only. I enjoy a cruise, but I enjoy a lot of other travel experiences also. I also enjoy non-travel experiences. Some like only to cruise - on our last we sat with a couple on at least their 35th cruise! I would miss the indepth travel that a place like London or Florence requires. But a cruise can be a lot of fun. Take it for what it is.

If you've not been on a ctuise before you should reall try. It sounds as if you will be with sympathetic friends, at least. If you don't enjoy yourself, don't go again.
Aristotle is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2008, 12:23 PM
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It depends on what you are expecting from your cruise experience, or from any other trip for that matter. If your expectations are too high then you might be disappointed on any trip. "Stuff"
always happens, you know about Murphy's Law.
Try cruising and judge for yourself!















southerncal is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2008, 12:52 PM
  #5  
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Thanks, all.

I guess my main concerns are about seasickness and the fact that this particular boat is 12 years old and may not exactly be in the prime of its life.

I also fully expect the boat to be too crowded to really enjoy the amenities such as the pools and hot tub.

....I'm thinking I may be pleasantly surprised having such low expectations, so I have that on my side, I guess.
ciaony is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2008, 12:59 PM
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We like cruising and do one each year, but it is not the only traveling we do. We travel extensively with mor normal means as well. I hope you like it and have good time but you may not.
Reisender is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2008, 03:38 PM
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Cruising is not for everyone so you will hear opinions vary. For me, I enjoy cruising only on certain lines - ones that meet my needs and tastes.

Grandeur is an older ship with few of the new amenities and RCI is very much a family cruise line. Food is average, service generally friendly and enthusiastic. I don't like to be around kids so RCI does not work for me but it offers a good value for families and those looking for a casual cruise experience.

Go to crusiecritic.com and read reviews on the ship and perhaps it will help you make up your mind.
kfusto is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2008, 04:19 PM
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kfusto has given some good advice.
I, too don't want the kids & if this cruise is around the holidays you will find more on-board.

cruisecritic has a plethora of info.
Rhea58 is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2008, 03:06 AM
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A lot depends on length of cruise - in general, the shorter the cruise, the more rowdy/younger and less affluent the cruisers.

Another is, as you noted, expectations. Not as much positive or negative, just what it is. For example, food. Think of it as a big hotel serving 3-6 meals/day for thousands of people in a limited amount of space. You would likely have different expectations than a local independent bistro.

Crowds - again, if a hotel is 100% full for some big convention, your expectations would be different than a cute boutique hotel in a nice city.

We do a variety of travel types, both business and pleasure and enjoy cruises. Sometimes it is nice to not have to make decisions about what to see, where to eat. No worry about getting lost in new area, catching a flight, figuring out transit systems.

If you go, cost is likely to be a consideration. While the stated fee can be almost all-inclusive, remember to add dollars for "not really optional" stuff and then additional optional things. In the first category are tips - most cruise lines will add these to your final bill.

In the other category, the most common is drinks - not just alcohol but specialty coffees, even sodas. Then there is cost for shore "excursions" - and these can vary from nothing if you just want to walk off the ship to a lot if you go on some exotic itinerary.

If you are frequent travelers, have never been on a cruise, and can afford it, I would probably go - then you can decide for yourself. Just a warning - DH and I went on first cruise, a 3-day RCCL cruise that included some business obligations during the day for DH - so we both went for free. We left saying we were not "cruise people" but since have been on several others and truly enjoyed them.
gail is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2008, 12:24 AM
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Cruising is a lot like going to a buffet place. You can sample a lot of different thing within a short time, and it is cheap. For a low fare of about $100 a day per person, you go to 5 different places in 7 days and it included room and board. It is definietly the cheapest way to travel by far.

People crusies for different reasons. We cruise becasue the price is right, and the service usually is decent. We have a choice to find things to do or find a place to hide away from the crowd. Think of it as a flaoting all inclusive resort.

People who "dislike" cruises are usually being sterotyped into categories such as (1) I can't swim, afraid of the water, watched too much Poseidon Adevnture and Titanic movies. (2) Have never been on a shp, worry about getting sea sick. Air and car sickness is bad enough.

All joking aside, people who disliked cruising before trying it will dislike a lot of things and usually has a stong opinion on everything, generally are not open to suggestions or try new things.

Those who had crusied before and did not liked it usually due to a bad previous experience or likes to stay in one place longer, go more in depth etc.

For us, we sample the different places and head back on a second trip and explore places that we liked and want to be more in depth. Of course, we can always take another cruise (same ports)and just do different things on land. A lot of people take the same cruise over and over again (Alaska comes to mind) and have never repeat the same land tour.

We love cruising. It's the people: the staff, the fellow travellers. They are all so friendly.

Have an open mind, don't sweat the small stuffs, be adventurous and you will always have a good time even when diaster strikes.

Eschew is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2008, 08:03 AM
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I like cruising for a variety of reasons. It's an affordable vacation. If you keep your eye on prices (I like vacationstogo.com) you can find bargains. Your transportation, meals and lodging are rolled into one price. You only have to unpack once. Food is generally very good. The ship brings your destinations to you.

So much of liking a cruise is picking the right cruise for you.

Short cruises, three or four days, are typically younger passengers. Longer cruises, especially two weeks or longer, are typically older passengers.

Destination can be literally anywhere. The ones I like to visit on a cruise are places where an eight to ten hour stay is plenty. I wouldn't like a Mediterrainean cruise because the cities have too much to see to adequately cover in a day.

Each ship is like a hotel. Even if they're a chain, some are better run than others. Too many people focus on whether they think they will like the line rather than reviews of the individual ship. Check out cruisecritic.com for reviews.

Know what to expect from your cabin, what you would like and how much you are willing to pay for added ameneties. Some people are happy with a basic cabin because they don't spend much time there, others would be miserable without a balcony.

Understand what is included and what you need to pay extra for. Budget for the extras you want and watch what you are spending. You can easily run up a tab charged to your room that is more than the initial price of the cruise.

I think if you are educated about how cruises work and have an idea what to expect, you will really enjoy a cruise. People who don't like them probably had unrealistic expectations because they didn't do adequate homework.
bdjtbenson is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2008, 08:38 AM
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Think you will be pleasantly surprised, we were when we went on our 1st cruise in 2005 and we have been on one every year since.

Life is made very easy for you, waited on hand and foot, enjoying very good food, go see a show, have a few drinks in one of the many bars then go to bed and wake up someplace else and the whole adventure begins again.

Even better if your enjoying the occasion with a group of friends.
mickrory is offline  
Oct 4th, 2008, 06:36 PM
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If you like being herded around like cows when you do a shore excursion...then go.
If you enjoy stuffing yourself at all meals....then go.
If you don't want to wander around a town and get it's flavor, shop, enjoy a cafe...then go.
If you enjoy 2,000-3,000 people on the boat....then go.
If you kids running around without parents....then go.
If you enjoyed being bored by other people you don't know at the dinner table....then go.
Some people love the above, and do it again and again. I did it once and that was enough.
southeastern is offline  
Oct 5th, 2008, 08:58 AM
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It is obvious that southeastern has neither the temperament or personality to enjoy a cruise. It is a method of travel that is neither superior or inferior to any other method. Citing a bunch of negative stereotypes as absolutes truths does little to further the discussion. And she is the expert with one cruise?

.....If you like being herded around like cows when you do a shore excursion...then go....

OR you could do a little planning ahead of time, research the port, hire a private guide, or grab a good English speaking cab driver to make efficient use of your time on shore. Or simply explore on your own.

.......If you enjoy stuffing yourself at all meals....then go.....
Of course, if you don't have good eating discipline at home then will probably over eat on any trip. Or if we had a big lunch we might skip the evening meal in favor of a little snack a little later. The cruise ship provides the options you get to make the choice.


....If you don't want to wander around a town and get it's flavor, shop, enjoy a cafe...then go......

And how does the cruise ship prevent you from do that? It doesn't -- you are absolutely free to wander. We always have lunch ashore and sometimes that cab driver will take you to a local place that tourist seldom see or maybe where his family goes.


....If you enjoy 2,000-3,000 people on the boat....then go.....

What is the difference between that on a hotel with 2,000 - 3000 guest in large cities. Most cruise ships have massive public spaces and we can always find a quiet corner.


....If you kids running around without parents....then go.....

Kids are kids. Select your cruise with some care and you will see few kids. And, so what, if a few kids are running around.

...If you enjoyed being bored by other people you don't know at the dinner table....then go.....

I can see where you might be bored if you are self-centered and believe your life is more important than others. We have always enjoyed our tablemates and found that most of them have very interesting lives. Of course you have to engage in conversations, ask question, and listen. We thought it was great experience for our sons when they were younger as it taught them how to be polite conversationalists. And if you don't like talking to other people do them a favor and request a private table. They would probably find you equally boring.

....Some people love the above, and do it again and again. ....

You are right some people do love it and go again and again. It is a very economical and convenient way to travel that avoided having to pack and unpack, find and arrange location transportation from one city to city. But like all things yuo need a mind set that allows you to take advantage of the opportunities presented.
fmpden is offline  
Oct 5th, 2008, 02:18 PM
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What a mostly lovely bunch of answers! As you are joining others for a party you do not have the option of doing things your own way. Next time use the internet and then a travel agent cruise specialist. They will ask: where do you like to dine out here in town; what is your idea of the perfect night out?
Ask yourself these questions before you choose your own second cruise. You can find anything you want upon the high seas. We prefer to pay a bit more, avoid holidays and children, have many days at sea and go on small ships with like minded people ( readers, travelers, adventurers, good conversationalists). Have fun at the Birthday Party and don't take it as the example of all cruises.
losarbolitos is offline  
Oct 5th, 2008, 05:56 PM
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If you like seeing a country for 6 hours ...then go.
If you like being docked out from the center of town...then go.
If you like being assigned dinner partners...then go.
If you like tacky evening fun (hairest man contest)...then go.

We did the maiden voyage on the celebrity with 3 other couples from Ansterdam to the Baltics and back. We had fun and as I said earlier, once was enough. We have done small ships- Starclipper, river barges, chartered sail boats and sailed ourselves and enjoyed them. The big cruise ships are totally not my thing. Your question was love or hate cruises. My opinion...there are much better ways to enjoy countries than on a Big Cruise Ship.

southeastern is offline  
Oct 5th, 2008, 06:01 PM
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Fmpden- I never stated my opinions were"absolute truth" and I'm smart enough to know if I didn't think it was the best way to see countries the first time, I wouldn't do it again.
Again, they wanted opinions, I'm assuming they can drawn their own conclusions from the posting and decide for themselves.
southeastern is offline  
Oct 5th, 2008, 07:08 PM
  #18  
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All very helpful.

Again, I realize this particular cruise and ship are not going to WOW us, but it'll be a good way to get our feet wet.

ciaony is offline  
Oct 6th, 2008, 04:02 AM
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As southeasten has pointed out cruising is not for everyone.

We tend to like cruises. It may take few to find your preference. For the mass market ships we prefer Holland Amnerica. NO hairy chest contests[actually have never seen them on any of the cruises we have been on] We don't even go to the shows but prefer to float around the other small entertainment areas.

By the way, most ships now have Anytime, As You Wish or some such name dining where you can dine when and with whom you want. During our 14 day cruise on HA we ate at the time we preferred and had a table for 2 every night!

Ships are leaning away from formal nights as well so don't let the FORMAL NIGHT thing discourage you.

I agree, it is hard to get to know an island, city, etc. in 6 hours. However, it does give you a taste for an area ..liked this for the caribbean.

If you are going with a group of friends it should be fun. At the very least, a learning experience!

GO to cruisecritic.com for tons of info. It's a great forum and very active.
katybird is offline  
Oct 6th, 2008, 08:23 AM
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Or at least it is not for Southeastern. I think all of her IF statements are just silly. In six European cruises we have seldom encountered any of her "IF" statements and when we have there are always very viable alternatives. Unless her nature is to be a sheep and then any of them could be true. I am always suspicious of someone who take one trip, read two guide book, and is suddenly the know all, end all expert on the subject. Maybe all of her "IF" statement should end with, "Don't select Celebrity."

We have never seen any contests on any of our cruise. May be she make up the hairest man just for effect.
fmpden is offline  

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