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Which cruise line for northern Europe cruise

Which cruise line for northern Europe cruise

Jul 8th, 2004, 08:16 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2004
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Which cruise line for northern Europe cruise

My husband and I have travelled extensively over the decades, but have neverbeen much interested in cruises. (We're active types-- don't much enjoy sitting still.) But now that we're getting up in years(70's), and are a little tired of self-driving tours, making all the arrangements ourselves, etc. we think we're ready to try a cruise. There seem to be so many cruise ships and companies-- I have no idea where to begin. We want top of the line or near top of the line-- BUT we really don't like the idea of having to "dress" for dinner-- just not our style. On the "better" ships is that necessary? Do ships have king size beds? Also: when one books a cruise, is it best to book directly with the cruise line or some other way?

I'll have questions about what kind of cabin to ask for later-- though my guess would be that the higher the better and the more towards the middle the better? But I really know next to nothing about cruising (except that we're sailors). Am eager to learn! And very appreciative of any help old-timers can give. Thanks!
poss is offline  
Jul 8th, 2004, 09:35 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 288
I could probably answer this better when we return, but here goes. My husband and I are on NCL's Dream Aug. 5-12.

We're departing Dover and visiting Warnemunde/Berlin, Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallinn and Copenhagen. Right after departing Dover, we'll be transiting the Kiel Canal for about 12 hours.

NCL offers "Freestyle" dining, so the 2 formal nights are optional.

They slide the two twin beds together to make a large double/queen.

My mother-in-law booked this through her TA. Personally, I prefer to book directly through the cruiseline.

I hope this is helpful!!

Happy Sailing!
Rosemary1 is offline  
Jul 8th, 2004, 11:01 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 375
Poss:

Yes, I agree. Since this is your 1st cruise, I would visit a local travel agency and ask lots of questions.

I did northern Europe (Iceland and beyond with Princess) but the Baltics with Celebrity. My favorite is Celebrity but she leans toward the more formal end.

You mentioned the higher up the cabins the better---not necessarily. You will feel more motion up there, but since you are sailors that will probably not be a problem. If you don't wish to do lots of walking, book a cabin near the elevators.

As for booking, find the ship you wish to sail and the dates, cabin category---then do some comparison shopping. NEVER pay brochure prices! I have booked most of my cruise through the world's largest cruise agency called CruisesOnly.com They have never let me down with their service.

Pick up some brochures of various cruise lines, take a look at the pictures---see what they are wearing and what activities they are engaged in. Some TA even have videos that they will loan out to you to watch and get a better idea of cabins, activites, venues, ports, etc.

Narrow down your search then come back to us and ask some more questions. There are plenty of us who love cruising and will be willing to answer your questions if we can.

Happy searching!!
Cruiser is offline  
Jul 8th, 2004, 01:37 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
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You folks sound as though you might be candidates for a Lindblad Expedition in northern Europe. Our experience with Lindblad has been in Galapagos and Mexico. As the company name suggests, the cruises are quite active--lots of walking, kayaking, snorkel/scuba (in warmer waters!) and exploring by zodiak. The focus is on interpretation and education, lectures on deck, on land, in the lounge--the passengers tend to be interesting and interested people. Informality rules--no need to dress for dinner. Check out their website: www.expeditions.com
goforfun is offline  
Jul 8th, 2004, 02:29 PM
  #5  
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Thank you very very much to all the responders so far. We live a little out in the boonies-- no decent travel agent hereabouts. That's why I wanted to ask a bunch of questions from Fodor people (also, even when we lived in Baltimore, I've learned that travel agents usually know less about details than travelers. I know that travel agents of course do "travel," but somehow they're often not able to answer some of the kinds of questions I have.)

No one has yet mentioned Holland America Lines. I'd be interested in feedback on that company. To the person who mentioned Celebrity: If you've got the time and inclination, I'd appreciate if you could note a few of the reasons for your favoring that line.

Thanks to all!
poss is offline  
Jul 8th, 2004, 04:42 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
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We have been on five Holland America cruises and are more than satisfied with every one we've been on......We always stay on either Veranda or Navigation decks, always get a balcony(except one cruise that was not a scenic one), not the largest suites, but the smaller ones that are very generous in size, closet space, veranda space, large beds. The service has always been sensational, crew delightfully friendly, cheerful, eager to help and excellent food...may cost a little more, but that is the way we want to travel.
desertduds is offline  
Jul 8th, 2004, 05:03 PM
  #7  
 
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I am a 62 widowed female. I love cruises because I no longer want the hassles of packing, repacking, carrying (lugging) luggage booking tours, finding guides etc. I think you are going to both love cruising and also be impatient with some of the aspects. Because I look for itinary first and then price a close second, I have cruised with a wide variety of lines. The only line that I will never travel with again is HAL because of a new (as of May 2004) gratuities policy that I think is exploitive of the people who serve in the cabins and dining rooms. That hasn't stopped me from booking again in October. There are so many good lines from which to choose. Celebrity or Royal Caribbean are excellent IMO but I'd go with Crystal if the price and itinary were right. I like the smaller ships and level of service.
As for dressing for dinner, I've found that those who choose early seating are less likely to do the evening gown/tux route. I've been very comfortable in a crushable black velvet outfit with a scarf etc. I've seen men in dress suits and turtle necked shirts. If you ask to see the cruise line's evening wear for rent you'll have a good idea of what the basics are. That said, dressing up, going for a aperatif, dining in luxury and then going to a night club or theatre is a pleasant way to spend an evening. And since you don't have to carry all those bags yourself, well ... why not?
everittp is offline  
Jul 8th, 2004, 07:49 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: May 2003
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We took a Baltic/Scandinavian cruise on the Orient Lines ship Marco Polo last summer. The itinerary was fabulous, and there are no formal mights. It's a smaller ship (approx 780 pass), which appealed to us.
abram is offline  
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