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  #1 (permalink)  
Old September 7th, 2012, 11:49 PM
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Default Need advice on what to pick

Never been on a cruise, but planning to do so. I'm wondering what you have for advice. My preferences and thoughts:

1) I don't want a porthole unless it opens, so I assume that the balcony rooms are appropriate. However if one wants fresh air, can't you just sit on a deck somewhere with a mai tai and a blanket, like in the movies? Is the balcony room worth it if one wants fresh air, or is it a needless extra expense?

2) I'm not interested in the ship as a destination. I want to see places I haven't been (and as a retired soldier, I've been to a lot of places.) I'd also like to avoid the more common tourist destinations. I'm not interested in movies, lectures, and things I can do at home, but I would like to eat well. I'd also rather avoid children and noise, but I don't think I can afford luxury cruises. What should I be looking for? (It's obvious that a cruise in Sept-Nov would help mitigate against crowds, children and noise, as well as helping me save money.)

3) I've heard that some cargo ships have decent accommodations and offer cruises to interesting destinations. How can I get more information on this (assuming it's true?)

I'd appreciate your input.
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Old September 8th, 2012, 02:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BionicToad View Post
Never been on a cruise, but planning to do so. I'm wondering what you have for advice. My preferences and thoughts:

1) I don't want a porthole unless it opens, so I assume that the balcony rooms are appropriate. However if one wants fresh air, can't you just sit on a deck somewhere with a mai tai and a blanket, like in the movies? Is the balcony room worth it if one wants fresh air, or is it a needless extra expense?

2) I'm not interested in the ship as a destination. I want to see places I haven't been (and as a retired soldier, I've been to a lot of places.) I'd also like to avoid the more common tourist destinations. I'm not interested in movies, lectures, and things I can do at home, but I would like to eat well. I'd also rather avoid children and noise, but I don't think I can afford luxury cruises. What should I be looking for? (It's obvious that a cruise in Sept-Nov would help mitigate against crowds, children and noise, as well as helping me save money.)

3) I've heard that some cargo ships have decent accommodations and offer cruises to interesting destinations. How can I get more information on this (assuming it's true?)

I'd appreciate your input.
The days of sitting in a deck chair with a blanket are long gone. Except on an Alaska cruise.

I too am destination oriented more than ship oriented. I would suggest looking at some of the European, Mediterranean, itineraries currently offered. They have great pricing in the Fall and Winter months.

In regard to a balcony. I love them and really do enjoy just sitting outside and watching the water. If you can handle a smaller cabin then an inside would be fine for sleeping and dressing.

I would look at lines such as:

Holland America
Celebrity
Princess

And Carnival: They have expanded their itineraries to include Europe and Australia and they deliver a good product for the price.

Take care,
Mike
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Old September 8th, 2012, 05:21 AM
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All that Mike said plus.....the longer cruises, over 7 days, tend to have more older people as younger ones with families have a hard time getting that much time off of work.

We did the Panama Canel cruise on Princess a few years back. It was 10 days and stopped at Aruba, Cartagena, Panama, Costa Rica and Jamaica. I believe my wife and I, both in our 40's at the time were some of the youngest people on the ship. We had a balcony room and truly loved that cruise.

Go with the balcony....it is money well spent. I highly recommend the balconies at the rear of the ship as it gives you a 180 degree view.

Also cruising while the rug rats are still in school is a good idea too!
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Old September 8th, 2012, 08:37 AM
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You said you wanted to see places you have never been to.....are there specific places you would like to go?
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Old September 8th, 2012, 12:57 PM
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Since this is your first cruise, the best advice I can offer is to definitely not book it directly through the cruise line or an online site. Use a travel agent, preferably a Cruise Specialist. Their services can be invaluable, especially if any problems occur. But if they start recommending, then run the other way. Their job is to provide you information so you can make a educated decision. It's not their job to guide you into something they want.

As for what, where, and when, it really depends on what you want, where you want to go, your lifestyle, and of course, your budget.

Keep in mind that what one person loves, another will hate. So take recommendations with a grain of salt.

With that said, if you want a more laid-back cruise, then I would suggest taking a long look at Celebrity and then Holland America. Both attract an older crowd, but as I like to tell people, they're for the people who appreciate the finer things in life without wanting to pay for them. I personally rate Celebrity just a little bit higher than Holland, but both are very nice, offer very good food, and wonderful service.

If you want a more intimate experience, the smaller ships are a great experience. They larger ships will have more amenities, but also more people. However, it's really tough to beat the new Celebrity Solstice-class ships - they are absolutely wonderful!

As for an oceanview cabin, almost none of them have portholes anymore. Sometimes the cabins in the very front or very back will have some, but the majority of them are large picture windows. And NONE of the portholes open. As for a balcony cabin, obviously those are the nicest as you can sit out on your own private balcony and watch the world sail by. If budget is an issue, then this may not be an option for you.

As for the destination, the best thing to do is talk to your agent so they can talk about the various ports of call, which could help you, provided they have personally been to those ports. There are so many options, you really need to decide where you'd like to go. Make a list of places you'd like to see and then a list of places you don't want to visit, then give this to your agent. When deciding locations, again, don't listen to what alot of people will tell you. For example, I hear from people all the time that say they don't want to go to Jamaica. When I ask them why, they always say the same thing, 'my friend told me....' Again, make up your own mind. We've been to Jamaica on many occasions and have always had a wonderful time.

As for when to go, again, this depends on you. The best prices will normally be in September, November, and December. People want to travel on the holidays, so you'll find much higher prices and alot more kids. But people don't want to travel between the holidays. So the first/second week in December will see some great deals.

As to when to book, I always tell people the same thing; as soon as possible! That may very well be the best rate and rates could go up. If you've already booked, then you're protected against any price increases. And if you've booked and the prices go down, your agent can get the lower rate for you provided final payment has not yet been made. And definitely do not listen to these misleading sales pitches about 'save up to 75% on last minute cruises'. Simply stated, it's false advertising. All the major cruise lines require everyone to sell the same cruise for the same price. So find a good agent (again, it's best to get a good Cruise Specialist), and work with them to find you the best cruise for you.

Pete
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Old September 8th, 2012, 04:11 PM
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All I can add, is research your destinations fully and decide where exactly you want to cruise. Good advise to contact a good cruise specialists, so many times I hear people did not enjoy their first cruise. It may have been, it was just the wrong one for them. You can find a lot of information here at Cruisemates for ships/destinactions, etc. and you can go to your travel agent with some ideas of what you want to do and where you want to go and go from there...
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Old September 11th, 2012, 05:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KellyKayden View Post
You said you wanted to see places you have never been to.....are there specific places you would like to go?
Thanks to everyone above for excellent advice. That's what I wanted. Here's what I got:

If it's not a balcony, no fresh air, but the balcony is worth the money.
7+ days keeps the kids down (along with previously noted best value months.)
Some cruise lines to investigate.

As to where I want to go, Vanuatu was high on my list until that terrible show Backstabber ... I mean Survivor went there and now everyone has heard of it. So now Tuvalu and New Caledonia are up there. I'd like to see Tierra del Fuego, which would put me in range of Antarctica. Morocco, Tunisia, Elba, and Crete could all fit into a Mediterranean tour that was mentioned. Thule would be interesting. After that, who knows?

No one mentioned the possibility of accommodations on a cargo vessel, so perhaps my information wasn't valid there. Oh well.

Thanks again!
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Old September 11th, 2012, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by BionicToad View Post
No one mentioned the possibility of accommodations on a cargo vessel, so perhaps my information wasn't valid there. Oh well.

Thanks again!
No, you were correct. Google "cargo ship cruises" and you will get a lot of info on this.
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Old September 11th, 2012, 01:04 PM
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Cargo cruises only attract a very select few people because it does not offer any amenities other than a place to sleep and food - that's about it. And since this doesn't appeal to the majority of the cruising public, you're probably not going to hear much if anything about it in a cruise forum.

But the destinations you have listed all sound very interesting. I would love to see most if not all of those. We recently returned from two weeks in Tahiti and while not quite as exotic as some of these ports, I can definitely testify as to how beautiful the French Polynesia area is. Amazing, to say the least. Plus, the food, the music, and especially the people make it a wonderful place to visit.

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Old September 12th, 2012, 03:54 AM
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Cargo cruises only attract a very select few people because it does not offer any amenities other than a place to sleep and food - that's about it.
Well, my thought was that for some areas, I don't want to be limited to a day in port before moving on to the next destination. I was hoping I could hop a cargo ship to somewhere I want to go, stay there a week or two exploring, and then hop another ship back. Maybe that's not cruising, since I would really just be using the cruise for transportation, and then going on my own. Still, it seems like it could be a lot of fun. Imagine if you could be dropped off at one of the smaller islands in French Polynesia, and got to stay there for a week or two ...
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Old September 15th, 2012, 03:37 AM
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I can understand your situation. I would recommend you to try a cruise to the Bahamas. I had a really great experience there. I had my cruise booked through ferry express. Hope you have a great cruise.

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Old September 15th, 2012, 04:37 AM
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For a really unusual adventure you could try Tokelau. Not quite as undeveloped as it used to be, but still quite inaccessible. If the sea is too rough, they can't do any transfers, and it might be weeks before the next ship comes by, so you can end up getting stuck there. What a dreadful fate!

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Last edited by Donna; September 15th, 2012 at 08:37 PM. Reason: removed hyper link
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Old September 16th, 2012, 04:21 AM
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Tokelau looks like it might be worth a visit. Not convinced I want to be stranded for a month, but one can always plan to go some other time than storm season. I'll add it to my list. Thanks for the info!
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Old September 16th, 2012, 04:44 AM
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Can somebody explain what we're allowed to link please? My "commercial reference" (which was deleted) was a link to the official site of the Tokelau tourism board, which I thought the OP might be interested in. Sorry to go off topic, just a newbie question. Thanks!
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Old September 19th, 2012, 05:05 PM
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Here is what I would recommend to you. A Mediterranean cruise on Oceania, Azamara or Windstar cruises. You will get excellent food and a wide variety of unusual ports of call - and no kids.
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