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Old 01-06-2013, 10:47 AM
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Default Cruises....who's been there done that?

I am seriously considering booking a family cruise. Looks like booking a year in advance gets the best deals, on the other hand it's hard to say what can happen in a year!

ATM I'm thinking 5 day Bahamas......so tell me about your cruise experience. Likes, dislikes, unexpected surprises (good or bad)

How bad was your 'running tab' aboard the ship?

How fancy did you have to dress for dinners? (2 teen boys ya know, LOL)

What kind of shows/activities did you do? Enjoyable or not so much?
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:52 AM
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Nothing to input except cruises don't appeal to me at all... We were having this convo literally last night lol!

We decided you'd end up spending a ton more than you think you will.

If I was offered a cruise though, or someone wanted to go on one, I'd still go, but it wouldn't be my holiday of choice.

That doesn't help you at all
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Dizzy View Post
That doesn't help you at all
Thanks a bundle, LOL

I'm not 100% sure about the cruise thing just yet......gathering opinions and intel for now, LOL
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:01 AM
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I've only ever been on a Mediterranean cruise and meh, it was alright. It wasn't really all that fancy and the meals were pretty much all buffet style. Got to see some really cool places though (the Greek islands and Ephesus, Turkey), which was neat. Wasn't my top holiday but it was still a cool experience.
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:11 AM
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I've been on two.
One was a carnival cruise I went with a few friends. It was cheap (I don't mean price wise although it was.. just in like..everything lol) the food, the people, just ehh. I mean, it was fun at 19 going to the beach and getting trashed but for a family, I wouldn't suggest it.

I went on a royal Caribbean cruise (5 days) with my family and it was lovely. The food was great, we stopped in some lovely places (just the typical kind of beachy roundabouts.. ) and the food on board was excellent, as were the activities and the other people on board.

I would highly suggest http://www.cruises.com/promotion/cru...uise-ships.asp for reviews and such

Personally.. my family (and I really) are not what one would call "cruise people" we found it restricting, even with RC..things were lavish, everything was NICE but still.. you are stuck on a boat a lot and not really allowed the freedom of regular travel. Even when you stop at a port, it's restricting, we couldn't do a lot of what we wanted. The cruise thing is not something we would do again.

Not to mention being on a boat with only your family/the same other people, day in, day out. We love to travel together and do things as a family.. but regular travel does allow a lot more freedom, which we all appreciate.

LIKES? the beaches, you don't have to worry about finding hotels/leaving hotels/moving all your stuff, RC dining was really good, having a pool on deck was nice

DISLIKES? Restricting (when you eat, who you eat with a lot of the time), being stuck on a boat, not much freedom as to where you go even when you do port (because you have to be back at a certain time), you don't get the "feel" of the places you travel honestly, the pool is sometimes crowded and drinks are expensive on board.

Then again, we are a family of weird travelers. We like weird little hotels, and finding interesting things to do, and unique restaurants, and digging into the culture, and doing our own thing sometimes, new people etc.. the comforts of the cruise thing was lost on us because we were all kind of stir crazy lol
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
so tell me about your cruise experience. Likes, dislikes, unexpected surprises (good or bad)
I went on a mini cruise (5 days) to the Caribbean with my family as a teenager several years ago. It was a ton of fun and a very unique vacation. My family and I agreed that it wasn't the kind of vacation that we'd want to take over and over again, but for a one time experience it was extremely cool, different and fun.

LIKES:

We went on the Norwegian cruise line (Norwegian Dawn, I think). The way our cruise was set up was perfect for a family with teenagers, because a lot of the food on board was set up as a free (well included at least) all you can eat any time of day buffet. There were several "free" restaurants as well (so you got the whole sit down experience without the extra charge, but you could sit with just your family rather than assigned seats with strangers). There were also a handful of restaurants with an extra charge that were a little more upscale. Drinks were an extra charge.

As a newly turned 18 year old at the time, I liked that I was allowed to drink. However, although you only had to be 18 to drink, you couldn't buy drinks at 18, which might be a perk as a parent of an older teen.

There was a ton of stuff to do on board. There was a pool, hot tubs, a game room, a movie theater, lots and lots of food, and entertainment every day.

It was extremely easy to figure out what to do on the days while the ship was docked. Lots of fun options that were well advertised.

Most of the on board entertainment was included. Exceptions were the spa and possibly a few other things.

There was a teen hangout area/(dry) "nightclub". Not sure how old your teens are, as my younger brother and I felt a bit old for it (at 17 and 18), but a younger teen (14 or 15) might think it was pretty cool.

Our off board experiences were a lot of fun, even if they were quite touristy.

Dislikes:

It was very much a tourist trap. While I loved what we did while we were docked (swimming with dolphins, snorkeling, swimming with stingrays, and hanging out on the beach), if you want an even remotely cultural experience, a cruise is not for you.

We were only off ship for two days in two different locations (daylight hours), so the majority of the time was on board. Granted, there was a lot to do on board, but don't plan to spend most of your time on a beach.

Tiny cramped rooms. To be expected (and we paid for what we got), so it didn't bother us at all, but it was tight with my siblings and I all sharing a room and a small bathroom.

It was busy busy busy. There was always something to do which was both a positive and a negative. Fortunately, the cruise did most of the planning. I can't tell you what my parents opinion was, but I thought that it was pretty low stress, however, there really was very little serene "down time." You could hang on the busy pool deck or alone in your tiny room, but don't expect silence and tranquility unless you pay to go to the spa on board.


Quote:
How bad was your 'running tab' aboard the ship?
I honestly don't know, because like I said, I had this experience as the child of a family, rather than the paying adult.

Quote:
How fancy did you have to dress for dinners? (2 teen boys ya know, LOL)
depends. Any buffet style cafeteria outings could be taken in a bathing suit if you wanted. The sit down dinners, we dressed presentably, but certainly not black tie formal. Think no jeans and a nice shirt. I'd wear khakis or black pants and a conservative, nice shirt.

Quote:
What kind of shows/activities did you do? Enjoyable or not so much?
We went to see Second City (comedy improv) - hilarious, but meant for the adult/older teen crowd

A magician - pretty fun

A man presenting on how to improve your memory - really interesting

A dance group of some sort - I don't really remember it, so clearly it didn't make any real impression.

Hope that helped! I had a great time and it was a fun experience. I think it's definitely something that should be done once if you have the means to do it! I would recommend our cruise line/style for teenagers.
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:44 AM
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I've never been on a cruise, and personally, I think there would be much better choices for a vacation for myself - and probably much more affordable ones for most families.

If you don't decide to do a cruise, but still want to some kind of inclusive/resort type vacation, I'd recommend going to Atlantis in the Bahamas. I'm not a fan of resort type vacations at all whatsoever, and even I thought Atlantis was a ton of fun. It wasn't outrageously expensive, you can get good deals...we got our room upgraded for some reason (I don't exactly remember why. There wasn't anything wrong with the original room....it was maybe not exactly what we had booked, so instead of switching to what we did book, they moved us to a nicer room without any extra cost)...and aside from the resort (which has TONS to do, great marine exhibits, lovely relaxing pools and hot tubs, exciting water slides for teen boys, inclusive buffet style meals, nightclubs for both teens and adults, casino, spa, beaches, stuff like hair braiding/wrapping/airbrush tattoos/etc. for teen girls) we also got to see a little of the culture on a day trip to a market (where you can haggle lots and buy neat stuff) and went snorkeling out on a pontoon. You can pay extra for stuff like parasailing, banana boating, jet skis, etc. I REALLY want my family to take a trip there (I went with a friend's family as a teenager).
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Old 01-06-2013, 12:00 PM
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I have nothing to add as I have never been on a cruise, but recently people have been getting the norovirus on cruises & I HAVE had the norovirus... so I wouldn't go until they stop making people sick lol
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Old 01-06-2013, 12:57 PM
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I've never been on a cruise, and it's something I never want to do. I LOVE to travel and we pick a different international destination every year... cruises WOULD allow us to easily see more places in a short period of time, but the idea of being on a boat for most of the vacation kills it for me. I like to immerse myself in the place I'm at... eat all of my meals there, stay in local hotels/b&bs, be closer to the culture... not sleep and eat on a boat with thousands of other people.

We knew a couple who went on 3-5 cruises a year, and the wife would come home sick after every single cruise. They loved cruising so much that it was worth it to them... but the idea of being around so many people in tight quarters getting me sick is so scary.

I like Milo's Mommy's idea- if you all want to go somewhere where you find things that would interest the entire family, I would choose a resort. Atlantis in the Bahamas is really, really nice for the cruise type atmosphere without a cruise. Lots of things for kids, teens, AND adults.

I'm just not into cruises so obviously you can take or leave my opinion on them. lol.

Oh yeah- not sure if you know this or not, but you need passports for the Bahamas now. I think the laws changed on it about 10 years ago, but a lot of people assume that you can get in just by being a US citizen.
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:47 PM
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My friend -- the one whose animals I take care of -- goes on them a couple of times a year. They pick up last-minute, late booking type deals. This last one was 7 or 8 days and they went for just under $650 per person -- all inclusive, except for whatever they spent when they were in port. And the bar, of course.
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