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Catherine Jan 3rd, 2003 09:42 AM

Would I like a cruise?
We are considering our first cruise. I've posted a similar question on the cruise forum, but as one poster pointed out: most everyone on that forum loves cruises and I may not be getting both sides of the story. I'm looking for all views, thus the post here...<BR><BR>We usually travel fairly loosely - no itenarary, using local transportation or renting a car. Dislike tours, waiting in lines and being treated like cattle. Lived in Japan for a couple years, traveled quite a bit of Asia, Europe and US, and to Middle East and Central America.<BR><BR><BR>We have not been to Carribean and I'm looking for a warm getaway for my daughter's spring break. Thought a cruise might work for us as they claim to have something for everyone aboard?<BR><BR>What have your experiences with cruising been? Especially in light of your usual travel style? Thanks for any insight you can offer.

aaa Jan 3rd, 2003 09:56 AM

I saw your thread on the other forum. I don't think others can tell you anymore than what you have been told. If you don't know yourself and family well enough to decide after all the input that has been provided then who else can give you an answer. Why don't you just do it, go for it, and let us know how what you thought when you return.

doc Jan 3rd, 2003 10:02 AM

I subscribe to the theory that we should try everything once. Take the cruise,if you don't like it,take no more. I have been on one cruise and will never go again,thats just me. You may enjoy it. Search different cruise lines to find something to your style and where you would like to go. One thing about cruises is they are an inexpensive vacation for what you get to see and do.

Me Jan 3rd, 2003 10:05 AM

do you like diarrea? throwing up?<BR>

John Jan 3rd, 2003 10:19 AM

We were in the same boat a year ago - skeptical of cruising, but really needing a sunbreak, only having a week or 10 days, and not inclined to expend the effort in researching, etc. The choice was between a week on a boat and a week on the beach in some resort (most likely Hawaii). We'd done the resort thing before and frankly the boat held more appeal from the economic as well as the variety angles. Granted the cabin was smaller than a hotel room, but, with a balcony, always on the ocean front :) - the food was plentiful if not always great, and we could plan to get off the ship and explore several islands (So. Caribbean) if we chose, rather than just one. <BR><BR>We enjoyed ourselves immensely - had a chance to see places we'd never get to independently, rented cars and poked around the back country on a couple of islands, went to a couple of shows on the ship - one cheesy, one surprisingly good; hung out poolside on &quot;sea days&quot;, and really, really enjoyed evening walks on the deck and drinks on the balcony with nothing out there but dark water. There were plenty of &quot;activities&quot; for those that wanted them - movies, classes, casino, aerobics, etc., and some kids programs (not all ships are the same in this regard). The cruise line tried to push overpriced shore excursions but we declined and explored on our own and it was fine. One benefit was meeting all sorts of interesting people among the crew - mainly East Europeans on our ship, and learning a lot about the cruise business from the employees' viewpoint. We lost a little in the casino (world's tightest slots) and skipped the chocolate buffet. <BR><BR>Bottom line, it was very relaxing, good value, and we'll do it again.

Collette Jan 3rd, 2003 10:24 AM

From your description I would say you should avoid Carnival Cruise Line and go for the smaller ond more sophisitcated ships. I've cruised alot and you can be one of the cattle or you can do your own thing in all the ports as well as on board. I liked dressing up in the evening and being able to separate from my traveling companion at the time ( sister).. eg. we could go our separate ways on the ship and meet plenty of people. Also loved the days at sea, just lying by pool ,reading and conversering with interesting people. I would suggest you check out Celebrity, maybe Princess and Royal Carribean or Crystal if you are rich.... Agree that if you're curious you should try it once. You will either hate it or love it and want to do it again.

Kris Jan 3rd, 2003 10:25 AM

We've been on 5 cruises (Alaska, Caribbean and 3 in Europe), usually taking them as an efficient way to see several cities on one vacation without packing and moving around. You are not required to do anything with the folks on the ship if you don't choose to and can arrange your shore excursions on your own, the Caribbean is very easy as you can arrange them on shore when you get off the ship.<BR><BR>That being said, the Caribbean cruise was the only one that I would not recommend because of the similarity in the ports. I felt like every day we were just &quot;driving&quot; around to the other side of the same island, having pretty much the same experience every day.<BR><BR>I would much prefer to choose one destination and stay there for my vacation. You can select anything from a low budget hotel to a high priced all inclusive resort. There may be some deals out there this year on cruises due to all the bad press but I've found that a land vacation usually tends to be less expensive than a cruise, esp. if you live near one of the larger US cities and can take advantage of the package companies like Apple or FunJet.<BR><BR>If you do select a cruise, do a little homework on the ports and the type of passengers that typically are on that line.

natalie Jan 3rd, 2003 11:28 AM

Hi Catherine! Like you, my husband and I travel fairly extensively having seen most of the US and Europe. Hubby had been pushing to try a cruise for about a year after hearing so many rave reviews. I kept saying &quot;nah&quot;. Finally last Feb I gave in and we had such a wonderful time we're going again next month. I would suggest starting with a short cruise (4-5 day itinerary) to see how you like it. Eastern Carib. cruises out of Miami have port stops each day so you don't spend any full days at sea. This year we've graduated to our first week long cruise and will have 2 full days at see, we'll see how we like it; ) As others may have suggested make sure you wear a sea sickness patch - I never had motion sickness but even with the patch I did get a little dizzy one day with mildly rough waters. I think you will be pleasantly surprised should you decide to do for it! Have a great trip!

Jette Jan 3rd, 2003 11:48 AM

Hey Catherine, nice to see you over here! Hopefully you'll get some balance from the other Fodorites. Here's my personal take on what the cruise ships don't tell you.<BR>The food: Standards vary by ship but why do we have German/French/American et al nights while in the Caribbean? Where's the local cuisine? No where on ship and there's not enough time to have diner off the ship.<BR>Time: Sounds like 8 hours per island is enough right?? Not when you compete with 2500 other tourists all disembarking at the same time and certainly not if you really want to experience a locale.<BR>Days at sea: I like lazy days sitting by the pool but not with 1000 other people in lounge chairs jammed so tightly together you literally have to climb over them.<BR>Ship stabalizers: I saw lots of sick folks (including my daughter)on calm days. Some people are more susceptible to motion sickness and not all remedies work as well as advertised. Ofcourse you won't know this until several hours too late.<BR><BR>It is certainly a cheap way to spend a week or so on the water and I loved the sound of the water lulling me to sleep through my open balcony door.<BR><BR>Finally remember the cruise industry uses the slogan, &quot;The ship IS the destination&quot;.<BR><BR>Whatever you decide, have a great trip with your daughter. The time you spend together is whats really important.

Jen Jan 3rd, 2003 12:24 PM

&quot;I would suggest starting with a short cruise (4-5 day itinerary) to see how you like it.&quot;<BR><BR>I disagree with this comment. Most cruise lines put their older ships on the 4-5 day itineraries. There is a lot of difference between the newer ships and the older ships especially on Carnival and Royal Carribean.<BR><BR>

natalie Jan 3rd, 2003 12:29 PM

That was my comment above. The older ship thing didn't bother me as I was more concerned w/ rather or not I'd like cruising in general. This year I'll be going on a brand new ship &amp; can't wait!

x Jan 3rd, 2003 01:40 PM

What I like about a cruise is that once I've picked which itinerary I want I don't have to make a lot of other choices. It's an easy vacation. The Caribbean islands are not all alike (sorry, Kris, I disagree with your statement, that's like saying all big cities are the same). And I think you'd get a more varied itinerary on a 7 - 10 cruise, find one that doesn't have a lot of days at sea. I do like having the first day at sea just to get relaxed from the hassle of getting to the port, embarkation, and to get to know the ship a little.<BR><BR>Finally, what I like most about cruising is that I can get to a bunch of different places, and then decide where I want to go back and spend more time on my own.

travellyn Jan 3rd, 2003 02:01 PM

My husband and I I like cruising, which is a little odd since we mostly do independent travel otherwise. We are not late night party types, more the get-up-early-and-hike types.<BR><BR>We have found that we do well on the more adventurous shore excursions (e.g. sea kayaking + snorkeling), renting a car, or hiring a taxi to take us around. We've learned that it's worth spending more money than we'd like on shore excursions, because the destinations are a big part of why we go, not just for the ship.<BR><BR>We've never gambled on a cruise, but we think the shows are okay. We like good food and service over entertainment.<BR><BR>Out of 3 Carribean cruises so far, we have liked Celebrity best. Norwegian Crise line had the best activities, but the worst ship and the worst food. Carnival was too crowded. No matter which cruise line you choose, you're going to be treated like cattle and waiting in line a little, possibly a lot.<BR><BR>It's worth buying the latest guide to cruise destinations and cruise ships to help make your decision about lines and iteneraries if you decide to go.

Lenore Jan 3rd, 2003 02:29 PM

My husband and I have similar tastes to Travellyn above, except that we like gambling too. We have never taken an escorted land based trip, and probably never will. We like bumping around on our own and discovering little gems along the way.<BR><BR>However, cruising is just so darn easy. You get to see a lot of places (which are NOT all the same) without the expense of flying to each of the destinations. You can be as busy or lazy as you want. You never have to worry about where you'll eat next, and if you don't like what you ordered, they'll bring you something different. Some of the entertainment is good, but if you don't like it you just get up and leave! There definitely is a certain amount of &quot;herding&quot;, but how else can you move 2000 people on and off a ship? We've been on 6 cruises over the past 4+ years and loved them all. We don't consider any of them to be in our top three vacations, but that doesn't mean we didn't totally enjoy ourselves. Stick with one of the better cruislines like Celebrity, Princess or Holland America....and enjoy!

Kris Jan 3rd, 2003 03:38 PM

Perhaps it was our itinerary, but that's honestly how I felt when we were on it. I've traveled quite a bit (Europe/Central America/US and Asia) mostly independently, and out of all those trips it's the only one I remember unfondly. St. Thomas, Barbados, St. Barts (unscheduled stop instead of St. Maarten), St. Kitts all blend together in my head. The only place we enjoyed was St. Lucia.<BR><BR>I'm not knocking cruising in general, I enjoy it immensely when we have a full itinerary of interesting cities to visit. For warmer beach destinations though I think I'll stick with a nice resort in Mexico/Jamaica/Belize etc. It's just as easy as a cruise, esp. if you head to an all inclusive that includes food and water sports.<BR>

rj Jan 3rd, 2003 05:24 PM

Honestly, we do NOT like cruising. But remember this is just my opinion. People think we are nuts, but cruising just isn't our thing. Tried it once, and won't ever go again. We are private people. Get tired of the crowds, steward at your door every 5 minutes. Food was horrible, don't like to be woken up in the morning by the captain over the p.c. in the room, Rooms too small-(you can hear your neighbors toilet all hours of the night), Constant all night noise in the hallways, eating with strangers everyday for dinner and a set itinerary everyday. To me you have no freedom. Your confined to a ship! These are just MY honest opinions as to why we don't enjoy cruising.

kimmie Jan 3rd, 2003 05:37 PM


no way Jan 3rd, 2003 05:40 PM

Heck No! Been there done that! Don't like being confined to a ship for 4-7 days! (BLAH!!)

kaye Jan 4th, 2003 01:30 PM

Some things I've learned from cruising: <BR>1)If you prefer a more adult crowd, don't go Carnival. The pools/hot tubs were constantly full of screaming, unattended children, as were the public walkways. Check the time of year to avoid school breaks, etc. Certain lines also cater to a more adult group.<BR>2)I am not prone to motion sickness, but saw many people who were when we had a strong storm at sea. Travel agent's hint helped some: Drink Classic Coca-Cola; with bourbon if you wish.<BR>3)Didn't like getting off-ship, then having to come back just when we were getting the feel of the port.<BR>4)The things we did enjoy were meeting other people, especially for dinner &amp; seeing different ports on the 7-day trip. (4 days was more of a casino run)<BR>Overall, we prefer to do land vacations so that we are on no-one's schedule but our own. (Recent stay in Playa del Carmen, Mexico had tours available, inclusive meals, etc. as with a cruise, but more personal freedom to be alone.)

aaa Jan 4th, 2003 01:33 PM

sounds good to me.

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