Help with First Cruise.

Oct 24th, 2007, 12:16 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 43
Help with First Cruise.

Please give us some tips on a first cruise. My husband and I travel in and out of the country,but this will be our first trip to cruise and we want to go to Panama canal for 10-12 days out of Fort Lauderdale. Is Feb. a good time to go? I would like to see as much of Costa Rica as possible. Does one line offer better trips for that then others? Tips on booking also would be appreciated. What to look for in room location and cruise ships. Thanks,ya'll
Westminster is offline  
Oct 24th, 2007, 03:09 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 9,426
Wow! Congrats on your first cruise. I'll try to answer as much as I can:
1. If CR is a priority look at the times in port for that stop to maximize your experience.
2. As for the ships and lines it all varies with what you prefer. Some ships are more formal. Others more casual and so on. A great source for info is: You will find a ton of info about each line, scores of passenger reviews and port tips as well. There are also discussion boards for pratically every cruise line in existence. Ask yourself what style or atmosphere you prefer.
3. As you have never cruised I think booking with a cruise specialist or travel agent would be a good idea.
4. Generally speaking a room lower and amidships is less prone to feel any motion. However I would suggst getting a balcony room. Its more $ but for me its worth it.
5. Here is a site for weather averages all over the globe:
Have fun. Larry
jacketwatch is offline  
Nov 1st, 2007, 02:46 AM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 6

First and foremost, if you have any kind of light issues (SAD - seasonal affective disorder) then be certain you get a room with either a large window or a balcony, because you will hate an inside stateroom. Waking up in the dark, going to bed in the dark is not pleasant.

Are you prone to motion sickness? Here's an article you may find helpful.

Here's another article with tips for choosing a cruise ship.

And one more site which covers all the cruise lines with candid reviews is this site.

Hope that helps. And bon voyage. May all your cruises be delightful affairs.
Babyboomertraveler is offline  
Nov 1st, 2007, 01:02 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 181
What is the size of your ship?

How long are you inport in Costa Rica.?

jmvp is offline  
Nov 13th, 2007, 09:11 PM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 18
The best advice I can give you is to lower your expectations. So many people we have met on trips have been disappointed because they built up the trip so much , it couldn't live up to their expectations. We have learned to tell ourselves that it sounds great in the books, but things will never be like the glossy photos. that way we are always pleasntly surprised when they are. If you go and expect it to be like home, stay home. Many places do things very differently than us and that is why we travel. we celebrate the uniquness of each place we go to. A good idea is to fully research where you are going and what it has to offer. That way you can make the most of the limitted time you have in port and you won't have unexpected surprises. Try to get a balcony on the port side for the best views coming into and leaving poet. Have fun.
marnnirk is offline  
Nov 14th, 2007, 02:57 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 4,238
I did the Panama Canal trip with Princess Cruises.
It was super.
We had a balcony on our room but most of the time especially through the canal it was more fun and a better view to go up on deck.
It also tends to be windy in the evenings so unlikely you would be sitting out there much.
Costa Rica is great, but Panama also offers side trips such as rain forest trams.
As far as motion sickness, the sea bands they sell at the drug store or on board do the trick for most people. You just wear them on your wrists and the pressure points quickly relieve any motion sickness. Much better than drugging yourself up.
irecommend is offline  
Nov 14th, 2007, 06:25 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,162
Please be aware that if the cruise is round trip out of Ft. Lauderdale, you will not transit the entire Canal. The entire Canal is 50 miles and has three set of locks. Some cruises do not even transit the locks but dock at Critobal. Be sure to see if you enter the Canal. It may be listed as Gatun Lake. The only way to transit the entire Canal (other than on a small tour boat through a shore excursion) is to take a Panama Canal cruise that leaves from east coast to west coast or the reverse.

We just arrived home this past Sunday from a 14 day Panama Canal cruise (San Diego to San Juan, PR). It took us almost 12 hours to go throught the Canal. It was awesome. We spent about 4 hours on the helipad watching the operations, three hours on our balcony and the rest on the aft balcony of a friend.

We stopped at Puntarenas, Costa Rica. Tous to the best places are over 7 hours. Limon, on the Atlantic side is closer to the sights. Luckily, my DH and I had spent a two week vacation in CR, so it did not matter that much to us. But, if Costa Rica is top priority, choose a cruise that stops in Limon.

February is considered "dry" season in Costa Rica, but don't let that fool you. It can rain any time. It is hot and humid most of the time. If you go through the Canal, it will probably rain at some point. Luckily for us it did not start raining until we had finished the last ladder of the last lock.

As for inside, outside or balcony, it depends on many things. I sailed once in an inside cabin and NEVER again. I slept the entire cruise because I did not know what time it was. Lowest outside cabin is what we usually get now. (I've been on about 18 cruises) However, for the Canal cruise we went with a balcony cabin and used the balcony everyday. Generally there is less motion on the lower decks and in the middle. I have found that I would rather be forward than in the back of the ship. (I am very prone to motion sickness). When picking a cabin, also check what is on the deck above and below you. You do not want to be above/below the disco or show theatre.

Cruising is fantastic. Bon Voyage!
BarbAnn is offline  
Nov 14th, 2007, 07:47 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 39
Cruises are some of my favorite vacations. You'll have a great time. I frequently monitor, which posts great cruise deals, even last-minute ones.
mysalsa is offline  

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