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Quick cruise beginning of March Bahamas vs Carribbean

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Sep 24th, 2016, 09:04 AM
  #1
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Quick cruise beginning of March Bahamas vs Carribbean

I have never really had a desire to go on a cruise, but so many people love it I figure maybe we will give it a try. This would mostly be a quick trip for my husband and I to get out of the cold, relax and decompress after what is the busiest work time of the year. Have been to some of the Caribbean and loved the beaches and water. Just looking for a comparison of what two similar cruises to each place might offer. Probably a 5 day. Can't do a full week.
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Sep 24th, 2016, 09:09 AM
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Caribbean... 1 R
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Sep 26th, 2016, 01:35 PM
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The shorter the cruise, the bigger the party. Most seasoned cruisers try to avoid short cruises like a plague, especially with 3 days or less.

With that said, there are many good 5 to 6 day short cruises labeled as "sampler" or "getaways".

The departing port will make a difference to the type of cruises you will experience, and the cruise line you choose will make a difference too.

I always recommend 7 days for first time cruisers to get a full cruise experience.

If you like informal, consider Norwegian (NCL).

If you like relaxed and "fun", consider Carnival (CCL) or Royal Caribbean (RCCL).

If you want affordable upscale and relaxing atmosphere, consider Princess or Celebrity, and if you are more mature in age, consider Hollands of America (HAL).

And if you are young at heart, consider Disney. You don't have to be a kid to enjoy Disney Cruises and they offer some of the best 5 day cruises around; and kids are optional.
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Sep 27th, 2016, 09:42 AM
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Thanks for all the great tips Eschew!

I think we are shooting for a 5 day if we can find the right fit and will leave from New Orleans or one of the Florida ports.

I'm curious to hear from those who have cruised in the Bahamas as well as the Caribbean to get a comparison and see which they liked better.
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Sep 27th, 2016, 02:29 PM
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If you have a choice, leave from Florida. Those who leaves from New Orleans are usually older ships.

Many here have cruised Bahamas and the Caribbean but I am not sure what your question was about comparison, is it port or ship or cruise line?
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Oct 4th, 2016, 03:50 PM
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Im curious more about the ports, and which people found more enjoyable.
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Oct 5th, 2016, 09:00 AM
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I would say go Caribbean. The cruise to the Bahamas tend to be older ships and people like to booze it up so I don't think thats what you want.

As this will be your first cruise I don't think its advisable to spend so much like for a luxury cruise line or for a suite either as if you don't like the experience then its money down the drain. However budget permitting you could do that. Just bear in mind a luxury cruise line like Seabourn, Crystal, Oceania and Regent will cost easily double, probably more that the mass market ships.

You would need to pick an itinerary that suits you and then get advice of the particular ship as they all vary as do cruise line styles as Eschew has pointed out. The so called mass market lines provide a good experience usually. We have taken 15 cruises on Princess, Celebrity. Carnival, RCI and NCL and have never been disappointed. Now we are more particular about destination and the ship itself. You would be amazed by what is offered on a ship today. Many people think you do nothing but go from port to port but really there is so much more while in board.

So in sum pick an itinerary that suits your time frame and then get advice about the ship itself and the cruise line. You can always come back here. There are many happy to help.

Cheers and bon voyage, Larry. .
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Oct 6th, 2016, 04:37 AM
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This is true but still the overall cost is way, way more regardless and if you like to drink most cruise companies now have drink packages so even if you add in the extra cost you are still paying way less. Excursions in the Caribbean are very inexpensive if done with private guides and they are plentiful.
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Oct 6th, 2016, 05:12 AM
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Silverseas has one 5 day cruise in March out of San Juan beginning price of $1750.00 pp so at least $3500.00.

Seabourn website shows several cruises for this time frame of 3/2107 but minimum time is 7 days with a beginning price of around $3500.00 to $3700.00 and that is pp so > 7k.

Oceania has nothing less that 10 days for 3/2107.

Regent offers minimum of 10 nights for that time frame for about $4800.00 to $5500.00 pp so well over 10 k.

I searched expedia for 5 night Caribbean cruises in 3/2017 and found > 30 cruises and here are some examples of the cos pp.

Carnival Victory for 4 nights beginning cost $304.00. Add a suite and to goes to $709.00.

RCI Navigator, 5 nights, beginning cost $399.00.

Crown Princess 5 nights beginning cost $579.00.

Celebrity Summit 5 nights, beginning cost $509.00.

Gratuities are about $12.00 pp per day so add say around $200.00 + for that.

I say leave it up to the OP and if the budget allows then yes splurge. Just look into it first.

JM2C.
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Oct 6th, 2016, 08:44 AM
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LTE I see your profile has a link to Crystal cruises. Wow I'll bet you get some great perks. My sons in-laws took their 1st cruise in Sept. on the Symphony which he got as an award. They are spoiled for life. .
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Oct 6th, 2016, 01:44 PM
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Good for you!!
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Oct 6th, 2016, 08:02 PM
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Brenkjtravel,

You have already been given lots of good advice. I am just adding some opinions, so keep in mind, they are only that - opinions, and personal at that. We have done a half dozen Bahamas/Caribbean cruises, sometimes for the particular ports, sometimes for a ship we thought would be fun or just to relax.

Short versus longer.
I think it takes a couple of days to get acclimated to life aboard ship the first time. It might take more time to know if you enjoy it. Longer cruises tend to be on newer, larger ships with many activities and amenities like skating rinks and outdoor movies. The cruise may be itinerary driven, oriented towards shipboard activities or both. The shorter cruises are usually on older ships, so fewer (though not necessarily inferior) entertainments.

Ship size and lines.
I have discovered that I love being at sea - on almost any ship, old or new, small or large (though I prefer mid to large size), lots to do or nothing to do, anyplace, except for day cruises, which I hate. However, if my first cruise had not been so wonderful, I might not ever have known that. It was on a brand new, 5*, large (not mega) Princess ship, 7 days in the Southern Caribbean in winter. It was love from the moment we stepped on and remains my favorite cruise. OTOH, another favorite cruise was on a small, 25 year old ship about to be sold to a really low end line. I knew that, so my expectations were low. We just wanted a winter break. It surprised me. Though in dire need of refurbishing, it had charm, and I kept wishing I had sailed on it when it was new. Evidently, many passengers felt the same, and made pleas to the company. At the last minute, they decided to keep and refurbish it this year. A cruise to look forward to.

Bahamas versus Caribbean?
Each area has some really special places, and though I currently favor the Southern Caribbean, it would be hard to pick. The problem is, only longer cruises have time to get from Florida to the Caribbean. Only cruises departing from Puerto Rico have time to get to the far Southern Caribbean.

Departure ports.
For a few weeks in winter, the Gulf, especially Texas ports, sometimes gets fog and cruises can be delayed arriving or departing by hours.
Ft Lauderdale: easy airport and nice sail-a-ways.
Miami: nice sail-a-ways
Puerto Rico: great place to sail from, hotels and restaurants, my personal favorite departure port anywhere.

Sea days.
Some people love sea days. Others don't. I expected to be bored on sea days, but now I love them and have done TA crossings. Do you want to laze on the ship or be on shore on a beach, snorkeling, etc? Think about it when you choose the itinerary.

Your dilemma.
I agree that a bad first experience might turn you off to cruising, and from reading some of your trip reports, I know you appreciate good food and fun things to do. That does not mean you have to do an expensive Crystal cruise to get that.
There are plenty of other ships that offer wonderful service and great food and stop at interesting ports. However, with a short cruise, you are likely to sacrifice some of both - the luxury of the newer ships or upscale lines, and the wider choice of ports. So, the real issue is finding a short cruise that has enough of both to give you a satisfying experience. Can you find a short cruise that will give you the pleasure of your Cancun trip? I don't know.

Look at vacationstogo.com to see everything available during your time frame.
Then, join cruisecritic.com and read all the reviews for the ships you are looking at and the itineraries they offer. You can ask more questions there too.
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Oct 6th, 2016, 11:03 PM
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There are so many ports that it's hard to list them all.
What do you like? History? Culture? water sports? Zip line? Trek and hikes? Discovery? Beaches? Shopping? Food? I have seldom come across a port I didn't find things to do. Yes, there are ports that I avoided for a number of reasons, example: Ocho Rios. It was a turn off for me with the aggressive street vendors. I heard it is better now. But still, at Ocho Rios, with Dunn River Falls, the Gardens, Museum, they are all interesting places.

I won;t go cheap on the first cruise but I won't go too high end either. Here is my suggestion for a well rounded cruise line: Princess or Celebrity would be my first choice. RCL would be next in the preferred list, with Carnival next, and NCL bringing in the rear.

I though food on Princess and Celebrity is notch above the other 3.

I did not recommend HAL as their passengers are typically older.
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Jan 10th, 2017, 10:15 AM
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We are going pretty basic. One night and day in Orlando then 4 day cruise to the Bahamas, Freeport and Nassau. Recommendations for shore excursions or things to see at those ports?
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Jan 11th, 2017, 01:15 PM
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For Bahamas, Freeport and Nassau, it's most beaches, beaches and more beaches. There are the so call "shopping" as well.

The 4 to 5 day cruises to the Bahamas usually with much older ships, and your fellow passengers younger and more activities into all hours of the night.

If you do not fit that activity or age category, I would suggest a 7 day cruise for an entirely different experience.
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Jan 11th, 2017, 05:40 PM
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What port are you departing from? What ship did you choose?
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Jan 12th, 2017, 02:15 AM
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Sass, the very short cruises usually depart from Miami. There are even 1 day over-nighter or 2 days round trip cruises.
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Jan 19th, 2017, 02:14 PM
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"I did not recommend HAL as their passengers are typically older." The horror, the horror!

Brenkjtravel, if you're in Orlando overnight, I assume you'll be embarking from Port Canaveral?
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Jan 22nd, 2017, 03:03 PM
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I usually do a cruise once a year and love them. Sadly I won't do one in 2017... anyways
I highly recommend them. They are a great way to relax. I personally have been to the Bahamas twice on cruises and haven't been too impressed.
However I have been on 5+ different Caribbean cruises and think they are great. I would like to try a European one in the future just because I've been on so many carribean ones but they are truly amazing.

St. Thomas is one of my favorite cruise destinations I've been to. We did scuba diving there. Barbados was another amazing one where we did a catamaran boat ride. It was a stop on a southern carribean cruise we did.
If you're doing a 5 day cruise you might not be able to go as far as we did. However, leaving Florida there will some great options.

I have tried Royal a Carribean, Norwegian, and Carnival. I feel as if Carnival is a better fit for families with children because of some of the things it has to offer. While RCL and NCL are a better fit for couples, in my mind. If I had to pick one cruise line I would probably pick RCL, though it tends to be a bit more expensive.
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Feb 28th, 2017, 02:45 PM
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We will be arriving In Orlando early and would like to possibly visit the Kennedy Space Center before boarding the cruise. Is this a feasible option and what would the best ground transportation choice be?
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