PDA

View Full Version : Best Cruise Line for special Ocassion


nckvilledudes
March 27th, 2005, 12:16 AM
My partner and I wil celebrate 20 yrs together this Fall. I have been thinking of treating him to a special vacation on a cruise. Just regular guys here. Enjoy eating out, drinks. good conversation, meeting new people, not party animals, I am a nurse and he is a chemist, both professionals. Just enjoy life. We act the same no matter the circumstances. Anyone suggest a cruise line to look at?? We have never been on a cruise before.

Dan and Miguel

Brucemcdou
March 30th, 2005, 12:09 AM
Hi, Dan and Miguel - What a great way to celebrate! Congratulations on 20 years!

From your description of yourselves, it sounds as if you'd be happier on a "mainstream" line and less so on an "upscale" line. You may want to look at NCL or Princess, both of which have a variety of dining options so you don't need to eat with strangers if you don't want to, and don't need to dress up for dinners. Other mainstream lines are Royal Caribbean or Carnival. Regardless of the cruise line you should probably stick to their newer ships, which have the largest variety of options for dining, as well as for entertainment. You may want to browse the boards for any cruise line you're interested in to get a sense of each line's personality. Some are more gay friendly than others.

As you decide, keep in mind some basics of cruising: there are more kids onboard during school holidays; the longer the cruise the older the average age; the more expensive the cruise the older the average age (within reason); the more "fun" the destination the more "party-hearty" the fellow cruisers (on any cruise line the Caribbean has more heavy drinkers than the same line in Alaska or the Baltics); the newer and larger the ship the more options there will be for dining and entertainment and the greater variety of affordable cabins there will be.

RMS Olympic
March 30th, 2005, 01:01 PM
For a special occasion like this...the Paul Guaguin of Radisson Cruise line...a 7 day cruise in Tahiti........fabulous views, food and service. Crew is very gay friendly....according to one of the MaitreD, half the crew is gay. I had a superb week, met other gay couples on board as well as straight couples celebrating anniversaries and or weddings.........the South Pacific is very very romantic........and Radisson is tops. Me , I sail on Radisson in December out of Ft Lauderdale on their Voyager....cant wait.

digby
March 30th, 2005, 04:11 PM
Try Oceania Cruise Line. We took our first cruise on their ship ,Insignia, and loved the entire experience. Resort casual is the rule every day which I like. Food and service was top of the line. We booked another cruise on one of their other ships.

kwokpot
March 30th, 2005, 05:01 PM
As you can see, the recommendations you are getting are all over the place, not just in term of destination, but more importantly, PRICE. You have people here recommending $3,000/pp cruises, which is alot of money by any measure.

You need to 1st establish HOW MUCH you plan to spend on your cruise; this should include the cruise itself, air travel, and other expenses such as sightseeing.

Then you need to figure out WHERE you want to go.

Then you need to figure out approximately When you want to go.

Then you can figure out which cruiseline you should consider.

I'm not poo-pooing luxury cruises; but if someone has in mind a budget of $1,000/pp for the cruise portion, recommending a $2,500 doesn't help much, regardless of how nice the ship or desination is. that also doesn't mean that a $800 cruise can't be a wonderful vacation.

nckvilledudes
March 30th, 2005, 09:43 PM
digby, Thanks for the advice about Oceania. Never looked at that line before. Will have to check it out.

Dan and Miguel

nckvilledudes
March 30th, 2005, 10:02 PM
Kwokpot, thanks for the sound advice. Which line do you normally use??? A friend has recommened Princess.

Dan and Miguel

nckvilledudes
March 30th, 2005, 10:15 PM
Capt. Tom, what makes Raddison the tops for you?? You find alot of gay couples use that cruise line???

Dan and Miguel

RMS Olympic
March 31st, 2005, 10:44 AM
The points made about price are very good ones. I responded based on the idea that the cruise in planning was a very special one and perhaps the price limit might be pushed because it was special......
Why Radisson?
well it is pricey unless you get a 2 for one deal that they advertise on their web site.
I choose Radisson for the following reasons:
1. As a single the surcharge is not always 5o%, but much less
2.Cabins are like suites are other ships...so if you compare cabin size to other ships the cost is not that much different. Especially if you like a tub and balcony. On the Mariner and Voyager, all cabins have verandas.
3. Single seating for dinner.
4. No surcharge for specialty restaurants. (savings of $25 per person over other ships)
5.Tips included (savings of approx $100 per person )
6. 2 bottles of alcohol in your cabin (your choice) (savings depends on your consumption...(but at least a $50 savings could be realized)
7. Wine included in dinner. If you do not drink wine, then cocktails are included. (savings of $30 per night or $180 per week if you like wine during dinner).
8. Soft drinks...no charge (savings could be as much as $100+ per week) .
9. Bottle water...no charge savings could be as much as $50 per week).
10. Champagne in the cabin upon boarding.
11. Pool side meals...steak sandwiched, ribs, fish in addition to hot dogs and hamburgers. Lido has full course meals...and the steamed shrimp are always available.
12. No crowds, no hunting for a deck chair
13. Few families with children.
14. Small things like cloth napkins by the pool. drinks in glassware, not plastic
15. very gay friendly crew.....fellow passengers seem to be very accepting.
16. Always a class act with whatever they do......the crew does not seem to know the word no. Special requests seem to be fulfilled if at all possible.

The ships are not party boats, so if a real party atmosphere is important..then a bigger ship is probably a better choice. I personally like the attention to detail, the lack of crowds and feeling like my hard earned vacation is being spent of something special, where my surroundings are a class act even if I am not. I remember on the Alaska cruise we were moving up the inside passage...it was snowing gently, we were all wrapped up in our coats. The stewards came out with big blue woolen blankets for us..then brought out hot wine, hot coco with whipped cream and then cheese danish and freshly made donuts. Something like this you would never find on a mass market ship with 2000 plus passengers.
To some this would not be important..but for special occasions, like the Alaska cruise was for me (my birthday) , I was willing to pay the extra dollars. I did compare a Celebrity ship dollar for dollar...it was more expensive than radisson when they charged the single surcharge of 200%, then included all the things that were not provided by radisson...tips, wine, soda, water etc.
So this is why I like the line...and will continue to sail them.
Tom

kwokpot
March 31st, 2005, 12:59 PM
Kwokpot, thanks for the sound advice. Which line do you normally use??? A friend has recommened Princess.
Dan and Miguel
As a person who is interested in travel planning, and with a professional background in both Sales & Project Mgt., I always approach travel recommendations with a 'Fair & Balanced' ( NOT the Fox interpretation of this phrase) approach.

Finding a cruise that is 'just right' sometimes maybe an elusive thing, since some requests are generally mutually exclusive when it comes to cruising.

Take, for instance, the desire for A) A Classy, sophisticated experience with B) A youthful (In AGE as well as spirit) and energetic crowd with lots of fun, late-nite partying.
I'm not sure you will find a non-chartered cruise that can fulfill that those requirements.
(Anyone can jump in and provide examples to the contrary)

Our most classy cruise was on the Celebrity Millennium. The ship is elegantly designed, with a modern, upscale atmosphere, not unlike a designer boutique or hotel in Manhattan, Beverly Hills, or Chicago.

The more formal dress code for dinnertimes added to that feel. We sat at a table for 8, and my partner & I, 40 at the time, were the youngest at the table, with the 3 other couples all our parents age. NEVERTHELESS, each night we had WONDERFUL, ENJOYABLE conversations, and were treated by our tablemates with the same respect as accorded to all. It was a comfortable enough atmosphere where someone asked how we had met, and we proceeded to tell the story. The ship's pacing of the meal (Always 2 hrs long, sometines 2 1/4 hrs long) lent itself to meaningful discussions.

On the otherhand, on this 7 night Winter Southern Carribbean cruise, the Millie's beautiful and very large disco was empty every single night, with no more than 10-15 people TOTAL ever there. The other lounges that featured live band music EARLIER in the evening was PACKED, with couples dancing traditional standards. The other lounges that featured piano playing and traditional string quartets were popular also. Sadly, by midnight, the ship was quiet as a mouse, and the ship's public spaces were absent of people except for the few in the disco.

I think out favorite cruise to date was our 12 nt Vancouver to Hawaii on the Carnival Spirit. The ship is GREAT ship, beautiful but definately NOT classy or sophisticated. Think Ceasars Palace Casinos, Gotti Mafia, THE Donald......
But the 5 days at sea were a great way to relax. Contrary to what many people say, we DO spend time in our cabin. We ordered room service breakfast every morning, and generally didn't leave our cabin until 10. We had a great cabin with French Doors(obstructed view category) but no balcony; that still allowed us to open the doors for fresh air and views, since the cabin was between lifeboats. As an aside, Carnival's regular staterooms on all their ships are the largest among all the mass market lines.

We enjoyed the more relaxed atmosphere at dinnertimes, having to wear a tie only on formal evenings. Our biggest surprise was the ship's buffet; of the 8 cruises I have taken, the Carnival Spirit had the best and freshest food!
In fact, the buffet food, at times, was better than some of the entrees at the dining room, where food quality varied greatly, from mediocre to very good.

But definately the highlight of the cruise was the 7 days we spend in the Hawaiian islands. This was our 3rd time to Hi., but our 1st cruise of the islands.

In summary, the point I was trying to make was that we enjoy different cruiselines for different reasons. Sometimes I want a vacation where I want the experience of wearing a suit & tie to dinner every night, other times that would be the last thing on earth I would want to do. (In fact on one of our NCL cruises, we didn't even pack any suits or ties; instead we took dress shirts and slacks only.)

With regard to Princess, we will be taking our 2nd Princess cruise in May (14nt transatlantic); unfortunately, I can't tell you much about our 1st Princess Cruise (Sun Princess) because I REALLY don't remember much about the ship - since it was an Alaska Cruise, it was the scenery and the itinery, NOT the ship, that made that trip a memorable one. That also leads to another point that some cruise vacations are more about the itineries and stops (Alaska, Europe, Hawaii) rather than the ship itself, with the ship really being thought more as a floating hotel than a destination unto itself.

Again, as I have said, these are all things one must think about when planning a cruise vacation. But for a 1st timer, my recommendation would be a trip no longer than 7 nts.

nckvilledudes
March 31st, 2005, 09:59 PM
Capt. Tom, looked at the Radisson web site cople of weeks ago. Ordered some info, already arrived. Very speedy delivery. Impressed by the 2 for 1 deals. Your description of the line was great. Their cabins seem to be larger than most lines and well apointed. Did you meet may other gay couple on the line??? The Radisson is an option for a special cruise. Like you when on vacation, I want to feel like it was deserved and special. How did you first chose Raddison??? What is your second choice in cruise lines???

Dan and Miguel

nckvilledudes
March 31st, 2005, 10:09 PM
Kwokpot, looking at the Celebrity Millennium and found it impressive. So far Celebrity, Radisson, and Crystal have been the most responsive in ordering info. I looked at RCCL but so far the 3 mentioned so far seem to be my choices. Will look at Oceania soon. Thanks for all the insight.

Dan and Miguel

backes
April 1st, 2005, 06:46 AM
nckvilledudes,
If you've narrowed your choice down to Celebrity, Crystal and Radisson, I think that you'll be happy no matter which one you choose. My partner and I have been on all three, and we've had terrific experiences!

Last autumn, we celebrated our twenty fifth anniversary on Celebrity Horizon to Bermuda, and it was very special...some of the staff went out of their way to recognize our celebration. We very briefly mentioned our anniversary to the Social Hostess (she asked if we were sailing 'for a reason' or just as a vacation) and she sent some delicious chocolates and a hand written card to our room. Needless to say, we are now Celebrity advocates; however, if I were forced to choose just one cruise line on which to sail for the rest of my life, I would probably go with Crystal. We've only been on three Crystal cruises, but every single crew member and every single experience on these cruises exceeded our expectations.

So much of what we love about our vacations has to do with the time that we spend together, the ports, and the every day 'little things' like finding deck chairs easily, having good food/service, finding private places on the ship where we can just watch the ocean going by, feeling like there is plenty to do yet not feeling like we're missing something if we decide to take a long nap in the afternoon, etc. We've had these experiences on most cruises, and I can honestly say that we've never, ever had a 'bad' experience. Sure, we've met a few people whom we'd rather not see again, we've been rained out of several excursions and we even nearly froze to death snorkling in South America, LOL, but even these 'bad' moments are now some of our most cherished memories.

Happy Anniversary to you, and have a wonderful cruise!

Robb
April 1st, 2005, 07:54 AM
When I saw your post I immediately thought about the Paul Gauguin of the Raddison Cruise Line. Then I noticed that Capt. Tom has already mentioned it. Everything he says about it is true. We were on that cruise a couple of years ago and without a doubt it was the best of cruise we have been on. We are getting ready for out 23 cruise, been on nine different cruise lines, and Raddison was the best. As far as French Polynesia-absolutely beautiful, unspoiled for the most part, and the people living there were the friendliest and most sincere people we have encountered anywhere in the world. I highly recommend it.

RMS Olympic
April 1st, 2005, 10:16 AM
well I originally chose Radisson because I was taking an Alaska cruise and did not want a big ship. Also it was a special birthday and wanted an upscale experience. The Paul Gauguin in Tahiti...if I was to find a spouse, that would be my choice for a romantic trip.....it is spectacular.
I have not sailed Crystal because 1. the cabins on Radisson are bigger (except for the Paul Gauguin). 2. Crystal line has fixed seating and with an upscale line I prefer the open seating for dining. Lastly, I now prefer casual clothing.......dressing up use to be special for me...now I want comfort....how ever that does not mean dressing down. In the tropics a linen pair of trousers and a stunning shirt can be very dressy. Also less stuff to drag on the plane is very advantageous.
As for other lines...I did like Wind Star. I use to like Princess, but have not sailed them since they were taken over by Carnival Corp. I did like the Sun Princess (maiden voyage) and later sailed her sister the Dawn....but have not tried the Grand class ships yet. I have booked the Diamond Princess for next year with RSVP...so I will see what she is like...although I do not cater to ships that big. For a fun cruise...Royal Caribbean. Celebrity...have sailed the Horizon, Mercury, Century and Summit. Since they charge me 200% as a single...I find I can sail something loke Radisson for almost the same price and get all the extras.
I for one started cruising when ships were much smaller....when the bartender addressed you by name and knew what you drink. Therefore Radisson fits mu tastes...but realize it is not for everyone. When it comes to a special occasion...price is not the deciding factor....it comes down to what will make it special for the both of you.Is it quiet time where the cabin will be very important? Is it the shore excursions where you can make new memories of experiencing new sites and smells and activities together? Or is it a party atmosphere that allows you to get out and party, something your schedules dont allow at home.
For me.....if it was a special cruise for me and my honey...it would be a romantic cabin, romantic dining (open sitting) where we could have a table for 2 when we want and dine with new friends when we want....and less city tours and more romantic tropical sites......
Romance, romance, romance...and what surroundings will lend to it.
As for gay couples on Radisson...yes I have met a number of them...there were 2 gay couples I hung out with on the tahiti cruise.....has a great time.
The crew has always welcomed me and made me feel right at home.....and special. I cant wait for the cruise in December...it turns out to be a chocolate lovers cruise.......I will die and go to heaven.
Until then I sail on the Radiance of the Seas on October 15th with Atlantis....to Mexico....should be a fun experience...a departure from Radisson.

kwokpot
April 1st, 2005, 10:38 AM
Great comments here on regarding the premium lines. I hope my previous comments are not mis-construed as thumbing my nose at the luxury lines. My own experience just haven't been on them, and it's by personal choice, not because I can't afford it.

Anyway, I wanted others opinions on Cunard Lines, especially those who have been on QM2. I know, it's a GIANT...

My parents, recently went on the QM2, had nothing but praises for it. ( They went on the The Carnival Elation in Nov. and the QM2 in Jan - talk about contrasts!) They felt that the QM2 was worth every cent of price paid over a Mass Market line.

Given it's size, would cruisers out there recommend that ship for a special occasion cruise?

Rotterdam
April 1st, 2005, 11:13 AM
For a very special occasion I believe you have to connect something personal to your cruise. Perhaps its an island(Bermuda) a common interest(architecture - Europe) or a dream(safari) or a beach holiday(carib, hawaii, or as mentioned the South Pacific).

Recently I have heard wonderful words about the SeaDream Yacht Club. The ships are the former Seabourne Godess ships that have been refurbished. The ships only carry 110 passengers, are all inclusive & have sublime food & service.

They are not cheap - but as Capt Tom said sometimes it breaks even compared to the other lines that charge for alcohol, tipping etc.

I just received their DVD & brochure. Talk about romantic! I know people that sailed on the ships under Cunard & loved them. The refurbishments have made the ships modern & fun with lots of toys, bikes, wave runners etc.

They have beds on deck that you can sleep on at nite - oh my!

Crack that bottle of bubbly.

Also - a big congradulations on your 20th anniversary. Many many more happy years to you & yours.

geoherb
April 1st, 2005, 01:53 PM
We haven't tried any of the upscale cruises. We've been happy on Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Celebrity. I always dreamed about going on the Radisson Diamond. We saw it anchored near our ship in Cozumel. Unfortunately, the Diamond won't be with Radisson much longer. Perhaps we'll need to plan something more extravagant for our 20th anniversary. It's three years away.

digby
April 1st, 2005, 02:48 PM
"I'm not poo-pooing luxury cruises; but if someone has in mind a budget of $1,000/pp for the cruise portion, recommending a $2,500 doesn't help much, regardless of how nice the ship or desination is."

True, but the OP didn't mention budget. He did say it was a special occasion which could mean spending more than normal.

digby
April 1st, 2005, 02:54 PM
"Raddison"

What's the dress code on Radison? We prefer to avoid formal nights which is one reason we loved Oceania. Resort Casual every night, and yet the experience was elegant and fun.

Sea-hawk
April 2nd, 2005, 01:06 PM
My partner and I really enjoy Seabourn, but for what you are looking for, I would have to agree with some of the others and recomend the Paul Gauguin. NOt only is the sevice excelent, but Poynesia was beautiful beyond belief.

I noticed that they are changing the itinerary, but we loved the one we were on, including Bora Bora, and Morrea. I would deffinately recomend you splurge a bit and get a balcony, where we had coffee each morning overlooking the lagoons and islands.

As far as activities, they are some, including some of the best snorkling in the world, dolphin watching, a great beach party.

The food was very good, and we met other couples to dine with. Other times we had a romantic table for 2. Dress was country club casual, meaning coats and collered shirts for dinner, relaxed during the day.

It was very special, and the setting more romantic than what you might find elsewhere.

nckvilledudes
April 2nd, 2005, 11:28 PM
backes, thanks for the info. Nice touch on your 25th on Celebrity to have the chocolates and the note. Good to hear from South Carolina, North Carolina here. Just got my brochure from Crystal today, looks good. The cruise to Bermuda sounds great..!!!! Did you enjoy that one as much as the one Crystal??

Dan and Miguel

nckvilledudes
April 2nd, 2005, 11:35 PM
goeherb, of the the 3 you listed which is your favorite.?????RCCL, Princess, Celebrity??

Dan and Miguel

nckvilledudes
April 2nd, 2005, 11:39 PM
Rotterdam, Thanks for the mention of Bermuda and your other insights. Which lines have you used recently??? Thanks for the congrats.

Dan and Miguel

nckvilledudes
April 2nd, 2005, 11:43 PM
To all who have replied, I want to say a 'Thank You" for the info and congrats. We have only joined criuse critic for a short time and been very surprised by all the helpful and friendly advice.

Dan and Miguel

Calliope
April 3rd, 2005, 03:15 AM
Nckvilledudes,

The various suggestions that have been proffered have been excellent. There have been a broad range of tastes and pocketbooks exhibited. Now, I'm going to add my two cents worth.

Have you considered celebrating your special occasion on a ship that will be celebrating a special occasion during her life too? The QM2 will head 'round the Horn of South America for the first time early next year. On an inaugural cruise like this there is generally a large turn out of dignitaries, media, politicos, and ordinary folk interested in seeing a ship when she makes a maiden visit. And of course this Cunarder is no ordinary ship, and she draws a lot of attention where ever she sails.

My partner, 58, works at the University of Cincinnati, and I'm, 45, and an RN. It would be nice having another RN onboard. Also we have found both the crew and passengers on QE2 and QM2 to be very gay friendly. During the six night Tandem Crossing on the QM2 last year there were two F.O.D. parties held.

nckvilledudes
April 3rd, 2005, 03:33 PM
Calliope.
Thanks for the insight. Not sure about Cunard. What others cruise lines have you 2 used that you really enjoyed. Yes I am a nurse too. I am 50 and my partner is 47. Where do you call home?

Dan and Miguel

Calliope
April 3rd, 2005, 05:30 PM
In order of preference we have been on the following cruise lines together:
The Delta Queen Steamboat Co.
Cunard
Holland America Line
Carnival
NCL
We were also on American Hawaii Cruises together, but they are now unfortunately defunct.

Never have we run into any problem with any of the staffs giving us a hard time about being gay. Cunard and NCL regularly holds F.O.D. parties during their cruises.

Home is Covington, Kentucky, right across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, Ohio, but when the other half retires in 4 years the plan is to move to Charleston, SC.

backes
April 4th, 2005, 01:57 PM
nckvilledudes,

We certainly did enjoy our Celebrity trip to Bermuda as much as we enjoyed our Crystal cruises. The Bermuda trip was a bit different than many other cruises because we were at the same island for five nights...two nights at St. George and three nights at Hamilton. It was very easy to come and go from the ship throughout the day and night. Bermuda is absolutely beautiful, with some of the friendliest people on Earth, and it is a very easy island to travel around. There are many, many things to do and of course, there are awesome beaches that are perfect for doing nothing.

Crystal is a bit more 'higher end' than Celebrity and generally more expensive, but we feel that it's worth it. I guess that I don't remember our accomodations being smaller on Crystal than on Radisson. We usually don't spend very much time in the room anyway...as long as we have a balcony, we're happy! We used to stay in suites all of the time, but we came to realize that it was just a waste of space. The more casual, free style dining is a wonderful way to cruise, but we've never felt restricted by the traditional dining styles (specific seating times, tables and manner of dress) of Crystal and Celebrity, and I love seeing my partner in a tuxedo...very handsome! We usually sit at a table for two because, even after all of these years, we really enjoy spending time alone together. There are more than enough opportunities to meet people and make new friends during the rest of the cruise. By the way, we usually meet more gay couples on Celebrity than on just about any other cruise line, but I can't recall any cruise on which we've not seen at least a few other gay couples/singles.

Rereading this thread, it seems that you've been given tons of information and opinions. I hope that it helps you to make your decision. Have fun!

nckvilledudes
April 6th, 2005, 05:27 PM
backes,
Do you normally arrange your own air transportation to the port you are leaving from??
Have you had a room with a balcony on Celebrity??? If so how did you enjoy it??? I think having a balcony would be a really cool way to vaction on a crusie line.

Dan and Miguel

backes
April 7th, 2005, 07:42 PM
nckvilledudes,

When we fly to a port, we usually arrange our own air transportation. When we sail from Port Canaveral or Jacksonville, we usually drive since we live so close. We're cruising around Hawaii in September, and we made our own airline arrangements because we had some frequent flyer miles to use, plus we wanted to spend a few days in Honolulu before the cruise. We did have Celebrity make our flight arrangements when we went to Bermuda because we sailed out of Norfolk and we didn't want to drive that far. We were very happy with their service and the arrangements that they made. We're driving down to Canaveral in two weeks for RCCL's Mariner of the Seas Western Caribbean cruise. We just booked this last week because we were both able to arrange for the time away from work (coordinating our schedules is never an easy task). We 'shopped' on line for what cruises were available at that time, and we found this one. We usually don't care for the mega-sized ships as much as the smaller ones, but I'm sure that we're going to have a terrific time!

We have had a balcony on all of our cruises except Celebrity Horizon and Zenith because they don't have balconies (they're sister ships). We were on Horizon to Bermuda, and Zenith to the Panama Canal, and we thoroughly enjoyed those cruises, even though there were no balconies; however, we LOVE having them when they are available. Coffee in the morning, reading in the afternoon and watching the moon reflect off of the waves at night on your own private balcony are all experiences that I highly recommend! If you can afford a balcony, go for it, but if you can't, or if one is not available, don't let that stop you from going.

I hope that you're having fun planning your trip. It's exciting, isn't it? Let us know what you decide upon, and good luck!

nckvilledudes
April 8th, 2005, 04:46 PM
backes,
Have you ever used the Princess Cruise Line???? A friend recommended that line to us. She said it was wonderful. She left Ft. Lauderdale on a western sail to Mexico with several stops on the way. Alot of the threads say they are very gay friendly. Just wondered if you 2 had sailed with Princess?????

Dan and Miguel

backes
April 12th, 2005, 08:03 PM
nckvilledudes,

We have sailed on Princess and we did find them to be 'gay friendly.' Having said that, though, I should add that we've never been on any cruise line that we considered to be 'gay unfriendly.' I've read of other couples feeling uncomfortable on certain cruises and even of gay people who have felt unsafe on certain cruises, but we've never experienced this. Perhaps we've been lucky or perhaps it's because we tend to keep to ourselves a bit, but we've always enjoyed professional service from the staff and friendly conversation from fellow passengers. Please don't think that I'm wearing rose colored glasses...we have experienced poor service and obnoxious fellow passengers, but it had nothing to do with our being an openly gay couple. There are rude people everywhere, and every now and then, you'll run into some on a cruise, but my time is too valuable to waste on such people.

Have you thought about where you would like to cruise? If you pick a certain part of the world, like the Caribbean, Alaska, the South Pacific, Europe, etc., it may help you to decide upon a certain cruise line. Not all cruise lines sail everywhere, so your choice will be limited by your destination. The time of year that you'll be sailing will also affect your choice of cruise lines...many lines move their ships all around the world during different seasons, offering different ports of call.

There are dozens and dozens of cruises from which to choose. I hope that you're having fun planning and that you're not getting overwhelmed. I've learned a great deal on several of the other Cruise Critic Boards in addition to the Gay/Lesbian board. You might want to check out the Celebrity board, the Princess board, etc., as well as some of the boards about certain ports. The more information that you can gather, the easier that it will be for you to plan a magical cruise for your anniversary!

nckvilledudes
April 20th, 2005, 05:34 PM
backes. I have started looking at the various boards of differents cruise lines other than the gay boards. Both have alot of good info and alot of questions from 1st time cruisers. Seems like alot of good interaction between the people of the cruise line boards, both gay and straight. I have not seen any negative comments from anyone when a gay couple has joined in on the cruise line boards they are sailing. Been very surprised. So still gathering info. Good luck on your next cruise. I have noticed alot of people post their email address on the boards.!! Is that safe or wise???

Dan and Miguel

backes
April 24th, 2005, 05:25 AM
nckvilledudes,

I've always found Cruise Critic to be a very friendly, informative place. I don't think that posting an email address is unsafe or unwise...a simple push of a button will eliminate any unwanted messages. Of course, I never open a message if I don't recognize the sender. Maybe I'm just naive, but I don't see any harm in corresponding with others via email.

We're leaving in a couple of hours for a week on RCCL Mariner of the Seas. If you'd like to continue our 'conversation' via email, please feel free to contact me at HHICruisers@aol.com Of course, I probably won't reply until next week, but I do sometimes check email while cruising. I'd be more than happy to chat with another 'Caroliner' about cruising, traveling, etc.

Take care!

howandhal
April 26th, 2005, 01:27 PM
Try Oceania Cruise Line. We took our first cruise on their ship ,Insignia, and loved the entire experience. Resort casual is the rule every day which I like. Food and service was top of the line. We booked another cruise on one of their other ships.
I am in the process of booking a cruise on the Oceania Regatta leaving Fort Lauderdale for the Caribbean on Jan.3. My partner and I were attracted to the line in part because of the no formal night attire, and it seems to be less "glitzy" than some of the other lines.

nckvilledudes
May 7th, 2005, 08:33 AM
backes,
Let me know when you are back from your RCCL cruise and I will email you. Hope you two have had a wonderful time. Interested in hearing your review of the cruise. Hope to hear from you soon. BTW, your names?????

Dan and Miguel

backes
May 10th, 2005, 06:02 PM
nckvilledudes,
We're back, and we had a great time. The ship (Mariner of the Seas) is awesome, and the service, food and ports were what we expected. The weather was pretty great for the most part with just a little rain in the Caymans. We power-snorkled in Cozumel and loved it! If you have the chance, you should try it.

Have you made any decisions regarding your cruise yet? Email us when you get the chance.

Rick and Gordon

CruisinMaterial
May 11th, 2005, 10:56 AM
nckvilledudes,

The best cruise line I would recommend would be Princess. Based on my straight cruise experiences with them, I would say that they have fabulous ships, great service and they go out of their way to mark a special occassion. My sister's b-day was celebrated on a cruise they had. I asked the MaitreD if he could do it nicely and we got table side violinist and everything! Just be nice and you'll be in for a good time. Outside of that, most other b-day celebrations consist of the dining room staff coming over and singing happy b-day with a cake. If you want affordable with a touch of luxury, Princess is your line for this trip.

Now, I've sailed on Celebrity, but only for Atlantis gay cruises. With that said, I would say their ships are very pleasing to the eye, luxurious and contemporary in decor. The service was impeccable. How they do for a special occassion though is beyond me because to them, our presence on the charter is one huge special occassion that generally leaves them exhausted when we leave! :) I also know when trying to book straight cruises with Celebrity that their past passenger promotions stink and their prices are astronomically high. For a person like me on a budget, they're too expensive!

Just my two cents on cruise lines. I've sailed on RCI Splendour of the Seas and was not impressed with their service, food or the ship itself for that matter. I sailed on the Norwegian Dawn, which is now based on of NYC and rogue wave surfing, and that ship is very contemporary with lots of dining choices. My recommedation would be stick with Princess, or if you can afford more elegance... Celebrity.

~Jake
"A Healthy Obsession with Cruisin"

nckvilledudes
May 18th, 2005, 10:21 PM
CruisinMaterial,

Thanks for the input Jake. Definitely looking at Princess and Celebrity lines.



Dan and Miguel

nckvilledudes
May 18th, 2005, 11:06 PM
nckvilledudes,
We're back, and we had a great time. The ship (Mariner of the Seas) is awesome, and the service, food and ports were what we expected. The weather was pretty great for the most part with just a little rain in the Caymans. We power-snorkled in Cozumel and loved it! If you have the chance, you should try it.

Have you made any decisions regarding your cruise yet? Email us when you get the chance.

Rick and Gordon

backes, Been very busy at work the last couple of weeks. Your info has been very helpful. Thanks alot. Still want me to email you??? Had to deal with a couple of setbacks here.

Dan and Miguel

backes
May 19th, 2005, 08:31 PM
nckvilledudes,

Hello! We understand being busy. Sometimes an entire week will go by and we realize that we've barely even seen each other...that's why we take vacations as often as we can!

I hope that you're still able to plan something special for your anniversary. If the timing isn't right for a cruise, then something else that's meaningful for the two of you.

Please email us if you'd like...you know, Hilton Head Island is a great weekend get-away spot, and it's not too far from home for you!!!

Take care,
Rick and Gordon

Bones
May 22nd, 2005, 11:35 PM
If you can afford it, go with a balcony for your first cruise.
I would recommend getting a cruise travel agent to do your first cruise and get travel insurance. Book your own air in the USA. Transfers are easy to arrange. Be wary of shore excursions.
There is small book I urge you to read and it's called something
like "The Best Littel Essential Cruise Book" written by a cruise director(WEST)
Congratulations on your 20th!
Dan

nckvilledudes
May 23rd, 2005, 07:01 PM
Bones,
Thanks for the cruise advice. Never heard of the book you suggest. Will have to check it out. Good luck on your next cruise. RN here also. Thanks for the congrats also. How long you 2 been together???

Dan and Miguel

nckvilledudes
May 23rd, 2005, 07:12 PM
backes and Bones,

You both gave some kind advice to the the Sea Teacher couple who were having trouble deciding on dinner arrangements. You both sent some reassuring advice after they were getting some rather bad comments from a couple other posts. backes I will email you soon, hopefully with some good news. Thanks for all your sound advice. I know I have asked you alot of questions. You have always answered in a kind and thoughtful manner. You will hear from me via email hopefully within week.

Dan and Miguel

Bones
May 23rd, 2005, 10:33 PM
Your welcome on the advice. I have learned a lot from the other cruisers here.
I really recommend that little book written by a cruise director who went on 800+ cruises. You can get it online from amazon. My partner and I have been together 15 years. We took our first cruise on Celebrity Infinity in December 2001, a 7 day southern Caribbean cruise out of San Juan.
Our next cruise is this September to Alaska, on a RSVP cruise from Seattle.
Have fun planning your cruise!
Dan and Ken

nckvilledudes
May 23rd, 2005, 10:53 PM
Bones.
Think I have narrowed it down to Celebrity or Princess. Good luck on the Alaska cruise.!!
Congrats on your 15 yrs together. Looked at your posts, we built a house together 5yrs ago. RN here for 21 yrs. How long an RN? I will check out the book you suggested. What cruise line do you like?? Again thanks for the advice.

Dan and Miguel

backes
May 25th, 2005, 03:36 PM
Dan and Miguel,

It sounds like you're narrowing in on a decision. I'm sure that you'll be happy with either Celebrity or Princess...we've always had wonderful trips with both of those cruise lines.

I love to answer questions about cruising and traveling in general. It's a way for me to remember fun times and also a way to help others in the way that I've been helped so often. Please don't ever hesitate to ask all the questions that you'd like!

I look forward to your email. Take your time in writing...I understand all too well how hectic a medical professional's schedule can be! We're headed up to New York for a few days, but will be back over the weekend.

Take care,
Rick and Gordon

Bones
May 25th, 2005, 04:26 PM
Bones.
Think I have narrowed it down to Celebrity or Princess. Good luck on the Alaska cruise.!!
Congrats on your 15 yrs together. Looked at your posts, we built a house together 5yrs ago. RN here for 21 yrs. How long an RN? I will check out the book you suggested. What cruise line do you like?? Again thanks for the advice.

Dan and Miguel

Our new home took 30 months to build: quite a story for us to tell! It increased my commute by 20 miles but love living in the country now.
I started my nursing career in 1991.
I loved Celebrity Galaxy and our stateroom all the way forward #9006 on the Vista Deck. I could live in that room full time.
Dan

mdbearcub
July 17th, 2005, 12:44 PM
The book Bones referred to is:

"The Essential Little Cruise Book" subtitle - Secrets from a Cruise Director for a Perfect Vacation. The Author is Jim West. ISBN number is: 0-7627-0508-6 Published by the Globe Pequot Press. Price of the second edition that we have was $7.95

The book contains lots of tid-bits of information that really helped guide us on our cruise vacations.

Good luck,