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  #11  
Old 01-06-2013, 03:54 PM
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I've only been on one cruise- it was Royal Caribbean to Alaska (which is kind of funny in itself). It's... fun, but not my favorite vacation. On the other hand my aunt and uncle go several times a year and love them.

The Alaskan boats are smaller, I think. There wasn't as much to do (imo) as I'd have liked. So the days at sea were pretty dull.

We had one really rough sea day too, which was kind of miserable.

The food was great and the scenery great.

Everything was a little rushed.

We did alaska before on foot/car and it was much nicer. Just not as rushed and got to see more inland. But we didn't have good food at all and also did not get to see much coast at all.

I think my ideal alaska would be to cruise in then stay for a while and do inland and kenai penns. We ended up cruising this one because it was for my grandma's 75th and there was no way she was going to be up for hiking Denali like we did the year before.
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  #12  
Old 01-07-2013, 05:11 AM
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I've been on quite a few cruises, with and without my kids. I like them. One bit of advice it to definitely up grade your room. Makes a huge difference. Also with kids it is worth the money to buy the soft drink wrist band, can save a lot of money in the long run. Make sure you put plenty of money aside for the tips at the end of the trip. The tips really really add up. Any off shore excursions are expensive and sometime they are cheaper if you just book them yourself. The food has always been awesome. The only cruise line I didn't like was carnival, dumpy and not nearly as nice as the others. The cruises have become a lot less more formal in the last few years. You really don't have to dress up for dinner if you don't want to but I do suggest you bring at least 1 set of nice close for the captains dinner. When off the boat, the islands are usually really expensive to eat or take a cab and they will try to take advantage of you so keep an eye out.
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  #13  
Old 01-07-2013, 01:52 PM
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Wow! Plenty of responses, thanks guys!

Looks like plenty of food for thought to weigh out, I'll share these thoughts with the other 3 people involved and see what we come up with, LOL
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  #14  
Old 01-07-2013, 04:17 PM
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We LOVE cruises! We are cruise fanatics! JUST did a big family cruise in November. It was great. We have only ever cruised Royal Caribbean. Next time we wanna try a different line. I love the food, love eating in the dining hall, love everything about it. I love talking to all the different people on the ship and its really fun to be with them all week and see them around the boat. I love the spa, usually always get a massage, pedi and mani on board. I also like to sing karaoke nearly every night and the game shows are hilarious! I always try to participate as a contestant at least once. Cruises are really fun if you like to meet people on vacay and participate in group activities. You can play games, drink, dance, and see awesome shows! I forgot to tell you about the shows! Dancing, live plays, ice skating, they have outstanding performers! Think Vegas quality.

I love the food, I have never known of a cruise line that had all buffet style dining. Most all have a formal dining room where you are fully waited on and served a four course meal. We love it.

I second the upgrading your room! This time we got the owners suite and we are never looking back! Lol. Although the junior suite on a budget is still worth the extra $$ over a balcony room.

It's a totally different kind of travel than like what Jessie is talking about where you get a true local experience. Personally, I enjoy both types of vacations. Cruises are for when you want a relaxing vacation where you don't have to plan anything but want lots of fun activities and good food available to you. I definitely think its the way to go for families cause they cater to every age! Not sure why anyone would recommend against it for a family.

Again, I love it. We always book super fun excursions, too but I like to reserve one port to just roam and do whatever and not plan anything.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ACooper View Post
Thanks a bundle, LOL

I'm not 100% sure about the cruise thing just yet......gathering opinions and intel for now, LOL
The BF and I have been talking about going on a cruise for nearly 2 years now. We are going on my birthday for 5 days. Caribbean - not outside of the US. It's nearly all-inclusive, and about $650 per person including airfare. We're setting aside a big chunk of spending money, however - jet skiing is a must and we will probably spend the daytime alternating between the bar and the pool, so I doubt the rest of it will be cheap.

What I meant to add is that I will tell you how it went next month.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:40 AM
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When I was 20, my family and I went on a Disney Cruise. If you like food, you'll like Disney Cruiseline. HUGE breakfast buffet. HUGE lunch Buffet. Chicken tenders and sodas all day on deck by the pool. Dinners were in different restaurants on the ship. We had to dress up all nice and what restaurant we went to was alternated each night. Also, they paired you with another couple or family on the ship and you ate with them each night. And late at night near the clubs they served hor d'ourves.

I have one complaint about Disney Cruiseline though. If you are 18-20something, there is NOTHING to do. They have two clubs, one is a quiet club with booths and piano music. The others is a club where they play "I will survive" EVERY NIGHT. My God I got so sick of that song. I ended up having to hang out with the teenagers and do some activities with them (which was ok, I met a cool girl from Egypt and we chatted; you meet people from everywhere with Disney stuff), or just stand there watching the ocean. But yeah, if you're not a kid or a 50yr old, Disney Cruiseline was kind of boring. Although, Disney's private island in the Bahamas was nice. My parents and I went to the "50 and older" beach where nobody was and I put on a mask and looked at all the pretty fish in the shallow water. That was peaceful.
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  #17  
Old 01-08-2013, 05:13 PM
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Go to www.cruisecritic.com and start reading the forums for ideas of what to expect. They have boards for the various cruise lines, ports, regions, cruising with kids, etc. A great wealth of information!

I have cruised to Alaska, twice in the Western Carribbean/Mexico, once in the Eastern Med and Egypt, and this past summer we went through Scandanavia and Russia. 2x Royal Caribbean (love them!), 2x Holland America (also awesome), and once with Norwegian (gross, stay away).

I LOVE cruises as a method of seeing a ton of stuff in a short period of time.

I would never be able to justify or budget 2 weeks to travel to Egypt. I don't want to. It kind of freaked me out. Same with Russia. A cruise was a safe, economical way to see those countries (and a lot of other ones) in a jam packed few days.

I always choose itineraries where there are at most 1-2 sea days. On our 12 day Med cruise, there were 2 days at sea (and they were much needed recovery days after such a busy time in ports). I also make sure the port times are conducive to what I want to do. Some of them are stupid and only leave you 6 hours to explore town, which is really limiting. A little effort will find you 12+ hours in the cooler places (often overnights that you can stay off the ship for if you want--we stayed in a hotel in Cairo instead of going back to the ship).

We also NEVER do ship excursions. Too big, too crowded, too expensive, too boring. Cruisecritic.com has forums that are a wealth of outside vendors and 3rd party tour companies that will give you a much better experience for half price. It's allowed us to see 3x as much on a strict budget. In Athens, we hired a private taxi driver/tour guide for the day for the same price it would have cost to go on the cruise line's bus tour.

Cruise lines are really starting to
Pros:
-SO EASY TO PLAN. No fumbling finding different hotels each night, figuring out transportation between cities, etc. You wake up, walk off the ship, and do whatever you desire
-Easy to budget for. Our tab at the end of our recent 9 day Baltics cruise was $14. All your meals are included, all the entertainment is free, so unless you drink a ton or gamble a lot, there are no unexpected charges. We paid all the excursions up front, and we booked with a travel agent who paid our gratuities for us.
-Great for a family that wants to do different things. You're on a ship--the kids can't get lost/kidnapped/into trouble. Send 'em off during the day to watch a movie or climb the rock wall while you go play trivia or take dance lessons. They can go to the teen club while you go to the night entertainment. Meet up for dinner and share what you did during the day.

Cons:
-If you really want to immerse yourself in a place, it's not the vacation for you. I am very GO GO GO GO so I'd rather see 8 places in 10 days than 1 place for that same period of time. Cruises work for me.
-The rooms are small. Some cruise lines have larger rooms than others, and obviously if you're willing to spring for a nicer room they are definitely bigger. The only time we're in the room is when we're changing for dinner or taking naps, so it's not a huge deal. If you are expecting a hotel room though, it's not that.

The cruise lines have become very good about giving their guests options about the type of experience they want. People complain about fixed dining times with the same awkward conversations the whole time, so they have implemented open seating dining, where you can go at any time and ask to sit by yourself or with other people. They have numerous activities going on at any given moment on sea days, or you can choose to avoid it all and read on the balcony on your own. It's very much a make your own vacation experience.

I -hate- land resorts. We went to one on our honeymoon and I was bored and miserable and had cabin fever within 2 days. Cruises always have something new to look forward to the next day, so I don't have the same negative experiences.

Our next cruise is going to be through Asia--China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, etc. Excited!
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  #18  
Old 01-08-2013, 05:15 PM
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Oh...also, for any non-caribbean cruising, we've always spent a few days before/after in the embarkation/debarkation ports. In the Med, we got 3-4 days in Rome before getting on the ship, and in the Baltics we had a few days before/after in Copenhagen. Same in Alaska. They usually leave from cool cities, so it's worth spending time there.
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  #19  
Old 01-08-2013, 05:51 PM
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I look forward to hearing about it Nolu....I'm going to hold you to it! LOL

Sweet, we would be taking 2 boys ages 13 and 16....I can't see us using Disney cruise, LOL, but I did enjoy reading your experience and I wouldn't mind taking my grandchild (if I ever get any!) on one someday! Esp if it's a little girl I think little girls enjoy disney way more than little boys.

Wow Cali.........that is a LOT of info! Thank you so much for taking all that time, and for that link! I'm going to book mark it and snoop around it
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  #20  
Old 01-08-2013, 08:50 PM
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Coop, keep in a mind a Disney Cruise is not at all the same as Disney world. I've never done one, but I know plenty of Disney vacations are not "Disney themed" with anything like characters, etc. As far as I know (which is not very far ) Disney cruises are the same waterslides, rock climbing, exercise classes, food, kid's clubs, snorkeling, day trips as most other cruises. I've never seen a picture of a Disney Cruise with mickey ears or something on it.

ETA: ok just kidding I just went to the website to see if I was right and...I was not. Unless your boys are into Disney Villians on Stage, maybe go with Carnival
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