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First time cruiser just returned...my thoughts

First time cruiser just returned...my thoughts

Old Sep 6th, 2004, 04:05 PM
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First time cruiser just returned...my thoughts

My husband and I just returned from our first cruise, 7 wonderful days in Alaska. Prior to going I spent a lot of time lurking here at Fodors and reading posts, some which gave me serious reservation whether cruising was for us. We decided to give it a try reasoning what's a week even under not perfect conditions. We went in with a very open mind.

Some of my concerns were the additional cost and the shock of getting a large $$ship invoice at the end of the week; being confined to a ship and feeling claustrophobic inside our cabin; being disappointed in the food quality; feeling like I was just a # amongst so many passengers; having a disappointed husband saying "never again", and motion sickness.

I'm pleased to report that none of this was the case! At the end of a week our ship invoice was less than $50 (purchased some souvenir photographs and booked our own excursions separately), the food was outstanding...fresh salmon, Alaskan king crab and lobster to name a few, wine was more than acceptable even to my finicky husband and the choice of after dinner cordials was fine. We were in the least expensive category but loved our cabin. We probably took 100 photos just from our balcony of the gorgeous scenery. The staff and fellow passengers could not have been any nicer. We made some lasting friendships and even have plans to have a reunion party with another couple. If all goes well, we'll be on our 2nd cruise in the Caribbean in March.

This was the best way to have spent our 10th anniversary that I can imagine. For others like myself that start getting cold feet after reading about negative experiences and disenchanting cruises, don't cancel (we almost did). Like us, you may find that cruising is for you and it may far exceed your expectations. Alaska is such a beautiful state and someday we hope to return.
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Old Sep 6th, 2004, 04:14 PM
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What cruiseline / ship were you on.

For your own sanity, before booking a March cruise, ask when Spring Break is. We made that mistake a few years ago and ended up on a booze cruise (Princess) loaded with loud and drunk college kids NON-STOP!
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Old Sep 6th, 2004, 04:15 PM
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What cruise ship were you on?

If the cheapest cabin had a balcony like you said, I may have to check into this ship!

Thanks for taking the time to give your review.

So glad you had a great time!!
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Old Sep 6th, 2004, 04:35 PM
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We were on a ship called the Mariner and in Cabin 739, category H. Since this was our first cruise, I really have no basis for comparison between other ships ?? All I know is that this ship was very clean, well maintained, good chefs and the staff was wonderful!
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Old Sep 6th, 2004, 04:43 PM
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I just double checked and the cruise line is "Radisson Seven Seas Cruises".
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Old Sep 6th, 2004, 04:51 PM
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Actually you started close to the top as far as cruise lines go. No wonder all went so well. Good choice!
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Old Sep 7th, 2004, 06:02 AM
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On most cruise lines, wine, cordials, even soda are all extras and that's why the end of cruise bill can add up. You either pay upfront or at the end. Our preference is to pay as we go and pick and choose those items we enjoy as opposed to having it added in upfront and then feel we subsidized those who overindulge because it's already paid for.

With todays megaships, it's hard to feel claustrophobic regardless of the line.

Motion sickness is generally a function of the sea conditions on a particular day and your own suspectibility.

We are heading off on our 12th cruise next month, and enjoyed everyone of them regardless of the ship, line, destination or weather.

Glad you enjoyed your cruise.

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Old Sep 7th, 2004, 12:12 PM
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Glad you had a great time...just goes to show how dicey some of these supposedly "unbiased" cruise reviews are..they are TOTALLY BIASED.

If you continue cruising you are bound to have a few "disappointments" along the way but those often depend on your own expectations.

Coming away from a cruise with a large ship invoice obviously depends a great deal on what you decide to spend your money on (or not).

But I think the bottom line question is always "Did you enjoy it?" If the answer is "Yes" then everyone else's "experience" becomes irrelevant.
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Old Sep 8th, 2004, 06:30 AM
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luv2fly, you mention a good point. I'd hate to get caught up in a overly wild crowd in March. I will have to research this further. We don't know what ship or itinerary to try next. It will be hard to match our recent cruise!
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Old Sep 8th, 2004, 09:27 AM
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Many people said they didn't wish to subsidize other's overindulgence by paying for "all-inclusive" ships. I have not seen people drunk or piling their plates mile high at buffet on "inclusive" ships, while I have seen those over-indulgence many times in regular 'pay as you go' lines.
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Old Sep 9th, 2004, 11:55 AM
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Glad to hear you enjoyed it. You sound like my husband before we took our first cruise to Bermuda. I begged him to go and he was the one who loved it and I said never again (although we are going again in Oct on the Star Princess this time to the Caribbean). We went to Bermuda on Celebrity's Horizan and we had horrible seas coming home, it happened during dinner and people just got up and left their tables but we were all stranded where we were and people were just kind of dropping and staff was handing out the little you know what bags. Walking was impossible and we all just held on and hung on to one another. Our cabin was fine (no port hole) which was great because we felt very safe and protected in there, the special event nights were nice,staff was wonderful, our bar bill was not too huge and Bermuda was beautiful. But the whole experience kind of reminded me of being on a floating Holiday Inn. In October we are traveling with relatives from Florida who picked the Caribbean, but if I had the time and the money I would like to cruise to either Alaska or Greece. However visiting Bermuda made the whole trip worthwhile.
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 12:20 PM
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Lambert, I enjoyed reading about your experience returning from Bermuda but so sorry about the seas. I have heard about the rough seas one can encounter. I'm not sure I could spend a week in a room without at least a window. Actually, after spending a week with a balcony, I'm not sure I'd be willing to give that up either. I've often read here that people don't spend much time in their cabin. I can only say that this is probably what is said by those that have an inside or a very small cabin i.e. "Get me out of here!". I think if you have a bit more spacious cabin, especially with a balcony you are very comfortable spending time there. As in our case, we spent a great deal of time standing on our balcony watching the gorgeous sites, sometimes in our bathrobes taking photos, or enjoying the crisp air or just sipping a glass of wine. We spent time on the upper outside decks as well but really enjoyed the privacy of our own cabin. All this spoken after ONE CRUISE so you know what an authority I am!

You compared your ship with the Holiday Inn. I suppose everyone has their own interpretation of what this means. To me, a Holiday Inn is right in the middle (as are Marriotts and Hiltons) about 1/2 way in between a Motel 6 and a Ritz Carlton. If this is also your reference point, than I would say the Mariner that we recently sailed on was certainly above that in physical appearance and service. It may not have been a Ritz Carlton or Four Seasons but it was certainly mcuh nicer than a Marriott or Holiday Inn.

I'm curious as to why you chose the Star Princess for your Caribean cruise? Maybe I should consider this as well for our Spring cruise in the Caribbean. This may be one of the gigantic ships and in this case, I'd prefer something smaller or maybe mid-size. Now that I'm home, I can't wait to get busy and book our next cruise.
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 12:39 PM
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We have always done the fly and stay vacation. Our thoughts were that we were not nearly old enough to do a cruise. Our ten year wedding anniversary was coming up and my husband said "Let's try a cruise." We just returned 2 days ago. We chose to go to Bermuda as we had never been there before. We were seeking something where we would actually be gone right on our anniversary. We took the Radisson Seven Seas Navigator. Although it was pricey, the all-suites and balcony was very appealing. We were able to fly to NY to catch it, only a two hour flight for us. Another plus. The food was excellent. Both buffet's and the menu restaurants. It was true luxury. The ocean was untamed and I did get motion sickness, but the rest of it was beautiful. They indulged our every whim. We WILL cruise again.
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 01:29 PM
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To Patsyjeano. You'll be extremely unhappy on Princess as your point of reference is Radisson. Don't even think about it.
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Old Sep 11th, 2004, 07:24 PM
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Patsyjeano, I had nothing to do with planning the Princess cruise as we are going with my inlaws and my mother-in-law planned the whole thing. The only thing I had to do was pay for it. As for the balcony cabin, our relatives all have balcony cabins except for us. We again chose the cabin with no porthole because we liked it not because we couldn't afford it. When those seas were rolling and the ship was rocking that dark quiet room was the only place we could get any relief. I'm not really looking forward to Princess because I've heard it described as like being at the mall on Christmas Eve. Sounds kind of unappealing to me but thats what happens when you let relatives do the planning. Also I would have definitely picked some place other than our route. I'm interested in more than sun, beaches, and swimming with dolphins, even if I am leaving from the cold northeast. Oh well, maybe next time!
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