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Old 08-02-2010, 03:38 PM   #1
Jason R O'Dell
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Cruising Tips

So my wife and I are looking to go on a Cruise in March with another couple.
We're looking for something fun without spending an arm and a leg on the boat ticket since we'll most likely spend an arm and a leg while on the boat and on the shore.

We went on one cruise in March 2009 but it was a smaller boat and unfortunately we were taken by Ramada Plaza and ended up paying way more than we were originally told and had to sit through a time-share presentation. But, we still liked the Cruise.

So we really want to go on another one. We're leaning towards a Carnival Cruise, possibly leaving from Miami to the Caribbean or Bahamas.

I'm just wondering if anyone has any tips on how to book a cruise and what I should be wary of and what I should look for? Should I seek a travel agent?

Would leaving from Miami to one of those destinations be cool? Or would you recommend leaving from Galveston to somewhere in Mexico?

Just wondering if anyone here could help a guy out. Because I go to the Carnival website and see all these different cruises but they start throwing the prices and such out there and all the different price tiers and what not and I get kind of scared and afraid I'm going to get ripped.
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Old 08-02-2010, 08:07 PM   #2
Matt Rexin
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Re: Cruising Tips

1. The type of people that the cruise caters to should be something that you're comfortable with. As in, if you end up with a seniors cruise, that's how you wanted it. Do a little research online to make sure that you're not the youngest couple on the cruise by 30+ years.

2. You can save money by getting one of the inner cabins rather than the ones on the port or starboard sides. It really depends on what you want out of the cabin and how often you'll spend there.

3. Miami is a good port to head out of, I'm not sure how much it will cost you to fly there from OK but it is a more major hub then Galveston.

4. Priceline is pretty decent for competitive rates.

I hope this helps.
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Old 08-03-2010, 06:41 AM   #3
Allen Tluczek
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Re: Cruising Tips

I will actually be taking a 4 night Royal Caribbean cruse in the Bahamas out of Port Canaveral in two weeks. It is a pain getting from Orlando airport to the coast, but that is the closest airport. The cruise offers flight & ship packages, where you pay one price and they are responsible for getting you everywhere you need to be, but it is more expensive. The tickets are $180, flight was $90, transport between airport and ship was $140 round trip for 2. I am also staying a night before and after in Florida, at $90 a night. We got an interior room, near the bottom of the ship, because really, who spends much time in the room.

Royal Caribbean typically has mostly adults, because it is more expensive, but the food is top notch, the ship I will be on has a rock wall, fitness center, open air basketball court, etc. The last cruise I was on was a much larger Royal Caribbean ship, with the on board surfing, and a theater that featured comedy acts, musicals, an ice skate show, and more. It was absurd.
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Old 08-03-2010, 06:56 AM   #4
Jamie J. Skibicki
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Re: Cruising Tips

I read the title and thought something completly different.
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Old 08-03-2010, 07:06 AM   #5
Scott Stevens
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Re: Cruising Tips

I've done Royal Caribbean. I would probably only go with them going forward. Like someone else said, they're kind of the more "adult" cruise line without being a bingo ship on the sea full of senior citizens (norwegian) (not that theres anything wrong with that!). Carnival is fine, but I hear they're kind of a spring break party ship. (not that there's anything wrong with that!)

Look at the amenities on the ship you're looking to take. How many pools? Adults only area? Hot tubs? Movie theatre? The royal caribbean boats have climbing walls which are fun.

In terms of room choice, if you go interior, you can save some bucks and really, how much time are you spending in there anyway? I can see the attraction of getting a balcony, but I don't know that I would spend serious coin on it. The girl who cuts my hair told me to book the cheapest, then call every few weeks and ask if they're doing free upgrades. She said it works for her, I didn't try it.

Flights to Ft Lauderdale seem to be cheaper than Miami.

I did a 5 night cruise for $329 earlier this year on Royal Caribbean on a decent boat (navigator of the seas). You can do it cheap, you just have to shop around.

In terms of booking, when I did it I went through travelocity. If I did it again I would go direct with the cruise line. The middle man muddled up some details and I had to call both entities a few times after "booking" the cruise.

vacationstogo.com has a bunch of cruise prices, but these aren't always better than what you'd get booking straight up with the cruise line. It's a good resource for comparative pricing though.

Lastly, and I'm sure you're aware, but I don't know when you're planning on booking this thing but hurricane season is right around the corner in that part of the world.
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Old 08-03-2010, 07:07 AM   #6
Scott Stevens
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Re: Cruising Tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie J. Skibicki View Post
I read the title and thought something completly different.
I know right, especially after reading the first 5 words of his post.
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Old 08-03-2010, 07:30 AM   #7
Todd Crawford
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Re: Cruising Tips

I leave on Sept. 11th on cruise number 8 - we always book directly with which ever cruise line we choose. We try to find similar cruises on the different cruise lines and call them up to try to get them to work a better deal. Sometimes we get nothing, other times we have gotten on board credit in the amount of the price difference. We have been all over the Carribean, so if you have any specific questions, PM me.
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Old 08-03-2010, 07:52 AM   #8
Jamie J. Skibicki
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Re: Cruising Tips

Scott,


Good catch
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Old 08-03-2010, 11:45 AM   #9
Jason R O'Dell
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Re: Cruising Tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Stevens View Post
I know right, especially after reading the first 5 words of his post.
Well my friends wife is pretty hot........


Anyway I think we would prefer to go on a more party-type cruise to blow off some steam so Carnival would probably be best.

So what I gather it'd be best to book it through the cruiseline? Should I call and talk to a real person rather than booking it online? Also we want to go in March so how early do the more experienced cruisers here think we should set it up?
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Old 08-03-2010, 11:45 AM   #10
Giles Clarke
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Re: Cruising Tips

I've been on a number of cruises on several different carriers. My favorite, by far, is Holland America, followed by Royal Carribbean. They're both a little more mature than some of the other lines.
Carnival is very much the "party boat". If all you're looking to do is drink and eat, go on Carnival. I took 3 day carnival cruise with two friends during spring break of my senior year of college. We had a great time; but you need to put in in the context of what we were after.

As far as booking goes, cruise lines are the reverse of the airline industry. The closer you get to departure time the cheaper the fares get. They are looking to fill up those empty cabins before it sets sail. Even a cabin that is sold at cost is better than an empty cabin. I had friends who lived near Cape Canaveral who would go to the port the day the ships were leaving and book their cabin in person. Sometimes they got great deals, sometimes they struck out. If you're booking during the off season, this is sometimes a smart move, but if you're booking during the height of vacation season, then you're taking a greater risk.
I hope it all works out and that you have a great vacation.
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