First cruise help needed!

Jan 4th, 2004, 08:44 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 74
First cruise help needed!

Gave the kids a choice of vacations this year and a budget. They choose three days in Orlando staying at a cheap hotel and using existing Disney passes from a past trip. And, they want to go on a cruise! Our ages are Mom and Dad 40, son 13, daughters 12 and 10.

Travel will be right after school lets out in early June to mid July depending on any deal we can get.

We will be driving from Cleveland mid week and expect to arrive in Orlando Wednesday sometime. So we hit the parks Thursday and Friday then start the cruise on Saturday.

This is out first cruise and need some advise.

Would like to keep the price around $800 per person. Realize that this may keep us in the Carnival line, but if spending another $100 - 200 a head guarantees us a better time, then it may be worth it. Figure Dad and son will be in one cabin, mom and the girls in another.

We would like to cruise out of Tampa or Port Canaveral to keep the drive home to a minimum, but again if we can get a great cruise price and value out of the Miami area we will consider driving the extra three hours.

Ports are not important, just as long as we can get to a beach. Don?t expect to spend much on excursions. Would much rather upgrade the cruise than spend $600 for the five of use to do a fancy day trip. Mom would like to see the Caymans, and we have been to the Yucatan with the kids in the past.

Looking for seven days, but five will also work. We could use the extra two days to saunter back to Cleveland driving up the coast and seeing some of those sites as well.

So - to the cruise experts in this forum - where would you spend your hard earned dollars with these facts?

Thanks to all for your help with this?

Stash is offline  
Jan 4th, 2004, 01:52 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 261
Hi, I think they would really enjoy a cruise...probably any cruise.
To check sailings and prices I would go to "" and click on 'departure ports' and then search. Then you can select any port (ae. Tampa, Miami, etc), month and length (go with any) and it will list the ships and prices (click down on date and price shown for the rest of the sailings for that month). It is a good, easy site for info.
I would shoot for a 7 day if you have the time and the price is acceptable because you will have fun and not want to see it end!
I'd probably register with icruise so that you can go through their whole process in order to get a complete cruise price. There's no obligation and it is a good pricing point, whether you book through them or go through a TA in your area. I've always used a TA but should I see a really good deal that she can't get close to, I might try booking online.
Also, I've read many time on this site and others that the very best prices are on a site called ''.
Well, I just priced 3 cruises (make sure date and category are the same however you check) and they were about $200 cheaper on the Conquest out of NO and almost exactly the same on RCCL out of Galveston and NCL out of Houston.

Good luck on your search!
esd is offline  
Jan 5th, 2004, 11:34 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 261
oops, I should have explained that I prices 3 identical cruises on icruise and cruisequick and the above was the outcome!
esd is offline  
Jan 5th, 2004, 01:30 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,095
I suppose a Disney Cruise would be more expensive. Beings you are going to be there they have combination cruise/ parks, but I don't think they are for 7 days. Just a thought to ponder. Also Disney may be a bit childish for your group. I would also check I have found them to be reasonable. I would stick with RCCL or Carnival given the age of the kids. Good luck.
diann is offline  
Jan 5th, 2004, 05:45 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 9,426
Hello Stash: The best prices I have seen for cruises and land have been with Costco. This is a buying club like Sams and I do not know if there is one in the Cleveland area. Anyway we just booked a Hawaiian land package and paid less with them for the same deal that any competitor I found had and that INCLUDED a daily breakfast AND car whereas the others were hotel only. We also paid less for our Carib. cruise last summer and the Med. cruise in 2002. I would tell you how much we saved for a So. Pac. trip but you wouldn't believe it. Try them online You do have to be a member which is about $40.00 per yr. Hope this helps. Bon voyage!
jacketwatch is offline  
Jan 6th, 2004, 12:27 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 90
Hi Stash,

Take a look at "last minute cruise deals ??" in this section.

If you can sit tight until April (even May) you will get much better prices. With cruises it's either book way in advance or wait until the last minute- and then last minute is best of all.

From Tampa you'll probably get that stop at Georgetown in the Caymans Mom wants - I believe most cruises from Tampa are Western Caribbean.

You're right. Probably even waiting until the last minute you'll be paying more on a Disney cruise - but those cruises have their advantages - great activities for the kids.

Since you're driving, please don't limit yourself to Tampa or Canaveral. Check what you can get out of Lauderdale or Miami. Take the Florida Turnpike out of Orlando. It doesn't take that much time to get to southern FL from there. You'll already be spending over an hour to get to Tampa or Canaveral.

If you find a discount cruise using a search engine - call the toll-fre number that's usually listed. Very few are pushy - just call one of the other numbers if that is the case. I've found that most of the reps take pride in finding you a cruise that makes you -and them - proud.
ziggy is offline  
Jan 6th, 2004, 06:06 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 92
There will be fewer cruise deals from Florida in June due to ships relocating to Alaska and Europe thus there is less supply but at $800 a head you'll be all right. Remember only the 1st 2 people in a cabin pay full price while the 3rd, 4th (or 5th sometimes) will be reduced, sometimes for only the port charges(if u r lucky). Check into getting a cabin that holds 5(there are some)if you want to save some money but those rooms book early and they are few in number. Also check into getting connecting rooms. At the rate you mentioned don't be put off by an inside room, you'll spend less time in your room than you think (especially your kids) and you'll save big. (rule of thumb) Ships leaving from Port Canaveral almost never go the Wertern route but usually include a beach day, while ships leaving from Tampa almost always go Western and never have a beach day. Also for a 1st cruise Carnival is a great choice especially with kids (they will love it) but RCCL is a good upgrade. Remember that parking your car for a week or 5 days at a port will cost around $10 to $12 a day. Many Hotels in the port area will let you park your car for free and let you use their shuttle if you rent a room for a night, thus you can park your car and get a room for the price of parking alone, something to look into. Also I would not book at the last second for this time of year due to the demand(less ships, kids out of school, ect.) Also consider a 3 or 4 day cruise especially from Canaveral as this will give you the flavor of a cruise without breaking the bank. In addition to the web sites mentioned also check out (which is also and I've had very good luck with them as well as the others. There are ways to save on excursions in ports but that is another topic, book your cruise first.
Happy travels, CB
cbo86 is offline  
Jan 6th, 2004, 09:30 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 25
I have been searching for cruise price (trip to Alaska this year). Found the lowest at, didn't book with them and found an excellent agent who matched their price. No agency fee if you cancel, charges $75 pxn for cancellation on top of whatever cruise line's guideline. If you are interested, let me know and I can send you the agent name. She is wonderful!
elmo2003 is offline  
Jan 6th, 2004, 09:46 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,110
This website is good in that you pick the port you want to cruise from and it lists the ships, which helps narrow it down.
As to travel agent, I've booked three cruises so far through Great customer service. Don't ask me why, but sometimes emailing them directly gets a cheaper price then just searching their website, and no cancellation fees.
You can also find tons of info at
cruisin_tigger is offline  

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